Though most New Year’s resolutions fail, we have a custom of making them, with good intentions, to celebrate a new year. Welcoming a new year, we contemplate the year past resolving to do and be better in the future. Perhaps we could call our resolutions ‘promises’ or ‘wishes’ for ourselves and others to help stay strong and energized to meet goals in the coming year, or at least some of them.
Healthy recommendations from the American Geriatrics Society for older adults include many we may already know but perhaps have forgotten. The new year is a perfect time to refresh our information to use for ourselves and share with others. Older adults and caregivers of older adults may both benefit from a refresher course in self-care promises and wishes for the new year. Here are a few ideas to kick off the new year.
- Read a book, fiction or fact, to dream or learn from someone else’s life or knowledge about a topic you can relate to, or for entertainment. If an older adult is unable to read for themselves, a caregiver or family member could read out loud and both enjoy the experience.
- Take time in each day to do something special for yourself if only for a few minutes. This can be listening to a favorite song, taking a bubble bath, enjoying the outdoors, or calling a favorite friend or family who live far away. This promise to yourself will be a highlight in each day.
- Ask for help for to complete a project, provide respite, or start something new.
- Join a support group and learn from others as well as offering your own knowledge to others.
- Redefine your eating habits to enhance your overall well-being. We need fewer calories later in life and healthy foods are essential. Refer to the USDA’s Choose My Plate program to tailor meals specific to you. (choosemyplate.gov)
- Physical activity can be safe and healthy for older adults even with chronic diseases. Caregivers can share the experience of enjoying mild to moderate physical activities with those they are providing care.
- The more you use your mind the better it works. Socializing is a brain booster – playing cards, board games, discussion groups at your local library or senior center are a few ideas.
- It is never too late to stop smoking cigarettes and a good promise to make for the new year. There is a lot of support for this effort and resources are available on the National Cancer Institute’s website. (www.smokefree.gov).
- Let someone know when you feel down or anxious. Some possible signs of depression can be loss of appetite or pleasure in doing activities. Difficulty sleeping, worry, and irritability may be indications of depression.
- Older adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day. The National Sleep Foundation has tips on how to sleep better. (www.sleepfoundation.org)
Partners In Care is a locally-owned and operated family providing non-medical in-home care in the California counties.
Shaun Clinkinbeard, President, Partners In Care