A few years ago, I read an article comparing American values to the values in some developing countries. The writer emphasized that autonomy and independence are as integral to American culture as the proverbial baseball and apple pie. In some countries, particularly developing nations, interdependence is emphasized, but in the United States, our goal as parents is to raise kids who can survive, and thrive, without us. A couple of years ago, I found that, at virtually the same time, both of my daughters went through tricky transitions on the road to independence. One wanted to do everything herself, but couldn’t. The other could do most things for herself, but wouldn’t. It was a frustrating phase, but in retrospect, it taught me a lot about the role of independence in senior living.
The key to successfully maintaining independence in an assisted living facility is to set realistic expectations. Determining your residents’ abilities and capabilities is the first step. In assisted and independent living facilities, most residents can successfully handle the following tasks.
- Using the restroom
- Coming and going at will
- Preparing simple meals and snacks
- Selecting their own television shows, reading material, etc.
- Brushing their teeth, showering, and other basic grooming skills
A well-meaning caregiver who steps in and intercepts when help is not required brushes aside a lifetime of independence, a process that can slowly erode the resident’s sense of self-esteem and autonomy. There are many advantages to fostering independence in seniors, including emotional, psychological, and physical benefits, and a more independent group of residents lightens the load of caregivers, allowing them to focus on the residents’ who truly require help.
Technology can help seniors maintain their independence or sense of independence for much longer. Technology such as resident Check-In, automated resident reminders, and wearable safety devices can provide the independence that seniors desire.
If you’re looking to give your residents the gift of independence, without compromising life safety or wellness, contact us at Tel-Tron.