Supporting Independence in Older Family Members


Supporting Independence in Older Family Members

Helping the elderly retain their independence is critical, discover the top ways you can support your older family members...

Retirement should be an enjoyable time of relaxation and pleasure after the long years of working and raising a family. Instead, it can become a time of frustration for seniors as they slow down and collect for ailments. Previously independent people can find it hard to lose that independence and begin to decline. There are various ways of supporting older family members to retain their independence, allowing them to adjust to significant changes and carry on in good health.

Supporting Independence in Older Family Members

Home Adjustments

Adjusting someone’s house allows them to stay there even with reduced mobility or impaired vision. Long term, the small outlay of alterations to an existing home works out cheaper than the cost of a care home. People also tend to have a better outcome when they stay in their own home while capable, rather than prematurely moving into a care facility.

Stairs And Steps

Stairs and steps begin to pose a serious trip and fall hazard with age due to the body’s inability to maintain balance. Other factors, such as walking aids, reduced field of vision, and inability to step up, all further impact this. Installing ramps over small, raised steps makes getting up and down smoother. A stairlift can be installed for homes with internal staircases to help those who struggle to get up and down between floors safely.

Personal Medical Alarms

A personal medical alarm system can be installed when fear of falls or other medical issues becomes a concern. These come in various systems, from a speaker system through the telephone line, to a portable device that links through cell phone towers. 24/7 access to emergency assistance provides peace of mind to the individual user and their family, encouraging ongoing independence. To get an idea of which system best suits your loved one’s needs look at the LifeFone review to see the available options.

Supporting Independence in Older Family Members


One of the main rooms that you can significantly modify is the bathroom. Depending on the amenities already in place, modifications can be as simple as adding a shower chair to the shower and rails to the toilet. Changes can be taken further where necessary, switching out a standard bathtub for a walk-in one or remodelling the room to be a wet room with a level floor access shower.

Supporting older people to remain independent isn’t only about how their home is set up. Other aspects of life can become challenging with age, and neglecting them can easily lead to feelings of isolation and depression.

Mental Health

Various issues can cause older people to suffer dips in their mental health, which can become difficult to overcome. Supporting them to seek professional intervention can help them find their way out of the dark times and find continued purpose in life. Obviously, other health conditions need to be kept on top of as well, but worsening mental health can begin to cause accelerated cognitive decline if left untreated for too long.

Don’t Take Over

Part of supporting someone to remain independent is remembering the end aim, their independence. Helping someone is fine, up to a point, but if you keep stepping in too much and taking over tasks, you become the problem. Have a frank and open discussion with your loved one, asking their opinion on what help they feel they need and what your concerns are. While sometimes this is easier said than done, figuring out even small changes can go a long way.

Supporting Independence in Older Family Members


When hearing impairment is detected, investing in a hearing aid helps with the auditory deficit and promotes continued social contact. If someone can’t hear well, their interest in conversation naturally declines, which can cause a significant drop in social interaction. As such, supporting elderly relatives to get their hearing checked regularly is vital for communication. Many older people may have a negative impression of hearing aids due to early models not being reliable. Modern technology has dramatically improved them recently, so encouraging hard of hearing family members to get one is advised.

Next Steps

There may come a time when your beloved seniors cannot continue at home, and you’ll have a decision about where they go. Assisted living facilities are an excellent in-between step that allows older folk to live in their own space but have the benefit of staff onsite.

Whether they live in their home or move to assisted living, there are many ways to support older family members to remain independent, letting them enjoy retirement with grace and dignity.