How Can You Cope? The good news is that many seniors are remaining  healthy and active well into their 80s and 90s. This is  partially due to advancing medical technology and  partially due to the Baby Boomers, the large generation  born in the years after World War II, becoming informed  consumers of health care.   Unfortunately, however, for some seniors aging & loss  of independence go hand in hand. Alzheimer’s disease  and related forms of dementia may make it unsafe for a  senior to live alone. Conditions like osteoarthritis of the  hands, knees, and hips can render a person unable to  perform daily tasks such as fixing a meal, bathing, or  getting dressed. Finally, heart- and lung-related  diseases can result in fatigue and shortness of breath  that limit how much exertion a person can tolerate.  If you are a senior citizen and concerned about losing  your independence, the following tips may help.  #1. Get plenty of exercise. Low impact exercises like water aerobics, walking, and yoga can  help you stay limber and fit. If you suffer from a condition like osteoarthritis, exercise  releases pain-relieving endorphins in the brain. It also helps to build muscle to support the  affected joints. Of course, it is always a good idea to talk with your doctor before initiating  any kind of exercise program.  #2. Exercise your brain. There is some truth to the saying, “use it or lose it.” Activities that  help keep the brain active and alert include playing along with television shows such as  Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, doing paper and pen puzzles like Sudoku, hidden words, or  crosswords, and even enjoying computer games that challenge you to think and solve  problems.  #3. Stop smoking. Every cigarette you light increases your chances of developing lung  disease, which can leave you exhausted and tethered to an oxygen concentrator.   #4. Help others. Volunteer for a cause you support, whether that’s helping out at a local  animal shelter, visiting lonely patients in hospitals and nursing homes, delivering meals on  wheels, or working at a recycling center. #5. Stay in touch with friends and family. Sitting alone in your house, all day, every day, does  nothing to stimulate your mind or your body. Make it a point to talk to someone on the phone  at least once a day, and to get out and do something with others at least once a week.  Newer technologies like email and texting also give you a way to stay in touch, but nothing  can replace actual one-on-one contact. #6. Accept help when you need it. Many seniors are so afraid of aging & loss of  independence that they refuse to accept the small interventions that might make it possible  for them to remain independent. A person who is prone to falls, but refuses to use a walker  or a cane, is at high risk of falling and suffering a head injury or broken bone which could  land him or her in a nursing home permanently.   Although not every health-related problem is within your control, there are certainly  measures that you can take to stay happy, healthy and independent as long as possible.