We all crave some level of independence. It could be argued that as we age and become wiser, we demand independence to a greater degree, because we have more experience, more competencies, and tend to care less about what others think.
When there’s a health care issue that threatens this independence, thoughtful consideration is required so that the elder is not stripped of this critical human need.
Looking to one of the Eden Alternative’s 10 principles, “Create opportunities to give as well as receive care”, reminds us that as caregivers, we should seek to create environments where elders experiencing physical or mental challenges can continue to give, continue to grow, continue to thrive. Think of one thing you currently provide for a loved one that they can take on instead, to keep them engaged and participating. Commit to creating an environment where there’s give and take- as this fosters the spirit of independence.
A person can thrive with supported independence, or inter-dependence, as explained here by Dr. G. Allen Power, a former geriatrician and an expert in dementia care.
For more on the Eden Alternative and person-centered care, please visit: http://www.edenalt.org/.