Now that the new year is well underway, you may be thinking about ways to improve your life and how you will achieve those goals.
Seniors especially can resolve to make healthy changes for the better – changes that are focused on improving their physical and mental wellbeing.
Eat healthier food and focus on good nutrition.
According to MedlinePlus, a division of the National Institutes of Health, seniors can improve their nutrition by:
- Eating foods that provide lots of nutrients such as fruits and vegetables (especially those with bright colors), whole grains like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice, dairy products and juices with added vitamin D and calcium, seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Avoiding the empty nutrition in foods with lots of calories but few nutrients, such as chips, candy, baked goods, soda, and alcohol.
- Choosing foods that are low in cholesterol and fat, and avoiding the saturated and trans fats that come from animals or the processed fats in stick margarine and vegetable shortening.
- Drinking enough liquids to avoid dehydration. Some people lose their sense of thirst as they age, and certain medicines might make it even more important to have plenty of fluids.
If you have trouble smelling and tasting food, you can try adding color, texture and seasoning to make meals more interesting. For those who simply don’t feel like eating or who are not eating enough, it’s important to add some healthy snacks throughout the day to help them get more nutrients and calories.
Look for opportunities for year-round physical activity.
According to Go4Life, there are many ways to be active throughout the year:
- When grandchildren visit, head outside to build a snowman together or go ice skating.
- Cold outdoor temperatures are an excellent reason to join a mall-walking group.
- Start the new year by trying out a fitness center—many offer New Year’s Resolution specials.
- Give your heart a Valentine’s Day gift with dance lessons, such as salsa, tango, or belly dancing.
- As the temperatures warm up, get your garden ready for spring and summer. The lifting and bending you do when gardening are great for strength and flexibility.
- A bike ride is a great way to enjoy the warmer temperatures.
- Anything can be fun with upbeat music, including spring cleaning!
- Build your endurance and strength with a bike ride during National Bike Month (May). Remember your helmet.
- Swim laps or take a water aerobics class. These are both refreshing once the weather gets steamy.
- Walking in the mall is a cool way to beat the heat.
- Now that the grandchildren are out of school for the summer, ask them to teach you their favorite sport or physical activity.
- Celebrate National Bowling Week the first week in August. Get friends and family together and challenge each other to a friendly tournament.
- If you’ve heard about the benefits of yoga but haven’t tried it yet, National Yoga Awareness Month in September is a great time to find special events and trial classes for beginners.
- As the weather begins to cool, join an indoor sports league, such as basketball, handball, or bowling.
- Fall provides great opportunities for physical activity. You can take long walks to see the beautiful fall colors. Once the leaves have fallen, raking is good exercise.
- If you have holiday shopping to do, walk the entire mall each time you’re there.
Prioritize social connections.
Healthinaging.org advises the following proactive steps to help prevent loneliness and stay connected.
- Join community activities. Think about activities you enjoy and look around your community for ways to get involved. Consider the local Y, a community center or a local place of worship.
- Volunteer. Not only will volunteering help your community, it is a great opportunity to meet new people.
- Use technology. Sometimes it’s not possible to have face-to-face contact with a friend. Get up to speed on technology because there are various ways to communicate and stay in touch with your loved ones. Share pictures through email or social media. Have a video conversation on your computer or by downloading an app on your smartphone.
- Take a class. Learn to paint or cook. Take an educational or creative writing class. Keep an active mind, and who knows – you may find a new friend in class! Your new skills will improve your confidence, which helps social interaction to become more pleasurable.
- Try alternative therapies. Consider being a pet owner. There are many adult animals looking for a new owner, and walking a pet is a great way to meet people. Explore the benefits of massage and aromatherapy, and make an appointment to try them.
- Consider different housing. It might make sense to weigh the pros and cons of moving to a different locale or a different living arrangement where there may more opportunities to meet and socialize with others.
Kadan Homecare is committed to helping seniors stay as healthy as possible, wherever they call home. Our compassionate caregivers offer the support and encouragement that seniors need to stay as active as they possibly can.