As we get ready to roll the calendar forward to 2023, it is the perfect time to ponder what we have learned through the past year and what changes we’d like to make in the coming year. It is more than just making a resolution that’s likely to be given up on within a matter of weeks. It’s about taking control of our health and wellbeing so we can live life to the fullest. For family caregivers, there are a few specific ways you can help older adults live their best lives in the new year.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Help Older Adults Live Their Best Lives?
This may vary based on each individual’s current lifestyle and goals, but generally speaking, the following ideas are a fantastic place to begin:
- Engage in more activities – physically and mentally. An inactive lifestyle is proven to be extremely damaging, raising the risk for chronic health issues as well as earlier death. On the other hand, staying active and engaged in enjoyable activities, such as exercise, hobbies, and socializing, contributes to a longer, happier life. Older loved ones should consult with the physician for suggestions before starting or changing any exercise program, but in general, yoga, taking a class at the gym, swimming, tai chi, and walking are great options. To give cognitive functioning a boost, try crosswords or other puzzles, learning to play a musical instrument, learning a new language, or taking a class.
- Make a minimum of one of these dietary changes. For someone caught in a routine of unhealthful eating, it may be extremely tough to both change and stick to a healthier diet. It can be simpler to start small, exchanging one unhealthy item for a more nutritious one. As an example, the chips eaten at lunchtime with a sandwich may be exchanged for baby carrots or apple slices. Once this turns into a routine, another substitution may be added in. The aim is to incorporate plenty of vegetables and fruit of various colors, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free milk products, whole grain products, and healthy fats while reducing foods high in sugar, salt, or trans fat.
- Improve sleep habits. Keeping active and following a healthier diet can help pave the way for a better night’s sleep, which provides an abundance of benefits. Older loved ones should shoot for seven to eight hours of sleep per night to reduce the possibility of obesity, depression, heart disease, stroke, and inflammation while enhancing focus and concentration.
- Relieve stress. This can be much easier to say than do, but it’s crucial to both physical and mental health. It is important to refrain from turning to harmful substances like illegal drugs, smoking, or excessive drinking in order to self-medicate. Instead, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation, journaling, enjoyable, calming activities, or talking with a reliable friend or therapist on a regular basis.
- Schedule routine checkups. As opposed to waiting until an ailment develops, older adults should see the doctor routinely (at least yearly) for a complete checkup. It’s also important to adhere to all of the doctor’s guidelines to manage any present health issues and keep them from worsening, and to prevent new ones from developing. This includes regular checkups with the eye doctor, dentist, and any specialists providing care for the person.
Compassionate Nursing Services, a trusted provider of home care in Clayton, MO and the surrounding areas, is here to help your loved ones implement these and any other positive changes in the new year to help them live their best lives and make it the greatest year yet! Call us today at 314-432-4312 to find out more.