There is nothing more isolating for seniors than feeling the loss of independence.

Mary Ferguson

Mary Ferguson

Mary is the Director of Sales & Community Relations at Birches Assisted Living and Memory Care Community. With more than two decades of senior care experience. Mary was instrumental in starting the Dementia Friendly of Westmont.

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Feelings of isolation can lead to depression, ultimately resulting in mental health issues and a decline in quality of life. Independence encourages seniors to take on the daily challenges of aging and overcome them with a sense of accomplishment.

When you hear people speak about a loved one's physical or mental decline while in an assisted living setting, often it can be traced back to a decrease in their overall independence.

At Birches Memory Care Community, we recognize the importance of our residents remaining independent for as long as possible, which directly impacts their quality of life and general physical and mental health.

Having the freedom and the ability to make choices during a day can enormously impact how one feels about oneself. If someone is in a position where they think they are no longer making decisions in their life, they may feel like less of an individual.

Montessori Inspired Lifestyle for Seniors

Maria Montessori, Italy's first female physician who revolutionized education worldwide with her innovative approach to teaching children, once referenced the importance of providing the right tools and environment to become independent learners. She said: "Everything you do for me, you take from me."

This same Montessori approach to creating an ideal environment for seniors to maintain independence is one of the primary goals of making the Birches a unique community. Helping seniors maintain a sense of self in their environment is critical to maintaining a level of independence.

Autonomy and dignity are distinctly crucial for seniors' perception of their independence. Autonomy means an individual feels in control of decision-making and other daily activities, while dignity refers to someone maintaining a degree of self-respect. The Birches make preserving these feelings a priority as part of its emphasis on resident independence. 

Seniors have spent their entire lives living independently and making decisions at work and home. The impact of aging can make independent living harder by creating difficulties with mobility, behavioral health issues like isolation and loneliness, and financial constraints. As one goes through these changes, losing independence can be discouraging. 

Here is a list of benefits that come from senior independence:

Sense of Purpose

Seniors who possess independence have a sense of purpose. They have opportunities for achievement, can contribute to the lives of their family, friends, and neighbors while participating in activities they have enjoyed their entire lives.

At the Birches, there is no shortage of fun and entertaining activities for residents. From Scrabble nights, Bingo, and exercise to music and art workshops, a diverse offering of activities encourage and support an individual's sense of purpose.

Physical Strength/Balance

It is critical to motivate seniors to stay active. Physical activity provides the necessary movements and resistance to aid in the maintaining of muscle mass and strength. If a person is active daily, they stand a better chance of maintaining balance and navigating the physical boundaries of their environment. The ability to do that on their own is one of the purest forms of independence.

The loss of muscle strength and balance can lead to dangerous falls that often leave a senior in a hospital or assisted living facility. Because injuries make it hard to maintain independence, daily physical activity is one way to sustain independence. 

At the Birches, there is a long list of daily and weekly opportunities for physical activity. There is something for everyone from daily walks, DJ dance parties, chair yoga, strength and balance classes, and physical therapy. Resident frequently find themselves doing more than ever before.

Positive Surroundings

At the Birches, the focus is always on what residents can do – not what they can't do. While we provide a wide array of activities, we also respect when our residents choose not to participate. We provide plenty of space for gathering with friends and our community. 

Our goal is to make our residents feel at home with private apartments and community spaces. When you live at the Birches, you will be part of a community where residents enjoy freedom and flexibility. Providing respect, dignity, and a sense of autonomy will help create independence, including making decisions about personal care and leisure time. 

Sense of Control

A sense of control promotes a feeling of achievement and self-worth. Feeling in control over their actions, choices and situations can positively impact their mental health. The Birches residents always have choice s from exemplary services and activities. This includes physical and nutritional needs and social, educational, and cultural options.

Memory Skills

While memory loss occurs during aging, physical and mental activity and personal independence will positively impact memory skills. Research shows that higher activity levels increase blood flow to the brain. Regular use of the brain will help preserve memory. Daily physical and mental routines help promote both memory and independence.

By understanding the importance of senior independence, one can also see the benefits of the Birches' Montessori Inspired Lifestyle. By showing deep respect for our seniors at all levels of care and empowering them to be as independent as possible, we provide the best chance for residents to be independent and thrive at the Birches. 

Feel free to call us (630-789-1135) and ask any questions you might have about a Montessori Inspired Lifestyle and our Memory Care Community.