A healthy lifestyle begins with small steps and setting achievable goals. Getting started is easier than you might think, even for the elderly. It is never too late for seniors to take control of their health and focus on the positive aspects of aging instead of the myths and negative stereotypes. With the right mindset, seniors can embrace growing older and start on the journey to healthy aging using items found around a typical home.
“Living life to the fullest as you age can be challenging, yet exciting. Making an effort to better your health can improve your quality of life greatly,” said Allen Hager, CEO and founder of Right at Home, a national provider of in-home care with 165 locations in 41 states. “Awareness and education are important to empowering seniors to age gracefully.”
The following household items and activities can act as simple ways for seniors to begin their healthy aging journey.
Before undertaking any type of physical program, seniors should talk to their doctor. There may be activities seniors should avoid due to personal health situations.
* A notepad and pen – Stay on track by writing down goals and recording your progress.
* Two cans of soup – Actually, any canned goods from the pantry serve as great hand weights and can be used help to improve arm strength. While sitting in a chair, place both arms out flat in front of you and lift the can up about six inches. Repeat five times. Remember, it’s not a race, start slow and increase your repetitions as you are able.
* Kitchen timer – Start with five minutes of exercise and increase time as ability warrants. Making slow, steady progress builds a routine and endurance.
* Glass of water – Among other health benefits, staying hydrated can prevent temporary memory impairment. Try to drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
* Healthy snacks and meals – Eat a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fibers and low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Make foods that are flavorful and simple to prepare. If your loved one needs assistance preparing healthy meals or snacks, consider hiring caregivers that for a few hours a week to help with advanced meal and snack preparation.
* Deck of cards – Games keep the brain working and cognitive skills healthy. Play a game of Solitaire or flip the cards over and match numbers or suits to improve memory.
* Calculator – Maintain cognitive skills and financial health by keeping close track of monthly expenses.
* Newspaper – Reading exercises the mind and helps the ability to focus. Most newspapers also include a daily crossword puzzle, which helps delay memory impairment.
* Calendar – Record doctor’s appointments, including preventative care visits. Also keep track of loved ones’ anniversaries and birthdays.
* Pillow – Getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night is important. Commit to a regular sleep schedule and develop a bedtime ritual, such as listening to soothing music or taking a bath.
* Telephone – Staying connected with friends and family is good for emotional well-being.
There is a higher probability of healthy aging success when there is support and encouragement from a senior’s loved ones. Families and friends can cheer on the seniors in their lives by giving them a “Healthy Aging” basket that includes some of the items listed above.