The Winchester Journal

Keep Independent as You Age

Healthy Aging | 06/15/21


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Maintaining Independence as You Age for Older Adults

As the years creep up, you may find yourself increasingly protective of your independence. After all, it may feel like one of the few things you have control over when your memory trips you up at the most inconvenient times or your joints refuse to cooperate.

While craving independence is a common theme among seniors, maintaining independence as an older adult can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s about freedom and the ability to choose how you spend your time. For others, it’s about dignity, pride, and taking care of yourself;  the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing tasks independently can contribute greatly to your self-esteem.

How you go about preserving your own independence, or helping elderly family members remain independent, may look different depending on the circumstances, but these tips are all geared toward maintaining independence for older adults.

Preserve your physical health.

Physical limitations are a leading contributor to the loss of independence in older adults. While nature, genetics, and other factors may play a significant role in your physical abilities as you age, you can influence the extent to which those limitations affect your independence. Eating a nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet and staying physically active as long as you’re able will help keep your body in optimal condition and allow muscles and joints to move more freely. In addition, regular exercise stimulates your cardiac and circulatory systems, which provides a wide range of health benefits. You can also use exercise to improve balance, prevent falls, and build strength.

Keep learning.

Like your physical muscles, your mental muscle—your brain—needs to be put to work in order to keep it sharp. The beauty of learning in your retirement years is the chance to focus your attention on subjects that capture your interest, rather than requirements for your job or other obligations. Lifelong learning not only helps prevent cognitive decline, it can help maintain independence for older adults by providing practical skills and promoting overall well-being.  

Adapt to technology.

There’s no doubt technology is changing the world. There are numerous potential ways to use technology to support your independence, from allowing your healthcare team to monitor you at home to assisting with disease management. Technology can also help you stay connected to others, providing important social connections that improve your emotional, mental, and physical health.

Make lifestyle changes.

Another avenue to maintaining independence for older adults is taking a close look at your current lifestyle and identifying what you can change to gain more freedom. If responsibilities like taking care of your house or spending hours in the kitchen preparing meals are keeping you from living the life you want, a change may be easier than you think. A move to an independent living community would let you thrive in a maintenance-free environment without unwanted demands on your time. What’s more, making the move while you’re still in your prime means you get extra time to enjoy amenities and take advantage of a carefree retirement lifestyle.

Accept support.

Sometimes giving a little goes a long way, and some seniors find that’s true when it comes to their living arrangements. If you’re resistant to the idea of a senior living community, you may be heartened to know that making a transition sooner than later can actually increase independence for seniors. That’s because getting a little extra support in certain areas where you may be struggling can help keep you safer and healthier so you can avoid a debilitating accident or illness.

At Winchester Gardens, our commitment to maintaining independence for older adults is evident in our caring, compassionate approach that encourages residents to be as autonomous as they want to be. Through our award-winning LivWell program, we create opportunities for residents to thrive as they work toward goals that support their mind, body, and spirit.

Make plans to visit Winchester Gardens and discover the independence you can enjoy as a resident of our supportive and stimulating community. Contact us to arrange a tour.