Top 3 Benefits of Independent Living for Seniors
Maintaining as much independence as possible is tremendously beneficial for seniors. Independence fosters a sense of purpose and confidence, preserves physical and mental health, and gives a greater sense of control, which is especially valuable during a time when the individual is having to give up control of certain things.
Independent living allows seniors to enjoy as much independence as is possible for their situation, while still giving them access to additional support, amenities, and services. Senior independence falls into three broad categories:
Physical independence refers to physical ability. Many seniors in independent living handle the vast majority of their own daily living tasks, such as bathing, cooking, and laundry. Some also continue to do and enjoy their own yard work, while others enjoy the freedom to outsource more strenuous tasks to someone else.
Independent living also provides ample opportunities for seniors to optimize their physical independence through fitness and exercise programs. Fitness programs for seniors are often designed to support strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination, all of which are important for maintaining independence.
Fitness programs for seniors can also reduce the likelihood of a fall. Falling can lead to very serious injuries and complications for seniors, making fall prevention critical in maintaining their independence. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of a fall by up to 25%.
Emotional independence may look and feel a little different for each person, but generally, emotional independence refers to a person’s ability to maintain a sense of self as they navigate the aging process. For example, one way to support emotional independence is to involve seniors in the decision-making process regarding their own healthcare needs as much as possible, rather than having those discussions behind their backs.
A senior’s living space can also support their emotional independence. An independent living facility may allow residents to make decisions about how to decorate their space, including paint colors, flooring options, and more. Some may even allow their residents to bring their beloved pets with them when they move in. All these factors contribute to greater emotional independence.
Maintaining an active social life can be challenging for seniors who no longer drive. Independent living for seniors allows these individuals to make and maintain social connections without worrying about transportation. They can connect with other residents on site, host friends and family in their living spaces, enjoy their favorite hobbies, and more. While some of their activities still require off-site transportation coordination, they don’t need to be at the mercy of a family member or transportation provider to get them out of the house.
How Independent Living Communities Can Encourage Autonomy and Freedom
There are many ways in which independent living communities can actively foster and encourage additional independence among their residents, beyond providing living spaces that are well designed to meet the needs of seniors.
Interacting and Engaging with Community
Many independent living communities host and support a wide range of events, outings, and clubs, giving seniors ample opportunities to gather together and enjoy each other’s company. Residents can also join each other in dining areas, fitness centers, and designated spaces for hobbies and activities. Providing and supporting these opportunities for connection is a tremendous way in which independent living communities provide value for their residents.
Utilizing Available Resources
Independent living communities provide many different valuable services that allow senior residents to choose which tasks they’d like to handle themselves versus what they’d like to outsource. For example, some residents are glad to outsource more intense chores, such as yardwork and trash removal, to the independent living community. This allows them to maintain independence without having to shoulder the burden of more physically demanding work.
Additionally, many independent living communities offer accessible amenities on site, such as medical care, barber shops, and salons, so residents can get their needs met without having to coordinate transportation. Transportation is also available for off-site visits, shopping trips, and other outings, giving greater autonomy to seniors who can’t drive themselves.
Maintaining a Sense of Independence as Physical Needs Change with Age
As people age, their physical abilities and needs can change significantly. Former marathon runners may find themselves needing a mobility aid, and lifelong knitters may be afflicted with arthritis that makes it difficult to grip a needle. These changes can be challenging to accept and navigate, especially if they lead to a loss of independence.
Thankfully, maintaining a sense of independence in the face of these changes is very possible. Seniors can remain involved in conversations about their own needs and living situation and serve as the primary decision maker, as long as they are cognitively able to do so. Family members and caregivers can also initiate conversations about what makes seniors feel independent and how they can enable that under the circumstances.
Embrace the Freedom of Independent Living for Seniors and Enjoy Life to the Fullest
At Copeland Oaks, protecting and celebrating the independence of our senior residents is among our highest priorities. We’ve designed our community, services, and accessible amenities around giving seniors as much freedom as possible to create an environment that makes them feel empowered. We also strive to include residents in every conversation about their needs and next steps, so they can feel a sense of ownership over their own lives and futures.
To learn more about how we approach senior independence at Copeland Oaks, schedule a tour >