Have those New Year’s resolutions already been dropped? If they have, do not fret; you are in good company. Some of us are enthusiastic about a major lifestyle change once we roll over into the new year, but life quickly rushes in and distracts us from sustaining our determination to succeed.
Still, it is never too late to start again, and it is particularly important for older adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are several key ways to achieve this; pick one to get started, or jump right into all the following health strategies for older adults to boost health and wellbeing.
What Can Older Adults Do to Improve Health in 2023?
A well-rounded approach to a healthier lifestyle includes:
Exercising is among the best things we can do in order to improve wellness, not just physically, but holistically. Exercise has been shown to increase strength, flexibility, and balance – key factors in preventing falls – while also relieving anxiety and depression, preventing or improving chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and keeping weight at a healthy level.
Physical activity does not even have to be a structured training routine. Everyday tasks such as housekeeping, taking a walk, and playing with the grandkids all count! Speak to a doctor for guidelines and approval prior to starting or changing any exercise program. As a rule of thumb, the goal is to shoot for at least 150 minutes per week of moderately intensive aerobic exercise, along with muscle strengthening and flexibility exercises.
Now that the food temptations of the holidays are behind us, it is a good time to work on some better eating habits! Older loved ones require fewer calories, but just as many nutrients as younger adults. This can be achieved by choosing nutrient-dense foods “from the rainbow,” incorporating fruits and vegetables of many different colors, along with whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, eggs and poultry, beans, peas, legumes, and fish. Avoid foods that have added trans fats, salt, and sugar – frequent ingredients in prepackaged foods.
Thinking ahead is a good way to make sure healthy food choices are as convenient to grab as their unhealthy counterparts. Try the following tips:
- Prepare favorite dishes (like homemade chili or soup) in bigger batches and then freeze individual portions.
- Keep small cups of fruit (without added sugar) on hand, along with low-prep veggies, such as baby carrots and pre-washed salad mixes.
- Partner with a home care agency, like Compassionate Nursing Services’ experts in home care and respite care in St. Louis and the nearby areas, for a caregiver to ensure the fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy options and to prepare nutritious meals.
It’s also necessary for older loved ones to stay mentally healthy. The weeks following the holidays are particularly difficult emotionally for many people. Help those you love to ease isolation, sadness, and loneliness by encouraging them to:
- Get sufficient sleep: seven to eight hours per night is best.
- Search for opportunities for socialization: volunteer, schedule weekly lunch dates with a good friend, register for a course, etc.
- Take time out daily for enjoyable and uplifting activities.
- Talk with a therapist for help with difficult emotions and developing a brighter outlook on life.
Realize that depression is treatable, and it’s important for an older loved one who is exhibiting signs and symptoms of depression to see the doctor right away for help.
Want more health strategies for older adults? Let Compassionate Nursing Services’ experts in respite care in St. Louis and the surrounding communities help someone you love to live a healthier life in 2023! Call us at 314-432-4312 to learn more about our award-winning home health care services for older adults.