As 2014 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to begin thinking about planning for 2015. There is nothing like the present to put together a few New Year’s resolutions that offer ways to keep aging parents, grandparents and other family members happy and healthy. We all need motivation to begin something fresh and the New Year is just the time to do it.
One resolution that always seems to be at the top of everyone’s list, no matter the age, is to improve your diet and to exercise more. While we may not be able to control certain ailments and diseases that often occur with aging, there are a host of lifestyle choices that can be made to improve everyday living.
When it comes to meals, those living in a senior community often have an advantage to good nutrition. Their meals are planned by a dietician, whose job is to make sure the special dietary needs of all the residents are met. If you know of a senior who lives independently, helping them to plan their meals and make good nutritional food choices is a good resolution to make.
As for exercise, intense activity is not always a good idea for the elderly. A gentle walk or participation in chair exercises can be an excellent way to keep the body going.
In addition to improving diet and exercise, here are some additional resolutions that may work for you and your family:
- Start a journal – Even if your loved one isn’t completely computer savvy, if they can type, they can probably use a word processing program on a computer with some assistance. Starting a journal that includes either memories of their past, or simple day-to-day diary entries of their present activities, will help to keep the mind active. If typing on the computer is not an option, journaling the old-fashioned way by hand writing letters is an excellent activity as well.
- Skype or Face Time –Those seniors proficient with technology can set up a schedule to connect with family and friends and can see their faces on a regular basis with these two computer applications.
- Games – Scheduling regular game nights and encouraging work on a crossword puzzle, word searches or Suduko can be a challenging activity for any age.
- Home Safety - Commit to taking a tour of your loved one’s living area to make sure electrical cords are out the way, good lights are near beds and carpet edges are secured. These preventative measures can help prevent falling, which can be a problem for many aging adults.
- Schedule a health check-up. Even if there are no present concerns, regular doctor visits are essential to catch any potential health matters.
See which resolutions will work for you and your loved ones and get ready for a great New Year!
By Susan Belknap, Freelance Writer