Whenever the old year ends and the new one begins, a lot of us are compelled to make resolutions. Even if these promises don’t last, we end the year pledging to live better, do better, be better.
And while you think that making resolutions is a young man’s – or young woman’s – game, we’d respectfully disagree.
Here are some New Year’s resolutions for seniors you may want to consider this December 31, a list of health and safety tips to help you have a happier, healthier 2018.
1. Eat and drink less and still be merry
That means getting at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Try for an array of colors: green choices like spinach, orange carrots and citrus fruits, etc.
Choose meats with less fat in them – turkey, chicken – and heart-healthy seafood such as tuna and salmon.
Keep your bones strong by including calcium and Vitamin D in your diet. You can get these nutrients by eating two servings each day of yogurt, cheese or low-fat milk.
Cook with olive or canola oil instead of butter and lard, and season your food with herbs and spices to cut down on your salt intake.
And when it comes to alcohol, consider cutting back.
The recommended limit is 14 drinks per week for men, and seven a week for women. A “drink” in this case means 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or an ounce and a half of hard liquor.
Finally, consider adding a multivitamin to your diet. Talk to your doctor about any nutritional needs that an over-the counter vitamin or other nutrition supplement can help address.
2. Stay active
This is something you’ll find on pretty much any list of New Year’s resolutions for seniors.
Even if you’re dealing with conditions like diabetes or arthritis, physical activity can be good for you. In fact, mild exercise can alleviate the effects of these conditions.
Exercises like walking, water aerobics and tai chi can also help you control your weight, improve muscle and bone health and boost your mood, balance and posture.
And make sure you exercise your brain as well as your body. Read, do puzzles, and stay social, whether that means joining a bridge club or a book discussion group. The more you use your mind, the better it will work.
3. Don’t skip your doctor’s appointments
On that note, you should schedule an annual check-up with your doctor to discuss any changes or serious issues. You may need screenings for your hearing and vision, as well as other conditions such as breast or colon cancer and osteoporosis.
Talk about the medications you’re taking and find out whether you need them, and if it’s time for any new immunizations or boosters.
4. Make sure you get enough sleep
You’ve probably heard that you need less sleep as you get older. This is a myth. You need the same seven or eight hours a night at 70 that you did at 30. Try to avoid napping during the day, as this can keep you awake in the evening.
5. Protect yourself against falls
The last entry in our rundown of New Year’s resolutions for seniors is perhaps the most crucial: protect yourself against falling.
Falls are the leading cause of injury – and death – among older Americans. Getting exercise can help increase your balance and strength, and prevent falls.
You should also check with your doctor to make sure you aren’t taking any medications that can lead to a fall. Install grab bars in your bathtub or shower, and invest in night lights to help you see at night.
If your stairs are presenting more of a challenge, consider installing a stair lift to help you get from floor to floor. It will keep you safe, and allow you to maintain independence at home without having to make costly renovations.
Are you ready to install a stair lift? Contact Pennsylvania Stair Lifts. We’d be happy to help you start 2018 in a safer, more accessible home.