The Needs of Aging Parents: What they Want (And What They Don’t)

Maintaining independence and continuing to pursue individual interests is a key component in preserving happiness and wellness as we age.

As we go through life’s various stages, our independence takes on different connotations. There are important occasions, like leaving our parents’ home or getting married, and smaller occasions, such as finishing a difficult task you were determined to finish. Later, as we grow older, maintaining independence becomes the focus – the ability to stay in our own home safely and securely. This desire to age in place at home is often the greatest wish for seniors, regardless of their state of health or ability to perform tasks of daily life independently, even in the face of injury, sickness or chronic health problems.

For adult children, caring for senior parents at home is often very complex, with physical, mental and social considerations. Adult children may discover the need to increase their responsibilities when providing care for an older parent, as they find themselves increasingly involved in the daily tasks this critical role necessitates. At the same time, they have to balance their loved one’s autonomy along with the needs of other family members. Along the way, we are trying to constantly evaluate the needs of aging parents and how they may evolve over time.

It’s not hard to get swept up in the role of caregiver when the situation arises—our parents have done so much for us, and when they have the need for help, it’s instinctive to want to do anything we can to support them. But it’s extremely important to keep in mind that, for the vast majority of seniors, maintaining independence is a key component in their wish to age at home and, if we really want to do them a favor, we must help them preserve their independence.

While our efforts may certainly be well intended, it can be easy to go from providing care for aging parents to taking over and completing tasks for them. And frequently, this form of hands-on caregiving can have a negative effect on the independence and overall everyday freedom each of us needs and deserves.

The in-home caregiver team at Dakota Home Care recommends keeping the following in mind to respect the needs of aging parents:

  • Independence affords the ability for older adults to continue contributing to the community and world around them, and to feel positive about the impact they are making.
  • Self-reliance offers seniors a sense of fulfillment and self-worth, both of which are essential after retirement and in the years that follow.
  • Having the ability to accomplish tasks independently promotes future and continuing self-reliance.
  • Senior independence helps prevent feelings of discouragement and uselessness, even in the middle of sickness, injury and the general obstacles of growing older.

Try to imagine yourself in your senior loved one’s role. How would you feel if somebody took over responsibilities that you felt you could do yourself? Enabling a senior you love to continue to do things on their own provides a sense of purpose and can foster feelings of self-confidence, keeping spirits high and providing the confidence needed to take on the next task. By bringing in professional help from experts who are skilled in-home care providers for older adults, you can help promote your loved one’s feelings of empowerment and capacity to function effectively at home. Dakota Home Care is available to help when the need arises – working together with you and your loved one, and never taking over.

Each trained and experienced in-home caregiver from Dakota Home Care provides a broad range of home care services for older adults, enabling your loved one to focus on what he or she can do while providing support with tasks that may be daunting. Our home care services include light housekeeping and meal preparation, assistance with personal care needs, transportation, respite for family caregivers, and much more. All care plans and schedules are customized to the unique needs of each individual and families. Contact us online or by phone at (877) 691-0015 today to learn how an in-home caregiver in Mandan, Fargo, Bismarck and the surrounding areas can help the senior you love.

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