Aging In Place, Reducing The Risk Of Falls, Achieving Emotional Freedom, And Accepting Help Are All Part Of Living A Life Of Independence
Maybe you aren’t able to get around much or do the things easily that you used to do. Instead of living a life of independence, you are reliant on others for assistance. Pegasus home care specialists in Glendora and elsewhere want you to know that receiving help doesn’t mean losing freedom.
Individuals often have a personal definition of independence, which usually includes financial freedom. But true independence is more than that. For example, a person can be physically independent despite living in poverty.
In general, independence for most people means controlling what they do and when or how they do it. It includes choosing:
- How they spend their money
- What and when they eat
- What they wear
- What social activities in which to participate
- Where they live
- Who they allow in their home
- Who their friends are
Individuals may list different items and have differing opinions on the importance of each item.
Independence Often Includes Living At Home
You may regard living at home as a priority in preserving your independence. Like other seniors, you may prefer to age in place. That does not mean that you won’t need varying levels of assistance.
Mobility devices, such as canes or walkers, may be required. You might need help with meal preparation. Or perhaps you are no longer able to drive.
Although you might need assistance to continue living at home, you retain more independence than you may realize. If you go to a facility, for example, most decisions are made for you. You have little choice about what or when you will eat and visiting hours are regulated.
Receiving assistance from a home caregiver doesn’t have to mean a total loss of independence. In fact, it may in the long run serve to keep you independent. For example, if you have help with meal preparation, you’ll potentially improve your health because you’re eating better.
A Fall Can Destroy Your Independence
Few things can rob you of independence quicker than an injury from a fall. You’re well-advised to make fall reduction a top priority. Unfortunately, you lose muscle mass and the ability to balance as you age.
Physical therapy can strengthen you. Pegasus physical therapists and occupational therapists can work with you in the privacy of your home. They’ll personalize exercises to fit your abilities and goals.
They may recommend making changes, such as adding grab bars. You might need to use other assistive or mobility equipment. It’s all designed to keep you on your feet and independent.
Staying as active as you can is essential. A sedentary life often leads to loss of muscle mass. As well as contributing to falls, the muscle loss has other adverse health effects.
While you may no longer dance the night away, any physical movement is helpful. Don’t let impaired mobility stop you. There is always some part of your body that can move, and a physical therapist can recommend safe activity.
Seek medical advice and “know your numbers.” Monitoring warning symptoms such as blood pressure reduces the impact of chronic disease on your independence. In these days of the COVID-19 pandemic, take advantage of telehealth.
Avoid isolation. Rely on your phone when social distancing restrictions prevent spending time with friends. Interaction with others has a proven positive effect on your well-being.
Social activity often stimulates your mind. Combine it with other mentally challenging activities to keep your mind sharp. Mental exercise is as crucial for maintaining independence as physical exercise is.
Find something to do, preferably an activity that helps others. Volunteering can be difficult during times of social distancing, but not impossible. There’s always something you can do that will brighten the lives of others.
Depression, stress, or worry all negatively affect your health. Volunteering takes your mind off your problems and improves how you feel. It also improves your physical health, which maintains or increases your independence.
Choose Emotional Independence
One facet of independence that you may not have considered is emotional independence. You rarely have much control over things that happen in your life. You can perhaps control some of the effects of aging, but it’s a condition that’s going to occur.
You do have control over your thoughts and reactions. You can rail against aging or other circumstances, complain, and let them drag you down. Or you can accept that you can’t change what’s outside you and work on change from within.
You can build inner strength and the resilience that enable independence from circumstances. You can choose to keep your physical dependence from stealing your emotional independence. That’s true even if you have a chronic illness, disability, or are frail.
You are the person in charge of your feelings, thoughts, and emotions. You are still the same funny, smart, and talented person you always were. Losing some of your physical independence doesn’t take away your true independence.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our home care professionals in Glendora and our other locations are dedicated to your well-being and safety. Helping you live a life of independence is a big part of what we do.