Pillars of Senior Wellness for Older Americans Month
As we age, mobility decreases, vision and hearing issues become more significant, financial resources become more limited and it becomes increasingly difficult to manage medical appointments. For these reasons and many more, staying healthy remains one of the biggest challenges for seniors and older adults. People expect their health to decline as they age and sometimes tend to “give up”.
Making changes in routine activities and lifestyle habits can make a big difference in our overall health and wellness as we all age, such as the following:
Focus on nutrition
Drink water and eat nutrient-dense foods that don’t have a lot of extra calories. Some of the best foods you can eat are:
- Fruits and vegetables (try to have a variety and think: the brighter, the better!)
- Whole grains (such as oatmeal, whole-wheat bread and brown rice)
- Fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese,
- Seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds
Avoiding foods with high cholesterol and fat content is also critical for not only maintaining a healthy weight but for overall cardiovascular health as well.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults aged 65 and older need at least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking. For those with more physical capability, 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking or running is also recommended. Regardless of your physical abilities, there is always a way to increase your activity. Other activities such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and water aerobics are other ways to reap the benefits of regular exercise.
Prioritize your mental health
Know when you need help and when to ask for it. Keeping your mind healthy is just as important as keeping your body healthy! Mental health is critical to overall wellness for anyone, but this is especially true for older adults. As years go by, we succumb to the fact that there are some things we cannot do that we once were able to. Or when you have a new medical diagnosis or the loss of a loved one, all of these really take a toll on our mental health. So know that if you are having a hard time working through difficult times, this is perfectly normal and there are resources available to you to help you.
Remain engaged in your community & stay social
To help fight feelings of isolation and loneliness get involved in new groups or clubs. This is a great way to meet like-minded individuals and meett some new friends! Your local Council on Aging or Senior Center is a great place to start- contact them today to find out their activities and events schedules! Similarly, many people fantasize about retirement and then find that they are bored and don’t enjoy being fully retired as much as they thought they would. If this sounds like you, you are not the only one! Getting a part-time job is a great way to not only stay active and be social but it is also a great way to make some extra cash to make your hard-earned savings work for you longer!
Keep routine wellness and medical appointments
Routine physicals and dental cleanings are important and so are therapy sessions, physical therapy (PT)/occupational therapy (OT) appointments, and chiropractor appointments just to name a few!
Be realistic with yourself
When setting goals, be realistic and make sure your goals are attainable. Know your limits and what you can and cannot do. Safety is always the top priority so if you can no longer do a daily or weekly task safely, outsource it to someone or a company who can help such as a shopper or home delivered groceries and meals.