“Healthy aging is not merely the absence of disease or disability, but requires physical and mental health and ongoing social engagement,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why is it important to promote independence in the elderly? Doctors can’t manage the task of shepherding an aging population’s well-being alone. For the best results, they need involvement from other communities.
Why Is It Important to Promote Independence in the Elderly?
Currently, some 10,000 Americans reach 65 years of age each day, according to statistics reported by the CDC. By 2030, 20 percent of the population, some 72.7 million people, will be 65 or older. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 83.7 million. America’s seniors are an invaluable resource. Even now, they have a massive cultural and economic impact. Unfortunately, aging sometimes brings expectations of restrictions and boundaries. Shattering these old stereotypes can help create new, healthier outlooks.
The Value of Independence
Aging and the changes that it brings can sometimes create barriers to independent living. While it’s important to strike a balance between safety, function, and freedom, there’s no reason to suggest that simply growing older demands being dependent. Why is it important to promote independence in the elderly? Nurturing a senior’s independence has several important benefits:
- Purpose: Having a sense of purpose provides people with a reason to keep striving. Whether it’s caring for a loved one, volunteering for a valued cause, working to share a skill, or supporting friends, having a purpose is vital. Being able to set a goal and work towards it provides a sense of accomplishment.
- Control: Reinforcing a senior’s independence acknowledges their control. This is empowering for them and can have a positive impact on their mental and emotional health.
- Cognition and memory: Remaining active and engaged has cognitive benefits for a senior. It may also help to prevent memory issues. Encouraging seniors to remain independent can support their efforts to remain mentally and socially engaged.
- Individuality: Seniors have lived long and colorful lives. As independent individuals, they’re able to express their personalities. Losing that can lead to anger, depression, and anxiety.
- Positivity: When seniors need assistance, caregivers who make it a point to provide that assistance in ways that help them retain their independence and dignity will often enjoy greater cooperation than those who impose limits or try to take over. Working to help seniors function as independently as possible also tends to create better, more cheerful relationships.
The Benefits of Senior Living Communities
For older adults who are concerned about how to balance safety with independence, a senior living community can be the ideal solution. With the services that these communities provide, seniors get the support that they need to thrive while still having the freedom to live the way they choose. Different communities provide different offerings; some even offer various levels within the community. As a result, seniors can shop around to find the community that suits their lifestyle and needs. There are certain common benefits:
- Socialization: Senior living communities are communities. With a group of residents on hand, the chance to make connections with neighbors is strong. Most communities make it easy by organizing various events and activities and maintaining a community calendar.
- Nutrition: Residents generally enjoy regular meal service. They don’t have to cook unless they want to. A varied menu with healthy foods is provided.
- Healthcare: The community’s staff is generally on hand to help with healthcare needs. They may provide assistance with medications, keep a watchful eye on basic measures, or provide a reminder about doctor’s appointments.
- Transportation: Whether it’s a shopping trip downtown or a medical appointment, the community’s team will often take care of making transportation arrangements for residents.
- Maintenance: Homeowners have to worry about keeping up with regular maintenance tasks, repairing whatever breaks, and preparing for potential storms. Residents in a senior living community don’t have those concerns. They can relax because the community’s management is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and ensuring that it is ready to ride out any rough weather.
No one likes to feel restricted or disparaged. Supporting a senior’s independence has real benefits, and senior living communities excel at it.