By Karen Weeks of Elderwellness.net
Living healthily and happily — it’s a goal we all have, but it looks different depending on the stage of life you’re in. It varies for seniors as well, but there are several healthy lifestyle habits that apply to seniors of all ages. Four of them will be discussed below, helping you better understand what healthy senior habits look like so that you can incorporate them into your life.
Make Exercise Work for You
Exercise is important, but many older adults and seniors still have problems sticking with exercise. Perhaps all the fast-paced classes and fancy moves intimidate you, or you may have a fear of failure. Maybe your mobility isn’t what it once was, so you let a combination of fear and physical limitations hold you back. It could be that you’d much rather prefer to stay at home. Now for the good news: Exercise can be catered to your abilities to help improve your mobility, mood, and overall health. Plus, there are many senior-friendly exercises to choose from, such as swimming, walking, cycling, yoga, and Pilates. If you find exercise a little boring at times (we all do), find a fun activity that doubles as exercise, such as dancing, gardening, or bowling.
Adjust Your Diet to Meet Your Nutritional Needs
It doesn’t matter what age you are, you’ve probably heard a commercial, read an article, or listened to advice from your doctor about your changing nutritional needs, but did you take it seriously? As you age, you are at a higher risk for nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to health issues. For example, you need more protein to prevent muscle loss, calcium, and vitamin D to promote bone health and prevent fractures, and vitamin B12 for brain functioning. If you know your way around the kitchen, spend the day stocking up on freezer meals or make things simpler with an Instant Pot. Seniors in the Cincinnati area can take advantage of meal delivery as well with Meals On Wheels.
Make Safe Housing a Priority
Your home is your happy place, but is it safe too? Many seniors will find they need to make accessibility modifications to age in place safely. Consider adding handrails to the stairs, bathroom, and shower to reduce falls and injuries. Add extra lighting with lamps, and switch out bulbs for a brighter option. You may qualify for financial assistance with larger modifications such as a bathroom remodel or ramp/stairlift installation by taking advantage of loans and grants offered through the VA, HUD, or Medicaid.
However, if you are truly struggling to care for yourself on your own, you might think about seriously researching assisted living facilities. While this isn’t always an easy step, know that assisted living allows you to maintain your independence while still having help with daily tasks that have become difficult to manage, like cooking and cleaning. You’ll want to tour several facilities and take note of the costs. Greater Cincinnati has a variety of communities that range in cost, and with such a varied price range, due diligence will pay off in finding the right fit for your needs and budget. Many people even opt to work with a senior advisor to help with navigating this entire process.
Remind Yourself There’s No One Size Fits All
This article discusses how to “age well,” but it is important to remember that each and every person is different, bringing with them unique strengths and challenges. This concept of “aging well” shouldn’t be defined by aging without any complications such as a disability or health complications. Instead, your level of success should be established by how you are “finding ways to cope with impending or existing illnesses, losses, and other challenges, by getting help and by marshaling one’s own resilience and internal resources,” says Better Health While Aging. Healthy lifestyles will look different from person to person, and that’s completely normal.
Living healthily and happily is important for everyone, including seniors and older adults. The way you do it will differ from person to person. However, the tips above are a great start for seniors looking to get their health on track.