How seniors can continue to maintain independence

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As people age, it becomes harder for them to get around and maintain the independent lifestyle to which they are accustomed. One element of senior home care is doing as much as possible to encourage clients to be as independent as possible.

Professional caregivers are adept at helping elders to keep them moving for many years to come. Quality elderly home care comes in many different forms, depending on needs. The overall goal is to help seniors maintain their autonomy and stay enthusiastic about life.

Movement: As we age, our joints tighten and we lose a bit of the spring in our step. That doesn't mean we can't still be on the go and enjoy the beauties of the world. So, especially for seniors, staying mobile is important.

This can mean anything from taking walks or bike rides around the neighborhood, or pacing up and down a hallway, or using small free weights for some resistance exercises.

There are some very good resources on the internet put together by the National Council on Aging (ncoa.org/older-adults-caregivers) that go into more detail of how to provide elderly home care while also getting your seniors on their feet and perhaps even out of the house.

The more your loved one can move, the more fit they will be, which will keep them healthier longer.

Companion-based home care. Some professional care providers offer a companion care program that complements traditional elderly home care by focusing on socialization. Loneliness is a problem among seniors across the country. Having a caregiver be there for them to talk to and interact with can have numerous social benefits for them.

Having a qualified caregiver as a companion can also help motivate your loved ones to get moving and help them find that spark hiding deep within them.

That could mean helping your senior garden, do chores around the home, or help with walking while out doing errands. Any of those activities can help foster a healthy lifestyle.

Don't fight changes. As we age, our bodies change in many ways. That includes such things as hair loss and wrinkles to decreased muscle mass and bone density. Instead of fighting against the physical changes, it is better to work with them. Professional caregivers can help figure out ways to deal with changes in order to keep seniors active and maintain independence.

By being flexible with how you provide elderly home care, you can help keep your loved one motivated and on their feet, which in turn can help them remain self-reliant for a longer period of time.

Jennifer Redmond is the family care coordinator for Senior Helpers of Hilton Head Island. jredmond@seniorhelpers.com.

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