Accepting and managing the loss of independence and mobility
We all want to age gracefully and maintain our independence for as long as possible. Unfortunately, a loss of independence and mobility can occur at one time or another in our lives. This can come as a genuine blow, often accompanied by feelings of denial or even anger. When confronted with such feelings, how can those around the person offer their support and help make sense of this new situation without making things worse?
Accepting a loss of independence takes time and effort. However, through a combination of attentive listening, respect and patience, it is possible to provide support to those going through it without being overprotective of them.
What does “loss of mobility” mean and is it possible to delay it?
In the case of seniors, a loss of mobility is naturally age-related. It isn’t unusual to observe a reduction in physical and cognitive capacities starting around the age of 65, and there are various factors, including muscular degeneration, illness and accidents, that can exacerbate the problem. The resulting motor impairment can complicate even the most mundane daily activities: getting dressed, eating, personal grooming, housework, etc. All of the tasks that seniors used to be able to do by themselves suddenly require the assistance of another person.
Is it possible to delay this problem? Physical activities such as yoga, walking and swimming can help maintain muscle mass. Proper nutrition is another factor that plays an important role. A diet that’s balanced, varied and healthy can be adapted to meet each person’s specific needs. Maintaining cognitive function, on the other hand, relies on the person’s social life and intellectual stimulation, which can be provided through conversation, board games and cultural outings.
Since a loss of independence is nearly impossible to predict, seniors and their loved ones shouldn’t be afraid to discuss it, even if there aren’t yet any signs. It will be easier to have this delicate conversation while everything is still going well, and doing so will help maintain a harmonious relationship by avoiding unnecessary tension and frustration down the road.
Accepting the loss of independence and supporting the senior
It’s vitally important to listen to seniors and consider their opinions. By explaining the situation and emphasizing that they won’t be forced into anything, you’ll build trust and help promote a positive, constructive approach. This approach not only preserves seniors’ dignity but also makes the situation easier for the family and loved ones providing care, as it encourages healthy, honest communication without treating the seniors like children.
Acceptance is a lengthy process. Therefore, patience and indulgence are valuable assets. When offering to help, you should be prepared to face some reluctance, which is perfectly normal. With time, it’s easier for seniors to accept and understand that the intention isn’t to take away their remaining independence but rather to allow them to focus on the things they are still capable of doing.
In fact, even if the loss of mobility is significant, encouraging seniors will empower them and fortify their aptitude to take control of their space. There are solutions for rearranging their homes, making them easier to live in. Additionally, in-home services should be considered in order to help seniors maintain their quality of life. In this case, their loved ones should explain how the arrival of these “strangers” could be beneficial. Privacy is very important, and violating it can provoke legitimately fearful reactions. Once again, initiating a dialogue can help seniors understand and accept each stage.
The team at Elite Comfort Health Care applies this compassion to everything they do. These professionals know how demanding the challenges related to advanced age can be, not only for the people facing them but also for those around them. That’s why all of their services are based on trust. As a result, everyone involved can make their voice heard and receive the support they deserve.
Comparateur Dépendance Sénior. La perte de mobilité des seniors : comment la gérer ? (The loss of mobility in seniors: how to manage it). 2021.
Maintien à domicile. Dépendance des personnes âgées : comment l’accepter ? (Senior dependence: how to accept it). 2015.