Independence, autonomy, self-directed: all attributes we associate with the Fourth of July. These same character goals not only apply to our nation, but also to each one of us. Independence is especially precious once it is diminished or lost due to illness or incapacity. In fact, dependence has a negative meaning at any age. Dependence is defined as a reliance on others.

“It is humiliating,” said an elderly woman, “to have my daughter bathe me and dress me.” This woman suffered a severe stroke, unexpectedly wiping out her autonomous lifestyle. Her perseverance recaptured her ability to speak, move, and walk; however, she still was not her former self. She needed a plan to recover her independence and her sovereignty.

This woman decided to hire professional help to come into her home and provide care for her, in lieu of relying on her daughter. She recognized that this scenario put her in charge, without hurting anyone’s feelings. She could direct the caregiver. She could tell the caregiver when to work, what to do for her, and when to leave. In time, she also plans to release the caregiver from helping her. She looks forward to celebrating her independence soon!

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