I wish older adults could see what I see every day – and make these 5 resolutions this new year. These 5 simple behaviors, could truly change the outcome of their aging experience.
Life is hard, and full of challenges. But it’s the way you embrace life and embrace change – that is what separates those who age well and those who do not
So as we ring in a New Year – it’s time for everyone to reflect on what you are doing to age well.
Here are my top choices for resolutions for older adults to make this year.
1. Plan to keep moving
It’s easy to not got to exercise class. It’s easy to buy a scooter for mobility. It is easy to sit and watch TV. But you have to make a conscious effort every day to move and keep moving – every muscle group. Walking every day doesn’t keep your shoulders flexible enough to put on your top every day. You need balance and core strength to bend over and put on socks every day. It really is true…’if you don’t use it, you lose it’…and once you’ve lost it, you’ve lost a huge piece of your independence.Keep moving – in many different ways – every day!
Resolve this year to find ways to move more, stretch unused muscles, improve your balance and keep active
Resources to help you keep moving:
· Find a recreation centre, senior centre, gym or fitness class to try
· Do a home exercise program such 8 week program designed by West End Seniors Association
2. Plan to Age-In-Place
I’ve had hundreds of conversation like this: Me: “What do you fear most about your health changes?” Them: “Oh I fear going to a nursing home, I want to stay at home until the day I die” Me: “So tell me, what is your plan to ensure you can stay out of nursing home?” Them: “Oh, I don’t have a plan”. If you don’t have a plan, I can almost promise a health crisis will happen and you’ll unexpectedly end up in a nursing home. If you don’t want to be in a nursing home, you must actively have a plan to age-in-place for many different life scenarios that may come your way.
Resolve this year to research options to help you age-in-place and invite me in to do a Home Safety Assessment to know what to prepare in your home to better age there.
3. Realize Independence Comes In Many Forms
I see many older adults struggling to remain their independence by not accepting ANY help. Sometimes it feels like they just don’t understand! If you are having trouble making meals and you accept Meals-on-Wheels or Heart-to-Home Meals doesn’t mean you’ve lost independence. It means you get to keep living where you are with additional meal support. You can’t keep struggling and fighting losing independence by being stubborn. Stubbornness is the number one reason you’ll end up in a nursing home.
Resolve this year to accept help with what you need help with.
4. Find more friends
This is the key to life that many don’t realize. You need good friends or peers to hang out with. If your social circle is dwindling then find more friends. Go to local coffee shops, go to a local senior centre, or go to a class. It’s really the same logic we say when you want to find someone to date, hang out where you like to hang out and you’ll find like-minded people. We need stimulating conversation, we need chuckles, we need someone’s listening ear – through all stages in life.
Resolve this year to make new friends.
Resources to help you connect & make new friends:
· Visit our listing of Edmonton Seniors Centres to help you make new connections
· Visit our listing of Social Groups to help you keep active with new friends
5. Have More Fun
Who said that just because you are getting older you need to stop having fun? Learn something new even if you suck at it and laugh at how bad you are. Play hopscotch or shinny hockey with the local kids. Blow bubbles or play with a pile of leaves. Fun & laughter is good for the soul and keeps us young. If you can no longer do a hobby, find something new or a new way of doing it! Don’t just give up and stop doing everything.
Resolve this year to try something new every month – and every day try to find some fun.
Resources to help you find something new to try:
· Visit our Event Calendar – pick a new exercise class, hobby class or go to a performance.
These are resolutions I hope I’ll try to live out year after year. I’ve watched many grow old with grace and embrace each of these resolutions. I’ve also watched many wither and fade away in life because they just couldn’t embrace the changes in their life.
Watch for articles specific to each of these resolutions to get you or your parents off to a great start in 2019! Prepare to age well, and age-in-place!
Life is a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ – you have control on the outcome, based on the choices, the direction and the changes you make today.