Preserving Independence in Your Loved One
The effects of a degenerative neurological disorder can take away a lot of your loved one’s independence. For example, they may be less able to drive, bathe, cook, and walk. These are all activities that often characterize independence in today’s world. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and other dementias can take away this capacity for independence. As scientists search for a cure, caregivers today are given no other choice than to care for their loved ones as the disease worsens. In today’s blog, we want to go over ways to help preserve independence in your loved one as much as possible. Preserving independence can be an important factor for you loved one in terms of keeping their confidence up and mood happy.
Consider these steps:
Establish a Routine: People who live with memory loss benefit most if they have a routine to follow. This technique helps your loved one maintain a consistent schedule with a minimized risk of forgetting or getting lost in the process. When these things are minimized and when your loved one can accomplish a task without getting lost, then they are less likely to become frustrated or upset in the process.
Alterations in Clothes: Aging individuals living with a degenerative neurological disorder may develop difficulty getting dressed in the morning. To avoid this problem, try buying clothes that are easier for your loved one to use. For example, pants with an elastic waist, Velcro shoes, and pullover shirts are all excellent substitutes for other types of clothing.
Modify Activities: Activities can be anything of your choosing, but it is important to remember that these activities should be free from challenges and failure. For example, do not expect your loved one to complete a complex series of steps. Instead, keep activities simple and straightforward. For example, consider painting. It is a stationary activity, there are not many things to use (brushes and a canvas), and you can guide your loved one on what to paint. Think of things that your loved one likes, and see if you can simplify them. Some important tips to remember is to try and make the activity stationary, keep the environment distraction-free, and try to avoid traveling anywhere unfamiliar. The best activities for loved ones living with dementia are easy-to-follow, in a quiet place, and at home.
Make the Home Safe: One of the best ways to preserve independence in your loved one is to reduce the amount of risk for injuries. If your loved one becomes injured, then they are far less likely to be able to care for themselves at any level. Things you can do include: (1) Putting down grip mats in slippery areas, like in bathrooms and in the kitchen. (2) If possible, help your loved one avoid stairs by installing an elevator chair. You know your loved one’s living situation best, so think about possible things you can improve in their living environment.
This process is not an exact science, so you will have to think about the various ways you could help your loved one. We hope, however, that this blog served as a useful guide to get started. If you have any questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.