7 ways to stay independent in later life
Many people want to remain at home and continue to enjoy their hobbies and activities as they get older. Your lifestyle is key to ensuring a healthy future, but there are also support services that are available in your local area to help with tasks as they become more difficult. Here are some ways that you can stay independent in later life:
1. Keep fit and healthy
Make sure that you take regular exercise, whatever your age. It doesn’t have to be slogging it out in the gym or running for miles – gentle walks, swimming and tailored exercise classes are all beneficial. It’s important that you enjoy whatever you do as well, as you are more likely to keep it up.
2. Eat well
A good diet helps to keep a healthy body. Studies show that eating the right foods can decrease your chance of getting certain age-related illnesses, so what you put on your plate really matters.
3. Keep your mind active
There are lots of ways that you can keep your mind active. If you want to, and are able to, work, then there should be no barriers to you being able to. Health problems or disabilities can be worked around with the right position (read our section on Access to Work). If you don’t want or need a job, you could consider volunteering, as this gives a sense of wellbeing, contributes to the community and gives you structure to your day.
4. Take up a hobby
Hobbies are important in helping us to stay active, engaged and mentally alert. It doesn’t matter what you are interested in – dancing, sewing, baking – you can find a way to do it at home, or join a group to meet like-minded people.
5. Take trips and excursions
Time away from home can be relaxing, so don’t forget a much-needed break from time to time. Getting out and about if you have mobility problems can be harder, but there are often local services that can help you with day trips or holidays.
6. Use home aids and telecare
Telecare and home aids can help to make daily tasks easier, as well as give your loved ones peace of mind. You can get everything from specially adapted commodities to alarms and sensors to keep you safe. Modifying your home is often better than moving into residential care if you want to stay independent.
7. Embrace technology
Computers, tablets, smartphones… they all have a place in modern life and they can help you in so many ways. There are apps to help you notify family in case of emergency; you can make video calls to see loved ones who might live far away; you can join social networks to make new friends; or simply use the phone to keep in touch.