EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT SENIOR INDEPENDENT LIVING
When we think about senior independent living, we may envision living as we do now in our own home, being happy, and self-reliant. Doing our daily living activities, staying active and healthy are the types of things we may wish for as we age and indeed essential to living independent lives. Planning for our retirement when we are in our senior years, with possible long-term care in a care retirement community, means having the right types of resources available to support us as we age so we can continue to live safely and happily in our own homes or senior apartments. Indeed, being proactive and planning for our senior independent living can help us live the best lives we can while aging at home. Here are some of the most important elements and ingredients in ensuring the right formula for successful senior independent living.
Having a financially secure retirement is key to being able to live comfortably and as independent as possible. Indeed, having enough funds necessary to cover your retirement living expenses so you can take care of yourself and your home and do the things you enjoy is ideal. Financial planning for your retirement can give you a clear path to securing the savings you need to pay for essential things such as health coverage, insurance, home upkeep, and modifications, as well as any future in-home care assistance to maintain your living standards and well-being. Educate yourself and get the advice of a financial expert regarding the right types of investments that will work for you as a stable and consistent income stream in your senior years.
Other things to consider include selecting the appropriate time to retire and when to take your take retirement income distributions. Once you had this organized and planned properly, you’ll be in a much stronger position to manage your lifestyle to support independent living at home.
Social Interaction and Integration
One thing we need to be aware of is the tendency to become increasingly isolated as we age, especially if we live alone at home. There are several risks associated with isolation including physical safety, loneliness, and even depression. Our network of lifelong friends and local residents tend to shrink and perhaps our health and mobility impair our ability to travel and get out, thus resulting in a withdrawn lonely lifestyle. Actively engaging in social activities and integrating with the community is vital as we age. Social interaction is linked to improved mental and emotional health as well as physical vitality. We receive positive reinforcement and validation as well as a sense of purpose as we continue to interact through organized senior recreational classes and activities. Expanding our network of acquaintances and making new friends with others that share similar interests can add significant value to our lives. Volunteering is another great way to stay involved and provides a meaningful way to contribute and feel valued and appreciated.
Overall, having an active social calendar can give you the motivation and drive to get up each morning and is strongly related to feeling happy and fulfilled.
Loved ones, close family members, and friends are especially important to us as we age. Indeed, part of staying emotionally healthy is having and maintaining close, meaningful relationships with people we trust and care for. If our loved ones and friends are no longer with us or live far away, this can create a great emotional vacuum in our lives. Companionship is vital to our emotional well-being and, without it, we can begin to feel lonely and depressed. We all need someone we can rely on during hard times, to confide in and share our feelings with. Luckily, staying in touch is easier in today’s day with numerous inexpensive communication devices such as mobile phones, Skype, email, Facebook, etc. Make an effort to maintain those significant relationships even when it may be challenging to meet face to face. At some point, we may need to have in-home care assistance or medical caregiving. This not only will be a source of skilled aid for you in your home but also is a significant source of companionship. The caregiver will develop a relationship with you as they make regular home visits and help you with your specific needs. For many seniors, this becomes one of the more important relationships in their senior needs and can provide a source of additional emotional support as well.
Another thing to consider is senior matchmaking. People over 60 are using online dating services more and more each year. For most, companionship is the main objective. Being single again in their senior years may be a difficult reality after the death of a spouse. Most have spent the majority of their adult life married, so finding a partner to spend time with during their golden years is very important. Indeed, senior matchmaking in its growing popularity has helped many seniors find that special someone.
Independent living and aging at home will most certainly require making some modifications and changes to living spaces at some point in time. Ideally, you want to keep your home a safe, secure and practical environment that suits your needs. Indeed, our needs will change, and we need to be aware of how we can adjust and modify our homes to accommodate our needs but also to prevent and protect us from health and security risks. For example, we may need to remove carpeting to reduce the risk of falls and injury or make adjustments to allow for better mobility and access if we need a walking aid or use a wheelchair at some point. There are home modification specialists that can assess your home to suit your specific needs. It’s important to remember that staying independent at home means protecting your health and safety by making your living space practical. This is an ongoing process and an important component of independent living while you age.
Providing additional safety and security with technological devices such as home alarm systems, medical alert systems, cellular phones, and tablets can be a great addition to your home to support you in living independently. Staying connected and in touch with people that can assist you in case of an emergency will give you the peace of mind necessary without impeding your independence.
Having the right approach to staying healthy is directly linked to our ability to stay as independent as possible during our senior years. We already mentioned the importance of emotional health through social activity and companionship. Our physical well-being is connected to keeping our home safe and lowering the risks of accidents and injury. Other things we can do to keep up our physical health is to keep a proper nourishing and balanced diet no matter what. Whether we have reduced mobility or limited culinary skill, health, and dietary restrictions, there are many easy and healthy meal options for seniors. With a bit of planning and help you can eat well and maintain a diet that will support your health and give you the longevity and strength, you need to live well as you age. Speak with your doctor about getting some nutritional consulting, take a healthy cooking course, go online for healthy meal ideas or ask for some help from a loved one. Don’t hesitate to establish healthy eating habits. You will feel better and stronger and can stay independent longer if you stay healthy.
Another big part of your healthy regime is staying physically active and getting enough exercise. Physical exercise will support your heart health, muscle, and bone strength as well add years to your life. Walking, swimming, and recreational group activities for seniors are just some examples of how you can add physical activity to your life. You’ll gain extra energy and vitality so you can do more and stay active. Your sleep quality will also improve with regular exercise so you’ll gain the added benefit of rejuvenating rest.
Getting the Right Assistance When You Need It
Senior independent living doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. Even if you’re in great health, have a safe and suitable home with the proper adaptions you need, still can drive and have the latest security and medical technological devices, etc. you may nevertheless need some extra help. It’s important to recognize when specific tasks and responsibilities become overwhelming, take too much time and feel burdensome. Sometimes, it’s just better to get someone to help, and that way you can spend your time doing the important things that support your well-being. Various caregivers and services specialize in assisting seniors with living at home. At some point along the way, you may need to consider getting assistance such as a private caregiver or in-home caregiver. They will be able to assist you with just a couple or all of the everyday types of activities such as cooking, housework, running errands, accompanying and driving you to appointments or events, personal grooming and hygiene assistance. If at some point you develop health issues that require skilled care and monitoring but want to stay aging at home, you can get the help of a home health nurse.
These licensed and trained professionals offer medical therapy and monitoring and if prescribed by your doctor may also be covered by your healthcare coverage. Indeed, a home health nurse is an excellent option for getting the medical assistance you need while still living independently at home.
Doing our daily living activities, staying active and healthy are the types of things we may wish for as we age.