Helping a Loved One Cope With Loss of Independence
Moving to a senior assisted living home is a big adjustment from living in your own home. Often times seniors who are suddenly unable to do things on their own feel a sense of helplessness or even embarrassment. These feelings are completely normal and are just part of the journey of aging. As a loving family member or friend, you can offer some kindness, patience, and understanding to your loved one who is experiencing a loss of independence. Here are a few ways to help your loved one through this difficult time…
Be Patient With Your Loved One
Your loved one will most likely continue to insist that he or she can do things without your help. While it may be frustrating to you, and you may want to jump in and take over, it’s important to remember that this twice as hard for your loved one. Be patient and let them do what they need to do to feel independent without compromising their safety or health. Continue to offer your help in a gentle way and assure your loved one that it’s ok to accept it.
Tell Your Loved One: It’s Not a Sign of Failure!
The biggest thing about letting others do things that your loved one would normally do on his or her own is that it probably feels like failure on their part. Your loved one is not able to do the things they used to, and this feels like a sign of defeat on their part. Express to your loved one that many aging adults have the same feelings and that it is completely normal to feel this way. However, make sure your loved one knows that they have not failed or been defeated in any way.
Encourage Other Friends and Family to Visit
All those feelings of guilt and failure can bring your loved one down and get them into a negative mindset. Encourage other friends and family members to visit your loved one so they are surrounded by encouraging and caring people. This will reassure your loved one that they have not failed in life, but are in fact still thriving and keeping in contact with those they love.
Tell Your Loved One You’re Proud of Them
Something as simple as telling your loved one you are proud of them can make a world of difference. This simple statement has the power to wipe out that feeling of failure your loved one may have. Express to your loved one that they are being strong through this difficult transition and have made you proud to be at their side.