Ways to Help Your Parent Remain Independent

August 26, 2018
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Like a fingerprint or a snowflake, every person is unique. And yet there are similar veins that run through each and every one, so much so, they have defined personality types based on these similarities.

One personality type that often ends up in the caregiving role is “The Fixer.” You see a problem and you want to fix it. You not only want to fix it but, unlike the dreamer, you get out the needed tools and get to work.

Problems arise when there is only one round peg and one square hole, or the person you’re fixing doesn’t really want to be fixed.

As you watch the changes aging brings in your parent, you, as the fixer, will probably have the tendency to jump in when they complain or wince whether from frustration or pain. If a chronic disease has made it difficult for them to perform specific duties, you will rally to the call without hesitation and your parent will be truly grateful, or not. And herein lies the complicated and somewhat confusing aspect of caring for a loved one.

6 Ways to Help Your Parent Remain Independent

1. Make Independence at Home Possible

Your loved one may feel their independence slipping away with each passing diagnosis and every joint that is slowly degenerating. This, in turn, can lead to a profound sense of loss, an increased risk of isolation and a growing melancholy.

Instead of fixing, what they may require more is listening and altering their environment in order to create a home they can move through and complete necessary tasks safely.

2. Encourage Conversation

Encourage your parent to discuss their fears and concerns.

If they’ve never been much of a talker, start the conversation rolling with questions that open up the possibility of expressing their feelings.

Make a luncheon date or plan an outing. Consider taking an art or photography class together. Stroll through a botanical garden or local museum.

If you have children, you probably can relate to the art of distraction. For those in pain or sorrow, this tool works wonders.

3. Adapt Their Home

Help your parent create a safe, relaxing and stress-free home environment.

This includes making sure they have good lighting. Place bright lamps in areas where they spend a lot of time. Install motion sensor lights.

Remove any tripping or slipping hazards and install grab bars in strategic locations. Make sure everyday items are easily accessible.

4. Set up a Music Station

Set your parent up with a music station, possibly an iPod. Take the time to set up different music selections they can choose from according to their mood.

Include one that brings on relaxation such as nature sounds, Tibetan bells, or music that helps one drift away.

5. Create Rituals

Start an evening ritual for your parent that involves relaxing in a warm bath filled with sea salts and a few drops of their favorite essential oils.

Start a collection of their favorite movies and, if they read, take a weekly trip to the library.

Art is a wonderful tool to take the mind away from what ails them. Writing, painting, weaving or creating collages—there are endless projects to incorporate into their life.

Find something they enjoy and make a space within their home where they can go and create.

6. Consider Hiring a Home Care Provider

A home care provider can offer interactive care. This type of support involves helping your parent help themselves.

They may do the grocery shopping together, or get out and work in the garden. They will involve them in the everyday tasks of living in a way that ensures safety. They will get out a game or puzzle and enjoy the mental stimulation over a cup of tea and conversation.

They provide both care and companionship—two vital aspects in the life of your aging parent.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care Services in Florida

If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring home health care services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids today. (888) 592-5855.