Happy New Year 2022! Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions? Reaching some goals and making lifestyle changes is something that makes all of us feel good at any age. We uncovered these top ten suggestions for seniors making New Year’s resolutions including tips from the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation.
1. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats
One truism is that in later life, you may need healthy foods, but fewer calories. The USDA’s Choose My Plate program and our own staff here at the Brookhouse Home can help you make good choices. It is recommended to eat at least more servings of fruits and vegetables, less fatty meats like chicken or turkey, and more heart-healthy fish. Also, include sources of calcium and Vitamin D to help keep your bones strong. Also use healthier fats, such as olive and canola oils, instead of butter or lard.
2. Be active
Physical activity can be safe and healthy for older adults — even if you have heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis! In fact, many of these conditions get better with mild to moderate physical activity. Exercises such as tai chi, water aerobics, walking, and stretching can also help you control your weight, build your muscles and bones, and improve your balance, posture, and mood.
3. Get enough sleep
Older adults need less sleep than younger people, right? Wrong! Older people need just as much — at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Avoid daytime naps, which can keep you up in the evening. Visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website for more tips on how to sleep better.
4. Share a good laugh
Humor, or a smile, can make you feel good even in difficult times. Laughter also strengthens your immune system, lifts mood, eases pain, and lowers stress, says HelpGuid.org.
5. Guard against falls
One in every three older adults falls each year — and falls are a leading cause of injuries and death among older adults. Exercises such as walking can increase your strength, balance, and flexibility and help you avoid falls. Eliminate items in your home or room that are easy to trip over, like throw rugs. For those living in their own home, insert grab bars in your bathtub or shower, and install night lights so it’s easier to see at night.
6. Give your brain a workout
The more you use your mind, the better it will work. Reading is a good choice. Socializing also gives your brain a boost, so join a bridge club or a discussion group at your local library or senior center. Or take a course at your local community college — some offer free classes for adults 65 and older. The Brookhouse Home has an active book club and daily activities.
7. Speak up when you feel down or anxious
About 1 in 5 older adults suffers from depression or anxiety. Some possible signs of depression can be lingering sadness, tiredness, loss of appetite or pleasure in doing things you once enjoyed. You may also have difficulty sleeping, worry, irritability, and want to be alone. If you have had any of these signs for more than two weeks, talk to your healthcare provider and reach out to friends and family.
8. Stay connected and make new friends.
Social engagement and participation are especially important for older adults. These are linked to better cognition and overall health, and lower risk of depression and disability, reports Statistics Canada.
9. Reconsider multivitamins
Reconsider using vitamins or nutrition supplements. as many older adults do not need them. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any issues or concerns about your nutrition.
10. Wash your hands frequently
Washing your hands on a regular basis is another excellent way to stay healthy year-round. Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. It’s possible to become ill if you touch a virus-covered surface and contaminate your hands, and then touch your face. Wash your hands with warm soapy water often, and for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your nose, face, and mouth with your hands according to the senior’s guide to staying healthy year-round.