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10 Steps To Stay Independent at Home

10. Embrace Technology

seniors video chat with children

Technology is making it so much easier for seniors to remain in their own home. A tablet and smartphone are essentials today. Staying connected to the outside world is really important especially if you've become housebound. With the tablet or smartphone, you can video chat with family and friends helping you to feel more connected. It also helps your loved one to see how you are really doing. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words- well a video speaks 10,000. 

Mom might say she's doing okay but if you can see her in action you might think differently. Do a regular video chat each week or each day if you can. This will help you see when there are changes in the physical health of someone you love. This information can help get the much-needed care before a crisis happens. And avoiding a crisis is going to help you stay independent.


There also services like Uber, Lyft, GoGo Grandparent and more. These Services can keep seniors mobile and able to go where they want to when they want to. After all, that's what Independence really is.


Fitness trackers, medication monitors and smartwatches offer tools to help a senior stay healthy.

 9. Keep hydrated

bottle of water

How much water should you really be drinking? That seems to be the age-old question. The truth is it may be different for everybody. A good way to know if you are dehydrated is looking at your urine. If your urine is a dark or amber color you're most likely to hydrated.

Certain medications or medical conditions can also cause seniors to become dehydrated more easily.  Medication like diuretics, antihistamines, laxatives, antipsychotics, and corticosteroids can cause frequent urination that depletes water and electrolytes.

The trouble for a lot of seniors is they may not notice when they're becoming dehydrated. Someone with dementia may simply forget to eat or drink. Water, is, of course, one of the best ways to stay hydrated. But many fruits and vegetables can help.

Incontinence is an issue that plagues a lot of seniors. Avoiding accidents is one reason they may not drink enough water. Wearing depends may help them to have more confidence to drink more water.


Physical symptoms of dehydration Include dizziness, difficulty walking and disorientation. It can also cause a drop in blood pressure. These things can all lead to higher chance of falls. Most people are aware that falls in seniors often result in a loss of Independence. staying hydrated is critical to maintaining your Independence

8. Eat a Balanced Diet

senior eating balanced diet

As you get older your dietary needs may change.

Different health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or even arthritis may dictate the type of diet that you follow. For instance, there are certain foods that diabetics should not eat. Likewise, there are other foods that they should definitely add to their diet. The same is true for arthritis, heart disease and just about any other disease you may have.

However, no matter what your health condition, the more fresh fruits and vegetables you can eat the better off you will be. Choose fresh foods over processed ones whenever possible. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of Fresh Foods will help keep your immune system and the rest of your body working in Tip-Top Shape.

7. Socialize

Want to boost your immune system? Socialize! Thanks right, in a UCLA study, researchers, found that interaction between people boosts immunity. This could mean less chance of getting the flu or a common cold.

Loneliness has also been associated with higher risk of dementia. In fact, a Harvard study suggests that having an active social life may delay memory loss. This delay can mean the difference between living independently or needing assistance 24/7.

Find a senior center nearby or join a gym. Try to find one that caters to seniors. 

“The best thing I ever did was to join the YMCA. Their senior program is great. They even have a special class for people with chronic pain. On top of the physical bene, its I have met many new friends. We often go for coffee or lunch after exercise.” Ida 76 years old

6. Exercise

senior couple riding bikes

We all know that exercise can be beneficial. And the truth is it's never too late to start. There are countless stories of seniors who have run marathons in their 80’s and 90’s. The internet is full of amazing seniors. There are weightlifters like Willie Murphy. She began weight lifting at age 73. Four years later, at 77, she was able to dead-lift 215 pounds — more than twice her own weight (105 pounds). She can also power-curl 60 pounds. Watch her on YouTube

And then there is the story of Phyllis Rowley. Ms. Rowley earned her 1st Dan Black Belt in karate at age 78. She had only started the practice a few years earlier at age 72. Watch her perform here.

Of course, we do not all have to become super stars like these seniors. But the truth is studies show that regular exercise is vital for our well-being. A simple daily walk can make a huge difference in how you feel both physically and mentally.

John and Kathryn started exercising in their mid-sixties after John had a stroke. Their doctor recommended that they enroll in the exercise program the hospital offered. Neither had ever exercised before. Both went 3 days a week and were able to stay independent into their mid-90’s.

“The exercise is what keeps us going,” John said. He was able to live in his own home until he passed away at age 91.

5. Give Up The Keys

elderly lady driving car

The car keys seem to symbolize independence to many people. Giving up the car keys make you feel like you're losing your Independence. The truth is having the sense to say when you're no longer able to drive will actually help you to stay more independent.

Pat stopped going places because it became difficult to drive. Her rheumatoid arthritis made it hard to get around without a walker. But getting it in and out of the car was quite a challenge. So she stopped going places. She only went out when she absolutely had to go to the grocery store or the doctor's office. Pat was so intent on keeping her independence that she actually gave it away. If you've become a prisoner in your own home you're no longer independent.

Her family hired a caregiver to help. At first, she was really resistant. But when she realized how much easier it was to have someone help her. Shopping no longer became a chore and became pleasurable again. She was also able to get out and see her friends.  Furthermore, Pat was no longer sitting at home lonely and depressed. Pat realized that being able to make decisions for herself was a true sign of independence.

4. Light Up Your Home


A well-lit home is crucial to help avoid falls. The truth is our eyes are aging also. At age 65 most people need twice as much light to see as we did when we were 20. And the need continues to increase.

Here are a few steps you may want to take.

  • Consider using LEDs. a 25-watt LED will give you 6 to 8 times more light than a 25-watt incandescent. And it will be less expensive on your electricity bill. This is something many seniors are concerned with.
  • Increase the ambient light in your home. This is the light that comes from an overhead chandelier that Illuminates the entire room.
  • Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to let in as much sunlight as possible. Also consider adding a table or floor lamp.
  • Avoid relying on recessed lighting. If this is your only source of lighting they can cause shadows making any activity more dangerous. Recessed lighting is fine as long as you have other sources as well.
  • Don’t go stumbling through the dark looking for a light switch. Consider motion sensors especially in the bedroom and bathroom.

3. Modify Your Home

Home modifications are crucial if you want to stay in your home and stay independent. Unfortunately, most older homes and even a lot of the newer ones have not been designed with wheelchairs and walkers in mind. Even if you don't need one today and you may never need one, there's always the possibility that you could. Prepare ahead and you'll stay independent longer.


Will you be able to get into the main areas of your house if you're in a wheelchair or on a walker? this means your bedroom the kitchen and the bathroom. All need to be accessible. do you have a bedroom on the first level in your home? if not is there a room that could be converted if you should need?

Quinta Marie found out the hard way. After an unexpected hip surgery, she returned home. there was no bedroom downstairs. Making her way upstairs was difficult to say the least. Once up there she was pretty much stuck. Going up and down the stairs was not allowed for several weeks. This meant someone else had to prepare and bring her food to her every time she wanted something.

2. Asking for and Accepting Help

Accepting help from a home care provider

A lot of people seem to have difficulty asking for or even accepting help. Some people can accept help from their friends and family but not from an outsider. When they begin to realize that this puts a huge burden on their friends and family maybe then they can accept the help that's offered.

May lived in her own home she no longer drove and dependent on friends and family to take her where she needed to go. Her two daughters both worked and had children of their own. One was a single mom and one had a husband who also wanted her attention. Both daughters were stretched thin. Bringing an outside help for me with necessary. The daughters couldn't do it all.

“At first I was a bit miffed,” May told me.  “I thought my daughters should be the ones taking care of me not some stranger. I have to admit I didn't act very nice. But then I realized that this was my daughter's way of helping. Because of her job and her own family, she couldn't be here all the time. bringing it home care with a smart thing to do and it's allowing me to really feel more independent. I know that my companion comes on Monday Wednesdays and Fridays. So, I make my appointments then. I no longer have to ask somebody to take me somewhere. My companion Shonda shows up and asks, where we going today. Now, I'm in control!”

1. Accepting That You Have Limitations

And the number one tip for maintaining your Independence is accepting the fact that you have limitations. Accept the fact that maybe you don't move as easily or maybe your eyesight is not so good anymore. Furthermore, accept that it may not be safe for you to drive anymore. When you can accept these things, then and only then, can you move forward and stay independent.

With acceptance comes solutions.

Kathryn Watson
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