Nine simple tips for staying independent for longer

You’ve worked hard your whole life: you’ve been busy learning, working, and raising a family. So when you retire and start to wind down, you should at least be able to relax and enjoy your own space, the peace, and the pressure-free years ahead of you. Many of us are even continuing to work into our seventies, so when we finally do retire, while our minds may still feel pretty sharp, our bodies may not. Or vice versa. You just never know.

But one way or the other, there are a few things you can do to your home, your environment, and yourself to make staying put and staying independent an easy choice.



Nine ways to stay independent

  1. Keep a calendar or a diary. If your memory’s not what it used to be, or if you find yourself getting lost in one of the many projects you’ve been putting off until your retirement – consulting a diary every morning, or even at regular intervals in the day, will help you to stay on top of all the other jobs and appointments that accumulate. You could even invest in a smartphone with a calendar app that will beep or buzz at just the right time to tell you it’s time to go to the doctor.

  2. Your mind may be razor-sharp, but if your body is starting to object to a lifetime of activity, it may be time to modify your house. Door handles that are easy to grip, twist, and turn as your fingers become weaker can be added to kitchen and bathroom cabinets as well as regular doors. Grab handles next to the toilet, in the shower, or where ever there are stairs or a slip or trip risk, will also protect you from falls that can put you in the hospital.

  3. Get rid of your clutter – box up your precious things and consider binning or recycling items that you really don’t need. Clear your floors and surfaces to minimise hazards that will affect your mobility.

  4. Invest in a bigger TV – don’t keep peering at the tiny telly at the other end of the room just because you think big televisions are ugly. Give your eyes a break!

  5. Ask your doctor to organise your medical records – if something happens to you while you are out and about, you want to make it easy for an emergency team to know how to treat you for the best!

    Good old-fashioned wet shave

  6. Keep busy and active. Looking after your garden, walking to the shops, and doing a little bit of housework are all simple things that will keep you active for longer. Swimming or gentle yoga stretches or a specially designed aerobics class for older people are also great ways to stay active. As an added bonus, you might make some new friends!

  7. Get all your affairs in order – a will, power of enduring attorney, your finances. By doing it now, it’s one less thing to worry about as you get older and less able to cope with the stress involved. Arrangements can be tweaked along the way, as things change, but getting the hard part done now will really help.

  8. Feel like you need a little help keeping up with the maintenance of your home? Organise a gardener to come regularly to take care of the lawn or the heavy pruning. A cleaner can deal with the more strenuous chores on a monthly or weekly basis, depending on your preference.

  9. What about some personal pruning – or preening? As you get older you may find it more difficult to maintain your personal appearance. A podiatrist can keep your feet healthy, but a trip to the hair dresser, the beauty therapist, or the nail bar will do wonders for your self-esteem too. For men, the barber can give you a quality close shave.

Preparing for a long and happy future

Some of these tips are designed to remove much of the worry from your life, by preparing for the financial and physical unknowns. But some of them are also just a great excuse to spoil yourself. After a life time of hard graft, it’s time to relax and put yourself first!



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