It’s 2017 and the start of a new year can only mean one thing: resolutions. And as we all know, resolutions are easy to make, but can be harder to keep. So in the spirit of the New Year, we offer 10 resolutions – five for seniors and five for caregivers of senior – that are so easy, that even if you don’t like to make resolutions, you’ll want to make these.
2017 Resolutions for Seniors
Exercise your brain
Using your brain helps maintain function and keeps the mind sharp and alert. Exercising your brain by learning something new, taking a class, doing crossword puzzles, or playing video games are all great ways to keep your mind busy.
By eating healthier and getting the right amounts of nutrients and vitamins, you’ll be able to stay active and remain independent. And it’s not too late to start! A good diet in your later years reduces your risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart diseases and certain cancers. So be sure to pick up some extra veggies and fruits when you go shopping, quit smoking, and drink in moderation.
See your doctor
It’s important to make regular visits to the doctor. If you haven’t been for a while, make a point to make an appointment for a checkup this year. A visit to the doctor is your opportunity to coordinate your care, and talk with your physician about all of the psychosocial factors affecting your health, make sure your medications are in order, and discuss any concerns you may have.
Socialize and/or volunteer
Socialization has many benefits for seniors, one of the most important being that it helps combat isolation and depression – both of which lead to poor health. Volunteering is an even higher level of socialization with added benefits: Studies show that volunteering, helping others, and/or donating to charities, improves physical and mental health, and lead to happiness and well-being.
Sure aging can be tough, but it’s important not to dwell on what’s lost and concentrate on things you’re thankful for. Being grateful is good for you, according to a 2012 study: It’s good for your brain, helping to relieve stress, depression and addictions; and it’s good for your body, researchers found. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people!
2017 Resolutions for Caregivers
Take a day off
Caregiving isn’t easy. What is easy is to lose yourself in caring for someone else and forget to take care of yourself. Try to take a break from caregiving duties for a few minutes every day – and try to take an occasional day off. Find a friend or family member to assume your duties for the day, or look into respite care. The important thing is to take some time to recharge and give yourself some TLC.
Talk to your loved one more often and in more depth. Whether sharing memories or taking on the heavy task of discussing care options, it’s important to keep a two-way line of communication open. You’ll make sure everyone is on the same page, and you’ll find it a great way to bond with your elderly loved one.
Monitor your loved one’s finances and documents
Take some time to help your loved one plan for future needs and make sure their finances are in order and that someone has power of attorney if it becomes necessary. Be sure to make sure all of their end-of-life documents – will, medical directive, etc. – are in place. By having everything in order and in one place, you can make sure their final wishes are carried out the way they want them to be, and that the family won’t have to take on the tasks when the time comes.
When you have a few minutes away from caregiving, you may just want to take a nap. Caregiving, as we said before, is hard work and it takes a lot out of you. But try to take those few minutes and get some exercise – physical activity can help prevent you from getting sick, help you sleep better, and give you more energy. When you feel good, you’re sure to be a better caregiver. That’s good for you – and ultimately good for your loved one
Join a Support Group
You can’t go it alone, so if you have no real support from family or friends, you may find yourself getting stressed out with no one to turn to. Find a local support group: Support groups are comprised of other caregivers who are experiencing the same issues as you are. You may be able to find a group run by a professional who can help you learn ways to deal with conflicts and tensions. The Family Caregiver Alliance lists support services available by state.
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The Courville Communities wishes all of our clients, families and friends all the best for 2017! We look forward to serving you in the coming year and beyond.