What independence means to your aging loved one


During the month of February we are continually reminded that “love is in the air” or at the very least, that flowers and chocolates are overpriced. This has got me thinking about how we express love to our aging loved ones and in Bayshore’s case, how we express loving care to our aging clients.

Having spent nearly three decades providing for the needs of elders in Tampa Bay, we at Bayshore, feel that we have discovered the truest expression of love that families and healthcare providers can give to our elders- -Independence.

How we as professionals define independence has little to do with how seniors themselves gauge what independence means to them. The healthcare industry has defined “independence” as the ability to perform all of the following daily activities: feeding, toileting, dressing, grooming, bathing and ambulating. And those of us able-bodied citizens may agree with this list. However, if you were to tell a disabled individual or senior who was unable to perform all of these tasks that they are not independent I think you would find, that they strongly disagree.

Let’s take a moment to get inside the mind of a senior…

According to recent studies by AARP as well as other independent senior care research departments, seniors see their independence hinging on the following:

  • The ability to choose where they live
  • The ability to pay for their basic needs
  • The feeling of mental, physical and emotional well being
  • Having strong relationships
  • The ability to drive where they want, when they want. Or make the choice of when to give it up themselves

In summary, seniors want to actively engage with life and retain the ability to make choices. When family members or healthcare workers take these choices away or stop empowering seniors to engage in life, we strip them of their independence. February is not only the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, but it happens to be National Senior Independence Month as well. I do not think this is by coincidence.  Let this month help you be mindful of what true expression of love is to a senior in your life. Give them the gift of independence.

  • To learn about Bayshore’s Independence by your design services, click here.
  • Host an event for seniors with our Community Outreach Specialist, Christine Hamacher. Christine will provide an engaging presentation to your senior group on “Preserving Independence”. Contact her by e-mailing chamacher@bayshorehomecare.com.

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