One of the most difficult adjustments most seniors have to make as they age is how much control they have over their own lives. Seniors want to stay independent as much as possible. From when and what they eat to where they live and what they are allowed to do can be decided for them and this has a detrimental effect on their health. Senior wellness increases the more seniors can maintain their independence.
How does lack of independence decrease healthy aging and senior wellness?
• Just like in hospitals and prisons, seniors in some facilities that are on a set schedule that doesn’t vary from day to day, lose their self confidence and desire to improve their health.
• Lack of appetite has been proven to be directly related to how content and happy seniors are with their living circumstances. Those with little or no control over their lives had less desire to eat.
• The decrease in eating well and unhappiness with their circumstances leads to less physical activity and an overall decline in mental health and health in general.
What can be done for seniors to ensure that they maintain control over the events in their lives and keep their independent way of living?
• If you are a caregiver or a loved one of a senior, give them choices. Let them decide when to eat and what to eat as much as possible. Let them decide where they would like their furniture and personal belongings even if it doesn’t look like something out of a decorating magazine.
• Help to bring convenience to seniors. Technology is a great help with computers, cellphones and remote monitoring systems, medical aids and alarms.
As seniors maintain control over decisions and live independently their interests will grow, they will become more physically active and their appetite will increase. Any decline in their health will stop or slow down and most likely you will see an increase in both physical and mental health. Senior wellness in general will improve.