For lots of elderly or disabled people, independence is precious, and crucial to their own wellbeing. However, there can be major barriers standing in the way. Read our 5 tips on how to help keep your loved on standing on their own two feet.
1. Make sure they’re confident on their feet
It sounds obvious, but for many people, admitting they’re not as stable on their feet as they used to be can be a big deal. And keeping it to themselves can restrict how far or often they want to venture out of the house. If you suspect they’d benefit from an aid, maybe try suggesting a simple walking stick to start with.
They come in a variety of shapes and finishes, but if they’re still unsure, try suggesting they try it out around the house first. We’re sure that once they notice the benefits, they’ll feel more inclined to take it for a spin outdoors.
2. Online grocery shopping
Although popping to the local shop for a morning paper is brilliant (it’s great exercise, and helps create a daily sense of purpose), for many older people, a full weekly shop is out of reach. Rather than being reliant on friends or family to help with the big shop, why not encourage them to order it online? Learning a new skill will help keep them sharp, provide a massive sense of achievement, and help them feel more independent.
3. Keeping fit
There are lots of social clubs around the UK that can help keep people in shape and social. A quick Google search will throw up lots of options, from table tennis (which can get quite competitive…) to slightly more sedate seated dancing. Exercising muscles and mind can help stave off some of the effects of old age, and keep us all more independent, for longer.
And if getting there is a potential issue, try ringing around local voluntary groups. The Royal Voluntary Service offers free transport in many areas of the UK. And if they can’t help, they might know an organisation that can. Give it a go.
4. Enjoying a soak in peace and comfort
For many, the longer they can avoid assistance in the bath or shower, the better. Our Bereno walk-in bath is designed for just that purpose in mind. The side door and powered seat are ideal for users who require minimal assistance, or would like to be able to manage on their own. The powered seat can be raised out of the way for showering, or removed altogether if necessary.
5. Staying upbeat
Sometimes, a decline in independence can be about motivation as much as physical barriers. Getting older is hard, and depression affects around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over1 . There are lots of ways you can try and keep your loved-one mentally healthy. From small changes, like ensuring they’re getting the proper amount of fruits and vegetables, to bigger actions, like taking in a pet. Visit mentalhealth.org.uk for more ideas and information.
If you’d like to discuss the specific needs of an individual, be it yourself or a family member or friend, you can always drop us a message. Alternatively, feel free to give us a call on 01473 741 144. Our friendly team have been providing trusted advice for over 40 years, and if we don’t have the answer, we’ll know someone who does. Maybe we’ll speak soon.
1. Health and Social Care Information Centre, (2007). Health Survey for England, 2005: Health of Older People. [online] Available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/hse05olderpeople [Accessed 14 Sep. 2015].