Don’t you love turning to the first page of that new novel you’ve been looking forward to reading? There’s a feeling of excitement at the onset of a story, and with the beginning of the new year, that same level of expectant excitement settles upon us. Best of all, we have some measure of control over how the story will play out, as we resolve to make changes to enhance our overall health, our relationships with others, and the paths our lives will take.
For older adults, making resolutions is a great way to instill a sense of achievement, meaning and purpose in life. An excellent bonding activity for family members is to sit down together and create a listing of each person’s wishes for the new year, and how to set about acquiring those. Some suggestions to jumpstart the conversation, especially for older adults, include:
- Strive for 5. The USDA suggests we consume five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Top picks include those that are dark green or brightly colored, like kale, spinach, collard greens, cantaloupe, and bell peppers.
- Get Going! Each of us can reap benefits from some extra physical activity. Always begin with a visit to the doctor to get his or her approval on an exercise strategy, and then put a plan in place to implement. Great exercises for many seniors include walking, swimming or water aerobics, or tai chi. Partnering with a family member, or a professional in-home caregiver from a high-quality senior care company, can assure the motivation and encouragement to stick with it.
- Make an Appointment – or Two. Pull out the calendar, pick up the phone, and set up all those tests and screenings you’ve been postponing: hearing and vision checks, colon and breast cancer screenings, osteoporosis tests, etc.
- Give Your Brain a Boost. Determine that this will be the year to learn something totally new or to try something you’ve never taken the time to try. For older individuals, there are a wide range of senior-specific programs at community colleges that incorporate the added benefit of enhancing socialization. Other good opportunities include online language courses, memory puzzles and games, or learning activities at the local library.
- Quit a Bad Habit. Whether it’s quitting smoking, curbing alcohol consumption, or some other unhealthy habit, the new year is the perfect occasion to decide to overcome it. Setting simple goals and celebrating along the way is a great way to ensure success.
- Offer safe, accompanied transportation for older individuals to medical appointments, exercise programs, classes, social activities, and more
- Fix nutritious, delicious meals according to any prescribed dietary plans
- Run errands such as shopping for groceries to keep the refrigerator and pantry well stocked
- Provide medication reminders to confirm prescriptions are taken exactly as recommended
- And much more