No one likes to imagine leaving their family home due to poor health as we age. The thought of a nursing home can be very confronting. So how can you continue to live independently and avoid making aged care or nursing homes a part of your future?
Getting older might mean the need for a little extra help to stay independent. For others, it might be growing your network of friends, which helps your wellbeing and improves your physical and mental health.
Finding the right balance is critical; here are seven steps to live independently and avoid residential aged care.
1. Stay social
Nurturing connections and cultivating your social life are essential to staying healthy in body and mind as you age. Benefits may include reduced osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis, improved cognitive function and overall heart health. To avoid feelings of loneliness, maintaining relationships with family, friends and community can make you less vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety showed that older Australians that were more socially isolated were much less likely to think they had enough money to live comfortably, be physically capable of doing the things they wanted to do, see themselves as healthy and be able to look after themselves. Furthermore, they were less likely to be engaged in community activities, travelling or recreation pursuits. A retirement living community could allow you to feel a sense of belonging. Read more to find out if retirement living is right for you.
2. Get moving
We’ve all read it time and time again, but it’s worth emphasising because the benefits are so compelling; exercise is essential to ageing well. Think reduced risk of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, management of osteoarthritis, injury prevention, reducing other risk factors of diseases like obesity and high blood pressure, improved sleep and increased energy.
This doesn’t mean you must undertake a half marathon or work out at the gym daily. It just means moving your body in a way that works for you. It could be as simple as walking for 30 minutes or mixing it up with resistance and balance training.
Aveo communities’ social activities are often resident driven, meaning each community offers something different. Visit the website for more details.
3. Eat the good stuff
You knew it was coming! Like exercise, we know a healthy diet is essential for ageing well. Choose wholefoods over processed, get plenty of fibre, limit your saturated and trans fat intake, use less salt, make sure you’re getting enough calcium, stay hydrated and watch your alcohol consumption. Chat with your doctor about any other supplements you might require to ensure you’re getting the vitamins you need.
Not all retirement living communities have restaurants, including Aveo. Our food blog means you won’t miss out on exploring new flavours.
4. Find purpose
Older people with a sense of purpose have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or having heart attacks or strokes. It can even improve hand grip and walking speeds and positively impact your quality of sleep and relationships.
Your purpose doesn’t have to be big and dramatic. It could be something like improving your backhand, volunteering in the community, or finding a way to offer a moment of kindness to someone else each day. The key is in the simple pleasures of life.
5. Futureproof your home
Start thinking sooner rather than later about practical changes and design decisions you could make to ensure you can continue to live comfortably and safely in your own home.
These could include removing trip hazards such as loose rugs, installing safety rails in bathrooms if you have limited mobility or other impairments and consider assistive technology such as a personal safety alarm, servicing heaters and other appliances for safety and fixing or replacing unsteady furniture. Falls from ladders and chairs can be frightening, so a professional should carry out the tasks like changing light bulbs.
An apartment, unit or villa in a retirement living community gives you the assistance of onsite team members, including maintenance, allowing you to stay independent in your home for as long as possible. Find out more about Aveo’s services.
6. Consider care at home options
Home care can do the trick if you need extra help but want to avoid moving into an aged care home.
Support from an approved Home Care Package provider could include; assistance with shopping and appointments, meal delivery or preparation, medication management, help with personal administration, social outings, recreation and home and garden maintenance. Establish an emergency plan and nurture good relationships with your neighbours.
7. Check out retirement living
To find out if retirement living is right for you, the best thing you can do is book a discovery tour. By visiting many different villages, you can find the right location and community for you.