Pride and dignity are normal human emotions that help shape us as our lives play out. But as the aging process continues, it’s not uncommon for those positive feelings to be replaced by futility, anger and frustration after losing a spouse, experiencing chronic health problems or giving up the car keys. When your aging parent is faced with these issues, it can be hard to watch as you remember all the love and nurturing that they gave you growing up. Fortunately, there are several reliable ways to help an elderly parent age with dignity, starting with these.
How Dignity Fuels Independence
The more a senior is treated with dignity, the more likely they are to treat others with respect, age gracefully and enjoy an independent lifestyle. Here are some other reasons why seniors with positive self-esteem tend to be more self-sufficient:
- Makes transitions easier. As physical and cognitive changes occur, elderly persons who are more dignified tend to handle life’s “speed bumps” better than those with low self-esteem.
- Lowers stress. Seniors with dignity tend to be more involved in activities that lower the production of stress hormones in their bodies. That also helps reduce their likelihood for experiencing a stroke, heart attack, anxiety and depression.
- Prevents isolation. An older person with low self-esteem is much less likely to socialize with others. Conversely, active seniors enjoy cognitive and physical health benefits that usually equate with a higher quality of life.
Restoring Your Parent’s Sense of Dignity
Here are some steps you can take to help restore your parent’s dignity:
The mental aspect of aging is just as important as the physical. Be as supportive as possible towards your parent and offer-assistance when needed without speaking “down” to them or being judgmental. For seniors, losing their driving privileges or forgetting things can deal a serious blow to their ego. Focus on the positive while encouraging yours to learn new hobbies and meet new friends, and always make sure they have reliable transportation to get around.
As we age, it’s normal for mobility and cognition to decline. Restore your senior’s peace of mind by making sure that their home is a safer environment. If poor mobility is an issue, make safety modifications in their residence that will help them enjoy a more normal lifestyle. Get them an assistive device or install a stair lift as needed. Offer to take care of the yard, home repairs and food shopping if that will make them feel more confident and self-assured.
You didn’t always like it when mom or dad gave you advice, so why would it be any different when the roles are reversed? Listen to your parent’s wishes and try to honor those whenever possible. If you disagree with their choices, speak up respectfully but don’t dismiss them without good reason. For example, mom or dad may have made it quite clear that they don’t want to go to a nursing home. If that’s the case, you may need to find them alternative caregiving sources, including professional in-home care, to respect their wishes.
Cognitive impairment like dementia can affect a senior’s mood and behavior. Having to make meals for your parent or take them to the doctor when your schedule is already full can be frustrating and stressful. Older people can also be set in their ways, but always remember that you’re a guest in their home. While serving as an informal caregiver it’s vitally important to practice patience at-all-times so you don’t damage your loved one’s pride and dignity.
Maintaining Your Senior’s Dignity is Our Focus
Helping an aging in place parent maintain their dignity can be hard when you’re too busy or live far away. When you need a hand, contact Dependable Senior Care. We are a fully licensed and insured home care agency with well-trained caregivers who use a unique approach that’s designed to provide seniors with the pride, dignity and independence they deserve so they can keep living safely and comfortably in place right where they want to be.
While in the home, our carefully screened, compassionate aides can perform reliable duties like light housework, personal hygiene, meals, food shopping, medication reminders, escorted transportation and companionship. And, all our family trusted in-home services can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about Dependable Senior Care now, or to schedule a FREE in-home consultation for a senior today, please call or visit us online.