10 Tips for Seniors to Live Independently
“Home is where the heart is.” – Pliny the Elder
Our home is our sanctuary. It’s where we find reprieve from our busy lives. It’s where we make life’s most important memories. So when it comes to growing older, it’s no surprise that leaving all of that behind would be a difficult task – whether it’s downgrading to a smaller space or moving into an assisted living facility. Fortunately, we get up every morning at Handicare creating ways to help seniors live at home longer and more comfortably. Even before our first cup of coffee, we’re thinking about how we can make everyday life easier for all of our customers. And ten of those early morning thoughts are listed here.
1. Ask for Help
Just because you’re living independently, doesn’t mean you can’t be dependent on others. While trying to prove we can do everything on our own, we often find that we can’t and consequently, end up hurting ourselves.
There is nothing wrong with asking for a helping hand. Whether it’s relying on a friend, neighbor or family member, if the task seems risky, DON’T TAKE THE CHANCE! If you don’t have someone you can call, there are a number of professionals available to help with even the simplest of tasks – from changing a lightbulb in a chandelier to scrubbing your floors.
2. Go for a Walk
Home is awesome! We won’t argue that. Give us a comfortable recliner and a TV marathon and we’re all ready to become hermits. However, becoming too comfortable at home isn’t doing us any good – both mentally and physically. Staying active ensures that we can continue to be mobile as we age. Don’t worry – you don’t need to sign up for a Cardio Kickboxing class or marathon to be active. Taking a short walk through the park or doing errands by foot instead of by car are all easy ways to get some activity in.
3. Home Accessibility
It’s a part of life that as we move through the various chapters of life, we require different things to live. From needing a crib as an infant to a car as an adult, making your home a safer enviroment isn’t a sign of getting older – it’s simply moving onto the next chapter.
We’ve comprised a list of quick tips to modifying your home to be a safer environment – from installing grab bars in the bathroom to removing trip hazards, such as loose area rugs or cords. With one in three seniors at risk of falling every year, we also are a big proponent of installing a stairlift to get you up/down the stairs safely. Besides, we love to use stairlifts for other things besides ourselves – from taking laundry to the basement to bringing groceries up to the kitchen (we even let Fido have a ride or two!).
4. Make Adjustments Before it's Too Late
Over 33,000 falls happened last year with seniors accounting for more than 75% of these injuries. Luckily, falls are preventable. Aging isn’t the culprit, but instead something underlying – from medications that make us dizzy to lack of activity that causes weak muscles to even improper footware. Unfortuately, many people take these things for granted and aren’t mindful of the risks before it’s too late. Be sure to check if you’re at risk with a fall assessment.
5. Eat Healthy
Just because we feel great, doesn’t mean an underlying issue is brewing. A healthy diet not only can prevent common problems, such as heart disease and diabetes, but it also makes us feel better and more energetic. An easy start is simply cutting out processed food, which often contain high amount of sodium. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks and opt for fish that is high in omega-3.
6. Open the Windows
Ah, who doesn’t love a breath of fresh air? It’s refrshing and can instantly make us feel better. But more so, it also can help flush out germs and reduce black mold that may be building due to dampness. Too cold to open the windows just yet? No problem. Open the blinds and drapes. Besides naturally heating your home with the sun’s warmth, sunlight helps us get our daily provision of Vitamin D and help reduce depression. So go ahead – enjoy the view!
7. Watch the News
Okay, so it may seem that there is more bad news than good when we flip on the television nowadays. Who needs that? But whether it’s following current events on the evening news or keeping up to date with what’s going on locally in your community, you may be surprised how being a current events aficionado boosts your mood and your mind. Using that noggin of yours helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Social interaction can also keep your mind in tip top shape and what better way to be social than to talk about the news?
8. Social Butterfly
Loneliness amongst seniors can impact our mental well being significantly. While we may physically find that living alone is no problem, lonliness and depression can alter that. That’s why it’s so important to get out and enjoy others’ company. Grab a cup of coffee with a neighbor or go to a movie with a friend; ask someone from your church if they’d like to have lunch with you. You may think you’re alone, but there are plenty of people out there who would appreciate your invitation just as much as you enjoy them accepting!
9. Hobby Time
Having a hobby helps to make the days rich and full. It provides us with a purpose for each day, but can also provide us a creative outlet that we previously weren’t able to pursue due to raising families or working late. As aforementioned, social interaction is key to lowering risks of depression while keeping our minds nimble. So, find a puzzle or knit a scarf; start a card game or join a club. Try something new – you may discover a new favorite pasttime. Remember: it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks!
10. Smart Home
Whether we like it or not, artificial intelligence is here and becoming more prevalent in our daily lives. So why not embrace it? There are plenty of technologies out there that improve how we age in place. For instance, avoid having to turn off each and every light in your house before you go to bed, which puts you at higher risk of tripping over something along the way. Instead, install smart light controls that allow you to turn them off with a simple touch of a button. Smart thermostats can learn your habits so you don’t have to constantly walk downstairs to adjust the temperature in the middle of the night. If eyesight is poor, having an Amazon Echo or Google Home device can assist you with simple things such as telling you the time, the weather or play music.
Aging is a beautiful thing. Make it a graceful experience by incorporating these simple tips to your daily life.