Health and Happiness in the New Year: Attainable Resolutions for Seniors

 Attainable Resolutions for Seniors

 

A new year represents a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to metaphorically “wipe the slate clean” and begin to make better choices for the future. People of all ages set goals when a new year begins. Unfortunately, most individuals never achieve their objectives because their expectations are simply too high. It’s important to select new year resolutions that are achievable, yet push a person to make positive changes. Here are a few attainable new year resolutions for seniors to help them enjoy a healthier, happier life.

Nutrition

Encourage everyone, including the seniors in your life, to set nutritional goals. It doesn’t need to be anything extreme. Simply adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet may be enough to make a significant impact. We know how important nutrition is for health and longevity. Analyze your loved one’s diet and determine some realistic goals for her.

Fitness

Even people with mobility restrictions can create fitness goals. Mild to moderate physical activity can have a meaningful positive impact on a person’s life. Exercise can improve mobility, reduce risk factors for serious diseases, improve balance, and much more. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that physical activity can even improve life expectancy. Fitness goals should be tailored to a person’s specific needs and abilities. There are no shortages of exercise options. Some popular physical activities for seniors include Tai Chi, walking, and water aerobics.

Brain Boost

Seniors must keep their brains active to promote optimal cognitive function. There are many ways to give the mind a workout. This may include crossword puzzles, games, socializing, reading, and solving puzzles. A new year resolution for the brain might be something like, “I will complete three crossword puzzles each week and read one book every month.” Help your loved one find brain boosting activities that he enjoys. This makes it seem less like work and more like fun.

Speak Up

Twenty percent of seniors suffer from depression or anxiety. Encourage your loved one to talk about his feelings. A person must recognize a problem before it can be solved. Make sure the older adults in your life have someone to speak with about these issues. Their new year resolution could be a simple promise to communicate when they are feeling down or upset.

Quit Smoking

This resolution may seem completely unrealistic to some people. An older adult who has been smoking for 40 years may not be willing to stop at this point in life. However, it’s never too late to quit. We don’t need to discuss the obvious dangers of this habit. A popular alternative to cigarettes is an electronic cigarette. While they are not perfect and do contain nicotine, they are less harmful than conventional cigarettes. The goal is to have a person switch to an e-cigarette and slowly decrease the amount of nicotine intake, until eventually the user can eliminate the nicotine entirely. There are also nicotine gum products, patches and other alternative solutions for people who want to stop smoking. Some insurance companies, even some state health departments, will even cover the cost of smoking cessation products.

The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to create new habits. Persuade the seniors in your life to use this opportunity to set goals for a healthy happy future.

 

Tips for Helping Seniors Cope with the Holidays

Tips for Helping Seniors Cope with the HolidaysThe holiday season is a time of joy and celebration for many people. However, it’s a time of despair for others. This is particularly true for seniors, who may have experienced significant losses throughout their lives. Sadness is compounded when a person is dealing with loneliness, mobility restrictions, or health problems. Aged individuals often struggle the most during the holidays. There are several things you can do to help seniors get through this difficult time.

  • Shop: If possible, take your loved one out to the stores to enjoy a day of shopping. To avoid crowds, go early in the day on a weekday. Allow plenty of time for frequent breaks and maybe stop for lunch or coffee. It’s important to keep things lighthearted and simple. Try not to let him or her get exhausted or overwhelmed. This should be an enjoyable, memorable experience for both of you. If the person is unable to go shopping due to mobility or health issues, consider an online shopping adventure. You could make this a really fun experience by bringing a laptop, decorations, music, and snacks. Spend some quality time with him, and give him the opportunity to select gifts for grandchildren, etc.
  • Task assistance: Help your loved one with holiday-related tasks around the house that she may be unable to perform alone. This might include hanging decorations, gift wrapping, or baking those special cookies that she always makes for the holidays. It could be a wonderful opportunity for older grandchildren to get involved and spend some quality time with grandparents.
  • Social activities: If your loved one enjoys community or religious activities, make sure he has adequate transportation to participate in these events.
  • Inclusion: Be sure to include your loved one in your holiday experience. Even if the person has mobility restrictions, she can still help with planning or simple craft projects. Involvement is the key here. She needs to feel that she is a part of the celebration.
  • Listen: This time of year may bring up feelings of grief, and it’s important to allow people to talk through their feelings. You don’t need to offer solutions or advice, simply listen and allow him to express his feelings openly and honestly. Reminisce with him, pull out some old photos if you like, and just allow him to sit in his memories and grief.
  • Avoid exhaustion: Everyone is so busy during the holidays. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Make sure your loved one has enough downtime to avoid exhaustion. Frequent naps and rest are helpful to keep seniors healthy and active during these hectic times.

Older individuals are more likely to experience the “holiday blues.” Pay close attention to your aging loved ones to ensure they don’t slip into depression. Make sure the seniors in your life feel included and understand how important they are during the holiday season.   

 

Understanding and Preventing Frailty in Aging Adults

Frailty in Aging AdultsFrailty is a common issue for senior citizens. It is not, however, an inevitable part of aging. Frailty is a syndrome caused by numerous mental and physical factors. Frail people are more likely to become disabled and spend time in the hospital. They tend to get infections more easily because their immune systems are not functioning properly. People who smoke, suffer from depression, have serious medical problems, or are underweight are prone to frailty. While there is no cure for this complex condition, frailty syndrome in older adults can be prevented and treated.

What is frailty syndrome?

It is generally measured by the following symptoms:

  •         Muscle weakness
  •         Fatigue and exhaustion
  •         Weight loss
  •         Slow movement, especially walking
  •         Low activity

Sarcopenia – This is an underlying biological factor of frailty and is characterized by a loss of muscle mass. It is different than muscle atrophy because it replaces muscle with fat and fibroids. Individuals experiencing sarcopenia have decreased muscle strength and general muscle weakness.

Osteoporosis – This condition most often affects older women. It is indicated by low bone density, and those afflicted with this condition are more likely to experience bone fractures and breaks. It can have a significant negative impact on a person’s quality of life and longevity.

Prevention

Fitness

Physical activity is crucial to help avoid frailty. Just a little exercise each day can make a significant difference. Physical activities should be structured according to the individual’s abilities. Walking, for example, is a wonderful way to improve balance, muscle mass, and heart health. Resistance exercises are great for increasing muscle mass as well. If the person is able, he or she should use weights or bands for this endeavor.

Cognitive wellness

It is also important to keep the mind active. There are numerous ways to exercise the brain. Crossword puzzles and games are a popular choice among aging people. Reading and socializing can also help flex “brain muscles.”

Mental illness

It is vital to recognize and treat any psychological conditions, such as depression. These disorders can heavily influence the progression of frailty. When properly maintained and treated, mental illness will have less of a negative impact on a person’s physical health.

Nutrition

It’s no surprise that nutrition is an important factor in maintaining muscle mass. Protein is especially influential for muscle health. The best approach is to have a well-balanced diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and protein. Additionally, seniors should consume plenty of water, particularly if they live in warm climates.

Frailty is a serious issue for aging adults. It can cause a person’s health to decline dramatically. So, it is essential that efforts are made to prevent and treat it. Unfortunately, there is no single, perfect solution. Rather, a holistic approach is needed to ensure aged individuals have optimal overall wellness, which can help prevent and treat this syndrome.