So many aging adults want to hang onto whatever independence they have for as long as possible. If that’s true for your senior, you’ll need to work together to find that middle ground.
It’s counterintuitive, but your first step needs to be, to the side. You need to allow your elderly family member to do what she can on her own and that means a hands-off approach for now. Let your elderly family member continue to do what she can do for herself. Taking those tasks away from her is not going to help her and it will end up frustrating you both.
Put Safety Measures in Place
That doesn’t mean that safety is not an issue and that you just ignore whatever is going on, though. Safety matters and it matters a lot. Take a look at how you can make your senior’s environment safer, including hiring home care providers. Even small steps toward a safer environment are going to help her to continue to do what she wants to do.
Talk to Her about How She’s Feeling
Set aside some time to talk to your senior about how she’s feeling and about what’s going well for her in her quest to remain independent. She may need more help than she’s been letting on or she might feel as if there are ways that you can continue to step back a bit and give her room. Unless you talk to her, neither of you will know those things.
Establish Some Guidelines
In some matters, it helps to have some guidelines for both you and your aging adult. One of those areas might be with driving. If your senior has trouble driving at night due to vision issues, for instance, one guideline you might set could include that she doesn’t drive after twilight. Relying on someone else to drive at that time of day might feel restrictive to her, but if it’s just under those conditions, she may be more agreeable.
Let Her Know You’re There
It’s important for your senior to know that you’re there for her, but not in a way that is meant to be intrusive or that removes her independence. You’re both walking a fine line, but with some practice, you can find the compromises that work for each of you.
So often caregivers and aging adults misunderstand each other on the quest for independence. You aren’t trying to control your elderly family member and she’s not trying to put herself in harm’s way. By coming to a compromise, you can help your senior to attain the level of independence that she wants in a safe way.