The start of a new year often inspires us to make much-needed changes in our lives and offers the opportunity for a fresh start. For seniors who want to improve their physical and mental health, the start of a new year signifies the beginning of positive change. Whether you prefer to set small goals for yourself or approach each new year as an opportunity for a complete life “makeover,” here are four simple resolution ideas to help you kick-start the year:
Resolution #1 – Make Healthier Food Choices
When it comes to senior nutrition, eating fresh fruits and vegetable that are rich in nutrients is the best way to go. Eating fewer processed foods and more fresh foods will make a huge difference in the way you look and feel. Start by eating more fruits, lean meats, whole grains and vegetables and gradually increase your consumption of these nutrient-rich foods over time while decreasing your intake of less healthy alternatives.
It’s also important to monitor your sugar intake as not all sugars are created equally. Consuming natural sugar as found in fruit and lactose can be beneficial and can actually help to stabilize your blood sugar and make you feel fuller longer. As the name implies, added sugars are processed forms of sugar, like syrups, that are added to certain foods when they’re being made. Because these sugars are processed and not natural, they’re not as good for your body.
Another important part of a healthy diet for seniors is Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in olive oil and fish. This heart-healthy nutrient has been known to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and other ailments. It may also protect the brain. To get enough Omega-3 in your diet, substitute fish for other meat a few times each week or talk to your physician about opting for an Omega-3 dietary supplement.
Resolution #2 – Reestablish Old Connections
It’s not always easy remaining close to friends and family who don’t live right down the street. Fortunately, there are many resources you can use to revive your neglected relationships. One of the quickest ways to reconnect is with a simple phone call. Sending a “thinking of you” card or letter is also a nice why to keep in touch. If you’re technologically savvy, social media sites like Facebook make it exceedingly easy to stay connected with friends and family from all around the world.
Resolution #3 – Remain Mentally and Physically Active
As we age, it is important that we keep active – both mentally and physically. The more you use your mind, the better it will work. Read. Do crossword puzzles. Play cards. Try Sudoku. Socializing also gives your brain a boost, so strike up a conversation with your neighbor, finally make that phone call to your friend you’ve been putting off or join a discussion group at your local library or senior center.
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 yoga, water aerobics, walking, and stretching can also help you control your weight, build your muscles and bones, and improve your balance, posture, and mood. Remaining both mentally and physically active is vital to maintaining your health and can help to reduce the risk of developing dementia in the future.
Resolution #4 – Be Proactive About Fall Prevention
One in every three older adults falls each year — and falls are a leading cause of injuries and death among older adults. Eliminate items in your home that are easy to trip over, like throw rugs and stray power cords. Insert grab bars in your bathtub or shower, and install night lights so it’s easier to see at night. Exercises such as walking or working out with an elastic band can increase your strength, improve balance and flexibility and help you avoid falls. Selecting the appropriate footwear can also help to prevent falls. For an all-around shoe, consider walking shoes, which provide good traction and support but do not have heavy soles or rubber over the toes which can catch on carpet.
Looking to Move This Year?
If you’re a senior looking to make a bigger change this year by downsizing or relocating, we hope you’ll consider Carlton Senior Living. Although the thought of moving can result in a plethora of ambiguous feelings, many of our residents say they wish they had made the move sooner and after experiencing all of the services and activities our communities have to offer. Read what Carlton residents and their families have to save about our communities on our testimonials page and contact us to schedule tour and experience Carlton for yourself.