Here’s How You Can Help Older Adults Live Independently

For older adults, living independently necessitates adequate planning and often additional support. While a recent National Poll on Healthy Aging shows that most individuals aged 50 and above want to keep living in their current homes, most are ill-prepared for “aging in place.” Notably, a substantial number of those surveyed may also struggle paying for in-home help or other services they might need to live in a self-sufficient manner.

Fortunately, there are new and diverse options to support older adults to live independently.

Deploy smart home security for safety

New devices have allowed individuals to pursue better living outcomes—this sentiment is echoed in a World Economic Forum article, which shares that digital technologies can enhance the quality of life for older adults. These tools empower aging in place and provide a measure of safety and protection. One such technology is a smart home security system. This can include non-invasive sensors to alert loved ones if a fall has occurred or if there are problems with a door or appliance. Smart locks and bolts are programmable so that only specific people—like a family member, neighbor, or caregiver—can enter the house. These digital tools are helpful in bolstering the safety of older adults who live alone.

Introduce an inclusive wellness space

Wellness treatments are known to promote the overall well-being of older adults by reducing the risks of age-related health conditions and mood disorders. Despite these benefits, many older adults are wary of joining one due to potential age stigma. As such, finding and introducing them to an inclusive wellness program, such as an older adult-focused exercise group, can increase their comfort and motivate them to attend. These classes become more valuable as students are more likely to feel a sense of belonging. For example, Shepherd’s Centers offers yoga programs for a wide range of people and capabilities, from the elderly to those with disabilities. By fostering diversity, groups like these nurture self-confidence and personal growth, which can improve quality of life and encourage independence for older adults.

Encourage social interaction

According to a 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, social isolation is associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia for older adults. Similarly, poor social relationships can lead to heightened threats of heart disease and stroke. For those living alone, retaining social interaction can be challenging. Some basic strategies to promote social connections include suggesting the older adult reach out to friends for visits and get-togethers. Shepherd’s Centers offer a variety of socially enriching activities, from health and wellness classes, computer and technology, literature, music and art appreciation, all to foster engagement with others. Similarly, suggest getting involved with a volunteer group. Many options are available at Shepherd’s Centers. Or, check out the area’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program for other opportunities in the community.

Seek in-home assistance

Apart from the technologies described, older adults can benefit from the increasing availability of community support. For instance, the Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program subsidizes independent living-type apartments for older adults. In addition to providing services such as cleaning and cooking, this initiative also offers transportation, which allows older adults to seamlessly go on their doctor’s visits. Equally helpful is the volunteer program at Shepherd’s Centers where trained, caring, and reliable individuals offer older adults aid around the house and transportation so that they can more easily finish their daily chores and other essential tasks.

Connect with tax-aide services

Lastly, supporting the financial well-being of older adults is crucial. For some, purchasing medications, buying groceries, and other essential household items present financial challenges. Today, filing taxes can be a complex process for older adults due to soaring health care costs, retirement, or government benefits. Thankfully, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program assists those aged 50 and older. IRS-certified volunteers can assist older adults in preparing their taxes online or help with easy-to-use and free tax-filing software. With these services, older adults don’t have to bear the burden of doing complicated financial processes alone. Many Shepherd’s Centers offer this Tax-Aide program.

Empowering older adults with the means to lead independent, healthy, and happy lives is vital. This can become a reality by tapping the options described above.

​​For more insights on how to empower older adults, read through our latest posts at Shepherd’s Centers.

Specially written for ShepherdCenters.org

By: Raeanne Jayleen

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