As people get older, healthy habits become increasingly important. Investing in mental and physical fitness keeps seniors fit and ensures they can make the most of their golden years. Maybe you're noticing the effects of aging and want to counteract them, or perhaps you're a caregiver who wants to help an elderly loved one thrive. Whatever the case may be, seize the opportunity the new year offers for a fresh start to adopt healthy habits.
Prepare nutritious senior-friendly recipes to enhance health and energy levels.
Metabolism slows down as people get older. As a result, seniors tend to have a smaller appetite — meaning, they have to get more nutrients in smaller servings. Prioritize a well-balanced diet rich in lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. You can arrange grocery delivery services to get the ingredients you need to cook at home.
Seniors lacking energy may also benefit from mineral and vitamin supplements. Vitamin B-12 helps your body transform food into energy, for instance, and can provide a boost.
Use technology to learn new hobbies and stay mentally sharp.
According to the AARP, many seniors shy away from technology because of fear. They may be worried about data security or simply find new tech intimidating. However, technology can enrich seniors' lives in many ways. Online courses and tutorials are a great way to learn new hobbies, which can improve mental acuity, for example. CBS offers a list of activities that can help keep the aging brain healthy, such as quilting, pottery, woodworking, and painting.
Look for ways to stay social and maintain happiness despite limited mobility.
Technology like smartphones and tablets can also help seniors stay in touch with friends and family, serving as a valuable outlet for socializing. This can be especially important for those facing limited mobility due to illness or injury. An active social life also helps older people stay mentally sharp. Further, a strong emotional support system is critical for positive mental health as it staves off feelings of boredom, loneliness, depression, and isolation.
Find senior-friendly exercises to encourage physical activity.
Staying active is important at any age. Seniors often find physical activity challenging, however, due to a decrease in muscle mass, coordination, and flexibility. Joints also become worn with age, making high-impact exercises like jogging painful.
Look for senior-friendly exercises that don't stress joints, such as cycling, yoga, swimming, and water aerobics. Healthline offers a comprehensive exercise plan for seniors that covers every day of the week. Again, for seniors with limited mobility, technology can prove useful, making it possible to follow online exercise courses from home.
Start prioritizing preventive healthcare.
Preventive medical care allows you to catch and treat health issues early on, before they become more dangerous. Seniors should see a doctor at least once a year for a comprehensive checkup, including a blood test. This can help pinpoint nutritional deficiencies and signs of illness that may not yet present noticeable symptoms.
If you're enrolled in Medicare, take advantage of the "Welcome to Medicare'' preventive visit. You get this for free in the first 12 months of joining Medicare Part B.
If you want to improve your daily quality of life as a senior, refer to the above list. Caregivers can also implement these pointers to ensure their elderly loved ones are enjoying maximum health and happiness. Small changes can make a big difference!
North Shore Area Partners is dedicated to helping seniors thrive with affordable elder care services, offering homemaking support, medical appointment transportation, and caregiver assistance. Visit the website to find out more.
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About Harry Cline
Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.