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  • Writer's pictureThe Care Company

Tips to Encourage Senior Independent Living While Prioritizing Safety

daughter discussing safety with senior mother
Senior independent living is important for overall health and wellbeing.

As our parents age, it’s not always easy to know what our role as adult children should be. We'd like what’s best for them, but if we’re not careful, we'll overstep our boundaries and discover ourselves trying to parent our parents.

This is especially true when safety is an issue. There is a fine line to walk between promoting senior independent living and the lifestyle they need and deserve, while making sure senior parents are safe. After all, it wasn’t that far back when our parents were taking care of not just all their own needs, but ours as well. The transition from caregiver to care recipient is usually frustrating and painful for seniors.

With this in mind, there are a number of aspects of independent life that a senior may now be lacking. And if we aren’t careful in the way we approach these losses, it could result in arguments, hurt feelings, and fractured relationships.

For example, one facet of senior independence that’s often jeopardized is in others stepping in to take over tasks that could now be a bit more complicated and take a bit longer for a senior to accomplish. Even though intentions are certainly the best, it is actually bad for a senior’s self-worth and self-esteem. A far better approach is to allow a good amount of additional time, and also to only offer assistance when really necessary.

One of the greatest indicators of freedom is the ability to drive, to go wherever and whenever we please. When driving is no longer safe for a senior, it is essential to approach the subject with tact and empathy. Neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez explains that too often, adult children lose patience with their older parents, leading to hurtful comments that may be truly traumatic.

He recommends avoiding statements such as, “You’re not allowed to drive any longer!” It really is much kinder and much more effective to offer seniors choices, and also to engage them in brainstorming a potential alternative. A typical example of this could be, “I know it’s getting difficult for you to see clearly now, which must make it challenging to operate a vehicle. Let’s talk about some options that will enable you to go wherever you want safely.”

Together, then you're able to devise a plan that is agreeable to everyone. When contemplating choices, take into account that The Care Company’s caregivers are available any time, day or night, to deliver safe transportation and accompaniment for seniors. Our Toronto elderly care services are available based upon each senior’s wishes and timeframe, whether that means a weekly lunch date with a friend, medical or salon appointments, attending religious services, or just a Sunday afternoon drive to get out of the home and relish the scenery. Email or call us at (416) 422-2273 for details.


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