As the new year starts, most of us, whether we are 18 or 80, are establishing resolutions for how we are going to improve ourselves in the next 12 months. The most common New Year’s resolutions – eating better, exercising more, and quitting smoking – are all great, but what about the senior who is looking for something a little different?
Here are a few New Year’s resolution ideas for seniors to consider. Whether you live in your own house, a retirement community or with a loved one, the ideas below could help make a positive difference in your life this year. If you have your own ideas, feel free to leave a comment below!
1) Update or create your legal documents: We get that this isn’t the most fun resolution idea, but we’re all too familiar with the difficulties that come with being unprepared in the case of an unexpected life event. If you haven’t already created a will, advance directives and power of attorney documents, contact an estate attorney and get started. If you established these documents more than a few years ago, take a look at them and see if they need updated. Having these documents in order doesn’t need to be a morbid or depressing undertaking – think of it more like putting a gift on layaway for your loved ones later on.
2) Start a new creative hobby: Whether it’s painting, journaling, learning a new musical instrument or a bevy of other hobbies that are creative in nature, stimulating the right hemisphere of the brain is good for your health. In addition to increasing your life satisfaction and the potential psycho-social benefits, creative endeavors can help with problem solving, patience, tolerance for frustration and the formation of neurons in an aging brain, according to the National Center for Creative Aging.
3) De-clutter your house: Believe it or not, clutter can play a significant role in our mental and emotional health. According to research, clutter can cause stress, difficulty focusing, anxiety, guilt, lack of productivity and more. Set small de-cluttering goals, allow some time for reminiscing and try to make it a fun activity. You can even include your loved ones in the process. At Concordia, we have seen way too many people stay in a cluttered, unsafe house when thinking about moving to a retirement community, only to be forced into making a need/health-based decision to move to a less independent environment after a fall.
4) Try new foods: Some of the happiest people at Concordia’s retirement community in Cabot are members of a group called Dining Destinies. The group goes out to lunch regularly and the only rule is that each member must try something he/she has never tasted. Not only does trying new foods and flavors expand your thinking, but it also expands your nutritional variety –which can definitely improve your health (if you are choosing the right foods). Another fun benefit is it can also help set a good example for grandkids and others who may not be as adventurous.
5) Volunteer at a nonprofit you support: Research shows that older Americans who volunteer frequently live longer and report less disability. Plus, it’s a great thing to do for individuals with extra time on their hands. Find a local nonprofit with a mission you believe in and call to see how you can help. Be up front with any limitations you might have so the volunteer coordinator can find you fulfilling volunteer work that won’t put undue strain on you, physically or mentally.
6) Get caregiving help: In 2015, about 34.2 million Americans have provided care to an older friend or family member. Of those nonprofessional caregivers, 34 percent were over 65 themselves! This year, if you care for a senior loved one, make a resolution to get some help – whether it’s from other friends and family members or professional help from a home care agency like Concordia Private Care (CPC). Organizations like CPC offer services like bathing/grooming assistance, light housekeeping, pet care, meal planning/preparation, laundry, transportation and more.
From the Concordia Family to yours, Happy New Year! We hope you will keep our ministry in your prayers for 2018, as we continue to carry out our mission of faith-based care. And as usual, feel free to contact any of our senior care Locations or Home & Community Services offices for information on how we can help you or your loved ones with your needs!
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