September 29th, 2021 | Updated on June 27th, 2022
Everyone has a retirement plan. Whether they’re looking forward to getting a lot more practice on their golf game, traveling the world with their favorite person in the world, or devoting themselves to learning a new craft or hobby, everyone’s thought about what they want to do when they finally get to retire.
But you should also have a plan for the later years of your retirement when you have a higher risk of chronic health conditions and may experience limited mobility. The future is hard to predict, and it can come with some major but necessary lifestyle changes.
Being prepared can help you maintain your independence and your quality of life no matter what happens. When you have a plan for your own independence, you can save the whole family a lot of worry, anxiety, and frustration.
Health Risks That Affect Independence and Mobility
Your ability to get around your home and your neighborhood can define your independence. As you get older, you’re at higher risk for health conditions that can restrict your mobility, such as:
- Arthritis and osteoporosis
- Balance issues
- Vision loss (which can make driving unsafe)
- Incontinence (which can make traveling far from home uncomfortable)
There are also cases where short-term health concerns such as recovering after a surgery can limit your movement and ability to cook and clean for yourself.
How to Maintain Your Independence
When seniors struggle at home with independence, the problem may not be the health condition but the house.
Many houses aren’t designed with future mobility needs in mind. Stairs, kitchens, and bathrooms can all become obstacles to independence.
It’s one of the leading reasons to consider moving into an active living retirement community. These are retirement residences that help you maintain your independence by easing over some of the pressure points that can make living on your own tough.
They handle all the cooking, and you live in a building that’s designed for senior mobility. It’s easier to get around and go on with your life without relying on help from your family.
One of the benefits of active living retirement communities is that they are designed for seniors who are active and healthy but who are ready to downsize and wouldn’t mind not having to worry about all the chores and upkeep of living in an oversized home.
Being independent doesn’t mean being, or living, alone.
Don’t Be Afraid to Accept Help
It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s important to realize that sometimes accepting help is essential to maintaining your independence. Life changes and sometimes you have to make adjustments in your living situation.
As your mobility needs evolve, changing your living situation can make it easier to keep your independence for longer.
Develop Healthy Habits to Keep Your Independence
There are also healthy habits you can cultivate that should help you maintain your independence long into the future.
One of the healthiest habits you can practice is regular exercise for 20-30 minutes a day. Daily physical activity is easiest when you do something that you enjoy.
Try different exercise routines to find the one that works for you. Exercises like tai chi and water aerobics are great for maintaining and improving balance, mobility, and flexibility.