Are you a senior who still wants to live on your own but needs help sometimes? Read this simple guide to living your best life, independently.
According to a 2016 article by the American Psychological Association, there are 12 million Americans over the age of 65 currently living alone. This means the rate of senior independent living has quadrupled from a rate of only 6 percent in 1900 to a present-day figure of around 24 percent. Although the number of seniors living alone has slowly declined from its peak of 29 percent in 1990, by 2030, adults over 65 will make up 20 percent of the U.S. population. It’s safe to assume the trend towards senior independent living will continue to accompany that growth.
If you’re part of that demographic or will be soon, there’s no doubt you have some questions. The most pressing question you should be asking yourself is, “How can I make these the absolute best years of my life?”
Luckily, that’s the question we’re here to answer. Here’s a quick list of 7 easy ways to make that dream into a reality.
1. Take Care of Your Body.
This one may seem obvious, but you might be surprised how many folks don’t give enough thought to the basic maintenance the human body needs to flourish. Like it or not, the body changes as you get older. Things you always took for granted might not be working quite the same anymore, but that’s no reason to despair. There’s no shortage of lists and articles out there with suggestions on how to keep up with your health as you get older. We can leave the specifics to them, but it’s important to keep in mind. Whether it’s maintaining an exercise regime, eating healthier foods, or giving your skin a bit more attention, there are endless ways to give your body a break as you get older. Take advantage of them.
2. Take Care of Your Mind.
To a lot of people, this one is less obvious than caring for the body, but it’s arguably even more important! Don’t let getting older make your brain lazy. Keep doing the things you’ve always loved to keep your brain stimulated. Doing puzzles, playing music, having enriching conversations. Whatever it is that makes your gears turn, do it. “Use it or lose it” isn’t just an old cliche. The mind is even easier to take for granted than the body, and it’s crucial to keep it sharp as the years press on.
3. Be Social.
Don’t let friends and family fall by the wayside. It’s easy to get caught up in the complications of daily life, but our social life is the thing that makes all the hard work worth it. Your social circle can include partners, family, friends, coworkers, and even your bank teller. Conversation is the little joy that keeps life interesting. Make all those little day to day interactions count. Beyond the little things, don’t be afraid to set aside time to get together. Have a barbecue for the heck of it. Get out there and talk! Getting older is best enjoyed over dinner.
Even though keeping your body and mind active is immensely important, you also have to take some time to breathe. Don’t be afraid to take a nap every now and then or kick back with a book or favorite show. Having fewer obligations can be a wonderful thing. If working keeps your brain sharp, by all means, keep it up, but don’t overdo it. This might be the first time since grade school you can spend a little more time on yourself without having to feel guilty about it. You’ve spent your whole life working. Time to put your feet up.
5. Make Dreams Reality.
Always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon but never had the chance? Now’s the time to do it. One thing you’re sure to have more of than ever is time. Time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, but life never let you get around to. If you still have some time before your golden years, start putting aside some money for that dream vacation. If you’re already in them, do it anyway. Life isn’t waiting around and neither should you.
6. Live Somewhere You Love.
It’s easy to let your surroundings get the better of you, but setting can be one of the most important parts of a happy life. From your home to your city, location is a big deal when it comes to senior independent living. Living somewhere you love could mean something as small as redecorating your house, but it could be something as big as moving across the country. This isn’t just something for the 65+ crowd to think about, but more free time leaves more room to notice the little things that always slipped by in the past. Maybe it’s that ugly red paint on the walls in the study, or maybe it’s the city buses that are just never on time. If you don’t like it, don’t be afraid to change it. Being comfortable where you are is just as important as being comfortable in your own skin. Be it palm trees or snowy mountain tops, granite counters or rustic hardwood, surround yourself with the things that make you feel truly at home.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help.
This last one is so important. You’ve done everything yourself your whole life. Why should you ask for help now? Simply put, some things just get a bit harder as you get older. Despite what you might think, your loved ones won’t view you as a burden. Everyone needs help in different phases of their life. There are also incredible services to help ease the little challenges of day to day life. Getting some help around the house might be the thing that makes senior independent living realistic for you.
The Bottom Line on Senior Independent Living.
Living independently over 65 can be a dream. Although it comes with some unique challenges, there is no reason to let them be stumbling blocks. With this list in mind and an open mind and heart, senior independent living can be a joy instead of a challenge. There’s no reason these shouldn’t be the best years of your life. But this list is just the beginning. If you’d like to find out more about making senior independent living the pleasure it deserves to be, start exploring today.