Guest Post by: Jason Lewis
As adults enter their golden years, fostering physical, mental and emotional health becomes increasingly important. From finding an exercise routine and getting quality sleep to keeping your mind engaged and staying social, there are many ways seniors can improve their overall health and well-being. If you’re a senior who wants their golden years to be their best years, here are six tips to get you started:
1. Be physically active
The importance of exercise cannot be overstated. Walking, swimming, restorative yoga, or any other kind of exercise you enjoy comes with a slew of health benefits. For instance, it improves strength, flexibility, balance and coordination, all of which reduce the likelihood of injury from falls. Regular exercise can also help prevent diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes). Furthermore, “feel-good chemicals” like endorphinsare released during physical activity, and a steady routine can improve your overall cognitive function.
2. Ensure you’re insured
No matter how many steps you take to improve your health, it’s essential to have good insurance. And many seniors — even though they have insurance — do not have the coverage they need for adequate healthcare. Revisit your policies and make sure you have what you truly need. For example, Medicare Advantage plans (often called Medicare Part C) cover some areas not covered under Original Medicare, such as dental and vision care. Plans like those offered by Aetna make it easy for you or a loved one to learn more about Medicare Advantage and to find coveragethat may be more beneficial
3. Get sleep
Along with exercise and diet, sleep is one of the most essential aspects of living healthy. While sleep deprivationis common among all age groups, it’s particularly alarming for older adults. When your body and mind aren’t able to recover from the day, it can lead to a host of issues, including:
● Mental fogginess
● Greater anxiety
● More stress
● Higher risk of depression
● Weaker immune system
Many seniors struggle with falling and staying asleep. Coming up with a relaxing bedtime routine, removing distractions from the bedroom, limiting liquids at bedtime, avoiding heavy dinners, and exercise are all methods that can promote better sleep.
4. Engage your brain
It’s also important to regularly stimulate your mind. Puzzles, such as crossword and jigsaw puzzles, and games like bridge and chess are great for keeping your brain engaged. If you want to add a social element, start a weekly club where you invite people over for a night of card games.
5. Get out of the house
Some seniors stay cooped up in their home, which can easily lead to boredom and depression. If you are physically able, try to get outand do things every now and then. It could be volunteering for a local organization, going out of town to see grandchildren, checking off a bucket list item, or even trying a new type of cuisine. The important thing is that you experience a change of scenery and maybe get some sunshine.
6. Keep socializing
Finally, don’t give up your social life. It’s not uncommon for seniors to gradually withdraw as they age, but living in isolation is a quick way to end up lonely and depressed. Keep up with family, attending family gatherings as much you can. Reach out to old friends that you haven’t seen in a while. Stay open to meeting new people and forming new relationships.
You don’t have to just get by in your golden years; you can thrive. Find a solid exercise routine, make sure you have the insurance coverage you need, and prioritize quality sleep. Find games you enjoy that stimulate your mind, get out of the house every now and then, and maintain your social life. If you take your health and wellness seriously, you’ll be setting yourself up for your favorite years yet.