The conversation about independence is a frequent one around anyone being cared for, or who has a loved one receiving care. After all we’re all human; and we all want to ensure that our families or friends with disabilities are treated with the respect, compassion, and dignity they deserve. But there needs to be a happy medium where those receiving care have the opportunity to also achieve as much as they possibly can themselves.
Looking into alternatives to residential care is the best way to do that; as it allows a level of independence and even self-care – if possible by the patient – and control is not completely handed over.
Care options that encourage independence
There’s a lot of different options out there for care and you may have found it a bit overwhelming to research. If there’s one thing we’re sure of at Abbots, it’s an overriding belief that the best care will always be that in the home of the individual. And this can be through a variety of ways.
Perhaps it might be a full-time live-in carer who becomes a companion, or is a domiciliary carer for people who just need a little help each day, or it might even be visiting care to offer relief occasionally.
Care in the home allows families and people affected to feel a sense of “normality” and not be held back by their needs or disabilities. For some, it can mean still being able to get dressed themselves and choosing when to have breakfast and not having to resort to residential care, but having some help each day with taking medication or cooking meals.
This can mean that the individual can still retain a level of independence and resilience in being able to achieve some day-to-day tasks themselves. Particularly if the care is needed later in life or after a short illness, rather than since birth. Suddenly becoming dependent on other people can affect positivity and wellbeing as they suddenly feel restricted. Independence can encourage a positive mindset and create a sense of achievement through the smaller wins in each day.
Creating independence for children with disabilities
If we look at the UK alone, there are 800,00 children with special needs under the age of 16 . The bigger picture that this facts builds, is that if these children aren’t given choices or the chance to build a sense of self-efficacy with their carers and families, that’s one child in every 20 in the UK limited by their dependence.
99.1% of these children – nearly all – live at home and are supported by their families. This already gives them the best chance to grow and develop in a supported environment. It means a routine can be established, and care can be given alongside family members and siblings.
This setting provides an abundance of opportunities for parents and carers to encourage independence. Although it can be extremely natural and common for parents to want to do everything for a child with complex needs to ensure they are kept safe, there are things they can still do for themselves that will give them a sense of freedom and chance to embrace their potential.
It could be as simple as giving a physically disabled child the options of which colour t-shirt they want to wear. Or whether they wash then brush their teeth before getting dressed or visa versa. Giving the child a chance to develop preferences or control, although it might take longer and be time-consuming, enables them to develop skills and confidence in their own abilities. An added benefit of visiting or live-in carers is they can gift the time and patience to this, which might be limited by parents who have other children to also look after or work commitments etc.
Why independence is so important in elderly care
Historically family members might have cared for elderly relates by popping in several times a week to help with housekeeping, or by bringing medication and prescriptions to the house. With how we live now and aspirations and ease to be able to move around the country for work, partners, loved ones, or houses, the dispersed family model is increasingly common; meaning many adult children no longer live just round the corner from their elderly parents.
Today’s elderly generation have lived through every different times, and grew up without electrify or wi-fi for example. It’s really easy for this generation to be a bit more reluctant to ask for help and rather “make do” than feel like a strain or burden on their children and grandchildren if they live far away, or neighbours
Similarly, if you have spent your whole life being able to do everything for yourself and suddenly struggle physically in your own body later in life or just temporarily after a short period of illness, these new limits and dependence on others can become very frustrating and quickly turn in to defeat and upset.
This is where visiting and domiciliary care come into their own and offer a fairly simple solution for those who might need help with a little housekeeping weekly, or personal care. The flexibility of these solutions, tailored to each individual’s needs, enables them to go about their normal routine with as much or little visiting help that they need. Being able to stay at home and live this relatively independent life can massively boost mental health and impact overall wellbeing.
Encouraging independence with Abbots Care
All our carers at Abbots Care receive special, comprehensive training in order to be able to offer at-home care services. All our services start with a free home assessment so we can talk through individual needs and decide what care solution offers the most independence, whilst simultaneously providing complete support for those who need it.
Every person’s needs are different, so an initial consultation helps decide the best care plan, that can encourage independence to people of all ages, whilst also protecting the person from risks or harm. To talk through different care options, get in touch with our team today.