As you age, it can be difficult to maintain your independence. You may find that you need more help with day-to-day tasks or have less energy for household chores. However, there are steps you can take to stay independent as long as possible. Here are some tips for living safely and independently.
Exercise Your Body
Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain your independence as you age. It doesn’t take much to start—and it can be just as effective if you’re doing it on your own as if you’re working out with a personal trainer.
- Here are some simple exercises that can help keep your body in shape:
- Modify workouts to your body. For example, instead of regular squats, try chair exercises instead.
- Walk around the block every day, even if only for five minutes at a time. This will increase both muscle strength and cardiovascular health!
- Take time to stretch in the morning when you get up, and in the evenings right before you go to bed
If you’re worried about falling or losing balance, consider buying a pair of rubber-soled exercise shoes with good traction that have been designed for seniors. They will help provide additional stability while keeping your feet comfortable at all times throughout the day, since they tend not to be as heavy duty as athletic shoes.
Aim to exercise for at least 20 minutes every day, and try to do so at the same time each day. This will help you develop a routine and make it easier for you to stick with your exercise plan.
Exercising Your Mind
Keeping your body in physical shape is one thing, but keeping your mind in shape is just as important.
There are many ways to keep your mind sharp, and they don’t all have to involve reading a book or watching the news. If you want to challenge your mind as well as enjoy your downtime, try doing puzzles and games that challenge your brain, such as Sudoku, crosswords and word searches.
You can also try playing board games with friends that require strategy and planning in order to win. Exercising your mind will help keep it sharp for longer periods of time and may even prevent certain diseases like Alzheimer’s later in life.
Keeping in touch with friends, family and neighbors is an important part of staying social, and staying independent as you age.
Social interaction helps keep your mind healthy by allowing you to engage in new experiences and express new ideas. Here are some ways you can try to stay social:
- Make a point to call or visit your close friends at least once a week.
- Make plans to see family members who live nearby regularly.
- Don’t let friendships drift apart because they aren’t convenient or easy—make it a priority to stay in touch with those you care about, even if it is only through social media.
- Attend community events, including neighborhood parties, church events, or holiday celebrations
If you’re worried about how much energy it takes for these activities, don’t be! You need only commit yourself for 15 to 20 minutes per day of conversation (and even less if the activity doesn’t require much physical exertion).
If this seems like too much of a commitment at first glance, try breaking up these activities into smaller chunks throughout the day: chat with a friend on the phone while commuting home from work; write down some thoughts in an email before bedtime; have coffee with a neighbor during her lunch break—just pick one thing to try!
As we age, we become more prone to accidents and falls, right in our own home. This is why it’s so important to make your home safe for older adults. The more you can do to prevent falls, the better.
Here are some ideas we suggest adding to your home:
- Slip-resistant flooring – If you live alone, it’s important to make sure that your floors are safe to walk on. Flooring with a textured design can help prevent slips and falls.
- Grab bars in the shower – For those who have difficulty getting into and out of the shower, grab bars are an easy way to prevent injury when bathing or washing up. It’s also important to ensure that these grab bars are firmly attached, so they don’t move around while you use them!
- Additional lighting, especially in darker areas – Walking in the dark is a hazardous idea for seniors who may be prone to falls. Adding lights to your home, including motion-sensored lights, can help prevent falls and injuries when you’re walking around at night (or even during the day!)
Focus on Your Abilities
Focus on your strengths and skills – Even if you have a part-time caregiver who comes in to help you from time to time, there are still ways you can contribute to your home and your health. Whether you’re doing daily tasks or organizing your home, focus on the things you enjoy and can do well. When you focus on what is possible for you, rather than what isn’t, it will help build your self-esteem and confidence. Recognize that you may need help in some areas and work with others to get it.
Don’t let limitations stop you from doing the things that matter most to you and your loved ones, and remember that what’s “possible” could potentially change over time, with practice and patience.
As you are an advocate for your own health, you will feel a better sense of independence and feel more motivated to stay that way as you age.
You can live independently and safely as you age by taking care of yourself in all ways.
As you age, your body may change, and you will need to adapt. The key is to make these changes gradually and be aware of what is happening as they occur. Keep doing your best to stay on top of your health, but don’t be discouraged if you have to make some adjustments. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are many resources available to support you as you age to help you stay independent, healthy and safe.
You can continue doing the things you love—and feeling independent—by following these tips and making some simple changes to your lifestyle. If you have more questions about senior independence, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help!
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