Independence, what does it mean to you? If you
were to ask a child, a teenager, an adult and a senior citizen they will all most likely give you very different answers to what independence looks like through their eyes. It’s quite easy for younger generations to take for granted certain physical and mental independences. We begin life like little sponges absorbing up a world of possibilities around us. As we get older and begin to notice limitations caused by aging, illness or accidents, independence takes on a different meaning. If our sight, hearing, mobility or mental function has been affected, it can be challenging to find alternate ways to stay independent and maintain our lives the way we always have. There are things you can do to help maintain all of the independence you possibly can for as long as you can. The first step is to become familiar with hazards and to know what resources are available for you to help keep you where you want to be.
Take fall prevention measures by safe proofing your home.
- Rugs are huge trip hazards as the corners turn up or the rug itself gets bunched up. Tack down the corners of every rug or carpet in the home.
- Railings and grab bars can be very helpful in restrooms, showers, hallways and staircases. Make sure they are installed properly and have the capacity to support full body weight.
- Pad sharp corners around the home such as table edges and counter tops in case of a fall.
- Move all kitchen supplies that are not within reach. Avoid using step ladders, stools or struggling to reach reach items from high cabinets. You may need to go through lower cabinets and get rid of appliances that are no longer used or that do not work properly to make room.
- Adequate lighting in the home can prevent falls caused by poor eye sight or misjudging where something is. Replace bulbs as needed and let natural light shine through by opening window blinds and curtains.
- Program emergency numbers on your cell phone or have an alert system of some sort such as medical alert pendants to receive help quickly in case of an emergency.
Be aware of scammers who want to steal your financial independence away from you.
Never give out personal information or open your door to solicitors. Financial independence is stolen from seniors every day from phone, internet and door to door scams.
Join a group or start a hobby.
With the power of the internet, it is easier than ever to find groups and hobbies for seniors near you. Participating in a group or having a hobby is a great way to feel independent and happy. If past hobbies are no longer an option, try something new!
Reach out for help if you need it.
No matter what your age, everyone could use a little help at different points in their lives. Some seniors feel that asking for help is sign of weakness and may be too embarrassed to ask or accept assistance, especially from children. Even though asking for help may seem like the opposite of being independent, if you over exhaust yourself or even become injured from trying to do too much that independence will be very short lived. Think of your long term independence and go ahead and reach out to loved ones. In home care is a great option for seniors to stay in the comfort of their own home without having to move into an assisted living or nursing facility.