Dignity and Independence Go Hand in Hand
Aging with dignity is considered a right that many seniors today feel they are denied. This could be because of a variety of reasons, like inadequate healthcare, the rising cost of living, or the quickly growing aging population. Regardless of the causes, it is important to understand what it means to age with dignity and what we can do to make our seniors feel a sense of dignity.
Without assistance from others, aging in place services, nursing home supplies, and other important things can be difficult for seniors to find on their own. In order to really help our elderly loved ones age with dignity, we need to attain an understanding first of what it is. Not everyone has the same definition, which is one of the biggest challenges in attaining dignified care for our aging population.
You’re probably wondering what dignity is, exactly.
In and of itself, dignity is subjective and means different things to different people, different cultures, and different societies. The dictionary defines it as having the feeling of deserving respect – and this can be shown in appearance or in behavior.
That leaves a lot open to interpretation.
So, the question becomes, “Can we achieve dignified aging for the elderly even though we all have different definitions of what dignity entails?” Fortunately, we can, thanks to a few universal truths and common beliefs tucked into just about everyone’s definition. These general common beliefs include:
- Being acknowledged as an individual
- Having a say in decisions regarding life
- Being treated with respect
- Feeling safe and secure in their environment
The Single Most Important Factor in Aging with Dignity
With challenges to our ability to age with dignity being centered on the healthcare system, high cost of living, and a rapidly aging population, there is one factor that we absolutely must focus on: ourselves. We must take the initiative to age with dignity and help our loved ones do the same.
You Must Take the Initiative to Make It Happen
If you take the initiative to help a loved one age with dignity, you absolutely must find out what “dignity” means to him or her, since its definition means different things to different people. Discovering the answers to some key questions can help gain an idea of what that person considers important, which in turn can help you focus on the things that matter most to him or her. Some of these questions include:
- What kinds of activities do you enjoy?
- What things in life are most important to you?
- What are your beliefs and passions?
- What are your values?
- Who do you want to spend time with?
- What care items do you rely on regularly for safety and comfort?
Independence is Crucial: What You Can Do
Aging with dignity is about enabling our elderly loved ones to maintain as much independence as possible as they grow older, and learning the answers to the above questions will give you clues about how best to help him or her do that. For example, instead of entertaining the option of moving your loved one into a nursing home, you could try to keep them at home and set up a system of daily visits from people who can make sure the person is doing well. Discover who they enjoy spending time with and see if those people can visit once per week, and assign a day for each person – not just to spend time with your loved one, but also to “check in” on him or her, too.
Another example involves elderly and/or nursing home supplies; if you discover what personal care items the person relies on to feel comfortable and safe, you can then help make sure those items are always available to your loved one, whether it be bars in the shower, incontinence briefs in the closet, or a drinking cup that is light and easy for them to hold onto.
Knowing what your loved one values most is the best way to determine what you can do to help him or her age with dignity. For a great selection of elderly care products and nursing home supplies, visit www.ourcaresupplies.com.