New Years Resolutions for Aging Adults01/03/2017

New Years Resolutions for Aging Adults

It's the new year, and if you haven't yet determined how you will focus on self-improvement in 2017, don't worry: we've got you covered! Small, incremental steps are the key to successful life-changes, and while popular choices like weight loss or better financial security are admirable, there are a few key issues older adults should especially focus on.

  • Light physical activity a few times a week. Even for those with mild heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's can engage in walking, stretching, water aerobics and more with the help of a caregiver. Plus, moderate exercise can even help those conditions get better!
  • Look out for falls. Believe it or not, one in three senior citizens fall each year, resulting in preventable injuries. Why not use the new year to practice exercises that improve balance - like walking with an elastic band - and check with your doctor if any medication you are on may lead to dizziness? Plus, go ahead and throw out that old rug you've been meaning to get rid of: they are easy to trip over.
  • Make old friends. You read that right. As we age and move apart, we may lose touch with old pals and confidantes. 2017 should be your year to reignite dormant friendships through social media, a phone call, or (gasp!) a handwritten note.
  • Get enough sleep. Older adults are done growing, so they don't need as much sleep as younger people, right? Wrong! They need just as much, so be sure to avoid those daytime naps, which feel so good but keep you up at night. Seven to 8 hours is recommended, but a little more time in a comfy bed - especially during the frigid months - couldn't hurt, right?
  • Work on your (brain) fitness. Reading, completing crossword puzzles, and even struggling through a challenging Sudoku can not only keep you occupied and provide a great social activity; it can also keep your mind sharp and your wit quick! You can even take a free college course through the University of West Florida's Leisure Learning program. Learn something new or rediscover something old!

No matter how you decide to tackle the new year, make sure you finish out 2017 stronger than you started it. Just be sure to set realistic goals, like the ones set above, that provide a real, tangible benefit in both the short- and long-term.

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