Independence. It’s what our country celebrates.
But if you’re in your “golden years,” do you celebrate your own independence?
Stay mobile and stay strong
We talked to two Marshfield Clinic physical therapists who agree that independence needs to be celebrated and it largely depends on being proactive about your own well-being.
“A lot of times people say ‘I’m too old for that,’ but I tell them you can’t use that as an excuse,” said Karissa Paulsrud, who sees patients at the Eau Claire Center. “If you stay active or start walking more, you can still make gains. You have to set your mind to it.”
Paula Denn of the Rice Lake Center advocates for “having as much mobility as you safely can, for as long as you can. Just being active in the community, volunteering and doing things increases how much you’re pushing your body to stay mobile and strong.”
Caregivers, keep this in mind, too, whether you’re an adult child, spouse or group home provider. You can help encourage older adults to perform exercises to increase their strength and balance and decrease their risk of falls. Find out more about organized programs through Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC), which operate in all Wisconsin counties. Paulsrud and Denn work closely with Eau Claire and Barron counties’ ADRCs.
“I commonly will tell people to be proactive about living because your age is just a number,” Denn said. “You may say you’re 98 but it’s how you feel and how you act that defines your age.”
Try walking regularly
The therapists pointed out that you can still get your walking in during inclement weather. Shopping malls in many communities are open to walkers, for example. Even some local motels open their indoor pools to the public during slow times, available for free or a very low fee.
For information on this and other programs, contact your county’s ADRC.