How to live independently for longer in later life

How to live independently for longer in later life

Author: Christine Farmery

Having spent most of your life looking after yourself, the wish to stay living in your own home and maintain independence as you get older is natural. But as daily limitations due to age increase, it can be worrying that independence is not sustainable and there may come a time when you need to re-think where and how you are going to live in later life. If your wish is to continue living in your own home as you get older, there are many steps that can be taken to help you to continue living independently.

Prevent falls

Falls are a major cause of hospital and care home admissions for older adults, and once a fall has happened it can be challenging to return home and continue living independently.
According to the NHS, around 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 and half of people over 80 will have at least one fall a year.

A fall can have a big impact on both physical and mental health, knocking confidence as well as the body, and affecting the ability to continue living independently.

With recovery time from falls increasing with age, prevention is better than cure, and there are many lifestyle changes that can be made to help prevent falls from adjustments in the home to looking after your health.

Read our blog on preventing slips, trips, and falls in the elderly

Keep the body and the mind active

Regular exercise is important at any age, but as you get older the positive effects of staying fit and healthy can make a real difference in maintaining the way in which you want to live.

Exercise can help to keep bones and muscles strong to support you to continue to do day-to-day things for yourself and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

As well as physical benefits, exercise has social and mental benefits. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, taking regular physical exercise is one of the best things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting dementia with studies showing that regular exercise for middle-aged people can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia in later life by around 30 percent.

Keeping your mind active will support independence too, with many studies showing that memory and thinking skills are less likely to decline for those who are mentally active. Ways to keep the mind sharp include games, puzzles, or learning something new like a language or playing a musical instrument.

Don’t do it alone

Having a support network around you is invaluable as you get older, particularly if you are living alone.

One of the key factors in continuing to live independently is your happiness and preventing loneliness.

Don’t be afraid to ask family, friends, and neighbours for company, or for help with things that you feel too overwhelming to cope with doing yourself.

If there are daily tasks like cleaning, cooking, or shopping, that you find increasingly difficult to do, consider some care at home to support you.

Independent Age helps older people to remain independent and can provide you and your family with clear, free, and impartial advice on issues like care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility.

Plan for the future

Planning for the future now can help you to live the way that you want to for as long as possible.

Think about the things you might need to help you to continue living independently and which elements you can have help with from friends, family, or outsourced care.

Look at all your options for where and how to live, from staying in your own home with support, to moving to an assisted living option or a care home.

Plan your finances according to what your future needs may be. Seek professional assistance in this if you need to. Many financial advisors specialise in long-term care planning and can help you to make a financial plan to support the future that you want.

Communicate your wishes with loved ones and set up Lasting Power of Attorneys so that they are legally able to help support those financial and health wishes on your behalf in the future.

The Dower House

The Dower House is a nursing home in the Hampshire countryside near Winchester. We have been caring for older people and providing support to their families for over 30 years in an enjoyable and safe environment.

Whether you’d like to book a visit to find out more about The Dower House, or you simply need to talk and get some advice about caring for yourself or your loved one, we’re ready to listen and happy to help. Please contact us on 01962 882848.

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