If your elderly family member has been talking a lot about independence lately, it’s important for you and she to talk about what it all means. Lots of times this can come down to big disagreements between caregivers and their aging family members and that’s probably the last thing you want to have happen. Understanding why she’s feeling the way she is can help you to make different choices with and for her.
Self-esteem Is Often Tied up with Independence
Your elderly family member has spent a large part of her life learning how to take care of herself and putting those lessons to use. So, being independent is often tied into her self-esteem as well. When she’s independent, she may feel more powerful and strong. Feeling as if she needs help can cause her to feel as if she’s now not as worthy, which isn’t true, but is something to work through.
Control Can Be a Driving Force
Sometimes it’s not just her self-esteem, but the fact that independence equates to control for your senior. It may help for you to remind her that you’re not trying to take over her life or take control of her life away from her. There are ways for her to continue to be “in charge” and independent while still also receiving help that she needs in order to be healthy and safe. That’s the most important part.
Having Goals Is Important
Knowing what your senior’s goals are around independence can help both of you to work out plans that get her closer to what she wants. This can also give you some guidelines and ground rules for understanding what her definition of independence actually is. It’s always possible that you think she’s striving for one thing when she’s actually striving for something completely different.
Help Doesn’t Mean She’s Any Less Independent
Something your elderly family member needs to understand is that just because she’s accepting help, that doesn’t make her dependent on anyone. Whether it’s you or senior care providers offering her assistance, that help is not there to keep her dependent on anyone else. It’s about ensuring that she’s able to live the life that she wants to live, on her own terms as much as possible.
Make sure that you and your senior stay on the same page. That’s going to ensure that you’re both moving toward the same ultimate goal, which is keeping your elderly family member as safe and as healthy as possible.