Dignity and autonomy are closely connected to an individual’s quality of life. There are ways to contribute to the self-respect of a senior while allowing them the freedom to age in place. Consider the following suggestions to maintain dignity and quality of life as we age.
We are all getting older. How do we maintain our dignity and quality of life, especially if we live with health or mobility issues, as we age? There are a lot of precautions and suggestions that can contribute to aging in place successfully, from participating in a social network of sorts to using mobility equipment, like a stairlift. Dignity, as you age, is important and connected to quality of life you really can’t have one without the other.
Here is what everyone needs to know about preserving dignity and quality of life as you or someone you love- get older:
Dignity and Respect
Dignity and respect are essential to aging in place with purpose. There are simple ways to show dignity to others as well as to obtain it for yourself. First, do not stand for disrespect.
Here are some ways to show dignity to seniors or individuals that we care for:
- Respect the privacy of those around you. Command privacy for yourself, too. This extends to when you are dressing, bathing, or using the toilet.
- Knock before opening any door that is closed.
- Be discreet when discussing the choices and decisions of your loved one. Do not break confidences.
- If caring for a senior, ask what they care to eat, watch on TV, or do- don’t make assumptions.
- Try to be empathetic and respectful of the choices made by others, even if they are not the ones you would choose for yourself.
- Negotiate solutions when someone under your care makes potentially dangerous choices, like refusing to take medications.
- Offer to accompany seniors to events, activities, or walks so they are not alone but do not insist.
- Listen attentively and ask for others’ opinions.
- Involve seniors in conversations and discussions.
- Never discuss a senior as though they are not present.
- Speak in a respectful and non-condescending way. Do not treat seniors as if they are children; it is offensive.
Treating people with dignity and respect costs nothing. It also does not jeopardize anyone’s well-being. Make it a benchmark of your interactions with any and all seniors.
Quality of Life
Quality of life is closely connected to dignity it is hard to feel satisfied with life when you feel as though those around you are not being respectful or honoring your wishes. Some things that contribute to enhanced quality of life as you get older include these:
Seniors over age 65 are susceptible to depression, which can be easily treated. Depression can deteriorate quality of life. Triggers for mood decline could include death or illness. Some warning signs of depression include:
- Changes in behavior, like appetite or sleep
- Engaging in unhealthy coping skills, like drinking or drugs
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Lack of interest in activities that once gave pleasure
- Poor hygiene
Depression can significantly impact quality of life. If you notice warning signs, talk to your medical provider right away.
Physical limitations or mobility issues can greatly impact quality of life. It can make it tough to go anywhere, as desired, and it may even compromise your home living situation. To preserve quality of life, make accommodations and facilitate mobility in any way possible. This includes implementing aids like stairlifts, ramps, shower seats, and grab bars in the home to improve accessibility.
The core of life quality is a sense of purpose. Whatever the responsibility is, it can help provide a greater quality of life to feel needed and useful. This may manifest in volunteer work or adopting a pet, there are many ways to add purpose to the day.
Never underestimate the value of a little physical activity and exercise. When you get the blood pumping with a brisk walk, stretches, or deep breathing, it can relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Plus, getting a bit of activity throughout the day helps with sleep and mood, too.
Stimulate the Senses
Stay stimulated and encourage other seniors to also! From mental games and puzzles to sniffing fresh flowers and snuggling a pet, stimulation improves life quality. Plus, pleasant stimuli can release feel-good hormones which provide a sense of wellbeing.
Seniors that are disconnected or out of touch with informal supports, like friends or family, are at a higher risk of dementia. This social withdrawal may also impact longevity and shorten life expectancy. Stay connected if you care for a senior, keep them connected, too. Check in on them and provide them with the technology and assistance needed to help you monitor wellbeing, as needed.
Quality of life is interconnected with health and wellbeing. Staying healthy is the most vital thing that you can do to preserve your quality of overall living, every day.
Enjoy quality of life and dignity through the autonomy and independence that mobility aids provide. Could you use some assistance with activities of daily living? If so, mobility aids and devices may be able to help you maintain your independence. Talk to the team at Pacific Mobility to learn more.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)