Activities of daily living including cleaning, grooming, cooking, and countless other actions we do in stride come easily to the vast majority of the population.  Imagine that you suddenly find yourself performing these tasks slower than usual, or unable to complete them at all.  This can be a reality for much of the aging population.

National Senior Independence Month sets out to help older citizens remain in control of their daily lives. According to the Administration on Aging, “85% of adults over the age of 45 say they’d rather stay in their own homes” as opposed to moving into a facility.

Here are some home safety tips to continue living independently:

  1. Ensure your home is well-lit and add night lights especially in corners and near staircases to prevent falls.
  2. Clear clutter including wires, excess furniture, and unnecessary items to help those with vision or balance problems.
  3. Install grab bars and non-slip mats in rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen, or on any slick surface.
  4. Keep all frequently used items in easy-to-reach locations.

Aside from keeping your home safe, remember to keep your mind safe.  Learning even one new skill or testing yourself to complete a routine action in a new way can help your brain. A study by neuroscientists at Brown University suggested learning new actions can help strengthen synaptic connections.  So, challenge yourself to learn the latest technology.  Purchase a smart phone and experiment with your computer; these items can help you stay in touch with friends and family both near and far.

Staying physically active is another important factor to maintaining independence.  Volunteering at community centers, churches, and schools helps benefit everyone.  Consider joining a fitness or water aerobics class with friends.  As The Franklin Institute says, “use it or lose it!”

As you celebrate your independence, keep in mind: getting older is a blessing, especially when you consider the alternative.  Never stop sharing your wisdom, talent, and experience with those around you.

 

References:

Older americans month. (2012, December 06).

The human brain: Learning at the cellular level. (2004).