Aging seniors don’t typically want to rely on caregivers as the years go by. Some of these lifestyle tips can help promote independence in seniors.
Aging presents challenges. After age 65, those golden years can have some scratches in the gold—namely, the ever-encroaching threat of losing independence. However, with some tips and tricks and the proper lifestyle changes, your aging loved ones can enjoy life to the fullest with just a little extra help. Consider these tips for helping seniors stay independent even as they grow older.
Accident-Proof the Home
Some seniors are never quite the same after a bad fall. Many of these accidents don’t happen far from home—in fact, they can happen in the home. Outfit the bathtub or shower with slip-proof surfacing to prevent dangerous accidents while bathing. Equip them with bars along the wall for additional safety. Make sure any staircases have railings on either side of the stairs, preferably with an easy-to-grip surface. These small changes will help your loved ones mitigate any risks of household injury that could threaten their independence.
Keep Oxygen Portable
Many seniors, particularly those with COPD or pulmonary hypertension, require oxygen therapy as treatment. A special medical device supplies the wearer with nearly pure oxygen—the air we breathe contains only about 20 percent oxygen by volume. However, many of these seniors struggle with the homebound nature of most oxygen therapy, which requires them to stay close to an oxygen tank that is unwieldy at best and immobile at worst. Investing in a portable oxygen concentrator, which is lighter than home-based models, can give fully vaccinated seniors the freedom to get back out into the world as it reopens.
This may seem paradoxical at first. After all, think of everything that could go wrong while exercising—aches and pains, slips and falls, frostbite or heatstroke from going out in inclement weather. But failure to exercise has the worst outcome of all. Lack of exercise, in concert with poor dietary decisions, leads to a loss of bone density in seniors, making broken bones more likely. Additionally, not getting enough exercise worsens blood circulation. Together, these conditions could lead to loved ones resigning themselves to a bedridden existence, one that requires a lot of assistance from others. Staying active with a manageable exercise regimen can help maintain independence later in life.
Sitting on the couch watching TV from dawn till dusk is the opposite of a constructive exercise plan. Logging all those hours with a passive medium isn’t great for staying stimulated, either. That’s why one of our tips for helping seniors stay independent is to keep their brains as active as their bodies. These strategies can take the form of everything from puzzles to hobbies to continuing education programs. Staying sharp through the years can help increase our ability to stay independent as long as possible.