Tips to cope with losing independence with age
There are many fantastic things that come with getting older, but sadly there are also some not-so-welcome side effects. For many people, loss of independence is definitely the worst. In fact, a UK study found more people fear losing their self-sufficiency than death.
Whether because of health issues, mobility problems or something else entirely, many elderly people can find themselves completely reliant on others in their old age. However, it’s important to help them understand that losing their independence doesn’t have to mean losing their quality of life.
First of all, take some time to put yourself in their shoes and really understand what it’s like. Just like with any loss, coming to terms with the loss of self-sufficiency is a process. Many people feel afraid of their newfound vulnerability, angry at their situation, confused about how to move forward and even guilty at the thought of needing help. But it’s essential that even during this difficult transition period to encourage them not to isolate themselves.
Offer help in whatever way you can
Whether it’s driving them around, helping them with their groceries or just lending an ear, even the smallest deed can help make your loved one’s life a little easier. Understandably, many people who suddenly find themselves reliant of others can take a stubborn stance against accepting help. Instead of berating them, consider why they might be apprehensive to take a hand. Be patient and explain that you don’t pity them, but rather just want the best for them. If they constantly reject your offers, respect them.
Keep them busy
Contrary to what they may believe at first, losing their independence doesn’t mean being forced to stop doing what they love. Encourage your loved one to keep pursuing their passions (where possible), find new hobbies and maintain relationships with their family members and friends – after all, it’s the people around us who help us through hardship.
Have you had to deal with a loss of independence, either temporary or permanent? How did you cope? Share your tips with us in the comments below.