After the holidays, you might be looking for ways to focus on your health and well-being. It is fine to enjoy the holidays, but if we continue to indulge ourselves throughout the year, we can be setting ourselves up for fatigue, low energy and a weakened immune system. Let’s make a plan to feel better in 2019.
Here are some tips on how seniors can improve their health in the new year.
Get Back to Good Nutrition
You gave yourself permission to nibble on the tasty morsels that accompany the holidays. As the years go by, you might find that some of your favorite treats leave you feeling less than jolly. You are not alone. As we age, some of the things that change include:
- The metabolism gets less efficient, so it is harder to keep off excess weight.
- The digestive tract becomes less tolerant of things like spicy or rich foods.
- You might experience dehydration.
- The immune system can weaken.
Not to worry, you can take control of all of these facets of aging. Work with a nutritionist to set up some guidelines and meal plans tailored for your situation, including any medical conditions you have and all supplements or prescription drugs you take.
If you prefer to approach this issue DIY, the “old school” advice still works. Eat more fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and lean protein. Drink plenty of water, and reserve processed and junk food for special occasions.
Stay Physically and Socially Active
Few things are better for your health, than getting off of the sofa and out of the house. Although it is tempting to become sedentary if your arthritis hurts, your diabetes makes you feel low energy and you have ongoing aches and pains, getting regular activity can improve how you feel. Talk with your doctor about your options for “gentle” exercise, like walking and swimming.
Call your local park system, fitness facility, or community or senior center for information about their programs for seniors. Make sure you ask about their 55+ discounts.
Many people become socially isolated after retiring, particularly if most of their friends were people from work. If you find yourself in this situation, you have two options: keep in touch with your old friends from work or make new friends. Some experts suggest that staying engaged socially can help to stave off Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Go to the Dentist
Your tooth enamel gets thinner as you age, so your risk for cavities increases as you get older. Dentists also advise that your likelihood of having a stroke, heart disease and diabetes has a connection to infections in the mouth. Catching and treating oral problems can protect your overall health.
Do Something New and Different
One of the best ways to maintain your ability to process information, think clearly and perform cognitive functions is to challenge the “little gray cells” with new activities on a regular and ongoing basis. Read books that you have never read before. Shake up your daytime, evening and weekend routine every now and then. Listen to a different genre of music for a few days. Take up a new hobby. All of these activities can help you to stay sharp and independent.
Your state’s regulations might differ from the general law of this article, so you should talk with an elder law attorney in your area.
A Place for Mom. “10 Healthy Habits for Seniors to Keep.” (accessed November 15, 2018) https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/11-5-14-healthy-habits-for-seniors/