4 Ways Seniors Can Stay Independent as They Age

As senior citizens continue to grow older, they often find that they need more help than usual with ADLs and IADLs. However, many adults age 65 and older still find that they are able to stay independent as they continue to age. But how can this be done?

While there is no definitive answer, staying independent as an older adult can be possible when an individual looks after both their physical and mental health. If you are not sure what this should include, we will talk about four different ways you can help yourself continue to be independent as you age. Keep reading to learn about these. 

1. Attend doctor’s appointments. 

When you skip going to doctor’s appointments, you risk developing health issues that may appear without you even realizing it.

One of the keys to living independently and staying healthy (whether on your own or in an independent living campus) is making sure that you are in good physical health. It is vital that you are able to do all of the regular ADLs and IADLs on your own, and visiting your physician or having telehealth appointments with them regularly can help you with this.

2. Eat nutritious meals and snacks. 

What does your diet look like? As you continue to age, it is important that you eat foods that have great nutritional value. Eating healthy is just one of the things that can help you stay both active and independent! It is also important to do if you suffer from a chronic health condition.  

Also, as you age, your metabolism does slow down; therefore, you tend to need fewer calories than you did when you were younger (of course, everyone’s needs are different, so make sure to speak with a dietitian to come up with a meal plan that works for you). There are also recommended guidelines to follow as shown by the USDA’s MyPlate

It is also recommended to add lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains to your diet. If you usually have very little time to prepare meals for yourself throughout the week, try cooking meals ahead of time, portion them off into containers, and freezing them so that you can easily reheat whenever you are ready to have a meal. The same thing can be done with snacks. 

If you have little to no time to shop at your local grocery store for ingredients, you may consider investing in a meal-delivery kit or meal-delivery service. Just make sure that the one you choose has healthy options that suit your dietary needs. 

3. Exercise regularly. 

Even if you are unable to get through 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week due to chronic conditions, is it important that you do what you can to make sure you are still getting some form of physical activity. 

There are so many exercises for older people to do, including yoga, walking, water aerobics, and so much more. Even if you do not enjoy exercising, try to get creative; you might love going outside with your grandchildren, taking a walk around the neighborhood, gardening, or whatever else you enjoy.

However, if you are hoping to challenge yourself and get into a more intense exercise regimen, make sure to speak with your doctor first to confirm if you are able to go forward with it. Your safety is of the utmost importance! 

4. Take care of your mental health. 

If you are not mentally well, you may also struggle to feel physically well, and vice versa. For example, untreated depression in a senior who has heart disease can negatively affect its outcome.

While this is just one example, it is important to understand that 1 in 4 older adults suffers from a mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. The effects of these illnesses can cause more health problems for individuals in the long run.  

But what can you do to take care of your mental well-being and have a better quality of life? There is more than just one option. You may want to do simple things throughout the week, such as taking breaks to relax, reading a book, or watching a movie. You might also love journaling as a way to express your thoughts

Also, try your best to continue in your relationships with friends and family members. Due to the current pandemic, it can be easy to feel lonely and strongly desire to be near others. Try to schedule times with them where you can speak together over the phone or video chat. If you still want to meet with others in person, make sure that you – as well as others – are wearing a mask and are socially distanced. 

While these are just some great ways to look after your mental health, make sure to also consider speaking with a therapist to help you get a better peace of mind. Contact your health care provider to see how they can help you with this. 

Stay healthy and stay independent

Will you be taking along some of these tips with you in order to help you live independently? If you are hoping to do so in a great community, The Phoenix at Delray could be a quality choice for you. Request a tour with us to learn more. 


1. “What are ADLs & IADLs?” Better Health While Aging, https://betterhealthwhileaging.net/what-are-adls-and-iadls/. Accessed 25 August 2020. 

2. “Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Defined.” AgingCare, https://www.agingcare.com/articles/instrumental-activities-of-daily-living-defined-427370.htm. Accessed 25 August 2020. 

3. “Guide to Living a Healthy Lifestyle at an Old Age.” Aging.com, https://aging.com/guide-to-living-a-healthy-lifestyle-at-an-old-age/. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

4. “Senior Nutrition – Healthy Eating Tips & Resources.” National Council on Aging, https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/benefits/food-and-nutrition/senior-nutrition/. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

5. MyPlate, https://www.choosemyplate.gov/. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

6. “How Much Physical Activity Do Older Adults Need.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/older_adults/index.htm. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

7. “Senior Exercise and Fitness Tips.” HelpGuide.org, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/exercise-and-fitness-as-you-age.htm. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

8. “Mental Health of Older Adults.” World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-of-older-adults#:~:text=Mental%20health%20has%20an%20impact,can%20negatively%20affect%20its%20outcome.. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

9. “Behavioral Health for Older Adults: Mental Health.” National Council on Aging, https://www.ncoa.org/center-for-healthy-aging/behavioral-health/. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

10. “10 Easy Ways Seniors Can Boost Their Mental Health and Well-Being.” Everyday Health, https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/easy-ways-seniors-can-boost-mental-health-well-being/. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

11. “83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress.” PositivePsychology.com, https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/. Accessed 26 August 2020. 

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