While we prepare to jump into 2023, it’s the perfect time to think about what we have learned from the past year and what adjustments we’d like to make in the coming year. It is not just about making a resolution that’s likely to be given up on within a matter of weeks. It’s about taking charge of our health and wellness so we can live life to the fullest. For seniors, there are a few specific strategies that can aid family caregivers in helping older loved ones make healthier choices in the new year.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Older Adults Make to Live Better Lives?
This may vary in accordance with each person’s current lifestyle and goals, but by and large, the following ideas are an excellent place to start:
- Become more active – mentally and physically. A sedentary way of life is proven to be very harmful, raising the risk of developing chronic health issues and also earlier death. On the other hand, staying active and engaged in enjoyable activities, like exercise, hobbies, and socializing, results in a longer, happier life. Seniors should check with the physician for guidelines prior to starting or changing any exercise program, but in general, yoga, taking a class at the gym, swimming, tai chi, and walking are good options. To give cognitive functioning a lift, try crosswords and other puzzles, learning a new language, learning how to play an instrument, or taking a class.
- Make a minimum of one of the following dietary adjustments. For someone caught in a routine of unhealthful eating, it could be very tough to both change and adhere to a healthy diet. It may be preferable to start small, swapping one unhealthy item for a more nutritious one. For instance, the chips eaten at lunchtime with a sandwich might be traded for apple slices or carrots. Once this gets to be a routine, another substitution could be added in. The aim is to include plenty of vegetables and fruits of different colors, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whole grain products, and healthy fats while avoiding foods high in sugar, salt, or trans fat.
- Improve sleep habits. Staying active and following a healthy diet will help pave the way for a better night’s rest, which provides a wealth of benefits. Older adults should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every night to minimize the possibility of obesity, depression, heart disease, stroke, and inflammation while boosting focus and concentration.
- Alleviate stress. This might be easier said than done, but is crucial to both physical and mental health. It’s important to avoid turning to harmful substances like smoking, excessive drinking, or illegal drugs to attempt to self-medicate. Instead, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation, journaling, enjoyable, calming hobbies, or talking with a reliable friend or therapist on a routine basis.
- Arrange for regular checkups. As opposed to waiting until an illness emerges, seniors should see their health care provider routinely (at least annually) for a complete checkup. It is also important to adhere to all of the doctor’s instructions to manage any current health issues and stop 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 person.
Grace Home Care, a provider of in-home care and dementia care in Topeka, is here to help the older adults in your life implement these and any other positive changes in the new year to make it the greatest year yet! Get in touch with us at 785-286-2273 for more information.