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How to Keep Your Aging Loved Ones Independent

How to Keep Your Aging Loved Ones Independent

Being independent and aging is not an easy task.

When your aging loved one starts to slow down, it can be tempting for the caregiver to take over and do too much for them. Taking away your aging loved one’s independence can make them feel hopeless and depressed. It is crucial to provide the care they need while maintaining as much independence as possible. Nurturing your aging loved one to stay independent provides dignity and respect, contributing to their physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Here are a few tips (from board-certified geriatrician Dr. Abdo) to help your aging loved one remain independent:

Take Care of Their Dietary Habits - A healthy diet is the key to healthy aging and can prevent an array of lifestyle diseases. Focus on the intake of carbohydrates while limiting the amount of sugar and processed foods they consume. Adequate fluid intake is also essential.

Encourage Exercise - Exercising regularly encourages your loved one to become physically active and improves cognitive functioning. Staying active is important for good health and independence.

Keep Their Brain Busy - Not only should their bodies be moving regularly, but also their minds. Play along and encourage whatever activities they enjoy doing! Motivate them to play cards, board games, sudoku, a crossword puzzle or play along to a TV game show.

Safety at Home and Outside - Prepare their home to make them feel confident and safe to move around. Rugs are a major reason for accidental falls. Be sure to remove rugs and toys lying on the floor. Water on the floor can cause loved ones to slip and fall. Install rails and grab bars in hallways and bathrooms for support. Shower benches are also another necessity you can provide in bathrooms. Consider getting a personal emergency response system if they are alone for lengths of time, so they can easily call for help.

Involve Them in Your Day-To-Day Lives - Ask them to participate in daily chores and errands. Asking for their help in making a grocery list, folding laundry, or stirring a pot requires small physical labor that makes them feel involved and special.
As loved ones age, they develop unique medical concerns that caregivers tend to focus on to care for them. Suppose their care goes beyond their caregivers' abilities and appears to be putting them in danger or causing severe distress and discomfort. In this case, the best thing to do is make an appointment to speak to a board-certified geriatrician. A geriatrician will be familiar with their medical history and prescriptions and can recommend the best way to treat the problem.
If you or someone you love is interested in speaking with a board-certified geriatrician, please visit or call (985) 230-2778.