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The Importance of Independence In Age (And How To Keep It)


Tips to age healthily image

Age comes for us all, naturally. We will do what we can to keep a healthy body and mind, but we also have to be aware of how our lifestyle is likely to change as we get older. We are living longer, but what things can we do today to ensure those extra years we have  later are quality years. One of the most important factors of all is independence. How long can we fully control our lives, and how do we make sure we get the assistance we need as that control begins to fade over time? Let’s look at a few tips on maintaining your independence for as long as you can. These tips are also useful to bear in mind when helping older family members. Its never too late to make changes.

 

Staying physically active is the number one factor

If you’ve been reading the site, then you will have noticed posts about many  members of our community to stay healthy and happy through the power of exercise. It’s never too late to get a little more active

Exercise can become more difficult as we get older, especially if there is a mobility problem or disability in play. However, you should consider asking your doctor about what exercises you can do at home. They can help keep your muscles strong, improve your flexibility, and even boost your mental health, which we will look at more deeply in a moment. There are likely to be local classes and fitness activities designed for people of all age ranges, so take advantage and get moving when you can.

 

Keeping your mind sharp is crucial too

One of the benefits of exercise, as mentioned, was improving your mental health. Simply put, your brain is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised, or else parts of it can start weakening. Many people take retirement as the opportunity to find new hobbies, but if you have gotten out of the habit of stimulating your brain, you can keep it simple. 

Doing something as light as picking up a Sudoku book or online crossword puzzle, joining in a chess game, or learning to paint can all be great for your mind. It helps fight boredom, keep you more mentally agile, and improves your memory function. There’s even some evidence that mental exercise is crucial for fighting the risk of dementia and Alzheimers. 

 

Make use of technology

One more recent way that has been discovered to play a big role in helping you age well is the use of technology. As we get older, it’s very easy indeed to “fall behind the times” when it comes to the latest tech that seems to be sweeping across the market. However, modern technology could actually make life a lot more convenient if we learn how to use it. The internet, smartphones, and computers make it easier to maintain social connections. There may also be technology, such as Fitbit Surge health trackers, that can make it easier to ensure you’re getting the exercise that you need. Furthermore, learning how to use new technologies keeps the mind sharp, and we have already explained how important that can be.

 

embracing new technology image

 

Stay in touch with your loved ones

One of the benefits of modern technology is how easy it becomes to stay in touch with friends and family. Isolation and loneliness are a huge problem, especially for senior citizens, and even more so for those who have a disability or illness that keeps them from travelling as freely as they would like. Technology can help you stay in touch, but you should consider adjusting your social life to fit changing circumstances, as well. Talking to your neighbours and inviting them for a cup of tea may be all it takes to find a new friend. You may also want to look at group activities around you at the community centre, library, or church, too. It’s never too late to find new friends, and The Silver Line can always help you find people to talk to.

 

Keep making healthy lifestyle choices

No matter your age or what conditions you may be living with, making healthy lifestyle choices is always a good idea. When it comes to most of the major chronic diseases and disabilities, such as heart disease, stroke, gout, diabetes, and kidney disease, your diet plays a huge part. As such, maintaining a healthy diet can make sure that your body stays healthy and free from the problems that are likely to restrict your independence as you get older. Tools like the MyFitnessPal app can help you keep a close eye on your diet, giving you tips on how to better balance it while tracking calories, fat, sugar, and carbs.

 

Accepting help and support is important

With the question of independence, we must inevitably start looking at what support we might need in the future.  Plan ahead and understand your options – and budget for associated costs. Support and independence aren’t contradictory. In order to live happily and healthily, to reduce the risk of accidents, and even to find the community can keep our minds sharp, we may need to look for someone who can help with daily needs that are becoming more difficult. Places like The Red House Retirement Community may be just kind of assistance that we need. If you are starting to find it more difficult to take care of yourself, it’s important to be honest and look at what kind of assistance best suits your needs.

 

Find the aids you need for daily life

If we or family members are no longer as physically capable as we were, that doesn’t mean that we have to become more dependent, either. Products such as Trionic walking aids, bathing aids, and other changes that make the home more accessible can allow us to enjoy living independently in it for longer. For instance, if an individual has arthritis, products such as large-handled cutlery will mean less strain on their joints, meaning that they can still take care of their own meal preparation. Consider looking at the market or asking a  doctor about daily living aids if you find family members having trouble with taking care of any of  day-to-day needs in the home.

 

Being in control, being self-reliant, and being self-confident for as long as possible is important. However, it’s just as important to realise that, to keep independence for longer, we may also need more support as time goes on.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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