Personal Posts

Helping My Grandmother Remain Independent

This post is in conjunction with Complete Care Shop but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

My grandmother is now 86 years old, almost 87. Until a couple of years ago, she was extremely independent, still going out walking and shopping by herself. However, when the pandemic hit, she found that she obviously couldn’t go out so much and the lack of activity definitely took a toll not only mentally but physically. She already had leg problems but these were exacerbated through lack of exercise and now she really struggles to get around.

I worry a lot about her around the house as she is quite unsteady on her feet but luckily she has carers come in for my Grandad anyway and my mum and aunt and uncle are always popping in. Plus she has a multitude of friends who happen to drop in randomly. When going out however, it is a whole other story.

My Nan is a very proud woman and always wants to look her best with her hair and makeup perfect – even at the age of 86. This means fortnightly hair appointments down the local High Street. Add in her various doctor and hospital appointments for a variety of ailments and we have needed to find a solution to getting her around whilst still maintaining her independence and allowing her to do the things she wants to.

Something that has been invaluable to her has been her lightweight wheelchair. It has enabled people like my Mum to get my Nan to her appointments with ease and means my Nan doesn’t feel cooped up at home. I know it gets my Nan down quite a bit as she has told me and I think she just enjoys getting out from the same four walls and being able to talk to someone different that isn’t my Grandad or his carers.

Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

Complete Care Shop is a great resource for things like this – they offer mobility aids and equipment to ensure people who are struggling are still able to feel independent in some way. As I mentioned I worry about my Nan – she refuses to use their stairlift still as she thinks she is okay – she knows she is not as mobile as she once was but she is in denial about how much she struggles.

There are a few ways we try to help my Nan maintain her independence:

  • Taking her to her appointments so the doctor/hairdresser don’t have to come to her
  • Taking her to garden centres and shopping malls so she can look around the shops
  • Keeping her social – whether that is by taking her out or asking her friends and family members to come round
  • Adapting little bits of the home or adjusting the way some things are to make things a little easier for her

As I mentioned, my Nan is a very proud woman and doesn’t like to be seen looking anything but her best. We are doing our best to ensure she feels like she has some independence and that she can still do many of the things she likes.

Do you help any of your family members to retain their independence?

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