With Independence Day celebrated this month, it’s appropriate for seniors to be considering your own long-term independence, and avoiding the need for relying on others in your daily existence. In Olive Branch and elsewhere around the U.S., many seniors greatly prefer to manage their own navigation around the home and to take care of their own needs with regard to hygiene, meal preparation, house-cleaning, and general health maintenance.
Senior home care can help older people to sustain themselves, often adding just the kind of benefits needed to fill in the gaps around the household. Things like transportation for doctors’ visits, companionship when needed, assistance with medications, and sometimes even light housekeeping chores, can all contribute to keeping you independent. All these things can help a senior citizen remain at home, and maintain a considerable degree of independence for many years. Here are some things you can do to help prepare yourself for a life of lasting independence.
Establish a safe home environment
One of the first things you should do around the home is to reduce the risk of slips and falls as much as possible, so this doesn’t become a genuine hazard later on. This means installing handrails in strategic areas like the bathroom and corridors, replacing slippery rugs with gripping rugs, and covering slippery surfaces with some kind of preventive material like a gritty mat. Any loose wires or cables should be secured, so they don’t become possible tripping hazards, and a lot of the loose impediments about the house should be stowed away so that navigation becomes uncluttered and much safer. It would be a good idea to have major systems in the house checked periodically, so they don’t fail at critical moments when you need plumbing, electrical, or HVAC services.
Enrich your social life
Advancing in years certainly does not mean that you should withdraw from society, either out of embarrassment, failing health, or any other reason. In fact, the older you get, the more important it becomes that you maintain an active social life, so you can avoid becoming isolated and depressed. Almost every town and city has a senior group which meets regularly and becomes involved in various enjoyable activities. You should also keep in touch with friends, make family visits or host them, and just say hello to neighbors when you encounter them. Countless studies have shown the value of maintaining social relationships as a senior, because they can make you feel better about yourself, and can provide rewarding interaction with others.
Identify gaps in your capabilities
When you’re preparing for an independent lifestyle in your senior years, that’s no time to be stubborn or unrealistic about what you can do. It will be far more advantageous to you to devote some time to think about what you can and can’t do, and then taking steps to fill in the gaps you have in your capabilities. For instance, if your driving skills are fading, you should enlist the aid of your senior home care worker to take you to the grocery store now and then, or to help you keep your medical appointments. If you’re unable to lift heavy objects, you might need help in washing your laundry every now and then, and for that, you might be able to prevail upon a family member for help. Whatever it is that you can’t quite manage yourself, start thinking about an alternative way of accomplishing it, so you can maintain your independence.
Establishing a routine that includes regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to maintain your health over the long haul. Not only does exercise make you feel better because it activates the ‘feel-good’ hormones called endorphins, but that has a ripple effect on your mental health as well. The longer you can maintain good physical health, the likelier it is that your mental health will remain good as well, and the longer it will be that you can remain at least somewhat independent. Part of your exercise regimen should be to observe a good, healthy diet because that will help keep your body functioning at its best, and will make a significant contribution to your overall well-being.
Don’t hide problems
It might be a little embarrassing to admit that there are certain things you just can’t do anymore, for example tieing your shoelaces, but it’s much better to simply tell someone, so you can get the assistance you need in those areas. Hiding problems might make you seem more independent, but when it comes time to address those issues, you’ll be at a loss. It could also lead to greater levels of stress for yourself, and stress is the last thing you want to encourage as you become older. The most intelligent thing to do is to make a list of all those things which have become challenging for you, and consider ways in which they can be handled. Knowing these issues beforehand, and accounting for them, will help to maintain your long-term independence.