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Maintaining independence when you have additional care needs.

As children, we dream of independence, growing up, leaving home, getting a job and making decisions for ourselves. All the things that allow us to live the way we want, which many of us take for granted.    As we grow up and gain that independence, sometimes we even wish for a simpler time. However, as […]

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As children, we dream of independence, growing up, leaving home, getting a job and making decisions for ourselves. All the things that allow us to live the way we want, which many of us take for granted.   

As we grow up and gain that independence, sometimes we even wish for a simpler time. However, as we get older, we may find that our ability to undertake everyday tasks can get more complicated. Some people may also develop illnesses or conditions that impede their ability to take on simple jobs or make decisions.   

Whilst the ability to complete jobs or make decisions may have dwindled, the desire to continue to be independent remains. The acceptance that additional help is required is often a hard process. We have striven for so long to obtain that independence that letting go is not easy.   

Being involved in your own decision-making plays a huge part in your own mental well-being, and this is the same for anyone whose capacity to do so has depleted. Small things can make a huge difference. If someone needs help preparing food or getting exercise, for example, allow them to choose what they have to eat or what route a walk may take.   

When we see a loved one needing help, it can be difficult for us not to take over and do their jobs for them. Often people want to maintain as much independence as possible, so if we take over, no matter how much we think we are helping, this can result in frustration. In this situation, suggest doing the task with them rather than for them if this is achievable. Allow your family member as much input as possible to keep them involved.   

It’s not just about physical tasks; giving your loved one independence over decisions in their life is just as important. Wherever it is reasonable, giving your family a say in the choices they make in their lives regarding finances or living situations helps them to feel responsible and respected.   

Keeping our minds active is an important step toward our emotional and physical health. At Westwood, we are always on hand to provide help and advice on how to care for your loved ones and help promote independence wherever possible.   

It can be difficult to reach the decision when a loved one requires additional care, and it can be a sensitive subject to discuss. However, if you have a family member who is finding it harder and harder to dress themselves or complete essential tasks, then approaching that conversation with sensitivity and tact is paramount.   

If you feel that the time has come to seek extra help with your family, please get in touch with our expert team, who can help you navigate the needs of your loved ones with tenderness and care.