Satchel Paige is quoted as saying, “Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it, it doesn’t matter!” One thing is for sure: the more independence you can maintain as you grow older, the more likely you are to fully enjoy life. And even though we all go through physical changes, and genetics do play a role, there’s a lot we can do to keep ourselves healthy and moving forward. Independent senior living is the goal—and now’s a great time to get started.
Independent senior living begins with being honest. It can be hard to face physical changes that might keep you from fully participating in the things you most enjoy. But identifying challenges and learning how to live with them is a major first step towards living independently as you age. Don’t let fear or embarrassment get in the way. Talk with a physician, your family members or other trusted source. Just because you might have to do something differently doesn’t mean you can’t keep doing it!
Work those muscles. Exercise has been called the closest thing there is to the fountain of youth, and for good reason. Regular movement has been proven to reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and high blood pressure. Weight-bearing exercise helps build bone mass and improve balance. Even if you are chair-bound, you can do chair aerobics and improve your overall health. Exercising in almost any form is key to successful independent senior living.
Make new friends, but keep the old. It’s still true: staying socially connected really is good for you—and it can help you stay independent longer as you grow older. Sharing times with friends builds your social network and strengthens your brain. Just laughing more is good for you: laughter boosts the immune system, promotes a sense of well-being, increases tolerance for pain and burns as many calories as 15 minutes on a stationary bicycle! In fact, research has shown that being around others we enjoy actually can slow the rate of memory decline.
Keep yourself safe. Living safely on your own in your senior years means avoiding injury or accidents whenever possible. It can be as simple as checking your home for loose electrical wires or rugs that could be a tripping hazard. Make sure your medications are well-labeled and always have a light on when you’re taking any pill. You want to be on your own—and you want to stay safe doing it.
Watch what you eat. Most likely, the days of chili cheese hotdogs are gone…and it’s a good thing! To be able to enjoy independent, healthy retirement living, you want to look and feel your best. Avoid foods with trans fat or too much sugar. Eat more vegetables. Cut down on fast food or unhealthy snacking. Think lighter, smaller meals. Your body will thank you!
Boost your brain. Crossword puzzles, word games, bridge—anything that involves a strategy or problem-solving is a great mental exercise. Studies show that challenging your brain several times a week can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. What better way to boost your efforts to enjoy independent senior living for years to come?
Get the Most from Retirement at Gables of Brighton
Learn more about what our senior living community has to offer and contact us today at 585-461-1880 to schedule a tour of one of our communities.