How to Promote Independence in the Elderly

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Promoting independence in the elderly is an important factor to help maintain a healthy mindset and a sense of purpose. As one ages, certain changes and modifications may need to be implemented to make sure that safety concerns are addressed. However, this does not need to mean a complete loss of independence and full dependency on others. There are lifestyle choices to make now that can help ensure that you continue to live as independently as possible as you age.

Finding Ways to Take Control of Your Life

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  1. Develop a daily and weekly schedule so that your life has purpose. Many seniors feel a great loss when they no longer have a reason to get up in the morning. This schedule can include things like reading the newspaper, having breakfast, shower, calling and/or visiting a friend.
  2. Don’t schedule too many doctors’ appointments in one week. It is important to balance medical issues with other areas of life, including social, relaxation and personal activities.
  3. Make decisions now about your financial future. Consider meeting with a financial planner, accountant or lawyer. Promoting independence means making decisions now concerning what type of healthcare to receive, naming your power of attorney, health care proxy, and the types of home care and assistance you would like to receive if needed. This decision making process also reduces a great deal of pressure on loved ones.

Safety proofing the home

It is important to have a positive attitude about aging. Know that you may have to make some changes to live safely, but they do not have to take away your independence. Some changes may include making modifications to your lifestyle and your home to promote safety. This may involve safety proofing your bathroom with non-slip floors, hand rails in the shower, and wearing a safety alarm in case you fall.

You may also choose to downsize your home, including moving to a community that will reduce some of your home caretaking responsibilities.

Exercise, Learning and Education

Incorporating healthy activities into your daily routine can help you maintain your independence as you grow older.

  1. Choose to add meditation and mindfulness into your life. Life is stressful at all ages, and can especially be so during the senior years. A commitment to a regular practice of mindfulness can promote a reduction in anxiety and depressed mood.
  2. Don’t let age define your life. Many seniors feel much younger than their actual age. By incorporating socialization, mindfulness, exercise and decision making, many seniors feel much younger. shutterstock_45007222resized.jpg
  3. Incorporate some exercise into your life based on your doctor’s advice. Falls are a huge reason why seniors lose their independence. A regular, approved exercise routine can help with maintaining balance and mobility and help prevent falls.
  4. Stay social so that your free time is not dependent entirely on caregivers and family members.
  5. Add hobbies and continue to find ways to participate in previously enjoyed activities. This will help you have a purpose and focus in life.

Maintaining independence as your age is achievable. It just takes a little planning, healthy lifestyle, and knowing that it’s ok to ask for some help when needed.

For information on care and services that can help seniors maintain their independence, please call Abramson Care Advisors at 215.371.3400. A senior care expert is available to talk, free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.