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10 Tips to Help Prevent Loss of Independence

If you are like many people, the idea of losing your independence is terrifying. As we grow older, it becomes difficult to do things that were once easy for us. It can be hard to accept these losses and know how to cope with them. With a little bit of forethought and preparation, however, it's possible to prevent some of these losses from happening in the first place.

10 Ways to Maintain Your Independence in Aging

  1. Prioritize Health

    older woman running outside in a park exercisingTo avoid loss of independence, one important thing you should consider is prioritizing your health. This means eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining good oral hygiene as much as possible for as long as possible. In addition to these things, you should also make sure that you have proper medical coverage in case something unexpected happens, such as an injury or illness, puts too much of a strain on you physically or financially. It may sound obvious that you should try to stay healthy, but "prioritizing health" means putting your wellness above other things you can about. For example, it might mean you have to go to sleep earlier than you'd like, or you skip that dessert after dinner to stick to your diet. There are many forms this can take, but you'll be glad for years to come you consciously thought about your bigger health picture during all those challenging moments.
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  2. Keep Yourself Hydrated

    One of the most important things to remember if you want to avoid losing independence is that it's essential for your body, including your muscles and joints, to stay hydrated. The more dehydrated your tissues become due to inadequate fluids intake, the harder it will be for them to do their job properly. This can make it increasingly difficult for you to move around as well, which could lead to accidents, especially while driving. Click here to learn more about how (and why) to keep well hydrated!

  3. Create a Routine

    Creating a routine where one lives an organized life with defined goals prevents many issues before they arise. It allows individuals to take back control over how their days are spent instead of sitting idly in front of the television without purpose or direction. Try to put some thought into having a healthy and productive morning routine, daytime routine, and nighttime routine. This helps to prevent forgetting important things and laziness.

  4. Start Eating Well

    One important thing you should consider doing to avoid loss of independence is eating well. The right foods can help your body stay strong, flexible, and full of energy. This way, your body can remain active for as long as possible without suffering from aches or injuries caused by overexertion. Getting the proper nutrition also ensures that you're getting all the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a robust immune system.

  5. Get Enough Sleep

    It's essential for anyone who wants to avoid losing independence due to fatigue, illness, or injury to ensure they get enough sleep each night. If someone isn't sleeping enough at night, they are more likely to suffer from exhaustion which can make them feel sluggish and unable to carry out their daily activities. While this might not seem like it would be too big of a deal, you must remember that getting enough sleep is very important for your physical health.

    Need help sleeping? Check out our post, 10 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep!

  6. Take Advantage of Technology

    older woman using smartphoneOlder adults today have one advantage previous generations did not. It is more accessible than ever to take advantage of technology to accomplish things more easily. The internet has made it possible now to perform many tasks without the same physical strain required. For example, a few years ago, it might have been challenging to get across town if you didn't drive or pick up groceries. Today, we have easy access to ride-sharing apps and fast grocery/meal delivery services at the tips of our fingers.

  7. Set Goals and Stick to Them

    When someone has a goal, they can work towards it, which helps keep them focused on what's important in life instead of wasting time doing things that don't really matter, such as watching television all day. Instead, write down what is important to you. Then, create SMART goals around these items so you have actionable steps and a deadline to look forward to. This way, you can get enough exercise and sleep each night so you'll be healthy and feel good about yourself no matter how old you are.

  8. Work With Your Physician

    You should work closely with your physician and always be honest about your medical history, current symptoms, and lifestyle. Physicians are trained professionals who know precisely what you need to do to stay healthy for as long as possible. So if they think something is wrong with how you're living your life, make sure you listen to them. Being independent doesn't mean you have to do your own health research. Instead, do yourself a favor and take personalized advice from the experts.

  9. Make Your Home a Safe Space

    One of the best things anyone can do to avoid losing their independence due to injury is to make their home safe by taking precautions against accidents, especially where stairs and other hazards are involved. This can be done easily, for example, without spending too much money by getting a stairlift to make it easier for anyone else who isn't able-bodied. There are many other things you can do as well when making your home safe, including installing handrails, non-slip flooring, and improved lighting. To learn more, check out our blog posts about age-proofing your kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor spaces!

  10. Learn New Things

    Start learning new things that can help keep your mind sharp and body healthy, such as taking a dance class. This way, you can get some exercise while enjoying yourself at the same time. If that is out of reach, consider taking online courses to learn more about an interesting topic or how to do a new hobby, like knitting or writing. Of course, learning anything might seem like too much work for someone who just wants to relax because they don't feel well. Still, it's important mentally and physically. Our brains need stimulation to function properly along with all of our other major organs, including the heart, liver, etc.

There are many more things you can do to stay healthy for longer. Together, practicing these steps work to help keep aging adults healthy and in control of their own lives longer.

Let us know in the comments below - What has been challenging for you to continue doing independently?

The Essential Assisted Living Checklist - We put together a list of the 129 questions you should be asking any potential assisted living facility.