“We cannot control the fact that we are getting older, but we can control the path we take as we age.”
This quote from Dr. David Fisher’s book, “How to Keep Mom (and Yourself) Out of a Nursing Home: Seven Keys to Keeping Your Independence,” really captured my attention when I first read the book several years ago. Dr. Fisher’s book should be required reading for anyone working with seniors, or even those of us older adults who are beginning to age gracefully ourselves! Dr. Fisher is board-certified in Family Medicine, Geriatrics, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine with Doctors Making House Calls in Raleigh, North Carolina.
We All Want to Stay Out of a Nursing Home
9 out of 10 people will tell you they do not want to end up in a nursing home when they grow older. They want to stay at home. Of course, for some people, nursing homes are the best option to keep them as safe and well cared for as possible, but for others, there are simple things we can do to better prepare ourselves for a more independent lifestyle.
Dr. Fisher makes an excellent point in his book. People often equate retirement with money, but he says that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If we want to live independently for as long as possible, we need to have a plan. Preparing our physical, spiritual, and social selves is just as important as preparing for our financial well-being. While we certainly can’t control every aspect of our health and independence, we can do our best to prepare for aging and retirement.
The Secret to Aging Well
When it comes to aging well, the main message for all of us is to keep moving! This doesn’t mean you have to start a complicated fitness regimen. The simplest thing you can do every day is lace up your sneakers and walk. Grab a friend if you’d like, but get moving. If we are mobile, we’re able to continue doing simple daily tasks like walking around the house, standing up to get a glass of milk, using the toilet, or taking a shower. The more mobile you are, the better your chances are that you’ll be able to remain independent as you age. So, what can we do to be more mobile? No surprise here. The secret to success is…good ol’ fashioned healthy diet and regular exercise.
Adopting good health and wellness practices early in your life will help you maintain mobility and cognitive function, two things that are critical to independent living.
How to Age Gracefully
Embrace aging, and make it a goal to age gracefully. Focus attention on financial wellness, and the physical and spiritual wellness. Take care of yourself with good diet, exercise, meaningful relationships, and engagement with a community of faith. Stay moving to stay out of a nursing home!
Tim and Gina Murray are co-founders of Aware Senior Care, providing award-winning in-home care services for families and their loved ones.