The advent of our golden years can mean many pastimes that were once previously enjoyed become more challenging as age slows us down and forces us to rethink our interests and our approach.
Along with a general slowing down, many of us fear the eventual loss of independence. This is a common anxiety that we encounter at Goatacre when prospective residents look to join us. However, while that fear is understandable as age restricts, it’s important to remember that carers and a care home environment, far from taking away independence, actually look to enhance and support it, helping to maintain hobbies and interests for as long as possible.
It’s worth bearing in mind though, that independence can be prolonged by taking a proactive approach to the ageing process and doing what we can to foster our wellbeing, adapting our lifestyle to sustain it.
An obvious barrier to independence is a reduction in our levels of physicality. As we age, movement can become difficult and aches and pains can make things uncomfortable, which makes it ever more appealing to simply avoid activity and avoid the associated discomfort.
As tempting as this can be though, this can exacerbate the situation. Exercise is an essential ingredient of independence. The less we do, the less we’re capable of doing, which means we need to keep active to stay active.
At Goatacre, we encourage regular exercise, be that mild chair based yoga, gardening, walks or more, all of which can be tailored or toned down depending on the individual resident’s capabilities.
So much of our health and wellbeing is down to our diet. So even as our appetite fades as we get older, we need to ensure we’re eating the right stuff to maintain our overall health and wellbeing for as long as possible. Diet, supplemented with exercise, will help keep us physically active for longer, allowing for more independence. Our chefs at Goatacre produce delicious, nutritious food for our residents, which makes it much easier to stick to a healthy diet.
With the world changing at a ferocious rate, it’s tempting to stick to what we know and let things pass us by. It can be all too easy to leave the new tricks to younger dogs; doing this, though, deprives us of connections with the outside world. Technology is such an integral part of our everyone’s lives nowadays that if we don’t try to embrace some of new opportunities, the outside world can feel overwhelming and somewhat bewildering. Persevering with technology helps with our awareness and connectivity with the world around us, whilst also providing a welcome boost to our cognitive function through its mastery.
Also, one of the wonderful things to bear in mind about the latest developments in technology, is that they’re usually there to make our lives easier, providing entertainment, interest and assistance at our finger tips. You can read more on this in our recent blog looking at why it’s important to keep up with technology.
Another topic we’ve blogged on before, is how to encourage loved ones to take up new hobbies. Hobbies offer many benefits, with one of them being a boost to independence. They allow us to interact with a broader social group, providing the opportunity to interact with more people, forming bonds in the process, whilst also boosting our mental faculties as we work hard to come to grips with the requirements of whatever hobby we choose to take up.
It’s a common theme on our blogs that interacting with others and continuing to take up new and old pursuits can help to prolong wellbeing. All of these things are interlinked.
The understanding of independence depends on the individual, but while some things may no longer be possible, there’s plenty for us to engage with whatever stage we’re at in life to ensure we’re still living a fulfilling one.
By taking a positive approach and embracing opportunity we’re able to do more for longer. Ageing doesn’t mean a loss of independence, it just means we have to adapt in order to thrive.