Healthy living as a young or middle-aged person looks quite different from staying healthy as an elderly person. While transitioning into new habits that’ll keep you healthy in your senior years can be a big change, it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. A few changes here and there are all it takes for you to live your life to its healthiest and fullest when you’re enjoying your golden years.
- Stay Active: Engaging in light to moderate exercise regularly can work wonders for your health. Light stretching, walking, and swimming are all great ways to get your body moving in a safe way.
Balance physical activity with a wholesome diet to keep your weight at a healthy level. Doing so will help you sleep, feel, and function better as you go about your day-to-day life.
- Keep Up with Checkups and Screenings: Keeping up with all your medical engagements can be a lot to handle, so it’s a good idea to use a calendar or planner to keep track of appointments, screenings, and checkups.
Hearing, vision, and dental checkups play a big role in keeping you safe and healthy. Immunizations and other preventative medicine are also great ways for seniors to make sure their immune systems are working as effectively as possible.
Talk openly with your doctor about your medical needs and don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you need to understand your health situation.
- Indulge in Your Favorite Pastimes: A fun way for seniors to beat the blues is to engage themselves fully in their favorite hobbies and activities.
Focusing on goals and self-improvement through your personal interests has numerous mental and physical health benefits. Spend a bit of time on your hobbies each day and you’ll benefit from a stronger immune system, strengthened cognitive function, and reduced stress.
- Consider a Service Dog: We all know that service dogs are great for the hearing or vision impaired, but did you know that they also make wonderful companions for seniors?
Service dogs can assist with daily tasks like getting up in the morning and even bringing you your medication (in bite-proof containers, of course). Plus, spending time with one can help improve your mood and ward off feelings of anxiety and depression. Service dogs can even improve your social life by encouraging more time outside the home.
While staying healthy as a senior may require a few lifestyle changes on your part, it’s simple to build these new habits one at a time. Take gradual steps to stay active, involved in your medical situation, and focused on your hobbies and you’ll be enjoying the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in no time.
Marie Villeza was inspired to start ElderImpact.org after she watched her son teach her father how to play Angry Birds™ on his smartphone. In that moment, she realized the importance of bringing the generations together so they can usher each other into the future, breaking down walls of fear and time. She is based in California and in her free time, she enjoys gardening, hiking, and taking part in her monthly book club.
 The Japanese have a term for this; ikigai means ‘reason for being’ and it’s been associated with longevity over and above any other factors. See https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-good-life/200809/ikigai-and-mortality and http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100/transcript?language=en
 Also known as Assistance Dogs. Here’s a link to some UK contacts http://www.thebluedog.org/en/i-want-a-dog/benefits-of-a-dog-in-the-family/assistance-dogs
 For less mobile individuals and those with dementia, trials of a robotic seal that responds to touch are showing benefits and perhaps reflect that human need for responsive contact and giving. http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2015/02/10/cuddly-robotic-seal-stars-in-brighton-dementia-study