Have your New Year’s resolutions already fallen by the wayside? If so, don’t panic; you’re in good company. Most of us are gung-ho about a significant change in lifestyle when we turn the calendar page, but life quickly rushes in and distracts us from sustaining our determination to succeed.
Yet it’s never too late to start again, and it is particularly important for seniors in the new year and beyond to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are a few key ways to achieve this; pick one strategy to begin, or jump right into all of the following ideas to boost health and wellness for older adults.
What Can Older Adults Do to Boost Overall Health This Year?
A well-rounded approach to healthy living includes:
Exercising is one of the best things you can do in order to boost wellness, not just physically, but holistically. Regular exercise is proven to improve strength, flexibility, and balance – important aspects in preventing falls – while also easing anxiety and depression, preventing or improving chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and keeping weight under control.
Physical activity doesn’t even have to be a structured exercise program. Daily tasks such as house cleaning, going for a walk, and playing with the grandchildren all count! Speak with the physician for suggestions and approval before beginning or modifying any exercise regime. As a rule of thumb, the aim is to shoot for a minimum of 150 minutes weekly of moderately intense aerobic exercise, along with flexibility and muscle strengthening.
A Balanced Diet
Now that the culinary temptations of the holidays are behind us, it is an excellent time to pick up some better dietary habits! Older adults require fewer calories, but just as many nutrients as younger adults. This can be accomplished by choosing nutrient-packed foods “from the rainbow,” incorporating vegetables and fruits of a variety of colors, along with whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, eggs and poultry, beans, peas, legumes, and fish. Avoid foods which contain added sugar, trans fats, and salt – common ingredients in prepackaged foods.
Planning ahead is an effective way to ensure that healthy food choices are as convenient to grab as their unhealthy alternatives. Try these suggestions:
- Cook favorite foods (such as homemade soup or chili) in larger amounts and then freeze individual portions.
- Keep small cups of fruit (without added sugar) on hand, along with low-prep veggies, like baby carrots and pre-washed salad mixes.
- Partner with an in-home care agency, like Morning Glory Home Care, a provider of home care and memory care in Belleville, IL and the nearby areas, for a caregiver to ensure the fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy options and to prepare nutritious meals.
It’s also essential for older loved ones to stay mentally healthy. The weeks after the holidays are especially hard emotionally for many people. Help those you love to ease sadness, loneliness, and isolation by encouraging them to:
- Get plenty of sleep: seven to eight hours per night is most beneficial.
- Look for opportunities for socialization: volunteer, schedule weekly lunch dates with a good friend, register for a course, etc.
- Take time out daily for enjoyable and uplifting activities.
- Consult with a therapist for help with difficult emotions and developing a brighter outlook on life.
Realize that depression is treatable, and it’s very important for a senior who is showing signs of depression to see the doctor right away for help.
Want to promote wellness for seniors in the new year? Let Morning Glory Home Care’s experts in home and memory care in Belleville, IL and the surrounding communities help someone you love to live a healthier life in 2023! Call us today at 618-667-8400 to learn more about our award-winning in-home care services for older adults.