There often comes the point when an aging adult requires some assistance in their daily activities. This is where high-quality assisted living communities are invaluable. However, even with this type of living situation, it’s important that a senior retain as much independence as possible.
Sometimes, there are opportunities to be a part of an independent living community which is a bit different from assisted living. Rather than the assistance being a focus, there is more emphasis on the independence aspect. Still, the resident can access a certain level of assistance if needed.
Reasons that Seniors Need Independence
The various reasons a senior needs independence will vary widely between people. Personality or lifestyle factors can play into why they want more independence.
And sometimes, even the thought of giving up their independence can cause older adults to feel angry, sad, or even depressed. Even if they recognize that they need assistance, it can be discouraging, considering they’ve lived nearly a lifetime as an independent adult.
Here are a few factors in a senior’s need for independence:
A Purposeful Life
As older adults close in on their golden years, things they may have found purpose in, like a good career or raising children, are likely no longer where they find meaning. For some, a sense of independence also creates those same feelings of purpose.
Independence allows the aging adult to continue setting goals and meeting them. This also contributes to a sense of purpose.
Unfortunately, with aging, there is also a decline in some of these independent activities. So, finding the balance of assistance with certain things while maintaining a level of “do-it-themselves” can still provide a sense of purpose for the aging adult.
In addition to a sense of purpose, being able to make their own choices and do things themselves also preserves a sense of individuality. A person walks through their life having certain beliefs and seeing the world through their own personality.
But when they begin losing the ability to do things themselves, this can cause feelings of anger or depression. These things can lead to other destructive behaviors that negatively affect experiences as they continue to age.
It’s important that even in an assisted living situation, an older adult feels like an individual with the option to continue experiencing their life the way they want to.
Sense of Control
Independence is often one of the last things older adults feel like they have control over. But when they are no longer as independent as they once were, life can quickly begin feeling out of control.
Providing a senior with as much feeling of control over their day-to-day life is a big factor in how much they can enjoy their golden years.
Benefits of Seniors Staying Independent
We can see that independence is important. But how will this positively affect an older adult’s life? Here are several benefits of senior independence:
- Memory Health: Memory is one of those things that is almost universally affected as we age. The longer a person remains independent, the more their brains are forced to work and remember things.
- Balance and Strength: Even if a person is the most athletic individual throughout life, age begins to affect their muscles and balance. Adequate physical activity comes along with independence and is important for overall health.
- Relationships: Because loss of independence can bring so many negative feelings like anger, sadness, or depression, it also affects a person’s ability to cultivate or maintain relationships. By minimizing dependence, an aging adult can have better friendships with other community residents and their caregivers.
Factors That Affect Senior Independence
Here are a few things that can affect the level of independence a senior has:
- Finances: Even the most affordable senior living communities cost money. A person’s finances play into what community they can be a part of.
- Health: Perhaps the most significant deciding factor affecting independence is the senior’s overall health. Too much autonomy can become a safety concern if they are not in good health.
- Abilities: When it comes to independent living, one must consider the required capabilities. Grocery shopping, yard and house maintenance, housekeeping, or hygiene all need a certain degree of mental and physical capacity.
Find Out More About Independent Living
We believe in providing compassionate care at All American Assisted Living in Hillsborough. We employ 3 levels of care so that you or your loved one receives the right balance of independence and support to live happily and comfortably.
Reach out to our office and book a tour. We’re happy to show you the community and the wonderful amenities it offers and answer any questions you have.