The Sense of Independence in Seniors
December 28, 2014
Humans are essentially independent in nature. Right from a young age, we believe we are capable of doing anything. However, the aging process often diminishes this confidence, especially as our ability to accomplish even simple tasks deteriorates. But despite the problems we all know aging causes, both physical and psychological, the human mind tends to rebel against assistance of any kind, wanting to keep the independence of youth. In fact, many studies conducted on senior citizens have shown that a lack of independence actually lowers their self-esteem, often leading to a disinterest in living life. Luckily, the opposite is also true: promote healthy independent living and self-esteem increases.
Sense of Habit and Comfort
Irrespective of their age, humans are essentially creatures of comfort and habit. This means that we prefer living in surroundings that are familiar and following routines that are similar in nature to what we are used to. This becomes even more important as people grow older, especially when aging brings with it a lot of health problems, both in the form of diseases and injuries. Whether the illness is temporary or permanent in nature, it can cause a serious blow to self-esteem, especially when someone has to leave his or her comfortable surroundings and move into another place. Thankfully, there is a simple way to ensure that these people do not have to leave their comfortable surroundings while still receiving necessary help within their own comfort zone: medical alert systems. By using these wearable devices, people can stay in their comfortable surroundings and still get the support they need during an emergency. This way, they can live a safe, healthy life while their self-esteem remains intact.
Sense of Achievement and Pride
Small things taken for granted during youth are not usually possible as people grow older. For various reasons, older people don't have the same vigor, enthusiasm, or strength to tackle things that they did in the past. Because of this, everything that a senior does that goes toward reclaiming their youth (even in a small way) is cause for great celebration and a sense of pride. One such way of of doing this is choosing to live independently without depending on anyone for his or her basic needs. This not only provides a great boost to their self-esteem, it gives seniors a sense of achievement and pride actually makes them feel younger.
A simple study conducted on seniors showed that those who were actually able to do their own work, interact socially, and not have to depend on others showed a much higher percentage of self-esteem than their counterparts. Similarly, it was also seen that people with a good self-perception were more active than those who had a poor notion about themselves. It went on to show how high level of self-esteem and self-worth could be achieved through independent living that included the support of a good personal emergency response system in case of any unexpected accidents around the home like a slip and fall.
Overcoming a Sense of Worthlessness or Uselessness
Statistics and research studies show that most seniors tend to become more like children during their later years, especially given that they are dependent for their every need. While this might be absolutely necessary for some, it does not take away from the desolation that comes with such kinds of assisted living. As mentioned earlier, the need to be independent is so great in humans that even the smallest factor that takes a person away from such independence can be a cause for great trauma. Given that the case is the same for people of all ages, it should be obvious that seniors would want to express their independence, too, and often mourn their inability to do so, paving the way to a sense of worthlessness or uselessness. Counseling and communication is absolutely essential to help individuals facing such serious problems with their lack of independence. Otherwise, seniors could go into a serious depression or experience other repercussions of such feelings.
Such desolation is often expressed by seniors as an open display of disinterest in their favorite hobbies, a reticent silence, or unnatural quietness. As caregivers and the family of the senior in question, it is important to understand these signs and act accordingly. It is believed that most seniors who are extremely independent in their youth show similar signs of despair when faced with lessening freedom. If your loved one shows any of these signs, helping them complete some simple tasks independently will greatly help in the long run.
Of course, care must be taken to ensure that one doesn't go beyond the abilities of the individual in question. For instance, if the illness is of a mental nature but one that leaves the senior able and independent physically, at least to some extent, helping the person carry out certain simple tasks on his/her own can instill confidence in the long run while also paving the way for a good relationship with the senior.
Help Focus on Positives Rather than on Negatives
Independent living, when possible and actively practiced, actually motivates seniors to look at the positives rather than the negative aspects of their life. It is usually seen that senior citizens, when faced with the smallest need for dependence, tend to become pessimistic and depressed. Small acts of independence go a long way in helping the person overcome all negative feelings, while instilling and promoting positive thoughts. As mentioned earlier, independence enhances self-esteem, which automatically removes negative thoughts while instilling positive ones. This is extremely important considering the challenges that the seniors might have to face.
Simple things can actively promote the independent living of seniors, such as medical alert alarms. These devices allow wearers to lead independent lives, knowing that they can ask for help at any time. Armed with this knowledge, senior will be able to live life on their own terms and experience enhanced self-esteem.
Personal Response Corporation is America's trusted provider of medical alarms
with over 20 years experience. With their personal emergency response systems
, seniors can live independent lives and their families can avoid stress and rest easy knowing they'll be helped in a timely and fully prepared manner in the case of a medical emergency.