As we get ready to jump into 2023, it is a great time to ponder what we have learned from the past year and what adjustments we’d like to make in the coming year. It is more than simply making a resolution that we will likely give up on within a matter of weeks. It is about taking control of our health so we can boost quality of life and live life to the fullest. For the elderly, there are several specific strategies to make this happen.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Seniors Make to Improve Their Lives?
This may vary per each person’s current lifestyle and goals, but generally speaking, the following are great ways to start:
- Engage in more activities – physically and mentally. An inactive way of life is shown to be very damaging, increasing the risk of chronic illnesses and even earlier death. Conversely, staying active and involved with enjoyable activities, including socializing, exercise, and hobbies, leads to a longer, happier life. Older loved ones should check with the physician for suggestions prior to starting or changing any exercise program, but in general, taking a class at the gym, tai chi, walking, yoga, and swimming are good options. To give cognitive functioning a boost, try crosswords and other puzzles, learning a new language, learning how to play an instrument, or taking a class.
- Make at least one of these dietary adjustments. For a person caught in a routine of unhealthful eating, it can be very tough to both change and stick to a healthier diet. It could be easier to start small, replacing one unhealthy item for a more nutritious one. For instance, the chips eaten at lunchtime with a sandwich can be swapped for apple slices or carrots. Once that gets to be a habit, another replacement can be added in. The aim is to include plenty of vegetables and fruits of different colors, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, whole grains, and healthy fats while steering clear of foods saturated in sugar, salt, or trans fat.
- Improve sleep habits. Staying active and following a healthier diet can help pave the way for a good night’s rest, which provides a wealth of benefits. Seniors should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night to lower the risk of depression, stroke, inflammation, and heart disease while improving concentration and focus.
- Decrease stress. This may be more difficult than it sounds, but it’s imperative to both physical and mental health. It is important to avoid relying on 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 activities, or talking with a trusted friend or therapist on a routine basis.
- Schedule routine checkups. As opposed to waiting until an ailment emerges, older adults should see the doctor routinely (at least yearly) for a full medical checkup. It is also important to follow all of the doctor’s guidelines to manage any current health problems and stop them from worsening and to prevent new ones from developing. This includes regular checkups with the dentist, eye doctor, and any specialists providing care for the person.
Home With You Senior Care’s experts in Manchester respite care and home care services throughout the surrounding areas are here to help the older loved ones in your life implement these and any other positive changes in the new year to make it the best year yet! Call us at 410-756-0959 for more information about how we can help boost quality of life for your loved ones.