Did you know that August is National Wellness Month? This celebration is the perfect excuse for seniors and their caregivers to focus on healthy routines, stress management, and self-care. When seniors age, they often find that they are facing new challenges that can derail them even if they have led a very healthy and independent lifestyle. Here are some ways that seniors can get better routines back into their lives.
Being healthy is all about having daily routines that help you stay active, well-nourished, and connected to other people. For many reasons, seniors often lose the healthy routines they had developed. Here are a few ways you can get those routines back:
- Daily walks: Seniors may stop exercising because of chronic pain or out of a fear of injury. Walking is a safe activity for most and can easily scale up to be more challenging for those who are very mobile. Try starting a routine where you walk every day.
- Weekly social activity: Seniors lose their connections with other people because some of their closest friends move or pass away. They may also struggle to get transportation to events. Plan a weekly social event (in person or virtually) to connect with people and resist this trend. Consider a book club, a sports viewing, or a gardening club.
- Filling breakfast: Seniors may lose their comfort with cooking and settle for unhealthy food that is fast to prepare. Tea and toast are so common that senior vitamin deficiency is sometimes called tea and toast syndrome. However, there are many healthy foods that are easy for seniors to prepare. Start with the goal of having a healthy breakfast every morning that doesn’t require much effort to make.
Proper, healthy routines will go a long way to help reduce stress levels. Still, as we age, we sometimes lose access to the old methods we used to reduce sudden, acute stress. In that case, what are some new, senior-friendly activities to manage stressful moments?
- Pets: So long as the senior can still care for a pet, they can be a source of great comfort and stability when that senior faces challenges. Pets, particularly dogs, lower the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in people. If a senior cannot care for a pet, visiting someone else’s pet can still benefit them.
- Low-impact exercise: A senior who would normally head out to do some high-intensity exercise for stress relief may feel like they have no options for exercise. However, low-impact exercises can be very relieving and effective. Try cycling, swimming, and walking to protect from chronic pain.
- Audio books: As eyesight or arthritis worsens, diving into a good book when stressed may no longer be possible. Television just isn’t the same to avid readers. Try audio books instead and turn them up loud to help with hearing issues.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: Therapists can offer cognitive behavioral therapy, an effective treatment for many of the mental conditions and stressors that seniors face.
Don’t be afraid of getting professional help to boost wellness in a senior’s life. Therapists, nutritionists, and other support people can really make a difference when it comes to health and wellness.