Pathways Home Health and Hospice Celebrates Your Independence This Independence Day

This July 4th, we as a nation celebrate our independence. Why is this such a big deal? Why is it so freeing to be independent? The notion of independence is all about being able to effectively function on our own in the world. This doesn’t mean we don’t need a shoulder to lean on once in awhile. It doesn’t mean we don’t need help with tasks here and there. It doesn’t mean we don’t need expert personalized care for the basics. But it does mean we can function as our own unit on a daily basis. Now let’s apply that to seniors, the disabled or the chronically ill. Being independent is a critical factor in living on one’s own, especially those who face challenges every day, whether those challenges are physical, cognitive or emotional in nature.

It’s tough to witness the deterioration of physical or mental abilities in an aging parent, spouse, grandparent, child, friend or other loved one. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that people get old, injured and frail. Your role of caregiver is challenging to say the least, since studies show that between 80 and 90 percent of elderly people choose to reside in their own homes as long as possible, rather than a nursing home or assisted living, says The Huffington Post.

Tips to Fostering Independence

So, this July 4th, let’s appreciate our loved one’s continued independence for as long as they are able. Meantime, you may need some tips to help them continue to function on their own as much as possible, with a little help from trusted home health care services like Pathways.

Provide companionship: Isolation and loneliness affect our elders greatly. It may start with the loss of a spouse, all their friends one by one, and their siblings. It may progress to the inability to drive, decreased vision and hearing loss, forgetfulness and loss of physical dexterity. As a result, there are fewer opportunities for social engagement, points out Forbes, which can lead to sadness, introspection, and indeed depression. Often times, adult children live far away or they work full time so there are limited times in which they can visit. Proving companionship when you are able is key. Take them for a walk outside, help them plant flowers, read them a story, reminisce, enjoy lunch together…there are any number of ways to fit in short bursts of connection that really mean a lot. For all those other times you can’t be there, home health care aides can provide companionship to fill in the gaps.

Make sure they’re eating healthy: This is critical to emotional and physical well-being. Your home health team should include a dietitian who can evaluate your loved one’s diet, develop one that’s more in line with their health needs and restrictions, and customize a meal plan. Make sure they stick to that plan and encourage them to make good choices when you’re not around.

Deliver what they need: As the adult child of an aging parent, you can’t always make it to the pharmacy to pick up their prescription or take them to the doctor. That’s where a home health care volunteer can come in very handy.

Encourage them to take their medication: Because many aging seniors experience memory loss, it can be difficult for them to remember to take their pills. Not only must they remember each day which pills to take and how many, they must be aware of possible interactions if they make a mistake. There are many different types of interactions, such as drug-condition interactions, drug-food interactions, and drug-alcohol interactions, says the FDA. The home health care team’s pharmacist is experienced in treating patients with complex conditions and several medications, teaching them how best to take medications and review drug lists for possible side effects.

Promote mobility and daily activities: It’s important for seniors and the chronically ill or injured to get basic exercise every day. This can be a big source of stress for family caregivers because they often can’t be there every day to take their loved one for a walk or even get the proper therapy they need for their exact condition. That’s why physical and occupational therapists are on hand to develop rehabilitation plans that promote mobility and daily activities. Particularly for people who have suffered a stroke, fracture, joint replacement, or trauma, therapy is an essential part of their everyday lives.

Psychology Today recommends creating few and manageable goals daily, such as doing 10 stretches, completing a small craft project, or something as simple as finishing a cup of juice.

All of these above services contribute to the increased independence of your aging loved one. Without them, it would be impossible for them to stay at home comfortably and safely.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

If your loved one wishes to stay in their own home, yet they need help with basic activities, meal planning, and nursing care, get them the help they need at Pathways Home Health and Hospice. Contact us at 888-755-7855 to connect with resources designed to enhance your loved one’s independence, today and every day.