Even though older adults may need a little extra help at times, they still deserve respect for their privacy. As adult children, caregivers, etc., you may feel like you need to intervene in your loved one’s life much more than necessary. You should be there to support them in whatever they ask for, but you don’t have to overstep into their life if their mental capacity is reasonable. Consider why independence is important for seniors to understand a few reasons to give your loved one the freedom to live how they desire.
Maintains a Sense of Purpose
As a younger adult, you have many things in life that give you purpose. Whether it be a career, family, children, your spouse, etc., you have something to be responsible for. However, this sense of purpose may start to dwindle during retirement. Aging is unavoidable, but your loved ones don’t have to lose their purpose. Allowing them to be as independent as possible is the best way to maintain those feelings of belonging somewhere for some reason.
Preserves Physical Strength and Balance
Strength and balance are a few of the first things to decline in seniors, and it can be extremely discouraging. However, these physical capabilities are more likely to decline as a result of being stagnant or a lack of normal activity and exercise. If your parents or elderly loved ones are still responsible for themselves, they’ll be more likely to retain their physical motor skills for much longer.
Sharpens Memory and Cognitive Skills
In the same way, memory and cognitive skills may decline in older adults. Because they don’t feel as if they have a significant purpose or role in the world anymore, cognition declines much faster. On the other hand, doing normal daily tasks, reading, learning new things, and maintaining relationships can help sharpen their cognitive skills. That said, older adults with independence will most likely be able to stay independent for many years to come.
Getting older often comes with feelings of burden and stripping of individuality. Even though they may not be able to do everything they used to, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still themselves. For instance, driving is a common freedom that many seniors lose. But having multiple ways for seniors to get around without a vehicle can help them hold on to their identities, personal preferences, and happiness.
After learning why independence is important for seniors, you can encourage your loved ones’ individuality by giving them the freedom to live their lives how they desire. They may need and ask for additional support, and you can step in to help at this point.