Wisdom – perspective - time to do the things you enjoy – these are just a few of the things gained with age. However, with aging also comes challenges. As we get older, we may have more difficulty performing tasks that were previously done with ease. We may find the day-to-day activities, more challenging, and that can be frustrating. It is important to understand that you do have options. While not every older adult is able to live completely independently, there are things that you can do to help support self-sufficiency, and maintain your independence now and in the future.
Identify Challenges: Whether it’s out of embarrassment or concern, older adults sometimes hide the challenges they are facing from others, which can lead to stress and result in problems down the road. Identifying changes in abilities and accepting them is the first step to developing effective coping strategies. Make a list of the tasks that have become more challenging and focus on the most difficult. Hiding the issue only compounds the problem. Identifying challenges can help you access the resources you require and gain a sense of control. Be sure to address your concerns with your physician, and don’t let fear prevent you from seeking the care you need.
Explore Solutions: Being empowered in the decision-making process is an essential component to maintaining your independence. After you have acknowledged the areas where you need assistance, pool your resources to identify solutions. Is there someone who is able and willing to help that you can delegate tasks to? Are there products or services that can assist you in better addressing your challenges? If driving has become more difficult, ask family and friends to set up a ride schedule or take advantage of public transportation and ride-sharing. If showering is becoming a challenge, consider purchasing a shower chair or installing an additional grab bar.
Invest in Yourself: Physical activity, proper nutrition and mental stimulation are not only vital for good health, but they help you feel better inside and out! While you’re at it, be sure to make time to nurture your hobbies, or take up new ones. Making an investment in your health and well-being now, will help you maintain your functional independence as long as possible.
Create a Safe Home Environment: You’ve probably heard the phrase “a stitch in time saves nine.” Taking a proactive approach with home safety can help prevent slips and falls, that can lead to injury and further mobility challenges. So, be sure to keep your home hazard free by removing throw rugs and securing lose electrical wires and other trip hazards. Organizing and labeling your personal items also creates an environment where you can remain comfortable and independent longer.
Make Time for Socializing: Independence doesn’t mean isolation. On the contrary, maintaining strong social relationships can provide us with the network we need to maintain an independent lifestyle. Whether it’s a weekly call with family, lunch with your neighbor, activities at your local senior center, or game night with friends, make social time a part of your daily routine.
Ask for Help: Asking for assistance when you are striving for independence may be counterintuitive, but it is important to heed the signs and recognize that everyone faces challenges throughout their life. There is no shame in asking for the assistance you need. In fact, utilizing supportive resources may help you maintain your independence longer, and that is everyone’s goal.
About LifeStyle Options
Founded in 1989, LifeStyle Options is one of the largest, licensed private duty home care agencies in Illinois. With over 300 highly experienced and trained homecare professionals, CNAs, and RNs on staff, they have earned a reputation for providing exceptional service to clients throughout the Greater Chicagoland area, enabling older adults to safely remain in the comfort of their own home.