The main reason for the loss of independence is, in most cases, diminishing health, and it can be a hard pill to swallow for anyone regardless of the cause. However, by avoiding some of the pitfalls of aging life, it is possible to not merely slow but perhaps even entirely prevent the decline of autonomy. A crucial point to remember is that the only way to achieve such a thing is by putting effort into maintaining the correct attitude by the elderly and their loved ones alike.
Understanding and a willingness to compromise on both sides is necessary, and trust is an integral building block for this to happen. Worried relatives will want to be assured that their senior family member is safe, and through proper self-care alongside additional safety nets – such as a medical alert system – the elderly can give their concerned loved ones greater peace of mind. From a different angle, relatives may also wish to encourage the senior to uphold a better quality of life by pointing out the benefits of responsible self-care and imparting the right concepts.
The Seven Pillars of Health Care
According to the model developed by the International Self-Care Foundation, seven core pillars provide the framework for responsible self-care. Living by these is a good idea for anyone wanting to stay healthy and active. It is, however, especially important for the elderly to take a conscious interest in cultivating the appropriate attitude and routine in their day-to-day life.
The Pillars Explained
- Health literacy: To maintain independence, having the ability to gain and understand information related to health care and any related services is an absolute must. Relatives must make sure the senior has a trustworthy source to go to for reliable info, whether that’s their doctor, personal assistant, or even the internet for the tech savvy.
- Self-awareness of physical and mental condition: This is especially important for those diagnosed with illnesses like diabetes or heart problems. Constant and accurate awareness of their physical state – such as blood sugar levels or cholesterol – could save their life.
- Physical activity: The elderly don’t need to be star athletes but a leisurely walk in the nearby park can do wonders, unless poor health prevents this.
- Healthy eating: An often overlooked part of proper self-care is the willingness and ability to follow a balanced, nutritious diet, ideally one recommended by a dietician or a doctor if the state of health calls for it.
- Risk avoidance: It may sound obvious, but this pillar could give many the most trouble. Smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating unhealthy food should be avoided.
- Good hygiene: Some seniors have trouble maintaining adequate hygiene due to mental or physical restrictions that they suffer from. If they are unable to keep good hygiene, a personal care assistant might be of help.
- Rational use of products and services: The elderly occasionally refuse to take prescribed medication and instead use various potentially harmful home remedies because of distrust. Others choose not to visit a doctor but rather turn to self-medication instead. Both are equally harmful practices that are to be avoided.
How Mindfulness Could Be a Key to Self-Care
Practicing mindfulness is more than just beneficial, it can be lifechanging. By becoming more aware of yourself, of your activities, and of your surroundings, it is possible to prevent the decline of the emotional and mental state. It helps with living in the moment and appreciating it too, not allowing life to become dull and tiring, which is especially helpful for the elderly. Relatives may be able to encourage the senior to gain an interest in self-care by introducing the practice of mindfulness gradually.
Do not let independence get in the way of security, however. Having additional safety measures in place such as with a medical alert system will let everyone rest easier at night. These companies have trained operators on constant standby in case of an accidental fall or similar, and some also offer a check-in service where they make regular calls to ensure that everything is alright.
Best Medical Alert Systems of 2018