Having independence is a simple concept – it means ‘to have full control over one’s life’. However, the ageing process often means that when we get older, we may need personal care assistance to perform our daily tasks, bringing into question our independence. We may think that old age may mean being told ‘what to do and when’ – this isn’t the case.
As we reach our older years, the degree of our independence may diminish due to changing mobility and health – this doesn’t mean that we’re ‘ready for the care home’; with the right care in place, we can get help for the tasks we find difficult and enjoy as much independence as we did before.
This is where personal care services can help. If you or a loved one is looking for help with daily tasks – anything from needing support for daily errands, medication or more complex care needs, an assigned personal carer offers the best balance between them getting all the help they need, while preserving their independence.
Here, we’re going to look at ways in which a person’s autonomy can be maintained as you consider the care options that will help.
Personal care: How to nurture a sense of independence
A person’s wish to remain independent isn’t always reflected in their capabilities – this conflict can become increasingly clear as time goes on. Giving a loved one as much input as possible in the decisions that affect them will ultimately benefit them emotionally and physically, providing them with a higher quality of life.
Here are a couple of ways in which personal care can help someone feel more independent:
Provides them with choices
The heart of being independent is the ability to make decisions for yourself – as time wears on, many older people may feel that their choices may be limited. They are accustomed to making decisions for themselves and removing this self-determination can lead to feelings of denial and depressions.
When it comes to their personal care, consider these factors:
• Do not assume that they are not able to make a decision for themselves.
• Give them encouragement to make healthy life choices by presenting them with relevant information and asking their opinion on decisions that will affect them. This way, they will feel free to make up their own mind.
• Providing them with choices and control can help them to maintain their existing skills.
To cater for their choices, you should take steps to empower them – this can be done by:
• Dedicating enough time for them to come to a decision, and their choice to be facilitated.
• Providing them with an active role in arranging engaging activities.
• Understanding how to cater for their decisions in a safe and appropriate way.
• Reassuring them that the choices are theirs to make.
Keep them involved
When the ability of a person changes, it can be easy to overlook some of the choices that provide them with a sense of independence. When the situation of changing abilities occur, some of the ways in which you can make sure you’re still promoting their independence include:
• Encourage them to do as much as they feel up to. If they can’t perform a whole task like they used to, just allow them to do what they can before assisting with whatever’s left.
• Involve them in everyday decisions – choosing their own social activities or what they want for their meals, for example.
• Provide them with as much agency as possible in the bigger decisions – such as their long-term care options or any adaptations needed in their home.
Where to turn for help with a loved one’s personal care
Most people would prefer to live the rest of their life in their own homes, rather than move into residential care – a major reason being that it provides them with the independence they’re looking for. If this is something that your loved one decides what they want, there are a range of personal care options that will enable them to stay in the familiar and welcoming environment of their own home.
If you would like to learn more about any of these services, why not consider getting in touch with our care team for an informal chat? We can provide you with further information, including how any of your relative’s choices can be incorporated into their daily care. We strongly believe in ‘family’ here at Gabriel’s Angels – as a family-owned business, we fully understand the importance of having a degree of familiarity and loved ones to call upon when needed.
So, to learn more about personal care services, give us a call on 01183 320 099 or send any e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.