Dos and Don’ts for Staying Independent in Old Age

By Jennifer Noble | Nov 08, 2017

Panic sets in when old age or the famous ‘golden years’ come knocking. This phase in life not only comes with the physical body movement limitations and health deterioration but also brings the stress of coping with the change. One is left to wonder if they will be able to figure out ways to help themselves get by or if they will need assistance. In most cases, older adults don’t know how to deal with the change and fall into depression resulting in a rise in morbid alcoholism amongst them.


The good news is that modern technology has made things easier by introducing tools that could help the elderly keep their dignity and independence. There is a host of equipment and tools that can be used by the elderly to carry on with their routine activities and limit fatigue. There are also simple yet vital things you need to do and to avoid in order to take full control of your life even in old age.


The Dos for staying independent


Consider rearranging the furniture around your house. The main aim is to keep the most important pieces within your reach to avoid straining or walking too much. Limit the use of the top shelves as much as possible or only use them to store things that you are least likely to use.


Due to the fact the old age is characterized by forgetfulness, consider investing in a medical alarm system that would give you constant alerts on when to take your medication and when to visit the washroom. The alert system should come with a handy nurse calling button so that you could call your caregiver when you need their assistance.


Consider changing the cleaning equipment around the house to lighter brooms and vacuums and having a lighter walking cane. This will ensure that you are able to clean your house in good time and also not suffer backaches and fatigue during and after walks or cleaning.


It is vital to save enough money for after retirement. This will help you have enough to buy your medication, food supplies, clothes and possibly have a little vacation to relax your mind. Employment is also very hard to get when one is old and it is therefore important that you have enough saved up for this time.


Consider moving to a new house away from a lot of noise and busy hustle like busy roads that would be a nuisance. The new place should also have easy access to basic necessities such as groceries, constant water supply, and electricity to help with the use of your gadget aids.


The Don’ts of staying independent in old age


Don’t be afraid to embrace new technological trends. Have an open mind and you could find some useful equipment in maintaining your independence. For example, it is possible to have smart homes that have technical gear built to help older adults.


Don’t ignore your routine medical checkups. Having your health in top shape should be your main priority in order to enjoy doing things away from your bedside. The doctor will also advise you on what to do in order to keep your fitness levels.

Don’t stretch yourself to hard limits when working or exercising. The last thing you want is a muscle tear or cramp that would limit your movement. You could also injure your hip or a vital organ if you did something that strained your body thereby limiting your independence.


Don't expect your savings to last you a lifetime. Due to the fact that you don’t have a steady flow of income, your savings may run out. Have some investments or start a small business that could cover you for your lifetime.


Don’t rely on your family to do everything for you. They may not always be around as they may be leading their own separate lives with businesses to run and school activities to run through leaving you stranded when you are used to their help.


Old age is a very sensitive phase to an individual and comes with a lot of challenges but this shouldn’t mean that you lose your independence. With following the right steps of living, you can be able to maintain your spirit of independence and live happily.


Comments (3)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Nov 08, 2017 21:02

Find a faith community that is supportive of one another. It is one thing to talk it, another completely to walk it. Do they make contact if someone is sick? Does someone assist if there is a simple household chore needed? What about a ride to a doctor or dentist appointment?  At my home church there is something called Funday Monday where we gather to play Bridge or Skip-Bo. At my table last week there were two incapable of playing yet needed the sociability. They were welcome and included in all of the conversation. It is fun to grow old if you know there are those who know and understand the need for a bit of TLC.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 08, 2017 17:38

Old age is a challenge. I hear you Joyce. I also am 83 and although I live with my daughter now I do maintain my own cleaning household and laundry regimen. Yes I had to give up driving, which was my choice as felt I might be a hazard to others, perhaps driving too slow. But I walk, swim daily and read ferociously. I socialize with seniors in their upper 90's and they are lively, healthy and add much to conversations with full intelligence. They too are independent and some, I admit, hire cleaning help. Those are the ones in the late 80's and into 90's.

Posted by: Lionel W. Heal | Nov 08, 2017 13:42

Who is this Jennifer Noble who knows so much about getting old or being old?  Has she experienced old age herself, or just advising the elderly her views?  I am 83, but don't need an alarm to tell me it is time to take my pills or use the bathroom.  But, I can tell you from experience that it is a horrible experience to find that you can't dance anymore, or go shopping, or just jump in the car and go for a ride.


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