Nobody wants to sacrifice their independence before they absolutely have to, and even then, it can be an upsetting process. Independence is more than just a feeling of freedom. It has an array of tangible benefits for seniors and can vastly improve their quality of life.
1. Helps with mobility
If an elderly person is left at home for extended periods of time or feels that they can’t venture outside unassisted, their mobility will inevitably suffer. Muscle dystrophy when underused and balance also suffers. This can become a vicious cycle. Lack of mobility deprives the individual of their independence, which causes their mobility to suffer still further. A trip to the shops, the park, or any kind of social outing helps a senior remain mobile.
Many senior communities like Auberge at Vintage Lake actively foster movement and mobility by encouraging seniors to partake in group activities and giving them plenty of access to green space. These communities are often favored because they offer seniors the support they need while recognizing the importance of staying independent and, by extension, staying mobile.
2. Boosts memory skills
Independent living puts demands on memory. Even simple tasks like maintaining a daily routine and writing a shopping list require cognitive skills. Memory is a muscle just like any other. Underuse leads to a decline in function and stripping a senior of all their independence inevitably causes memory problems as cognitive ability is underused.
Memory loss is naturally associated with age, but the process can be slowed down. The increased blood flow to the brain associated with cognitive activity can keep a senior’s memory healthy for much longer.
3. Excellent for mental health
Isolation can have a real impact on mental health. Once a person loses their independence, they find it harder to leave the house unaccompanied and become reliant on others to provide mental stimulation. No matter the best efforts of relatives and carers, that isn’t always possible. Worse still, when a senior is cut off from their friends, feelings of loneliness begin to creep in, damaging mental health even more.
Retaining independence equates to freedom. If a senior can visit friends, partake in exercise and come and go as they please, they’re no longer cut off from the world. Setting goals plays a part too. Independence means that seniors can actively contribute to family and social life, giving them more of a purpose and feelings of accomplishment.
4. Encourages exercise
Exercise couldn’t be more important for seniors. Increased levels of physical exercise are linked to a decreased risk of stroke, heart attack, and even falls. Exercise can be hard to come by without independence, though. If a senior is reliant on carers or largely confined to their home, they’ll struggle to keep up any kind of exercise routine.
Independence, on the other hand, opens up all kinds of activities. Senior exercise clubs range from simple classes all the way up to full-scale events like tennis and golf days. Swimming is another popular option, and all of these activities can form integral parts of a healthy, independent lifestyle.