Seniors face many transitions as they age. One of the hardest is for independent seniors to face an increased need for assistance and support. Helping seniors through times of transition is vital to their health and well-being.
There are various types of transitions that seniors must face from obvious ones like illness or hearing loss to those that are more subtle. Below are some examples of transitions:
- Loss of privacy (others are involved in care)
- Needing to ask for help to get places
- Feeling of inconveniencing others by asking for support
- Inability to participate in hobbies/activities as they once did
- Reliance on others to remember things/ make decisions
- Difficulty keeping track of important information/ memories
- Grief as peers and loved ones pass away or move into care facilities/ in with family
- Less control over diet/ schedule/ body functions
- Depending on strangers for professional caregiving if necessary (Bay Area Senior Care)
Helping to support seniors through transitions is important as a variety of feelings such as grief, depression, and anxiety can accompany these changes. Some even feel guilt and failure when they become dependent on others. Understanding these times and feelings can do a lot to comfort and support seniors.
- Extend autonomy as long as it is safe and healthy to do so
- Include in conversations about care plans and preferences
- Ease into the idea of having someone help them – start with small tasks for shorter periods of time
- Provide reasons like the the concern of loved ones or a desire to cover housekeeping for them
- Point to an authority, like a doctor recommendation, for need of care
- Listen patiently to concerns and preferences, don’t dismiss them
- Understand that conversations regarding changes can be painful. Remind them you want the best for them and that their lives are meaningful. (Daily Caring)
One of the hardest transitions some seniors must make is loss or decrease of driving abilities and privileges. Limits on driving can make seniors very frustrated as it also means a loss of independence. Some helpful tips to keep seniors safe while driving are:
- Use CarFit, an educational program designed for seniors to help make safe driving decisions.
- Stay up-to-date on medical tests, including eye exams.
- Ask about driving concerns and challenges and offer alternatives and options to help maintain independence. (Guideposts)
Families often find that starting the initial conversations with their senior loved ones about sensitive topics to be the hardest step in care. To help with this try these strategies:
- Do your homework so you can offer encouragement and real options
- Ask questions with observations (How’s the house? It must be hard to keep up.)
- Offer practical help, like finding a housekeeper or home aide, to ease seniors into receiving needed supports.
- Don’t cut them out of the conversation or decision. (Caring.com)
Safe @ Home is happy to help offer caregivers to help seniors through times of transition. We provide transportation, housekeeping, personal care, and much more to ease seniors into care. For more information contact our office at 715-598-7233