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King Farm Blog

IKF Blog
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2020

7 steps to help maintain your independence

If you asked what’s important to people as they grow older, remaining independent would be near, if not the number one factor identified by many.

As time passes, we may begin to fear that we won’t be able to take care of ourselves. But while life can often get in the way of our best made plans, there is still much that we do control.

Consider these 7 action steps you can take to maintain your independence and embrace your ideal retirement life:

1. Keep physically active

As we grow older, our bodies change. But there is good news.

What was once thought to be the inevitable results of aging may instead be attributed to a more sedentary lifestyle.

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School studied the results of healthy 20-year-olds who spent three weeks resting in bed. The results? Faster resting heart rates, higher blood pressures and body fat, and a decline in muscle strength and the heart’s pumping capacity.

After an 8-week exercise program, the deterioration was reversed. But evaluating the same group at the age of 50 after a six month exercise program, researchers found their resting heart rates, blood pressures and pumping capacity had returned to their baseline level at age 20.

2. Keep your mind active as well

Physical exercise is also good for the brain. And it turns out that a diet which is heart-healthy can also have a positive impact on your mind. But don’t stop there. To keep yourself mentally sharp, consider these ideas:

  • Play games: stimulate your brain with Sudoku, Chess, Scrabble or Trivia

  • Learn something new: study a foreign language or master a musical instrument

  • Read more: join a book club, read to your grandchildren and subscribe to a newspaper

  • Eat healthier: talk to your doctor or do your own research on brain-healthy diets

  • Sleep well: less than 7-8 hours a night can affect memory and the ability to concentrate

3. Engage in life

If life is passing you by, it may be time to re-engage. Being an active participant can greatly influence your ability to remain independent.

There’s no shortage of opportunities for you to try. Look for ways to be active in your community, volunteer for an organization and regularly see your family and friends.

Keep up to date with the news and what is going on in the world. Minimize spending too much energy on negative events but take the time to consider both the national and local issues and your position.

Decide what’s important to you and then make it happen. Don’t wait for when you have the time because you likely won’t find it. Schedule these activities and make them a priority.

4. Keep your medical appointments

If you haven’t been diligent about your wellness, vision and dental exams, now is the time. As you grow older, it’s even more important to head off any problems early.

If you’re putting off your doctor visits, ask yourself why. Do you like your current medical providers and feel that they’re partners in your health? If not, it may be time for a change. Ask your family and friends for referrals.

To get the most out of your appointments, be prepared. Be clear when describing new physical or emotional symptoms. Write down any questions that you may have or would like to discuss so you don’t forget. And if it would help, bring someone with you.  

5. Keep and make new friends

One of the most important steps to maintaining a healthy life is to surround yourself with family and friends. You need human connection and the strong bonds that come from belonging.

But as we grow older, it’s not uncommon to become more isolated. People move away, we lose touch or may not have as many opportunities as we once did to engage. If this is happening to you, think of ways you can meet new people who share similar interests.

Are there groups you could join or other settings, such as your gym, church or where you volunteer? If you’re finding yourself more alone, it may be time to consider moving to a senior living community where making friends is almost guaranteed.

6. Pursue your dreams and goals

Was there a retirement life you dreamed of or plans that you wanted to accomplish that you’ve left unfulfilled? It’s easy to live as though there will always be opportunities later, but the best time is now.

If you had a list of things you wanted to do, ask yourself if you still want the same. Are there obstacles in the way? What can be done to remove them? Or is it time to create a new retirement dream?

Prioritize your goals and think through how you will accomplish them. If there is something standing in your way, be determined to go around or through. This is your time to realize the lifestyle that you deserve.

7. Acknowledge challenges, look for solutions and ask for help when needed

Growing older is the time for amazing adventures and a life well-lived. But it isn’t always easy.

Be realistic about the challenges you face. Remember that as changes occur, the smart choice is to be flexible and adapt.

Make things easier whenever you can. Is your current home a haven or a maintenance headache? If you no longer like to drive, are there other options? Guard against self-isolating, which can be more common, and dangerous when you get older.

There are more choices today than ever before. But if you do come to a bend in the road that you can’t navigate alone, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Ingleside at King Farm Independent Living

At Ingleside at King Farm, we think you’ll find the perfect home to support your independent lifestyle. And we make it easier as we take care of all the maintenance, provide first-class amenities and activities, as well as dining and social opportunities to meet and make new friends.

In fact, you’ll find almost everything you need to live an independent and meaningful retirement life.

You’ll enjoy the nearby shopping, concerts and other events with our scheduled transportation or easy access to King Farm’s shuttle system that loops to the Metro. Or take a stroll on our walking paths that lead to The King Farm Village Center, just a few blocks away.

Call (240) 455-4582 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

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