The start of a new year is often seen as a fresh start for people. It’s a chance to start healthy new habits and clean up any habits that aren’t so healthy. (Which many people feel they need after a season of indulging in their favourite holiday treats!) New Year’s resolutions are a great opportunity for seniors to commit to make healthy changes in their lives and truly feel better for it.
Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions goes way back to ancient times. The Romans and Babylonians both had a similar practice of settling debts, returning borrowed goods, and making promises to the gods at the start of a new year in an effort to start the year off with a clean slate.
In modern times, people often set resolutions as a way to kick start healthy habits or pick up again after a busy holiday season. For seniors, it can be a super beneficial process. It’s often helpful to reflect on the past year and identify changes that have had a positive effect on their lives, so they can really commit to make those changes last. If you or a loved one is looking to set some resolutions, here are a few suggestions that are great for seniors.
1) Eat healthier foods
If you had a few too many treats over the holidays, you might feel the need to focus on healthier fare for a while. Don’t think of it as going on a diet – keep it simple and aim to add some more fruit and veggies into your meals. At Bria Communities, we have in-house chefs that prepare a variety of healthy meal options for our residents, which makes this resolution much easier to keep!
2) Get some more exercise
It’s important for seniors to maintain an active lifestyle. Doing so can dramatically improve your quality of life, with better sleep, more energy, and improved moods. It also plays an important role in prevention of disease and other health conditions. If you’re just getting started, keep your goals realistic and achievable for your current fitness level. Start with a simple goal and try your best to stick to it. For example, aim to walk for 10 minutes a day and slowly add in a little more activity as you get used to it. For residents at Bria Communities, we make it easy to stay active or add more activity into your day. There are onsite fitness facilities and we often offer classes specifically designed for seniors that everyone is welcome to join.
3) Make your health a priority
Many people often put off making regular appointments with doctors, the dentist, and for eye exams. As we get older, it becomes more important to keep up with these regular check ins. You might not think much about skipping a dental cleaning or an eye exam but these are just as important as any other doctor, since they can often spot signs of underlying health conditions. Commit to set up these appointments ahead of time and ask if you can book your next appointment at the end of your visit so you don’t have to worry about it.
4) Keep your brain happy
One of the best things seniors can do for themselves is to make sure they routinely challenge themselves. It’s important to find ways to challenge your brain in order to keep your mind and body happy and healthy. It can be as simple as taking a different route on a walk, or using your non-dominant hand to perform a task. You can also pick up a new hobby, such as crossword puzzles, sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, or reading.
5) Make an effort to be more social
Social connection plays an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for seniors. As humans, we naturally crave social connection and for many seniors it can difficult to maintain old friendships and relationships when their living situation changes. When you spend time with old friends and family or make new friends, it’s incredibly beneficial for mental health. It can ease any feelings of isolation or loneliness and boost confidence levels in seniors. Not sure where to start? Sign up for a class or join a group at your local community centre – it’s a great way to meet new people, especially since you already know you have a shared interest.
Residents of Bria Communities enjoy a ton of options when it comes to social activities. There’s always something fun going on, whether it’s planned social events and parties, resident lead activity groups, or group excursions to local events and attractions.
6) Learn something new
When you learn a new skill, it stimulates your brain in incredible ways. It’s a great way to keep your mind challenged, which can go a long way for brain health. It could be a long term goal like learning a new language or learning how to paint, or something you can do in a shorter session, like learning a new recipe. Just pick something that interests you and jump right in!
Residents at Bria Communities have many amazing learning opportunities. We often bring in experts to host classes and workshops, and many of our own residents lead classes and groups of their own to share their knowledge and skills with each other.
7) Volunteer your time
Volunteering is great for a number of reasons. Not only do you get to lend a hand and help others, but it’s also a great way to meet new people and boost your confidence levels. If you’re interested in volunteering, look for local charities or organizations in your area. They’re always looking for volunteers in a variety of positions, so it’s easy to find something that suits your skills.
8) Revisit an old hobby
In addition to learning new skills, the senior years are a great time to pick back up with hobbies you may have put aside. As working adults, we often get busy and find it difficult to make time to work on our hobbies. If there’s something you really used to enjoy doing, make a resolution to pick it up again in the new year.