Independence is something that we all value, and that doesn’t diminish with age. Maintaining as much independence as possible is extremely important to the majority of seniors.
Although some health conditions or cognitive issues are beyond our control, there are things you can do to increase your ability to stay independent for longer. Here are four simple ways to keep your independence as you age.
1. Stay Active
Exercising regularly can improve both your strength and your sense of balance. This will lower your risk of falling and suffering an injury that could lead to a sudden loss of independence. It will also help you to maintain your ability to perform many day to day tasks. In addition, keeping active can improve or prevent many debilitating health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cognitive decline.
This isn’t to say that you need to exercise the same way that you did ten or twenty years ago. There are plenty of low impact fitness options that can give you the benefits of physical activity without putting too much stress on your joints or putting you at risk for other injuries.
2. Avoid Fall Risks in the Home
There’s no denying the huge impact that an injury suffered from falling can have on your ability to stay mobile and independent. Thankfully, many falls are preventable. A few precautions can greatly lower your risk of experiencing a life-altering fall.
Clutter, loose throw rugs, and long cords all present a substantial falling risk. Keeping your walkways clear of things you could trip over, like shoes and newspapers, is important. Removing throw rugs or using non-slip pads is another wise choice. Avoid running electrical cords across the floor where you could easily trip over them.
The bathroom is a common area where falls occur. Installing railings and non-slip mats in the shower can help to reduce that risk.
Adequate lighting, especially on stairs, can help you avoid stumbling and falling. Consider installing nightlights to make those midnight snacks and bathroom breaks a little safer.
3. Value Social Connections
Social interactions have many mental, emotional, and physical benefits, all of which can contribute to maintaining independence.
Staying socially active can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia. As a matter of fact, one study found that highly social seniors had a 70% lower rate of cognitive decline! Social connections can help you to stay emotionally healthy, thus avoiding loneliness and depression.
Relationships and regular social interactions can also lower your risk of developing physical conditions that could interfere with your independence. Meaningful social connections can lower blood pressure, boost your immune system, and could even reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems, some cancers, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Even if you don’t have family nearby, there are lots of ways to connect with people. Volunteering, joining a club, or taking a class can put you in contact with people with similar interests.
Technology can help you to connect with friends and family who live far away. True, using Skype, FaceTime, online social networks, email, or good old fashioned telephone may not be the same as face to face visits. However, it can do a lot to lift your spirits and discourage feelings of isolation.
4. Ask for Help
Realistically, there will probably be some things that eventually become too difficult for you to do on your own. Although you may feel hesitant to ask for help, getting assistance where you need it could make a huge difference in allowing you to stay independent. Letting someone help you isn’t admitting defeat – it’s simply acknowledging your limitations. And by not insisting on “doing it all” yourself, you’ll find that your needs are better met and you’ll be able to maintain a higher level of independence for much longer.
A few tasks that many seniors find increasingly challenging include:
- yard work
- house cleaning
- meal preparation
- running errands
- medication management
In some cases, friends and family may be able to pitch in. Other times, home care services might be the answer. Whatever option works for you, getting the help you need will contribute towards your overall health, well-being, and independence.
Visit the Davis Community’s Assisted Living and SNF in Wilmington NC
If you or loved one are no longer capable of living a safe, independent lifestyle, then call the Davis Community today at 910-686-7195 or simply complete and submit our online information request form. We provide exceptional assisted living and skilled nursing services in Wilmington, NC. We offer a strong and supportive environment where your loved one will feel welcomed and part of an active community. Davis Community is pleased to offer customized concierge home care services, including meal preparation and nutritional guidance, to independent seniors living in Landfall, Cambridge Village, Wrightsville Beach and Porter’s Neck, NC. Get to know the difference today — schedule a visit to the Davis Community!