Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.
– Charles F. Kettering, inventor, engineer, and businessman
Roughly half of Americans admit to usually making some kind of New Year’s resolution. Yet despite their good intentions for self-improvement, only about 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their resolution, according to statisticbrain.com, often because they set a goal that is simply too lofty.
That got me thinking about some realistic ways that seniors can improve their lives and wellbeing as we enter the new year. Here are seven potential New Year’s resolutions for seniors that are easily attainable with just a little effort…
Update (or create) your legal documents
The very nature of many legal documents is that you don’t need them until you need them, and this is especially true of wills, advance directives (also called a living will), and power of attorney documents. If you haven’t already created each of these, contact your attorney and set up an appointment to get the ball rolling. You can even find simple templates on the internet using sites like legalzoom.com or get low-cost computer software (such as Quicken WillMaker) if your personal and financial situation is not very complex.
And if you already created these documents many years ago, it is a good idea to review them periodically to ensure nothing about your wishes has dramatically changed.
Clean out your attic, garage, and/or closets
You open the door, and inside are behemoth stacks of STUFF–discarded toys, outdated clothes, boxes of old papers. Whether this describes your attic, garage, or closet, 2017 is the year to tackle the task of cleaning it out. It sounds daunting, but here are some simple tips on how to turn this chore into a…dare I say, fun?…task.
Want to live to be 100? You can increase your odds simply by improving your diet. The people in the Blue Zones (the cities that have the most centenarians) seem to have it figured out, and following some of their diet and lifestyle choices can put you on the path to a longer, healthier life. But eating healthy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor. Try incorporating these “super foods” into your meals; it is another easy way to up your chances of living to 100.
Get a check-up
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why you should have an annual check-up with your primary care doctor. He or she will be able to spot any issues early, before they become major health crises. Your insurance or Medicare should pay for it at no cost to you, so why not take advantage? Yes, laughter is good medicine, but preventive care may just be the best medicine.
Learn how to use technology
Staying connected to friends and family has many mental health benefits for seniors. And the internet and social media make it simpler than ever to keep in touch, even for the elderly who might otherwise become socially isolated. That’s probably why seniors are one of the faster growing demographics on Facebook. If you aren’t currently using social media–maybe you just aren’t sure how to “Facebook”–ask a friend or loved one for a lesson and make 2017 the year you start connecting with loved ones virtually.
Begin to explore senior living options for the long-term
If you are approaching retirement age, you probably have already thought about where you would like to live as you grow old (and hopefully you’ve been saving your money accordingly). If you are considering a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, also known as a life plan community) or another senior living community, there’s no time like the present to start exploring the options. My LifeSite has information on hundreds of CCRCs across the country to help you get the process started.
Get more exercise
This is a popular resolution, and often, it is also one that quickly gets abandoned. Yet exercise has countless health benefits, especially as we age–increasing cardiovascular health, strengthening bones, improving balance, and managing weight. A research study conducted earlier this year found that as little as 1 minute of exercise can have tangible health benefits, improving blood sugar regulation, and increasing endurance and muscle. So, no more excuses that you “don’t have time” to exercise in 2017! Take the stairs, park further from the mall entrance, or just get up from the sofa and do some jumping jacks or pushups. A little exercise is always better than none!