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Planning for the new year can be a fun way to set goals, look back on the past year and start the new one strong. When you’re a senior citizen, you’re in a great place to set new years resolutions that work for you!
As a senior, you may have unique goals for the new years resolutions!
As you establish new years resolutions for yourself, give them a good amount of thought. What you resolve might be most effective if you consider goals that you want to achieve, with an appropriate amount of challenge that will drive positive change and work for you and your lifestyle.
Seniors – and most of us, honestly – should have different goals than the common resolutions to “lose 20 pounds.” It’s important for seniors to stay active, but you should decide what that means for you – you can even enlist the help of your Doctor to ensure you’re staying safe. Whether that means walking, water aerobics, park yoga or a Zumba class at your gym! Activity levels will be different for everyone but resolving to stay more active in the coming year is never a bad idea.
The CDC states that “the loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging is in part caused by reduced physical activity.” It doesn’t need to be strenuous to be beneficial. Regular exercise can help seniors stay mobile, reduce the risk of falling and improve stamina.
The Health Harvard blog has suggestions that are good tips for all of us:
- Get at least 10 minutes per day (working your way up to 150 minutes per week) of walking or other moderate intensity exercise.
- Feeling ambitious? Do resistance training with weights or machines two or three times a week, but not two days in a row.
- Stretch and do other activities that improve flexibility and balance every day.
Perhaps most importantly, physical activity can help you maintain the ability to live independently.
Organize or de-clutter
Organizing your living spaces can help make your day-to-day easier or reduce upkeep around the house. For seniors, it’s especially important to keep clutter to a minimum in order to reduce the risk of tripping or falling. If this new year’s resolution speaks to you, consider it your chance to “make over” your home with an eye to removing things you no longer need and making space for something new!
Try these tips from Lifeline Philips to get started. They offer tips like, “use small bouts of organizing to tackle a messy space, especially if the thought of decluttering your home makes you want to run for cover.” From getting rid of old magazines or clothes, to weeding out the knick-knacks you’ve been collecting, to finding ways to display memorable items, organizing can be the perfect goal for seniors in the new year.
Challenge your brain with something new
For everyone, but especially seniors, it’s important to keep your brain active with new experiences or challenges. Brain exercise can be brain protection. According to the National Institute on Aging, “findings from observational studies suggest that some informal mentally stimulating activities, such as reading or playing games, may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s-related cognitive impairment and dementia.”
- Read a new book
- Join a bridge club
- Learn a new creative skill (knitting, quilting, digital photography, cooking, the possibilities are endless!)
- Look for discussion groups at a local library or senior center
- Puzzles like Sudoku, jigsaw or crosswords
- Try a simple video game with the grandkids
Believe it or not, seniors are among the fastest growing users of computers. It can be hard to learn new things and embrace change, but technology is becoming more than just smart phones and games. It can expand your world and make your life easier. Did 2020 help you learn how to FaceTime with the grandkids? Resolve to keep up a regular video chat if you can’t be together in person!
From phones that provide captions for every call, to home assistants like Google Home or Alexa, there are amazing solutions ready to help seniors age in place gracefully.
Involve family and friends
Whether you live near or far, involving your loved ones in your new years resolutions can help provide accountability, encouragement, and reinforcement. Resolutions made together can offer you a chance to stay in touch on a regular basis. Did staying more active speak to you? Enlist the help of a friend and take walks together. Some goals you can set with your children or loved ones are simple yet important. Resolve to talk about estate planning with your children, or your aging in place plan with a caregiver. Discussing and recording in advance ensures your wishes are understood by all involved.
Whether you set multiple resolutions or concentrate your efforts on one listed here, the new year can be a time to take charge in your life by doing something different. Of course, you don’t have to wait until a specific calendar day to take such a step. Resolutions are great in January, and beyond!
However you decide to make a change in your life—and for whatever reason that best suits you—embrace it as an adventure and enjoy it every day.
Happy New Year!