As we prepare to move forward into 2023, it is the perfect time to think about what we have learned through the previous year and what changes we would like to make in the coming year. It’s not just about making a resolution that’s likely to be given up on within a matter of weeks. It is about taking control of our health so we can more fully enjoy life. To help older adults live their best lives, there are specific strategies that can provide guidance.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Seniors Make to Live Better Lives?
This will vary based on each individual’s current lifestyle and goals, but generally speaking, the following are helpful ways to start:
- Engage in more activities – physically and mentally. A sedentary lifestyle is shown to be extremely unhealthy, raising the risk for chronic illnesses as well as earlier death. Alternatively, staying active and involved with enjoyable activities, such as exercise, hobbies, and socializing, results in a happier, longer life. Older loved ones should seek advice from a doctor for suggestions prior to starting or changing any exercise plan, but in general, walking, swimming, taking a class at the gym, tai chi, and yoga are good options. To give cognitive functioning a lift, try learning to play a musical instrument, working on crosswords or other puzzles, learning a new language, or taking a class.
- Make one or more of these dietary modifications. For someone caught in a routine of unhealthy eating, it can be incredibly challenging to both modify and stick to a healthier diet. It can be easier to start small, replacing one unhealthy item for a healthier one. As an example, the chips eaten at lunchtime with a sandwich can be traded for baby carrots or apple slices. Once this becomes a habit, another replacement can be added in. The goal is to include plenty of fruits and vegetables of various colors, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whole grain products, and healthy fats while steering clear of foods high in sugar, salt, or trans fat.
- Improve sleep habits. Keeping active and following a healthier diet will help pave the way for a good night’s rest, which provides a great deal of benefits. Older loved ones should strive for seven to eight hours of sleep every night to minimize the risk of depression, stroke, inflammation, and heart disease while enhancing focus and concentration.
- Alleviate stress. This can be easier said than done but is imperative to both mental and physical health. It is important to avoid turning to harmful substances like smoking, excessive drinking, or illegal drugs to try to self-medicate. Instead, try relaxation strategies like deep breathing and meditation, writing in a journal, enjoyable, calming activities, or talking with a trusted friend or therapist on a routine basis.
- Schedule routine checkups. Rather than waiting until an illness develops, older adults should see their health care provider routinely (at least annually) for a full checkup. It’s also important to follow all of the doctor’s recommendations to manage any current medical conditions and keep them from worsening and to prevent new ones from developing. This includes regular checkups with the eye doctor, dentist, and any specialists providing care for the senior.
Morning Glory Home Care’s experts in Alton respite care are here to help the seniors in your life implement these and any other positive changes in the new year to make it the greatest year yet! Contact us at 618-667-8400 for more information. Visit our Service Area page to view a full list of the communities where we offer care.