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5 Effective Ways to Encourage Independent Living

July 10, 2020

There’s no doubt that, as we age, a decline in physical ability dampens our confidence and willingness to pursue independent living.

As a family carer, it can be hard to see this transition take place; after all, we want to see our elderly loved ones live as happily and freely as they can, for as long as possible.

Often, it takes a little coercing to encourage loved ones to return to independent living when their health deteriorates.

According to Age UK, almost 4.5 million older people claim to have felt lonely during later life – something that’s likely experienced by those who have given up on independent living prematurely.

With a little determination, you can encourage your loved one to pick up some healthy habits that will help them feel free again.

Just keep reading to find out how.

Improve Their Physical Health

Physical ability is a huge factor that determines how independently a senior can live. The best way to maintain physical health is to keep active, helping to prolong muscle tone and bone density.

If you think your loved one is a little reluctant to get moving, try offering some mental stimulation by finding new ways to get active. Perhaps you could encourage them to try gentle yoga, or invite them to try a new walking route. To maintain optimum physical health, it’s important to try and get your loved one moving their body every day.

Lady and man practising yoga in outdoor space.

No matter their level of physical ability, encouraging your loved one to stay active is important for prolonging life – by boosting immunity and staving off deterioration.

Help Them Combat Loneliness

Loneliness is a very real issue amongst the older generations, and is often brought on by the onset of limited mobility. It’s detrimental to mental health, and in turn serves to quickly banish any chances of independent living.

In the first instance, it’s of course important to maintain physical health to stay agile. It’s important too, though, to encourage your loved one to keep living a sociable lifestyle. You could, perhaps, motivate them to attend a weekly coffee morning at the community hall, or go to meet a friend.

Overhead shot of four people holding cups of coffee whilst sat around a table.

Regular social interaction helps to keep us mentally stimulated, strengthening our cognitive health – something that helps to stave off a range of health issues.

Help Them Boost Their Cognitive Health

In a similar vein to physical health, our cognitive ability can quickly decline if we don’t keep it active. Keeping the mind as sharp as possible is a great way to ensure that we’re better equipped for everyday situations.

To keep mentally stimulated, try taking up a hobby that strengthens fine-motor skills – such as watercolour painting, crocheting, or baking from a recipe. Alternatively, you could try operating a technology device, such as an iPad or smartphone. This is also a great way to stay up-to-date with news stories, and stimulate your mind with various reading materials.

Lady holding a palette, painting a canvas.

Retain a Sense of Purpose

Once you have reached retirement, you may come to the realisation that working gave you a strong sense of purpose. But, just because you’ve left the world of work, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find purpose in other things. Picking up new hobbies, getting involved with your local community and giving to charity can really help you to continue living your life with intention.

Encourage Community Spirit

Being part of a strong community is a great way to strengthen mental, emotional and physical health. If you think that becoming part of a community is something you’d like to do, there’s no stronger community than those built at Extra Care Living retirement developments.

With all our residents living in such close proximity, and an abundance of facilities that encourage socialising and hobby building, there’s no better place to form lifelong friendships and live as independently as possible. We were recently delighted to welcome our first residents on-site at Friary Meadow. To find out more about us and our facilities, please click here.