It’s that time of year again … the time to make New Year’s resolutions and – hopefully – stick to them. But since only eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them, what can you do to ensure success? And, perhaps more importantly, what resolutions can you make that you’re more likely to keep?
“One of the best ways to set yourself up for resolution success is by sticking with reasonable resolutions that you know you can accomplish,” says Lynda Marino, Marketing Director at Canterbury Woods Gates Circle, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Buffalo, NY. “This is especially true for older adults, for whom making small changes can add up big in the upcoming year.”
Lynda says that the best gift seniors can give themselves in 2021 is resolving to get healthier so they can age well and feel better for many years to come. “Becoming and staying healthy means you’ll be able to accomplish your goals well into your golden years,” she says. Here are seven resolutions that seniors – or people of any age – can make in order to take their health, happiness and success into their own hands this year.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
As well as whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish and healthy fats. As we age, we need fewer calories, so make them count (and make them healthy). Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, choose fiber-rich foods and opt for leaner meats like turkey and chicken. Make sure you’re eating nutrient dense foods in order to get the nutrition your body needs.
- Be active.
Physical activity helps you get and stay healthy, and even lessen the symptoms of arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. Opt for movement for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and you’re on a great path to improving your balance, mood, posture, bone and muscle strength and weight control. Exercises like walking, stretching, yoga, water aerobics and tai chi are all excellent choices for older adults. Check and see if your insurance plan covers the SilverSneakers program, which is a senior-specific benefit that provides access to local fitness centers, among other things.
- Visit your doctor.
Regular visits to your physician can help you stay on top of your wellness, monitor any underlying health conditions and catch issues before they turn into full-blown problems. If you’re on Medicare, schedule an annual wellness visit during the month of your birthday to discuss health screenings, check up on your medications, see if you need any new immunizations or boosters as well as discuss advance directives. And, of course, if you feel ill or have something come up during the year, schedule a visit to get it checked out. These days, many doctor’s visits can be accomplished through a virtual visit – all you need is a computer, tablet or smartphone and Internet access.
- Get balanced.
Falls are the leading cause of injuries and death among seniors, and one in three older adults fall every year. Working on your balance and improving your muscle strength are excellent ways to reduce your risk of falls. Good exercises to increase your flexibility and balance include walking, working out with an elastic band and practices like yoga. Talk with your health care provider to make sure you’re not taking medications that could make you more likely to fall, and be sure to make your home a trip-free place. Put non-skid backing on rugs, make sure your hallways are free of hazards, install night lights so it’s easier to see in the evening and install grab bars in the bathroom.
- Use your brain.
Cognitive decline doesn’t have to be a natural process of aging. The more you use your gray cells, the better they will work. Do something every day that piques your interest and gets your mind active. Reading, socializing with friends, playing games or learning a new hobby are all great ways to boost your brain. You can even look into courses at your local community college or parks and recreation department, as many places offer free or discounted programs for those 65 and older.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is our body’s natural “restart” button. A good night’s sleep leaves you feeling rested, improves your mood, helps your body heal, reduces your stress levels … really, there are few things better for your body than sleep. Make sure you are set up for sleep success by ensuring your bedroom is at the right temperature, is dark enough and is free of distractions like televisions. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine late in the evening, and make sure you limit screen time several hours before going to bed.
- Know the signs of depression.
Anxiety and depression are very common among older adults, and this can become exacerbated in the winter months due to the short days and social isolation from cold weather. If you find yourself feeling sad or down for extended periods of time, have become snappish or easily irritated, are sleeping too much (or too little), are feeling exhausted and hopeless or have lost your enjoyment of things you once loved to do, speak to your health care provider to see if medications may help you. It’s also a good idea to reach out to friends and family members and find someone you can speak to – social connection is very important and can be one of our biggest tools to combating loneliness and depression.
“Remember, you don’t have to launch into a full-scale redesign of your life in order to improve it,” says Lynda. “Small steps, one at a time, can do just as much good as big changes. Take everything slowly, celebrate the little victories and soon, you’ll be reaping the benefits, both big and small.”
Continuum of Care
As a Life Care Community, Canterbury Woods Communities provide a comfortable environment and first-rate services to support every level of need. Assisted living apartments allow Gates Circle residents to benefit from additional support while maintaining their independent lifestyle. If skilled nursing, rehabilitation or memory care is ever needed, residents can experience the support they require at our sister community in Williamsville.
Contact us today to discover more about Canterbury Woods Gates Circle. (716) 427-6678