No matter how old (or young!) you are, everyone needs a little alone time. As people age and require daily assistance, it can become more difficult to provide this necessary privacy. This is especially true when it is no longer possible for your loved one to live alone. However, with a little thought, you can find ways to give them some time to themselves.
Senior Monitoring: Have the Difficult Talk
For elderly people living alone, moving in with family members is a big step. This transition can cause issues including the loss of privacy and shaking them out of a familiar routine. Because of this, it’s important to have a candid conversation with your parent about their limitations and why it is necessary to monitor them.
For some, it can be difficult to admit or come to terms with the reality of needing senior monitoring. Imagine if you could never be left alone again – ever. If everything you do, from bathing to going to the bathroom to simply wanting to get a cup of coffee, was monitored. There’s no doubt you would feel like a prisoner in your own home.
That’s why bringing the issue up is so important. You will give them the opportunity to express their concerns, their need for privacy, and what types of privacy they are looking for.
A Room of One’s Own
Secondly, carving out a space in your home that is their designated space will give them privacy while still allowing you to help keep them safe. If a bedroom is not available, find a room in your home that can be partitioned off with a screen or even better by adding a door, if none already exist.
While monitoring your senior loved one may be necessary, don’t forget good manners. Be sure to knock before entering their private space. Give them the same considerations that you would want yourself. Also, don’t forget that things such as getting dressed or giving a sponge bath need extra levels of consideration. Envision having to be bathed or dressed by someone else, even a loved one. Embarrassment, or at least discomfort, is certainly understandable.
Enlist the Aid of Technology
Finally, this is the age of technology, so use it to your advantage. A simple baby monitor can be used to ensure your loved one is okay without having to be physically present in their personal space.
If you are worried that they may wander out of your home and get lost due to medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s, consider installing motion sensors or alarms on outside doors. Both will give you peace of mind, knowing your loved one can’t leave your home without your knowledge while, at the same time, giving you the ability to create a private space for Mom or Dad.
In the end, no child enjoys becoming their parent’s parent. On the flip side, no parent enjoys losing their personal freedoms or privacy.
Thus, it’s safe to say, no one enjoys being monitored while performing normal daily personal tasks such as showering. However, having an open dialogue with your loved one, providing a space that is theirs alone, and taking advantage of today’s technology, a middle ground can be found that will meet everyone’s physical and emotional needs.
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