Ways to Remain Independent in Old Age – AmeriCorps

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The likelihood of suffering chronic and disabling diseases has increased due to a significant increase in life expectancy in recent years. Consequently, we need professional care and assistance as we get older.

Here we’ll discuss which diseases or situations can make us care-dependent and options to overcome this issue, including how AmeriCorps can help us remain independent even in the elderly.

Care Dependent Geriatric diseases

 As we become older, we become prone to many chronic diseases that may include, but are not limited to the following,

  • Arthritis and osteoporosis may cause pain and limit our movements.
  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other mental health ailments may compromise our cognitive abilities. In such diseases, we may get short-term memory loss, decreased decision capacity, etc.
  • Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension
  • Stroke may cause permanent physical and mental disabilities.
  • Parkinson’s disease-causing rigidity and restriction in our daily living movements.
  • Neoplastic disorders may require chemotherapies, radiotherapies, or surgical management.

Moreover, care dependence in the elderly is not only limited to chronic disease but also includes certain situations such as recent divorce or death of a close one, loss of job, poor financial condition, and many others.

Tips to Stay Independent in Old Age

Here are some simple tips that can help us remain independent in our old age:

  • Don’t compromise on fitness and health.

To minimize muscle loss and remain fit, we should engage ourselves in regular physical activity. Moreover, we should also try never to skip our medical appointments and follow our physician’s advice regarding our health.

  • Establish a medical alert system

We should establish a medical alert system to cope with any emergency. Such systems may automatically alert the nominated person in case of any emergency, allowing us not to worry even if we’re alone at home.

  • Be socially connected and active.

Being socially connected can help us share our thoughts and life experiences with others. Sharing of thoughts can make us psychologically strong enough to cope with old age issues.

We can use social media (if living distant), regular phone calls, or chat to keep ourselves connected with family, friends, and colleagues in our old age.

  • Foster a senior community

It is the most important task that we should do to ensure our and other old age colleagues’ independence. We can foster a senior community where one senior may help the other senior compensate for his limitations in life.

However, it involves a collective effort from the seniors of our community. Keeping this in mind, the United States government has initiated AmeriCorps Seniors Companion Program, where we can voluntarily provide assistance and friendship to other older adults keeping them independent.

  • Keep ourselves engaged in healthy activities.

We should also engage ourselves in healthy and positive activities in our daily life, such as gardening, teaching children, etc. AmeriCorps also offers Seniors Foster Grandparent program allowing us to become mentors and tutors of children. Senior volunteers of this program have reported better mental health and longevity, having served the community.


Certain factors such as dementia, movement disorders, financial fragility, and many others may make us depend on others in our old age. However, it is a natural human desire that everyone wants to remain independent even in old age. For this purpose, we should remain physically and socially active, never skip our medical appointments, foster a senior community and keep ourselves engaged in healthy activities. Such measures can create a system where most seniors would not be care-dependent.

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