7 New Year's Goals for the Elderly

It’s officially a new year and that means it’s the perfect time for new year's resolutions. It’s the time of year when societal norms make us feel we have to turn over a new leaf and have a fresh start. For some, 2023 may mean the year of improving your health or picking up a new craft. However, as we reach the end of January, you may not have stuck to your resolution as closely as you intended. However, it is never too late to make a new goal for oneself and stick to it!

For the aging or disabled, creating resolutions is a great way to fight depression, restore a sense of hope, and give your loved ones things to focus on and fill their time in the new year. However, making your resolutions too unattainable can have the opposite effect and make your loved ones feel discouraged or useless. If it is you making the goal for yourself, treat it more as a recommendation as opposed to a rule. Just because you forget to log your journal or reach for the cigarette you promised you would quit. Does not mean you’re a failure or you should stop doing your resolution activity. Instead, be gentle with yourself and simply continue trying to do the task despite your slip-up.

Unsure of new year's resolutions to challenge yourself or your aging loved ones to? Here are a few suggestions:

Brain Workouts
New year's resolutions can not only improve your health but be fun! Challenge yourself to do one brain puzzle a day such as a crossword, sudoku, or even chess. These games are a great working-memory training activity since you must think three or four steps ahead of your next move every time you play. Since this game requires people to use parts of their brain they may not typically use in everyday life, it is a great way to preserve logical thinking skills and mental abilities. No matter how many pieces, jigsaw puzzles tap into many working memory skills since you must see and remember which pieces fit into similarly shaped spaces. With that in mind, a 2018 study in Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience showed that working on jigsaw puzzles engages multiple cognitive abilities. Challenge yourself to complete a puzzle a day as a fun and healthy challenge!


Write a page in a journal daily
Writing in a journal is a great way to process your day and remember it! When you write something on paper, it helps you to remember it. You can improve your recall ability by seeing the words on paper and reading it back to yourself. Plus, transferring overwhelming thoughts onto paper means you no longer have to think about them as intensely since they live on paper rather than in your mind. Overall, keeping a journal is a great way to improve your mental health.


Learn drawing skills and other crafts
Arts and crafts are a great pastime for the elderly as it encourages the use of the mind, and helps to maintain dexterity. Plus, fostering a creative side helps exercise the imagination. Creating greeting cards, painting, drawing, knitting, pottery, jewelry making, and scrapbooking are all easy and fun crafts you can do at home. Challenge yourself to learn how to knit a scarf or create a scrapbook page a week as your resolution! Better yet, take a class, online or in person, where you can connect with other seniors and possibly make new friends!


Increase daily movement
Challenge yourself to engage in some variety of movement every day to improve your health and have a little fun! Why not take a dance class as your resolution? Besides helping regulate your internal organs and breathing, learning complex dance moves can be a cognitive challenge as well. You have to remember and match long sequences of body movements to the tempo and style of the music. Plus, when learning a new dance, you have to stay alert so you know when to stop and start. It’s tactile, visual, motor and auditory, and it has the added benefit of improving your cardiovascular system. Other ways of increasing movement in your life include yoga, tai chi, and even simply challenging yourself to take a walk.


Try a new fruit or vegetable once a month
Eating well can help prevent many health problems as you age, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. One great resolution would be to limit the amount of sugar you take into your diet. Better yet, add some excitement (and vitamins and minerals) to your life by increasing the number and variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, focusing on what will benefit your health (and your palate) the most. For example, Vitamin D is necessary for many processes in your body, including bone and teeth health. Laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections, reduce inflammation, and even decrease your risk for Alzheimer's. (source) High intake of leafy and cruciferous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (as much as 16% lower), according to an analysis of eight different studies. High concentrations of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, folate, B vitamins, and vitamins A may improve blood sugar levels, circulation, seasonal allergies, and heart and bone health.


Reduce Alcohol or Drug Intake
Excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs can make you feel depressed, cause trouble sleeping and contribute to other health problems. This becomes especially true as you age. Alcohol, for example, especially can worsen some health conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, ulcers, memory loss, and mood disorders (source). A great challenge can be to limit your alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks a week or even go as far as to cut out alcohol completely. Limiting in any way can be incredibly helpful to your mental and physical health.


Invest in a Right At Home Care Aid
Why not improve your well-being by ensuring your health, safety by hiring a Right at Home caregiver? Our Right at Home caregivers are able to provide educated advice on how to improve your lifestyle. They can also perform many task that prove difficult for aging individuals. We will work with you to select compatible, qualified professional caregivers who are screened and insured/bonded to ensure care needs are met. Our unique five-step process provides just the right fit for your family. Contact us today at 631.352.0022 and ask for a FREE in-home consultation.


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