Every July, Americans have the opportunity to reflect that independence is a right for all Americans and raise the flag to freedom. At MBK Senior Living, it also reminds us of how we all (family members, caregivers, senior living providers) can support and encourage the seniors in our lives (and our communities) to maintain their sense of independence year-round and truly thrive.
Seniors are more likely to be independent when they feel loved, know they belong, and realize their valuable place in society. These factors help them maintain a sense of identity and purpose, which is so critical to their well-being. Fortunately, there are many ways in which we can promote or help seniors maintain their independence.
Be Financially Free: Monetary self-reliance is essential to a sense of independence. To start with, you can show seniors how to auto-pay bills or pay online. Also be sure to include them in financial decisions and discussions, even if you’re the POA (power of attorney), are the co-signer on accounts, or are helping coordinate finances. They should help plan outings and vacations and help make important financial decisions. Taking away their right to choose diminishes independence.
Stay Physically Fit: Encourage your loved ones to stay physically active and do things on their own—even if it takes more time. If you’re assisting, refrain from becoming impatient and completing the task yourself just to get it done faster. Plan for—and don’t complain about—the extra time it takes or how they choose to complete a task. Above all, be respectful. The ability to be physically self-sufficient maintains independence and promotes positive self-esteem.
Stay Social: Technology makes it so easy to maintain social connections, especially if seniors can’t drive to visit family or friends. You can show them how to stay connected with Skype, FaceTime, or Facebook. To get to places they love, like the gym, book club or senior center, schedule planned outings or show them how to use alternate driving means such as Uber.
Keep It Real: Sometimes it’s easy to forget that seniors are highly capable individuals with the capacity to achieve great things. We can enhance their sense of self-worth by asking for their opinions and advice. They’ve “been there, done that,” and can provide the wisdom that only comes from experience. Allow them to contribute to conversations and to help make decisions so they feel valued.
Fostering Independence at MBK: At MBK Senior Living, we believe that the more independent our seniors are, the better their quality of life. They’re healthier and happier and feel they can make valuable contributions to the community. We work hard to promote independence in each of our senior living communities.
For example, our MBKonnection program provides residents with a full calendar of events that engage and feed the mind, body, and spirit— including exercise classes, tai chi, yoga, book clubs, painting, music workshops, creative writing classes and more. Our communities hold monthly health education classes to keep residents informed on the latest studies and ways to improve health and wellness. All of these programs and more encourage our seniors to take charge of their own well-being, feel good about themselves, and be as self-reliant as they can for as long as they can.
If you or a loved one is looking for a residence that allows you to be as independent as you choose, visit one of our 22 communities for a personal tour—or ask to join us for one of our MBKonnection activities.