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How to Reconcile Medical Needs and Elderly Independence

One of the most important issues in the life of an aging person is the extent of their independence. Older people universally value having meaningful control over their own circumstances. Their independence also influences the degree of stress experienced by families and caregivers. But what happens when there is conflict between medical needs and elderly independence? If a person’s health is declining and they need intensive medical care and continuing 24 hour care and supervision, is independence really possible? Does it even matter?

Independence Is Vital

In the past, a person’s independence tended to decrease as their health declined. This led many people to assume the effect was inevitable; old age necessarily meant frailty and dependence. It seemed pointless to push for independence in the face of the dramatic declines of old age. Thankfully, society is beginning to move past this pessimistic view. We now know that equating old age with dependence is a harmful self-fulfilling prophecy.

When illness strikes or medical needs accelerate, it’s tempting to put independence on the back burner. Yet, loss of independence only accelerates physical and mental decline. It’s also incredibly expensive for families. When concerned family members believe dependence is inevitable, they lose a valuable opportunity to set a more fulfilling course.

Meeting Needs without Compromising Independence

Medical well-being and personal independence are not mutually exclusive; they can support each other. The practice of in-home elder care was born from this idea. Even when in-home medical care is not financially feasible, non-medical caregiver support services are an effective way to sustain long-term independence in the home while the aging adult receives outpatient care from a nearby health facility. Our agency specializes in providing these vital non-medical Albuquerque home care services.

Today, aging adults have the ability to live better, more independent lifestyles, even when they have been diagnosed with an advanced condition. Contact us today at 505-798-0800 to learn more about our specialized care including dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke and Parkinson’s care for seniors in Albuquerque.