Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

How to Empower the Elderly People in Your Life

an elderly woman buttoning the cuffs on her shirt
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By Natalie Board /

Many elderly people feel disempowered by their age, their life circumstances and their health problems — so having a loved one who helps them feel empowered can make a big difference. But not everyone knows how to empower elderly people, especially if you don’t know many of them or don’t spend much time with them. Here are seven ideas to help you empower your elderly loved ones, from senior clothing to exercise:

Prepare their home for aging in place.

Not every elderly person can age in place, but for those who can, it can help them feel very empowered to stay in their own home. Most homes are not designed for the elderly, however, so one major thing you can do is help them update their house to make it safer. Do a home safety audit to identify potential hazards and take steps to mitigate them. This can include putting in a chair lift, installing grab bars and renovating bathrooms to make them safer for the elderly.

Support their self-dressing.

When you think about it, getting dressed is actually a very complicated procedure that involves a lot of mobility and dexterity, two things that not every older adult still has. For instance, magnetic buttons, zippers and other closures are often difficult to work with arthritic hands. Adaptive clothing for men and women is designed with these limitations in mind and makes it possible for some older adults to continue dressing themselves.
Shop Adaptive Clothing for Men

Make other daily tasks easier.

Needing help with other daily tasks such as bathing and feeding themselves can also take a toll on an older adult’s sense of empowerment. Thankfully, there are a variety of workarounds that can help in this department, from shower chairs to utensil grips. Have a talk with the elderly people in your life to figure out what daily tasks they struggle with the most and brainstorm ways that they can continue to do these on their own.

a group of laughing seniors having tea and snacks together
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By Monkey Business Images /

Encourage socialization.

Many elderly people withdraw as they age, which can compound any isolation and loneliness they are already experiencing. Help them resist this tendency by encouraging them to maintain an active social life with peers and other friends. Also, encourage other family members to reach out and maintain connections with your loved ones, especially grandkids. Having an active social circle can provide your elderly loved ones with the emotional support they need to flourish.

Help them stay active mentally and physically.

No matter how old you are, staying mentally and physically active is key to keeping your mind sharp and your body strong. If your loved one doesn’t already have an exercise routine, encourage them to start one full of workouts that they enjoy. They should also engage in mental exercises such as puzzles and games to help keep their brains in good shape alongside their bodies. These activities will help slow physical and cognitive decline and keep your loved one feeling good well into their twilight years.

a nurse placing a blanket around an elderly mans shoulders
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By New Africa /

Consider part-time help.

In some cases, your loved one might not be able to take care of all their daily tasks on their own, but they also might not need enough help to warrant living in a senior facility. In these situations, your elderly loved one might benefit from part-time help, either in the form of a friend or a family member (such as yourself) or a home health aide that you hire. These helpers can assist with any daily activities your loved one is struggling with while still allowing them some measure of independence.

Don’t take care of everything for them.

On that note, it can be tempting to swoop in and take care of everything for your aging loved ones — even some tasks that they are perfectly capable of doing themselves. Try to resist the temptation to smother them with help, as this can make them infantilized and incompetent. It’s really important for your loved one to maintain a sense of normalcy as long as possible. If they insist that they’re fine even when they’re not, that’s a separate conversation that you can have, but don’t jump the gun before they truly need the help.

We hope this list gave you some inspiration for how to empower the elderly people in your life. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Silverts’ selection of adaptive clothing for women and men. We offer adaptive clothing options for both self and assisted dressing, plus free shipping on U.S. orders over $20!
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  • Dorothy Martin says:

    Your suggestions are all good. My mom would go outside and walk back and forth in our driveway. Sounds boring, but it was something she wanted to do. It got her outside in the fresh air and sunshine. I wish now we had some raised beds so she could have tinkered with that. Bless her heart, she had gotten where she really couldn’t crochet or any sewing because her brain just couldn’t make it come together. She did enjoy the music CD’s…. Especially hymns because she could remember the tunes and much of the words. I also had some Tupperware child size cups that had tight fitting lids made for straws. They were a easy size for her hand and no mess if she turned it over.

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