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Tips to stay independent, age happily

Published On: Jan 10 2012 08:29:58 AM CST
Updated On: Jul 26 2013 02:50:12 PM CDT
Father and son using laptop

(NewsUSA) - Independence is paramount in the day-to-day lives of Americans, so it's no surprise that the fear of losing one's independence -- especially among the elderly -- is substantial.

In fact, a study titled "Aging in Place in America," by Clarity and The EAR Foundation, found that seniors fear moving into a nursing home and losing their independence more than they fear death. And while 89 percent of elderly individuals want to remain independent and in their own homes, 53 percent are concerned they may not be able to.

So, how can you or a loved one take steps to safeguard independent living? Here are a few tips that will keep you healthy and in control as you age:

* Get moving. The prevention or improvement of everything from chronic diseases to physical frailty and dementia can occur with regular exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association suggest exercise guidelines for the elderly that include: aerobic exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week at a moderately intense level; weight training two to three times a week with weights that allow for 10 to 15 repetitions; and flexibility training for at least 10 minutes a day.

* Secure your home. Proper maintenance of safety measures in the home is imperative to independence. As individuals age, they become more vulnerable to falls and bone fractures, making the bathroom a treacherous place with the risk of falls due to slipping. Products such as Premier Bathrooms' walk-in baths can help make the bathroom a safer place. This bathtub has a door built into its side, which allows for easy access into and out of the tub. Additionally, you can sit on the raised seat that is about the height of a standard chair, and the tub will fill to the top.

* Get from point "A" to point "B." For seniors who have lost their ability to drive or simply don't feel as comfortable behind the wheel, many states, counties and cities offer programs that can get you from place to place. Visit your area Web sites for more information.

* Take control of your medications. Believe it or not, proper management of your medications corresponds to independence. To stay on track, keep a drug diary that includes the date the medication was prescribed, both the brand and generic names of the drug, the number of pills in the prescription, directions for use, the name of the prescribing doctor and any side effects of the drug. Take this with you to all doctor visits.