A senior’s need for some level of assistance in day-to-day activities is inevitable in most cases. However, being a part of an assisted living community that puts a high value on balancing independence with assistance can make all the difference in the quality of an older adult’s golden years.
The other option is an independent living community. This is the ultimate in senior independence while still being a part of a community. However, there are some significant differences between the two types of senior living. Which is right for each individual depends on the level of ability they have to live independently.
Reasons Independence Is Important for Seniors
No one reason is the most important for senior independence because every person has different needs. Personality and lifestyle differences all play a part in why an older adult may want more independence.
Sometimes, even the thought of losing their independence can make an aging adult feel angry, sad, or even depressed. When considering a lifetime of independent living, even the older adult who recognizes that they need assistance can struggle with the knowledge that something needs to change.
When considering a senior’s independence, here are a few factors to think about:
Purpose in Life
Good careers or raising children are some things that an aging adult may look back on and see the purpose they got. However, these things are likely no longer what gives them that sense of purpose. In many cases, feelings of purpose simply come from being independent.
For example, setting goals and meeting them daily can contribute to a senior’s sense of purpose.
Finding a balance between assistance with the day-to-day stuff while remaining independent is an important factor in an older adult feeling purposeful. This is still possible even when a person isn’t capable of doing all the things they used to be able to do.
Individuality is one of those things that’s talked about quite often these days. So, why would it be any less important for an older adult to be able to feel like they are their own person? They lived their entire lives by certain beliefs and with their own personality. Losing their independence can make them feel like they aren’t themselves anymore.
Once this begins to happen, some common feelings are anger or depression. In turn, these feelings lead to destructive behaviors that can cause problems for themselves, other residents in a community, and their caregivers.
When in an assisted living community, it’s important that seniors still feel like themselves and continue to experience life how they want as much as possible.
As a person ages, they begin losing control over certain things. For example, no matter how well a person takes care of their health, they eventually don’t have much control over it. One of the last things a senior might have control over is doing everyday tasks without help.
Their mental health can quickly spiral downward once an older adult needs assistance with simple things. So, giving them as much control as possible plays a big part in how much they enjoy their senior years.
Benefits of Seniors Staying Independent
It’s clear to see that being independent is important for a senior’s mental health. But how will maintaining independence actually affect their life? Here are several ways that independence positively affects a senior:
- Memory Health: Aging affects memory almost universally, and it’s one of those things where you lose it if you don’t use it. Meaning that remaining independent and remembering their routines and daily activities is a great way to encourage memory health in the brain.
- Balance and Strength: Even if an older adult leads an extremely active and athletic lifestyle, age eventually catches up, and muscles aren’t what they used to be. So, staying active and working on their balance and strength are huge perks to independence.
- Relationships: Many negative feelings surface when there is a loss of independence. The senior may experience anger, sadness, and even depression. In turn, these things directly affect how they cultivate or maintain relationships. By retaining as much independence as possible, an aging adult can maintain friendships with other community residents and their caregivers.
Factors That Affect Senior Independence
Here are some things that can change the amount of independence a senior has:
- Finances: Independent and assisted living communities both cost money. A senior’s financial situation directly affects what type of community they will be part of.
- Health: Regardless of how much money an older adult has, they can only be as independent as their health allows. In some cases, independence actually becomes a safety concern.
- Abilities: Many things go into day-to-day living like grocery shopping, house maintenance, personal hygiene, and housekeeping. These things all require certain levels of mental and physical capacity.
Find Out More About Independent Living
At All American Assisted Living in Sewell, we believe in providing compassionate care and giving each resident the best possible experience. Call our office today and book a tour. The helpful staff is happy to tour you through the community, show you the amenities, and answer any questions.