It’s no secret that as we grow older, some things we once considered easy for us to do can get more difficult. We might joke about it but it can be really hard to figure out how to cope with our “new normal” and still get the stuff we want done, done.
The number one fear of aging adults is losing independence. For many, this fear is magnified because we associate it with a loss of dignity, individuality and control over decisions that directly affect us. Difficulties with mobility, behavioral health conditions such as isolation and loneliness, and financial strains are just some of the contributors to a loss of independence in aging adults.
A study by Northwestern Medicine found older adults hesitate to ask for help even when they need it over fears of creating the perception they can’t do anything anymore or don’t want to feel like they’re a burden to friends and family.
The reality is no one is completely independent. There are plenty of things we don’t do ourselves. If you get your car fixed, buy food at the grocery store, even get your haircut, consider yourself interdependent! When it comes to asking for help, the message to today’s seniors should be instead of becoming less independent to try to embrace interdependence.
If you’re a senior, there are some preventative measures you can take now help you enjoy your independence for a longer time. If your goals are to rely less on family but still give them the peace of mind of knowing you’re ok, consider using some technology tools on the market today to get the help you need to stay active and in control of your life. Here are some simple steps to take right now and helpful links that may make it easier to stay in your home safely for a longer time:
- USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
How can you use technology help you stay independent? Technology isn’t just entertainment, it’s also a powerful tool seniors can use to continue to perform tasks with minimal effort independently. During COVID lockdowns, many seniors took advantage of technology to order groceries, work, virtually visit family, order meals and see their doctor. There’s no reason to stop using these conveniences even though many restrictions have been lifted. If you didn’t hop on the bandwagon or you’re afraid it’s too hard to learn, products on the market today are easier to use and more accessible than ever!
Livindi is a tablet seniors can use to easily videocall friends and family by tapping their picture on the screen. Your loved ones connect to the tablet using the Livindi Helper App. They can also use Livindi to videocall you or other family members, send pictures and videos to the tablet and help organize medications. If they worry about a medical emergency, Livindi has a medical alert button alerts the tablet to call each family member and won’t stop until someone answers.
Check out the video to learn more about Livindi: https://www.livindi.com/pages/showcase
- MAKE YOUR HOME SAFER
If you plan to stay in your home (nearly 90% of adults 50 and over do), it’s fairly inexpensive to make your house a safer place for anyone dealing with common age related issues. Installing a stairlift, handrails and non-slip flooring, improving lighting and even walk in tubs are just a few things that can be done to make moving around the house easier and safer. Many common home modifications even qualify for financial assistance.
Your home preparedness plan should include the “what-if” as in “what if I suffer an emergency? How can I get help?”. This is critical, especially if you live alone. A Livindi system includes sensors you place in your home that can detect motion, activity and temperature. If Livindi detects changes, it sends an alert to family members that tells them to check in with you. A health alert button is also included. In an emergency, push the button and Livindi will call your list of designated helpers until someone answers.
- MAKE HEALTH A PRIORITY
I know, easier said than done, right? Prioritizing one’s health means there will be times you will have to make choices to engage in activities that put your wellness above other things. Make it manageable by keeping lifestyle adjustments simple. Do you sleep well? If you are unable to sleep, you’ll be more likely to feel too tired to carry out daily activities and are at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure.
Eating well and exercise can help you continue to live independently. Proper nutrition ensures you're getting all the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a robust immune system and can help prevent injury. Exercise helps muscles to stay strong and supple and is proven to give your mood a boost so you look good AND feel good!
Staying hydrated is also key. It’s important for muscles and joints to stay lubricated. The more dehydrated you are, the less efficient your body will be and the harder it will be for you to move and think well which can be dangerous and lead to accidents!
Maintain good oral hygiene. Did you know gum disease may increase the risk of all kinds of health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease? It’s even been linked with problems in dementia so take care of your mouth!
Stay socially connected with family friends. 43% of adults aged 60 and over report feeling lonely. These feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to depression, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, and higher risk of death. Using Livindi to videocall friends and family is easy, fun and important to your overall health. Watch our video to see a call in action
Learn new things. Learning new things that can help keep your mind sharp and body healthy. Our brains need stimulation to function properly along with all of our other major organs, including the heart, liver, etc.
- CREATE A ROUTINE
The ability to make choices throughout the day has a big impact on how you feel about yourself. When you are no longer managing the decisions in your life, you might feel like less of an individual. Create a morning, mid-day and evening routine that can help you take back some control over daily activities rather than sitting around all day without purpose or direction. An organized routine may also help prevent you from forgetting to do important things like taking medications.
- WORK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN
Staying independent doesn't mean you should do all your own health research, but it is helpful to stay informed as an active participant in your own care. The relationship between you and your doctor should be a partnership. Your doctor should be someone you feel comfortable taking advice from. Be honest about your medical history, current symptoms (write them down) and lifestyle. An accurate profile will help your doctor understand you better and prescribe the care that will work best for your situation.
If your current doctor (or even the staff!) does not make you feel heard, it might be time to shop for a new doctor or practice. It’s also important to search for a doctor you trust with your care when you are well rather than trying to find someone in the middle of a medical emergency when care decisions often need to be made quickly.
To learn more about Livindi, please visit www.livindi.com
or give us a call at (508) 416-6030.