Losing independence is best described as the diminished ability to perform tasks and activities of daily life. Disabling physical illnesses, debilitating injuries and chronic pain can easily contribute to the loss of independence.
Losing one’s independence is not only a physical process, but an emotional one as well. As mobility and other factors that facilitate the ease of every day life start to fail, individuals must adjust not only to struggling to complete day-to-day tasks but depending on others to help them as well.
How to Cope With Losing Independence
By coping with the loss of independence, individuals can lead fulfilling and happy lives. If you are dealing with the loss of independence, or know someone who is, the following tips can help in coping process:
Ask for Help
Asking for help can often create intense feelings of guilt and shame. For this reason, most people who require help do not ask for it.
However, the people you ask for help from will likely be more relieved that you are asking instead of risking injury than feeling put-out by lending a hand.
When injury or pain prevents you from living an independent life, it is important to establish your support system and allow yourself to be comfortable asking for assistance.
When dealing with pain or an injury, it is easy to become isolated within the home and fearful of going out in the world. Whether it be shame or fear of further injury, individuals who have lost their independence tend to stay home where things are familiar and safe.
Yet, isolation will lead to depression and a severe sense of loneliness. It’s important to reach out to others socially and maintain connections with friends and family.
You can also fight loneliness by finding new hobbies or reigniting your passion for old ones. Find a circle of people that share your interests and make the effort to socialize with them.
Seek Financial Aid
The loss of a job or career due to injury or pain can create a huge financial burden on an individual and lead to high levels of stress.
There are avenues you can explore in order to receive monetary compensation for not being able to work. If you were injured at the workplace, you can seek worker’s compensation to cover your wages while you heal.
There are also disability pensions and tax credits available to those who cannot work permanently or for a long period of time.
Address the Depression
The end result of loss of independence, no matter the age of the individual, is often depression.
Recognizing the signs of depression is an important first step in addressing the issue. Some of these symptoms include:
- Isolative behavior
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of appetite and/or sleep
- Feelings of worthlessness
If you feel you are experiencing depression, make an appointment with your health care provider immediately to discuss treatment options.
Seek Professional Advice
During the difficult transition from living an independent life to being reliant on others for your care, it may be difficult to take the advice of others. However, there are many health care professionals who can make suggestions and offer services that can dramatically increase your independence.
For example, a physiotherapist can develop treatment plans and prescribe assistive equipment to help improve your functional independence. They are trained to provide therapies to address prevention and management of pain as well as the prevention of physical impairments and disabilities.
In Home Physical Therapy and Massage can provide in home therapy to help improve mobility, balance and strength so that you can live a more fulfilling and independent life.
If you are dealing with a loss of independence, or have any questions on how physiotherapy can help with your day-to-day life, please contact us today for more information.
By Erik Parkin