Many people think of the new year as a fresh start. A chance to establish New Year’s Resolutions and make better choices to improve their lives. While it may seem silly or overdone, setting New Year’s Resolutions can actually be very impactful, especially for seniors.
Resolutions can be considered “goals,” and with goals comes a sense of purpose for seniors. A 2019 study shows that for older adults, having a purpose in life can lead to numerous health benefits and can even decrease mortality.
So, even if you think New Year’s Resolutions are cliché, there is merit in making positive changes in your life and sticking with them. Even the smallest change is better than no change at all.
Here are 7 New Year’s resolutions seniors should commit to in the coming year to improve their health, lifestyle and overall well-being. If you are a senior, take these resolutions into consideration as 2023 begins. Or, share these suggestions with your senior loved ones and offer to help them stay accountable.
1. Stimulate your brain
One small change seniors can make is working out their brains. Countless studies have shown that frequent stimulation of the mind keeps it sharper and healthier. Exercising the brain can even delay or prevent memory loss and cognitive decline, according to various studies.
Some easy ways to give the brain a boost include doing puzzles, completing crosswords and brain teasers, playing card games, and reading. Socializing, having discussions, and participating in book clubs are other effective ways for seniors to exercise their brains while interacting with others in an enjoyable way.
2. Add in movement
It’s no secret that exercise is vital to seniors’ physical and mental health. Exercise has been shown to add years onto seniors’ lives. Working out also helps strengthen bones and muscles, increase mobility and balance, improve blood circulation, reduce anxiety and depression and lower blood pressure, along with many other benefits.
However, detailed workout plans can be intimidating, especially for people who are just beginning their exercise journeys. Because of this, seniors should find a safe form of movement they enjoy, making exercising more manageable and sustainable.
Some enjoyable, approachable ways to add in movement include walking, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, pickleball, tai chi, yoga, and stretching.
Certain seniors may be eligible for the Silver Sneakers program, which offers free in-person or at-home workout opportunities. These programs are a great way to get moving and connect with others at the same time. Seniors can check their eligibility for the program here.
Whatever the exercise may be, adding in movement should be a high priority for seniors in 2023.
3. Improve your diet
For seniors, diet plays a crucial role in staying healthy. The USDA recommends eating a variety of foods from each food group to reduce the risk of various health conditions like heart disease, hypertension, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Of course, limiting sugar, sodium, and saturated fats is always recommended. But, if your senior loved one is resistant to reducing their intake of these items, focus on adding in more nutritious foods to their diet instead.
It is important for seniors to have sufficient protein, potassium, calcium, fiber, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. To acquire these nutrients, seniors should aim to have at least 5 servings of various fruits and vegetables a day. For protein, seniors should aim for lower-fat meats such as turkey or chicken, and heart-healthy fish like salmon or tuna. Other dietary staples should include nuts, beans, legumes, whole grains, yogurt, and low-fat milk.
And don’t forget about drinking 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.
4. Declutter your home
In 2023, seniors should aim to get rid of items they no longer use or need. Decluttering has many benefits. First, having fewer items in the house makes it easier and safer to move around, and also requires less cleaning and maintenance. One of the biggest benefits of decluttering is that it makes moving tremendously easier when it comes time to downsize.
The thought of decluttering an entire home can be overwhelming. Start by going through 1 room at a time. Bringing along a friend or loved one makes the process more manageable too.
5. Build and nurture relationships
Companionship is crucial for older adults. The Mayo Clinic suggests that having social connections improves seniors’ sense of purpose and belonging, increases happiness, and reduces stress. Studies have also shown that seniors who have stronger social connections are more likely to live longer than those who do not.
There are many ways to nurture existing relationships with friends and family, such as writing letters and talking on the phone. Planning lunch or coffee with loved ones is a great way to stay connected and have something to look forward to.
Making new connections is also very important, especially if a senior does not have loved ones nearby. Assisted living and independent living communities offer countless opportunities to meet others with similar interests and lifestyles. Seniors should introduce themselves to their neighbors, sit with new people at meals, and say hello to people they encounter around the community. Fitness classes, lectures, and religious events are a few other places where seniors can meet others with common interests and make connections.
Attending events and talking to new people can be intimidating for some seniors. Start slowly and ease into the activities you enjoy to start building connections. Or, set a goal to talk to 1 new person every day. The mental and physical health benefits will be worth it.
6. Organize medical records and documents
A task many older adults put off is getting medical paperwork in order. While not always the most enjoyable task, it is very important to organize these documents in case of emergency or illness.
In Florida, some documents seniors should arrange include advance directives, living wills, and powers of attorney. Click here for more information about the specific documents Florida seniors should prepare in 2023.
7. Plan for the future
Along with arranging medical documents, another crucial part of aging is planning for long-term care. In 2023, determine your preferences for future living arrangements and care. For example, do you want to move to a senior living community or receive care at home? Research the options available in your preferred area, including assisted living communities, adult day programs, independent living, and home care.
Figure out your budget and how you will pay for these services. Many seniors enlist a financial planner, insurance agent or estate-planning attorney to help them decide what method will work best for their situation.
Spend some time talking with family, friends, lawyers and care professionals to make plans for the future. Make sure to document your wishes so your loved ones do not have to guess your intentions in case of emergency.
Making lifestyle changes can be difficult, especially for seniors who prefer the familiarity of their own habits. But, these lifestyle changes are always advantageous–and often crucial–to seniors’ well-being.
Instead of setting unrealistically lofty goals, seniors can begin making small changes to improve their everyday lives. And what better time to do so than the New Year?
Looking for more guidance?
Entering your senior years can be complicated. With so many tasks to manage and decisions to make, it is okay to ask for help.
If you or your senior loved one need further guidance navigating your later years, Florida Senior Consulting can help.
Our senior advisors are experts in the field and will help you find the best senior services and care based on your budget, interests, and preferences. We provide these consulting and placement services at no cost to you.
Call us at (941) 661-6196 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to start living your best life in 2023.