The clean slate of starting a new year can be beneficial for us all, including senior adults. While there are so many things that could go on a list of resolutions, goals to improve healthy lifestyles typically top the list for many people.
Focusing on healthy behaviors, such as improving eating habits and being more active, are very attainable for seniors. At USA Healthcare, we also encourage our residents to make goals related to socializing and connecting with others that will be good for overall health and wellbeing.
Like many of us, seniors often do better when they have very intentional goals that are achievable and attainable for their particular stage of life. To help set them up for success, it’s a great idea to be a little more specific and creative than just “eat healthier” or “exercise more.” Here are several ideas for 2021.
1. Eat Foods that are More Nutrient-Dense
While aging adults do need fewer calories, they still need just as many or more nutrients. These nutrients can be found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds. Seniors should have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day in a variety of colors.
2. Move in New, Safe Ways
It’s easy for all of us to get into a routine that becomes a rut, and this includes senior adults who may become comfortable with one type of physical activity, such as walking. Other types of aerobic exercise can be great for older adults, and simple physical activities strengthen muscles, improve balance, and increase flexibility. Yoga and swimming are examples of activities that would accomplish these goals. Our physical therapists are knowledgeable about other activities that may be appropriate.
3. Take Steps to Prevent Possible Falls
One in every three older adults falls each year, and falls are a leading cause of injury or death among this population. Focusing on the previous goals of eating more nutrient-dense foods and exercising in new ways can make senior adults stronger, more flexible, and have better balance, which can help prevent falls. While we always try to watch out for this at our facilities, it may also be a good idea to check a senior adult’s living space to make sure there are no items to trip over, such as rugs. Installing grab bars in the shower or bathtub, and adding night lights are also great ways to guard against falls.
4. Consider Sleep Requirements
While some are under the impression that older adults need less sleep, the opposite is actually true. Seniors typically need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, possibly even more. One trick we have found that sometimes helps our residents who have trouble sleeping at night is eliminating any napping during the day. Finding a new activity to replace that afternoon nap can significantly improve sleep at night. Getting up a little earlier each morning may also help.
5. Revive an Old Friendship
It’s common for senior adults to fall out of touch with old friends over time, but reconnecting can be extremely beneficial. Today, there are many resources through technology that make this reconnection possible. A phone call, email, or becoming friends on Facebook may be all it takes to rekindle an old friendship, even if it’s not possible to get together in person.
6. Revisit an Old Pastime
Most people have hobbies or pastimes they once enjoyed that they have not participated in for years. But is there any reason not to? While senior adults may need help gathering needed supplies or materials, doing something they used to love may be a huge boost for their mind and spirit. This activity might be knitting, bird watching, playing cards, completing puzzles, or enjoying some sort of collection they used to be passionate about.
Making resolutions and setting goals is an important part of staying active, feeling good, and being motivated to keep enjoying life. Our therapists, nurses, and other staff members at USA Healthcare will do all we can to help our residents achieve their goals.
At USA Healthcare, we look forward to getting to know you and your family and helping you get the answers you need when it comes to the best care options for your loved ones.
Contact us at USA Healthcare to discuss our long-term and short-term care facilities and options. We’re here for you!