Oftentimes, as our loved ones continue to age, they begin to feel less like themselves. It becomes increasingly important to continue to support them and provide them with the care they need while simultaneously allowing them to feel independent. This feeling of independence goes beyond the actual act of being able to do activities alone and ultimately impacts the way your loved one feels about themselves.
Here you will find information on:
- Why independence is important for seniors
- What virtual services are available to assist seniors
- What home help is available for the elderly
Why is independence important for seniors?
Independence directly impacts a senior’s physical and mental wellbeing. Falls and other injuries can result in the need to constantly rely on others, reducing how independent they feel. It’s important to incorporate activities into their routine that will help them maintain this independence. For example, by staying active, seniors can maintain their overall muscle mass and increase their core strength. Incorporating simple exercises (such as these equipment free exercises for seniors) into daily routines reduces the chances of a serious fall.
Independence, memory, and activity are all closely interrelated. While some memory loss is normal as people age, losing track of little things contributes to a reduction in feelings of independence. Things that were once easy to remember- where the keys are, bringing the grocery list to the store, wishing an old friend a happy birthday- don’t come as naturally, leading to frustration, stress, and lowering their confidence, ultimately putting a strain on the caregiver-care recipient relationship. Being independent minimizes feelings of discouragement and in turn, allows them to maintain their dignity.
Independence also gives seniors a sense of purpose. They can set goals for themselves. Whether it be walking around the block every day or calling an old friend, seniors can feel as though they have achieved something special by accomplishing their goals. Independence allows seniors to be engaged with their own communities and connect with others who have similar hobbies. Finding a passion, even later in life, contributes to how independent your loved one feels.
What Virtual Services are Available to Assist Seniors?
In order to maintain a sense of independence seniors should stay active, work on improving their memory, and maintain a daily routine- and there are services that can help. Here are 4 virtual services to help your loved one feel independent, without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
- To help your aging loved one stay active, apps like Pocket Yoga allow seniors to build muscle while staying within their limits. Pocket Yoga offers a variety of illustrations and videos to help seniors improve their strength, mobility, flexibility, and balance. With over 200 yoga poses stored in the app, seniors can modify their yoga routine to what they are most comfortable with. For even more yoga, check out Glo, Lotus, and Daily Yoga.
- “Mental stimulation” does not seem like the most appealing activity, but apps like Lumosity make mental stimulation exciting and enjoyable. Lumosity is an app full of puzzles and brainteasers to keep users engaged and sharp. It tracks the user’s progress as they complete more activities and highlights which parts of their brain are stronger than others. Interested in more brain training games? Be sure to try Elevate and Peak.
- Audible is an Amazon service that has over 200,000 audio books, many of which are classics and bestsellers. Many bestsellers are read by the authors themselves! Audible allows for seniors to hear new stories as well as their favorites, without having to worry about the ability to access a bookstore or library. Apps such as Libby and OverDrive connect to a library card and have thousands of eBooks available to “check out” for free for 14 days!
- Maintaining a routine is important in boosting a senior’s independence. When they complete their routine and their goals, they feel a sense of accomplishment. As a result, they are also motivated to finish their routine every day. Routines by care/of is a free app that allows the user to create a daily routine and track how each task makes them feel. The app uses these responses to provide feedback on how the daily routine impacts the user’s mood and stress levels over time and suggests ways to modify the routine to best benefit the user. ShineDay and Done are also user-friendly, interactive apps that keep track of daily routines.
These virtual services are not only readily available for seniors, but they encourage them to take charge of their wellbeing! By taking this initiative and working to exercise regularly, improve memory, and maintain a routine, seniors are able to truly feel independent.
What Home Help is Available for the Elderly?
While virtual services help seniors become more independent, they oftentimes are not enough. Seniors may need more help than the virtual services can provide, especially around the house. Here are 4 services to assist seniors in their home life.
- Grocery delivery: Apps like Shipt and Instacart allow seniors to choose their groceries from their preferred store and have them delivered right to their home. They are given the opportunity to choose between a variety of products, just like they would if they were physically shopping at a grocery store. Deliveries can be scheduled for different times, making it very convenient for the user. Delivery apps allow the user to feel independent in their home, even if they cannot drive or physically go out to get groceries on their own.
- Transportation: In addition to apps like Uber and Lyft, Envoy is a car service that specializes in senior transportation! Drivers for Envoy are typically in their 40’s with prior driving experience and have all undergone extensive training on how to assist seniors into vehicles, how to have conversations with passengers who may have memory loss, etc. Envoy offers one-way or roundtrip rides with optional companionship. Not only are seniors safely transported, but they are able to make connections with their drivers!
- Home modification: Services like Extended Home Living Services (EHLS) specialize in the installation of ramps and stairlifts as well as modifying homes by creating accessible bathrooms and widening doorways. Small modifications like these allow your loved one to feel comfortable in their own home, without worry of being unable to complete everyday tasks.
- Medication delivery: Pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens offer free delivery for prescriptions in 1-2 days. Services like Simple Meds dispense prescriptions, over the counter medications, and vitamins in single dose packets labeled with the date and time they should be taken at. The user calls, verifies their prescriptions and other medications, and then receives a refillable 30-day supply.
Just because your loved one may need help around their home, or with other daily chores, doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice their independence! As always, you can reach out to Homethrive to learn more about how our Care Guides help maintain your loved one’s independence. Homethrive’s Care Guides are social workers who develop a plan with you, set goals, and provide personalized coaching while coordinating supportive services such as home care, home cleaning, and much more.