10 New Year’s Resolutions Seniors Must Make for Healthier Living

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Let me begin by asking what your 2022 goal is? Although it may seem clichéd, especially as you get older, resolutions can help you. These goals give you clarity on what you want to do and offer a sense of purpose and achievement as you navigate this new phase of life. According to a recent study, having a sense of purpose may help you live longer. 

Importance of New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

There is practical value to setting goals for older adults. For example, studies by Rush University show that people who view life with a sense of purpose are two to four times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. In addition, those with a strong sense of purpose and goals tend to retain stronger hand grips and walking speeds, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

With such motivation, let’s welcome the New Year with these goals for seniors in mind.

New Year’s Resolutions Seniors Must Make

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

A long journey begins with a small first step. While thinking about your resolutions for the New Year, set easily achievable goals. Start small by including the changes in your daily or weekly routine. Here are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for seniors that can help you age with grace.

Improve Home Safety 

Evaluate the safety of your home. While preparing for aging in place seems daunting, here are a few things you can include as your common, regular goals for the coming year that will improve home safety:

  1. Check if the smoke alarms work and replace their batteries every 6 months.
  2. Check the cords of your electrical appliances every month. Replace any cables that show signs of fraying to avoid the hazard of an electric shock.
  3. Keep an eye on the status of your security systems like CCTV or home monitoring systems every month. It ensures your devices are in working condition and protect you from unwanted entries.
  4. Maintain a home safety checklist that will keep you aware and updated on the regular changes required in the house.

Practice Fall-Prevention

Practice fall prevention in the New Year. Falls are the most common cause of injury among older adults. Making a goal of following these safety rules can prevent falls and also help you regain your confidence after a fall

  1. Clearing the clutter may seem trivial, but it is the best way to avoid tripping over wires, rugs or ill-kept thresholds. Make it a daily activity that also adds to your physical health.
  2. Install mobility devices like a bed step stool. It makes the bedroom safer and helps prevent falls, especially at night during bathroom visits. 
  3. Make it a monthly activity to check if your medical alert system works, and don’t skip the subscription. 
  4. Keep mobility aids like canes or walkers within reach at all times and make sure they are in good condition.

Home Renovation 

If your home isn’t aging-ready, home renovation could be an essential resolution to make for you and your loved one’s safety. Here are some home renovation targets that you can set for the new year:

  1. Prevent slips and falls in the bathroom. Install and use a safe bathtub step stool
  2. Install railings and grab bars along stairs.
  3. Make sure all areas of the house are well-lit. 
  4. Inspect thresholds and fix them if broken.
  5. Widen doorways, install ramps for wheelchair access. 

Healthy Lifestyle

This is the most popular New Year’s resolution for seniors and probably the toughest to achieve as well. But the secret to meeting these goals lies in making small changes every day. Here are some of the ways to ensure your health stays in top shape in the new year:

1. Eat better: The USDA’s Choose My Plate program can help you make good choices. However, before you make any changes to your diet, consult your healthcare provider/physician for guidance. Look for the rule of 5 - include these five things in your weekly menu:
  • Eat more fruits
  • Eat vegetables for fiber and nutrients 
  • Replace processed food with whole grains 
  • Include heart-healthy fish like salmon, tuna or shrimp twice a week and stick to lean meat like chicken or turkey. 
  • Choose two servings daily of low-fat dairy and healthy fats such as olive oil or canola oil instead of butter and lard. 

2. Get moving:  Physical activity can be safe and healthy for older adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week.  You can start small and build up. Include both indoor and outdoor activities to boost your mood and confidence. 

3. Get enough sleep: Sleeplessness increases with age as seniors become more and more sedentary. Make sure you get enough exercise and rest. Follow a regular sleep routine to feel refreshed after a nap or in the morning.

New year resolution for seniors - Healthy Lifestyle

Hobby Class

It’s time to dust the easel you stowed away in the attic or pick up gardening tools to work your garden! Your retirement should encourage you to take up hobbies that you may have missed out on during your youth. Pursuing a hobby is an excellent goal for seniors. Reinvent your golden years by learning new activities like self-defense for seniors, music, or art to enrich the mind and body. 

Kick Bad Habits

This is another popular New year’s resolution for seniors that’s hard to achieve. But when you are better informed about the ill effects, it becomes easier to kick bad habits like smoking and excessive drinking. 

  1. Smoking - Smokers are twice as likely to develop heart disease as non-smokers. It is never too late to quit. It will reduce many health problems, help you breathe easier, have more energy, and sleep better. 
  2. Excessive alcohol – Drinking increases depression, interacts with your meds and adds to various health problems. Start by raising a small toast at this New Year’s party. The recommended limit for older men is no more than 14 drinks per week and no more than 7 per week for older women.

Getting Insurances and Applying for Senior Benefits

If you haven’t already thought about your medical finances, now is the time to do it. A new year’s resolution to getting the proper insurance and senior benefits is essential. No matter how financially stable you may be right now, insurance ensures you don’t eat into your savings. Several resources online that offer help and support, or you may contact your nearest Area Agency on Aging for guidance. 

Active Social life

Resolve to break the isolation. Minor changes to your social routine can prevent loneliness without overwhelming you. Don’t overbook with many activities right away. Start with small outings like visiting your local library once a week. Attend a community event or volunteer in a local activity. Socialization is vital for your mental and physical well-being, and there are many like-minded people out there looking for the same social connections as you. Be positive! 

Planning Ahead

If you are nearing 60, the apprehension of living as a senior may weigh you down. However, to know what aging entails, make sure you research the needs of the elderly and start planning every month. These plans could include home repairs, financial safety net, applying for senior benefits from federal agencies, etc. Also, evaluate if you would prefer aging in place or living in senior communities, the costs involved and the advantages of each.

Maintain Your Purpose in Life as You Age

As mentioned before, a sense of purpose encourages you to look at the days ahead with positivity. Find that purpose. It could be anything from tending to your garden, starting your own business or spiritual pursuit. Let it be something you think about every day for at least 10 minutes. You can build on this by maintaining a journal to log in your thoughts or record your ideas.

Final Thoughts 

The year that’s ending leaves us with thoughts to ponder. The one that is to come brings with it new beginnings. New Year’s resolutions for seniors give goals to look forward to. Once you’ve accomplished a goal, take pride in the work you’ve done. Small steps will build your self-esteem and your confidence and improve your life.

Happy New Year!

FAQs

What are some good new year’s goals for seniors?

Some of the popular New Year’s goals for seniors are:

  • Following a healthy lifestyle that includes eating better, exercising and getting enough rest. 
  • Kicking a bad habit like smoking or excessive drinking
  • Pursuing a new hobby
  • Making vital repairs to make their home aging-ready
  • Improving social life

What do you do to ensure you meet your goals and targets? 

While thinking about your resolutions for the New Year, set easily achievable goals. Start small by including the changes in your daily or weekly routine. Once you’ve accomplished a goal, take pride in the work you’ve done. Small steps will build your self-esteem and your confidence and improve your life.

Vince Baiera

Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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