5 Ways to Remain Independent as a Senior
Aging is a natural part of life, yet can be a difficult journey to come to terms with. Though you may feel as young as you were in your twenties, your body and mind may need some additional support. Remaining independent is most likely a high priority for you, and this is completely normal and attainable.
Everyone needs a little bit of help to get by sometimes, so keeping an open mind as you age is an important part of living your best life. Applying the following tips to your day-to-day routine will better your quality of life and help you remain independent for as long as possible.
It can be easy to lose touch with people as you get older, but remaining social and engaged with others is one of the best ways to improve your overall health and happiness. Strengthening family relationships is a great place to start, as you’ve known these people the longest. Making plans with your children, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc., can be a great way to continue making memories and reminisce on the past. If you have grandchildren, offering to babysit is a great way to bond with them and stay on your toes, as they most likely will have a lot of energy.
Another way to stay social is to join community groups, faith-based organizations, or partake in opportunities to volunteer. Check out the senior centers in your county that have organized meet-ups and planned activities. There are many groups that come together based on shared hobbies, like book clubs or quilting groups, and even take small trips together.
You can also use tech to call, FaceTime, or video chat your friends and loved ones.
Regular exercise is a crucial part of anyone’s daily routine and is beneficial for lowering the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and more. It also improves strength and balance, so that you’re less prone to injury. Incorporating low-impact exercise can be as easy as going on walks with friends, taking a swim, trying a short hike, or signing up for a dance class. Pairing nutritious meals with 30 minutes of exercise per day will help you feel better, keep up with your social life, and continue living the independent lifestyle you’re used to.
Plan Health Checkups
Making sure that you attend all of your doctor's appointments and regular checkups is extremely important as you age and more inflictions arise. Meeting with specialists to alleviate pain in certain parts of your body or going to physical therapy can help with your range of motion and overall well-being. Relaying important conversations with your doctor to your family members will ensure they’re at ease and not in a constant state of worry. You can even use tech to communicate with your family or doctors. Making sure that your body is supported as it ages is a healthy practice to adopt, and may mean you can stay independent for longer.
Modify the Home
Aging in place is very popular, but can get lonely and become unmanageable without help from others. Adapting your home for aging with items such as a medical alert system, transfer benches, grab rails, chair lifts, or ramps can greatly decrease the risk of falls and promote living without assistance. Simpler changes to the home can be made to make daily tasks easier, such as replacing door knobs with pull handles, putting slip mats on the stairs, switching to electric kitchen tools, opting for walk-in showers or tubs, etc.
If you spend most of your time in a wheelchair, you may want to consider more significant changes, like widening doorways, lowering the height of your countertops and light switches, and replacing shaggy carpeting with low pile options or hardwood. If you think that home modifications are in order, there may be some government or non-profit assistance programs to financially help you with these projects.
Relocate or Move
Though you may have an attachment to your home because you’ve made many memories there, moving in with one of your children or downsizing to a smaller home may be the best option for your health. After retirement, a slower income stream could mean that you have a lower credit score. If you’re looking to move into a smaller, more accessible house, you may want to consider a mortgage backed by the FHA, as these loans have looser financial requirements. Ultimately, choosing a one-story house is a safer alternative that’s much easier to maintain and afford later in life.
Another great option is joining an assisted living community such as ProHealth Regency Senior Communities. It’s very easy to remain independent, social, active, and engaged when living with others in a community setting. You can pack your day with activities, live amongst friends, and have a great quality of life this way. Staff members here are compassionate and caring people that will provide peace of mind by continuously assessing your health and wellness needs.