Staying Healthy While Aging in Place
With the new year comes new goals, and many of the people we serve have the goal of aging from the comfort of their homes. One of the most important aspects of maintaining this level of independence is to remain healthy. To learn more about staying healthy while aging in place, we talked to Atrio Home Health Aide and Massage Therapist, Anne Ter Meer. Continue reading to learn more about her role and how home care agencies like Atrio can help you or your loved ones age in place.
Seniors are often generally aware, even painfully aware at times, of the things that they can no longer do. One of the essential things we can do for them is to empower them by focusing on who they are, not what they cannot do—they are people, not tasks. The changes that come with getting older are inevitable, but it can be difficult for seniors to ask for help from loved ones as they don’t want to feel like a burden. When Atrio comes in, laundry is done, errands are run, the kitchen is cleaned, beds are made, and assistance is provided for personal hygiene. We provide this help while giving them some semblance of independence they might not have if adult children stepped in. We treat clients as whole people and less as parents, which encourages them to be who they are and continue growing and living a full life.
Recharging the Mind and Body
Bodies are like batteries. We use them to accomplish tasks every day and recharge them at night. But, over time, our body loses its charge faster, and we start having to prioritize. The items that Atrio can help with are things that would quickly use up a client’s energy, leaving them with little to spend later on more important things—enjoying a meal with family, cradling a new grandchild, or attending a family wedding.
Maintaining the Spirit
While the mind and bodies of our clients may be changing, we always remember that their spirit and who they are as children of God remains fully intact. It’s essential to look past the surface to see who they really are. That “seeing” is validating, vital, and comforting. It’s respectful and acknowledges their intrinsic worth.
My job is to encourage and empower the client to continue to do what is meaningful to them. During my time with them, whether as a home assistant or massage therapist, I want to learn their priorities, the things that make them happy, and what is stressing them out. What can I take off their plate to make them feel better? And how can I help them bring more meaning into their daily lives? It can be as simple as organizing a drawer, changing a battery, or trying a different way to make the bed so the blankets stay on and they get a good night’s sleep. I focus on the person inside, the heart and soul—not the body or the deficiencies. Focusing on who they are—that’s the best way to help people stay healthy while aging in place.
Preparing for Aging in Place
When it comes to decisions based around aging, people tend to put them off. It’s something that we think can wait, and then one day, we’re faced with reality and are ill-prepared. If you or a loved one are thinking about aging in place, it’s never too early to start preparing. Set a new year’s goal to begin taking steps, whether by having meaningful conversations, having a health check-up, or diving into some research. To get you started, here is a blog post about 6 steps to Take to Prepare for Aging in Place.