Increase Physical Activity
Staying active is key to feeling young and aging healthily. This doesn’t mean all your free time should be spent in the gym, but rather a light exercise for a brief period every day. There are tons of exercise programs out there specifically designed for seniors such as yoga, water aerobics, and circuit classes. At the bare minimum, we recommend taking a 10-minute walk every day. Walking is one of the best ways for seniors to stay fit. It’s proven to strengthen muscles, help with osteoporosis, improve circulation, and assist in weight loss.
Reach Out To An Old Friend
It’s normal to lose a couple friends as we get older. But it’s never too late to revive a past friendship. In the past, it may have been much more difficult to keep in touch, but thanks to advances in technology rekindling old friendships couldn’t be easier. Set New Year resolutions to reach out to a couple old friends and set a date to hang out and catch up. Chances are, they’ll be thrilled to hear from you!
Spend More Time With Your Grandchildren
They say you don’t know what happiness is until you’ve had grandchildren. And they’re right! How can you not light up when you see their adorable faces? Unfortunately, some people don’t have the ability to drive up the street to see their bundles of joy. Thankfully, Independa is an incredible solution that can bring you closer to your family anytime, anywhere! If you don’t want to miss out on their special moments and golden years, Independa can keep you connected.
Work Out Your Brain
Muscle mass isn’t the only thing we lose over time. Just like working out at the gym, our brains need exercise too. Researchers believe that consistent mental exercise is vital to a healthy memory and strong cognitive thinking. This year, strengthen your mind by learning an instrument, take a cooking class, register for an online course, do puzzles, or anything that can sharpen your thinking skills.
We left this for last because this is incredibly important. A study found that 10 percent of adults 55 to 85 years of age experience anxiety in the same prevalence among other age groups. This can be characterized by feelings of loneliness, worry, irritability, trouble sleeping, tiredness, and loss of appetite. This poses a risk particularly for seniors as they’ve experienced hard loss, suffer more pain due to chronic diseases, and side effects from medication. If you are experiencing these symptoms for more than two weeks we recommend speaking up to your friends, family, and physician.
2018 is going to be a tough year. There will be many up and many downs but all we can do is focus on becoming a better version of our past selves. If you want to grow and thrive this year we recommend starting with the New Year resolutions mentioned above. Have any other helpful New Year Resolution suggestions? Be sure to let us know on our Facebook page.
Is there anything the adult children of older parents can do to improve care for their parents in a cost efficient, less disruptive way?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes! Here are a few free or low-cost ways you can care for your aging parents:
1) Get Grandkids & Grandparents Together
By: Richard D. Della Penna, MD
Chief Medical Officer at Independa, Inc.
I am currently in Nepal, an economically poor but culturally-rich country still badly wounded by last April’s devastating 7.8 earthquake. Six months later, hundreds of thousands of displaced people remain without proper basic housing. If that were not enough, Nepal is now struggling with another disaster; a border blockade from India, resulting in progressively worsening shortages of gasoline, life-saving medicines, non-perishable food staples and many other items. Nepal’s people live with a chronic shortage of electricity as well which further compounds the problem.
There is a silver lining: these terrible hardships are bringing out the best in people, especially as two major Hindu festivals approach:
- Dashera, which marks the victory of good over evil
- Tihar, a joyous time of thanks for past blessings and prayers for continued blessings in the new year
The exuberance and joy associated with the festivals is subdued in comparison to usual times but remains strong.
I am currently staying with a large family in the heart of Kathmandu. It is a joined family, whose members span three generations. Aama, an 83-year woman with multiple chronic conditions and significant self-care limitations lives in her home with the families of five of her six sons. This includes five daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren whose ages range from 6 months to 22 years. As Aama’s need for physical assistance increased over time, her family provided it, allowing her to remain as independent as possible and central to family life.
In the days leading up to Dashera and Tihar, Aama is consulted on just about everything, from the menu and it’s traditional dishes to reminding her eldest daughter-in-law of the ritual items needed. She has played a key role in the rituals.
I continually compare and contrast aging in Nepal with aging in America. While there are exceptions, key observations about aging in Nepal include: