May 21, 2024

The Independent Living Index

Analyzing the Senior Independent Living Index

HealthyLifetime researchers developed what we call the Independent Living Index (ILI). The Independent Living Index is a composite measure of life dimensions used to indicate a person’s ability to live independently with vitality and resiliency to meet life’s challenges. The ILI includes the following life dimensions:

  • Social engagement and support
  • Perceived health now and in the future
  • Health habits, including smoking, use of alcohol, quality of food choices, exercise, and sleep quality
  • Daily functional capabilities such as cooking, doing chores, managing finances, and transportation
  • Presence or freedom from physical and emotional symptoms
  • Confidence in meeting life’s challenges, resilience, and independent agency

Each dimension is derived from scientific evidence that strongly correlates to morbidity, mortality, “quality life years,” and/or longevity.

How to Improve the Independent Living Index (ILI)

Each person has a unique set of challenges, preferences, and needs. The Independent Living Index will first identify people at risk of losing their independence, then identify the specific issues that will impact an individual’s ability to remain independent. Improving the Independent Living Index score at home involves conscious efforts across a range of lifestyle aspects, including:

  • Health and Wellness: Adopting healthy habits like balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and avoiding harmful behaviors.
  • Sleep Quality: Ensuring sufficient and restful sleep.
  • Social Engagement: Maintaining strong social connections with family, friends, and community.
  • Stress Management: Developing techniques to handle stress, grief, and depression.
  • Communication Skills: Effectively communicating with friends, family, healthcare providers, and pharmacists.
  • Resilience: Building confidence and resilience to navigate life’s challenges.

Implementing Programs to Improve Independent Senior Living

Implementing the Independent Living Index (ILI) in a structured form is essential for validating the effectiveness of a healthy aging program. High-quality programs can lead to astounding results, with participants demonstrating an average increase of 15.2% in their Independent Living Index (ILI) scores. These improvements highlight the efficacy of the organization’s initiatives, demonstrating their role in fostering healthier, more resilient, and independent lifestyles for older adults.

The positive changes are not limited to physical health but also encompass cognitive and psychological dimensions. Participants report significant improvements in their cognitive function, behavioral patterns, and overall resilience, critical aspects of independent living.

Percent of Participants in ILI Score Ranges Bar Graph by HealthyLifetime

Comprehensive Healthcare Programs Yield Economic Benefits

Furthermore, effective healthy aging initiatives yield substantial economic benefits, reducing care and medical service costs by an estimated $20,000 annually. This stark number underscores the urgent need for comprehensive healthcare programs that address economic and health aspects, aligning with the broader goal of promoting health and independent aging.

Learn How to Implement a Healthy Aging Program Today

At HealthyLifetime, we believe people deserve to live a longer, healthier, and more independent lifestyle as they age. However, they often need support and education to achieve these goals. Our healthy aging programs are based on decades of evidence-based research by Nurse Scientists at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. To learn more about the Independent Living Index (ILI) and how to implement a proven, outcomes-based healthy aging program, visit our website or contact us.

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