HEALTHY AGEING: THE IMPORTANCE OF RETAINING INDEPENDENCE
A loss of independence in general daily activities and living has long been a marker of decline and frailty in older adults and is, consequently, considered to be an almost inevitable part of the ageing process. However, both the physical and mental impact of losing one’s independence, at any age, is often overlooked. In fact, research even suggests that a reduction in daily activities, irrespective of any other predisposing risk factors, is a common pathway to depression in older adults.
When we are fit and healthy, we largely underestimate the impact that losing control over our everyday activities and lives has on our mental wellbeing. Having to rely on others to complete mundane household tasks regularly evokes feelings of being a burden, whilst not being able to actively play with grandchildren without assistance can often feel humiliating or degrading. Such a reduction in autonomy often shrinks one’s existence and results in a reduced quality of life – but this isn’t some inescapable reality of ageing!
One of the things we, here at KiActiv®, are passionate about is affording each and every person the opportunity to live independently in confidence; we empower people to remain competent and self-sufficient, even into older age. Whilst some of the natural effects of ageing can make independent living a little more difficult, key contributors such as a loss of mobility and the existence of new health conditions can be both managed and prevented to limit the detrimental impact they may otherwise bear.
Falls, for example, affect approximately 30% of the elderly population each year, with many resulting in damaging injuries, a loss of confidence and a resultant decline in independent living. This regression in physical function only impedes physical activity further, and individuals can descend into a detrimental cycle that only seeks to exacerbate the risk of falls. Thankfully, engaging in physical activity that is accessible and appropriate for your own current capacity can instead retain muscular strength, mobility and balance, whilst also gradually rebuilding confidence in one’s capabilities.
Encouraging people to undertake activities that work for them, be that getting out for a walk, finishing a bit of gardening, or simply having a little dance around the kitchen as the kettle boils, helps to prevent the decline of physical function and mobility that is so often attributed to the damaging loss of independence. Through the realisation that each and every movement you make during the day matters for maintaining your health, retaining your autonomy and capacity to live independently becomes so much more accessible and sustainable.
Preserving your independence doesn’t have to be an unrealistic feat, but through regular movement (of whatever kind suits you!), you can keep your body mobile and your mind assured; age is no barrier. Remember, it’s never too late to start moving more and live a happier, healthier life!
The KiActiv® Team