About Karen Weeks: "After retirement, I was bored and struggled to find a new sense of purpose. So, I decided to learn a new skill. I took a computer course and learned how to build this website (www.elderwellness.net). Now, I try new things all the time. I believe nothing is off limits to seniors and I want to spread the word!"
The body becomes more susceptible to illness and injury with age. As you get older, it's even more important to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. For example, if you're living alone and find that your mental health is suffering due to feelings of isolation and loneliness, you might consider making the transition to an assisted living community like Pathway to Living.
The new year is the perfect time to make such lifestyle changes. The below guide provides ideas for senior-specific New Year's resolutions designed to help you look and feel your best.
Create a more comfortable living space that promotes calm.
Chronic stress harms your health, increasing the risk for everything from anxiety to hypertension. Resolve to make your home an anti-stress zone. Give your space a thorough deep clean to eliminate clutter, which causes anxiety. Add anti-stress extras like essential oil diffusers, using calming scents like lavender and jasmine. You might also consider incorporating more greenery into your home, as plants like peppermint and chamomile are shown to combat stress.
Make your social life a priority to boost your mood.
It's important to maintain an active social life as you get older. Humans are a social species, and interacting with others promotes good health and makes you more resilient to stress as person-to-person contact triggers the release of feel-good neurotransmitters. If you live alone, make a point of meeting friends regularly, be it for a coffee, book club, or exercise class. If you have trouble getting out there, consider a move to an assisted living community, where you will have easy access to social opportunities.
Embrace a senior-friendly diet to increase your energy.
As you get older, your metabolism will slow down. This presents a unique challenge as you must get your nutritional needs fulfilled while eating less. Focus on cooking nutrient-rich meals with fresh ingredients. Buy local produce, which is allowed to ripen fully and thus, contains more nutrients. In contrast, goods shipped from far away are harvested prematurely to ensure they don't rot on the way to the supermarket. You can also enhance your diet with supplements like B12, which helps your body convert the food you consume into energy.
Exercise more often for greater physical and mental health.
According to the National Institute on Aging, exercise is essential for healthy aging. Regular physical activity helps to maintain endurance, balance, strength, and flexibility. Exercise also boosts your mood, thanks to the endorphins it produces. Look for senior-friendly forms of activity that won't stress your joints, which tend to become worn with age. Water-based activities like swimming and water aerobics are ideal because of the buoyancy the water provides. You can also check out yoga or cycling.
Take up a new hobby to keep your brain sharp.
Many seniors worry about cognitive decline. Luckily, there are steps you can take to decrease the risk of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. Pick up a new hobby with preventive benefits. You might consider learning a new language, for example, which is proven to enhance memory. Seniors Lifestyle Magazine offers a list of brain-healthy hobbies, including learning an instrument and practicing arts and crafts.
Put the above tips into practice to help you look and feel your best as you get older. Instead of viewing these New Year's resolutions as chores, look at them as self-care. You are investing time and energy in your mental and physical wellbeing.