How to Provide Support While Encouraging Senior Independence

Courageous woman with cancer spends precious time with adult daughter

Research has shown that independence is essential for older adults. It supports self-confidence, wellness, and quality of life. More importantly, it’s what seniors overwhelmingly want. At the same time, it’s easy for caregivers to fall into the trap of helping too much, which is as detrimental to you as it is to your loved one.

Here are some tips and advice from our in-home respite care team in New Jersey on how to achieve that balance between empowering independence and support

5 Ways to Support Independent Living for Seniors as a Caregiver 

1. Ensure Accessibility – Make sure that everything needed for daily living is easily accessible for seniors. Remove clutter, improve lighting and install grab bars where needed to reduce risks of falls. Rearrange wardrobes so that clothing for that season is on easy-to-reach shelves, and invest in clothes that are easy to put on (for example, replacing pants with zippers or buttons with those that have elasticated waistbands, or buying shoes with good grips that can be slipped into rather than requiring laces).

2. Voice-Activated Technology – Home assistants like those offered by Amazon and Google are fantastic resources for seniors, especially people with disabilities or mobility issues. With a simple voice command, your loved one can play music or audiobooks, find out the latest weather information and news, control lighting and thermostats, and even make phone calls, or if needed, call for help.

3. Get Social – Seniors who maintain their independence are less at risk of depression, isolation, stress, and anxiety — and part of that means staying social. Look for local groups that host events that your loved one is interested in and encourage them to sign up. It could be a walking group, outings to local sights and museums, a music group, book club, local gardening club or bridge club. It’s a great chance to make friends, live independently, and stay mentally stimulated.

4. Exercise – Maintaining muscle strength and health become more challenging as we age, which makes regular exercise essential. By staying strong and active, bodies and minds stay healthier along with immune systems to fight off disease and illness. There are so many exercises for seniors to enjoy, from walks and gardening to water aerobics, dancing, and yoga.

5. Encourage Choices – One of the best things any caregiver can do is encourage their loved one to stay engaged. By giving them choices and letting them decide what to do, what to eat, what to wear and stay entertained, caregivers empower seniors to stay independent, in control of their lives, and active. Always listen to their opinion and take it seriously rather than making choices for them.

Supporting Independent Living and Quality of Life Through In-Home Respite Care 

As part of United Methodist Communities, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, HomeWorks offers long-term and temporary in-home respite care for seniors through trained, experienced nursing and health aide staff. 

Our senior home care services cover everything from companionship and help around the home to 24-hour skilled nursing and wound care, depending on exactly what you and your loved one require. Our services are scalable and by-the-hour, allowing you to develop a custom care plan at an affordable cost.

For more information on in-home respite care and senior home care services offering, please contact us today or visit our website at 

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