Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a nationwide program that provides older Americans nutritious meals and safety checks at little to no cost. The meals can be delivered to your home if you meet eligibility requirements, or you can go to a congregate nutrition site for socialization and food. If you struggle with isolation and meal prep, then Meals on Wheels could provide ease and companionship.
To read the complete article and to get information about how to sign up for Meals on Wheels please visit:
I have a dear friend who has been making this statement to me at times when I seemed unhappy over the past 35 years: "if you are unhappy, go look in the mirror and the person looking back at you is the person responsible for your happiness!" In my 20s and 30s I would just laugh and say something silly like, well I got rid of all of my mirrors last week! I wasn't ready to let go of my belief that someone was going to ride into my life and make me the happiest woman on the planet. But, as I am approaching 65 years of age, I can say I truly get this, and I never hesitate to think about it when I am facing life's challenges.
One of the ways I take responsibility for my happiness is to read and research and stay on top of ways that other people find and maintain their happiness. I believe there is always something new to learn, and if after reading a book I have one or two great takeaways that I can implement, I feel that the time reading was well worth it!
I highly recommend learning from the experts, as Dan Buettner calls them in his book: Thrive - Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way. Dan set out to find out what makes people who are active, healthy and happy into their 100s, and the book is full of wonderful examples! Put your happiness in focus and check out Thrive today, you will be so happy that you did!
If you are approaching 65 years of age, one thing to consider as you are making important healthcare decisions is Medigap. Medigap is Medicare Supplement Insurance that helps fill in the "gaps" with A & B and it is sold by private insurance companies.
Original Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the cost for covered health care services and supplies. A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the remaining health care costs, like:
Some Medigap policies also cover services that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, here's what happens:
9 things to know about Medigap policies
Medigap policies don't cover everything. they generally don't cover:
Some types of insurance aren't Medigap plans, they include:
Visit Medicare.gov for more information!
Article from Daily Caring
Seniors enjoy being included in holiday activities...The holidays can be fun for older adults even if they have physical or cognitive limitations.
It’s all about spending time together, feeling included, and enjoying the good company – whether in person or virtually.
The activities you do together don’t have to be exciting to be special and meaningful. Simply being able to join in brings joy and helps your older adult enjoy the season.
So, we’ve rounded up 20 fun holiday activities for seniors that are perfect to enjoy with family and friends.
We also share tips on how to modify or pace activities to keep older adults from getting too tired or overstimulated.
20 fun and festive holiday activities for seniors15 activities for staying at home
Many of these activities are low-key and can be easily modified to fit your older adult’s energy level and abilities.
But it’s still wise to be on the lookout for signs of fatigue and proactively suggest breaks or a mid-day nap.
If your older adult has Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may want to modify activities even further to avoid overstimulating or confusing them.
I recently received an email from Amerisleep, a company that has developed a Comprehensive Guide to Sleep and Aging, asking me if I would post a link to their guide here on our blog. I am extremely happy to be giving you the link to what I think is extremely relevant information about the importance of focusing on getting enough sleep as we age. We believe that getting a good night's sleep every night is critical to healthy aging.
Please take the time to check out this very informative resource today!
What is going on?
I generally don't post anything here with any of my personal thoughts and opinions. I use this space for providing what I think is relevant information about aging. I could talk about myself and tell you about all of the experiences I have had over the past 23 years, but I thought giving your pertinent information about aging would be a good idea.
Here we are. For a person who has worked in the aging industry for years, what is going on is so hard that you cannot image. I have tried since 2004 to develop a system that could help people to avoid being in the nursing home. Now I have multiple clients and loved ones in the nursing home. We can blame COVID for what is going on, but their systems have always been horrible and now it is even worse. Any hope of experiencing human compassion and having a loved one cared for in any way has almost been obliterated due to this supposed crisis, and due to the fact that these institutions and their personnel are being paid bonuses for COVID diagnosis.
I am living in torment as so many of you are. I want to hire a company to move my loved ones home, but they cannot stand or do much right now and the companies that run these organizations know this.
God help us because they have not got our loved ones best interest at heart and for those who really need to be there, we cannot do anything to help them.
So, I have to make a very strong statement to you, are we going to be proactive and look at all that is available for long-term care so that we do not end up under the control of the government - Medicare and Medicaid, or are we going to just go along doing life until it hits us in the face just as it has for many of our friends and loved ones?
Beware the Automatic Transition...
By John McLellan
Life is all about making transitions. And, with every transition, there comes a sobering bundle of responsibilities, concessions and adjustments.
My first conscious transition, like all of us at the forefront of the “boomer” contingent, started when I entered kindergarten somewhere between the end of the Truman administration and the beginning of the Eisenhower years. I was leaving behind the warmth and security of the crib and making the considerably ominous transition to the world of regimentation and schedules. Life was never going to be the same. (Sitting next to the cutest girl in the class did, however, keep me onboard until I was able to adjust.) From here on I more or less progressed through the elementary and junior high years in normal fashion until I entered high school. This was when I began actively working toward my first meaningful (to me, anyway) transition. In my mind, it was time for the fun to really begin!
I could not wait to get my driver’s license when I finally reached 16. Then, I could make that transition from pedestrian to king of the highways, legally, and with the cautious blessing of my parents. Of course, like all of us at the time, I was blissfully unaware of another, darker transition that was invisibly stapled to that first driver’s license. I had made the transition from the comfortable world of anonymity to the stark world of statistical reality. As I proudly motored down the road for my first “solo” in the family station wagon. that fine spring day in April 1964, I was oblivious to the fact that I was, at the same time, now a card carrying member of the statistically most dangerous age group of the entire driving population. I shared the dubious honors of being among the most frequent causes, and the most numerous victims of highway fatalities. A fact that was vociferously hammered home by every insurance purveyor this side of Neptune.
Reaching the age of 18, in spite of the threatening and dire predictions of the auto insurers, I was still alive and well… and subject to yet another transitional mixed bag. I was not only old enough to vote, and in some states, old enough to drink watered down beer, but I was now also old enough to die for my country. Or, so I was pointedly told when I made my mandatory registration for the military draft. Overall, the transition to 18 was great, but there were some rather rude elements to be sure. Arriving at age 21, I was finally entitled to the rights and privileges of adulthood, all of which would accompany me for the duration of my time on this planet. I could walk in any bar and order real booze, vote in any election for whatever candidate I favored, and I could buy automobiles and real estate solely on the strength of my own signature. I had the world by the proverbial tail. At least I did until it occurred to me that the next age milestone was 35! THIRTY-FREAKIN’ FIVE!!! Half way to 70!! It would turn out to be a very quick, productive fourteen years! By 35 I had graduated from college, married, bought a home, and fathered three children! Nothing was unusual here. Pretty much par for the majority of my post-war boomer peers.
Reaching 40 came much too quickly for my taste and it brought with it some unpleasant baggage. I had to adapt to using reading glasses. I noticed some arthritic tingling in certain joints. Some days it was awfully tempting to sneak a nap at lunchtime. For the first time I became aware of my own mortality. Having read obits of a few of my high school classmates who had already passed away, much too young, I felt a certain degree of accomplishment at making it this far.
If 40 came quickly, then age 50 set a new supersonic record! My mother passed away after a twenty-year struggle with Parkinson’s, the last nine of which were spent in a nursing home. During this same time period, my wife’s mother and dad were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My father in-law got along quite well and died of a heart attack well before the disease greatly affected him. My mother in -law, on the other hand, lived on for nearly 12 years. She lived with us for a year and a half before moving to an assisted living center where she eventually resided in the Dementia Wing until her death.
Now in my early sixties, I was enduring excruciating arthritic pain in my right knee and, while the pain in my left knee was less, it was rapidly catching up to the right. I underwent two total knee replacements, put myself through a rigid therapy regimen and regained normal, pain free functions of both legs. Within a year my wife had both hips replaced. It dawned on both of us that, with all our parents gone, we were now the old folks. Aging was overtaking us just as it had done with our parents. Like most of our generation, the last thing we wanted to do was become a burden to our children.
Now well into our seventies, we are investigating home care insurance (long-term care insurance). I wish we’d started looking ten years ago. We’ve found that there are not very many venues out there that offer the info we are looking for as our biological clocks keep ticking.
Day-to-day life is still good. We camp regularly in our travel trailer, spend quality time with children and grandchildren and both pursue engaging hobbies. In a perfect world our lives could go on this way for a long time yet. All the same, life would be much gentler without the worries associated with needing elder care and the possibility of having to make a final transition to a nursing home.
If you are concerned about being prepared for the time when you will need assistance in your home with daily activities, contact Vibrant Aging Solutions at 1 (833) 263-2323 and leave a message for one of our Longevity Concierges to start exploring long-term care options today!
Recently we found out about an online resource guide located at MYVISION.ORG. MYVISION.ORG is a non-profit company whose goal is to give you fact-based information about eye care and eye health. This information can assist you with sorting out what is fact and what is not when it comes to taking care of one of your most valuable assets, your eyes and your ability to see.
To accomplish this fact-based platform, MYVISION.ORG has brought together a Panel of Experts made up of board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists and other eye professionals to review the content being published in the guide before it is published. Below you will find an excerpt from this very valuable tool. Please read through it and then click on the link to view and save the guide for an ongoing resource, it can assist you with making the best decisions when it comes to your sight!
Aging brings with it a lot of health issues. As you approach midlife, ophthalmologist visits will likely become more frequent because of changes in your body.
How Aging Affects Your Eyes
First, you will probably have difficulties focusing on close objects, and your peripheral vision may have decreased by 20 degrees by the time you enter your 70s.
Reduced near vision is because the lenses inside your eyes harden and become less flexible with age, losing their ability to change focus. Further, your eyes become more dry, leading to some eye conditions like corneal abrasion, corneal ulcers and inflammation.
As of mid-2020, more than 4.2 million Americans aged 40 years or older had common visual disorders.
Signs of Age-Related Vision Changes
If you’re above 40, you may have started:
Refractive errors are the most common eye problem in the US, affecting more than 150 million Americans.
National Eye Institute Refractive errors refer to a group of eye problems that make it hard for light rays to focus on the retina (a light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye that receive and organize information).
If the lens is defective or inflexible, you will experience common sight issues such as farsightedness (hyperopia), nearsightedness (myopia), or astigmatism. Middle-aged people tend to experience presbyopia, where distant vision is better than up close.
To continue reading and to gain access to this valuable resource please click on the myvison.org link below:
20 Things To Do For Fun!
Though the definition of “fun” may be the same for everyone young or old, what constitutes “fun” is certainly a matter of taste, experience, and maturity.
Though your idea of fun may change dramatically as you get older, there are very few activities that are off-limits to those with good health, but despite that, many older people do look for a slower pace and a social component to what they do for fun.
Below are some great fun ideas for seniors to do.
1. Board Games
There are so many board games to choose from, it would be nearly impossible to narrow the list down to suit every taste, but suffice it to say, board games give seniors a reason to gather together with friends and talk or just enjoy the game!
There are wordplay games like Bananagrams or Scrabble that are common favorites as well as Monopoly or Scattergories that are fast-paced and concerned with strategy.
It would be best if you chose a board game with pieces that are easy for all of the players to grasp, even those with fine-motor impairments. And pick a game that everyone in your group will like (one that’s not too difficult and not too easy for everyone who will be playing).
If you’ve never picked up a pencil or a paintbrush to create a piece of artwork, it’s never too late to try.
Many seniors over the years have discovered hidden talents that they never had time to explore when they were younger. Grandma Moses, for example, revolutionized the art world when she took up painting in her late 70’s to portray her life growing up on a farm. After a lifetime of painting, Paul Cézanne didn’t have any success as an artist until his 50’s and 60’s and artist Bill Traylor started sketching when he became homeless at age 85, producing over 1,000 works of art in his lifetime.
There are many activities like art and writing that almost require a seasoned or at least mature eye or voice in order to express something of value to the world. A number of well-known, extremely successful authors didn’t even start their writing career until they were in their 60’s and beyond, so if you’ve never really tried to put pen to paper to write something for other people to read, that’s okay.
Laura Ingalls Wilder is a now-famous author who didn’t record her stories in writing until she was 65 years old and Frank McCourt didn’t record his memoirs of growing up as a poverty-stricken youth until he was 66. If you have a story to tell, it might be time to put it on paper and just journal for your own enjoyment, start a blog, or even try to publish your work.
As people get older, their stamina diminishes, but that doesn’t have to stop you from going outdoors and enjoying the world of hiking and nature! Instead of pushing your body to the limits, you can set different goals for yourself like finding and identifying plants in your region.
If you live in an area of the world that’s close to an animal reservoir or state or national park, you might consider finding quiet locations along trails to sit and watch for wildlife. Natural settings are rewarding places, no matter what your age and there’s no need to exhaust yourself to find ways to enjoy it!
It doesn’t matter whether you volunteer to act for a local theater or whether you gather together a group of friends and go out for a night of food and fun at a local dinner theater on a regular basis!
You can support the local theater scene by working in sound and lighting or just by buying tickets regularly to attend performances. Most theaters are always in need of support of one kind or another, so your presence either on the stage or in the audience will be welcome indeed. The theater is a great place to explore new ideas while socializing with a group of friends.
6. Go to a Local Senior Center
Check out the local senior center to learn about what kind of entertainment options they have available for their patrons. The senior center is a great place to meet other people in your age group with similar interests and you might even decide to eat meals there several times a week just to socialize or enjoy scheduled special events! In addition to fun activities, many senior centers also provide health-related screenings and other important resources to senior citizens in the communities they serve. If you have a special skill like a nursing or nutrition degree, you might be able to contribute your expertise as a resource to the people there as an outlet that would help you keep your skills sharp while contributing something of importance to the community.
7. Go to a Movie
If you’re looking for a good reason to get out of the house either by yourself or with a group of people, going to a movie is a good option. Though the big cinemas tend to host movies that appeal primarily to the younger generation, there are a number of specialty cinemas in urban environments that cater to a more refined and older crowd.
Find a cinema that hosts independent films that would interest you, or just go to the big cinemas for the candy, popcorn, and positive youthful vibes!
As people get older and their work responsibilities diminish, they often see new opportunities to contribute to society in entirely new and productive ways. Though volunteering may seem like work to some people, to others, it’s a way to find meaning and purpose in life, which is definitely “fun” in that the work is uplifting and it distracts them from their own troubles. There are tons of organizations that need help to perform a huge variety of different types of work by volunteers. Volunteering can be extremely engaging and fun, if you find an activity that resonates with you and that utilizes your experiences in the world.
9. Learn a New Skill
Learning something new is work, but it’s also fun! Take up a new instrument, learn how to golf, take up swimming, or tai chi, or become an expert on the local history of your community. Think about the things you always wished you’d had the opportunity to learn to do when you were younger and take the opportunity to learn them now. You never know just where that new skill will take you or who you’ll meet as a result of what you learn and learning new things is a way to really make the time fly!
10. Go Back To School/Start a New Business
Non-traditional, older students are becoming the norm more and more perhaps because the older you get, the easier it is to know what you want from your life and follow through on a plan to achieve those goals. Going back to school is a way to meet new people while keeping your mind super-sharp. And starting new businesses (big or small) is becoming more and more popular with senior citizens who are less concerned with the bottom line and able to focus more on accomplishing less profit-centric goals through business. Seniors today can start online businesses or attend classes online to accomplish goals that may have been out of reach when they were younger.
11. Bird Watching
Bird-watching can be as challenging or as laid-back as you’d like for it to be. If you’re just getting started with this hobby, you’ll probably want to start by identifying local birds, but motivated seniors could always work up to a Big Year and set a personal challenge to identify as many bird species as possible within a 12 month time period. This type of challenge can take seniors to the ends of the earth searching for rare birds that may have never been observed in the wild by anyone else in the developed world.
Gardening is a relaxing hobby that’s as practical as it is enjoyable. Plenty of seniors choose to take up gardening as a hobby because it’s a great way to connect to nature, and it also offers some quality time to think and grow something that matters. And, as a bonus, you’ll get some fresh produce that you can use to cook up some amazing meals!
Gardening can be as big and grand or as small and humble as you choose to make it; some people have large plots of land available for a vegetable garden, while other people have a few lovingly tended herbs in the kitchen. No matter how you choose to garden, you’ll surely notice the mental and physical benefits that it offers through exercise as well as healthy foods!
Shopping is, of course, something essential that must be done, but it can also be a good way to have some fun while socializing and getting a little exercise. Some people love to shop for clothes, while other people prefer to shop for a specific set of things for their hobbies.
One of the things that makes shopping particularly fun is being able to go with a group of friends or even just one really good friend. Shopping usually initiates conversations or at least some witty banter among friends, so it’s a lighthearted way to spend an afternoon while getting in some socialization and possibly running some errands (without them feeling like errands).
14. Travel with a Group
Traveling is fun at any age! Seniors who want to travel often choose to go as a part of a group, whether one arranged by a tour company or a self-constructed group of friends, since traveling in a “pack” is both safer as well as a lot more fun. Visiting a new country is an amazing experience, and what better time to go than now?
Even a visit to a new state or city you’ve never seen before can be an excellent way to get out and explore! You may not have had the opportunity to travel in your younger years, but you may also have saved for retirement with the hope that one day you’d get to travel! If travel is your goal, chances are that you’ll be able to get together a group of friends or interested acquaintances with just a little advertising and in no time head out on an adventure to someplace new.
15. Do Art Gallery Tour
Doing an art gallery tour in your city or area can be a thought provoking and interesting way to spend the morning or afternoon. There are many different types of art galleries displaying all different styles of artwork, and visiting a few different locations in one day can be a lot of fun, especially for art lovers! This is a particularly senior-friendly activity, since visiting art galleries tends to be a fairly relaxed affair.
There are exhibits that are interactive, but more often than not, engagement is limited to observing artwork rather than getting involved. Nonetheless, an art gallery tour will help you decide which galleries interest you the most! Finishing your tour with a lunch or dinner at your favorite coffee house or a new and interesting restaurant can be the perfect way to wrap up the day.
Dancing is usually considered to be a pastime that’s reserved exclusively for young people, but that’s simply not true! Seniors can derive just as much enjoyment from dancing as young people can and are just as capable of learning this skill. There are many different kinds of dancing, such as traditional ballroom dancing, that are well-suited for seniors, and other types of dance that can be easily reformatted for elderly individuals who have diminished stamina.
Dancing is a great way to maintain mobility into older age, and it’s also a therapeutic process for the body and mind. Elderly couples often cite dance as one of their favorite activities to do together, and dance can also be a fun way to make new friendships or even bond with the grandchildren!
Scrapbooking is a particularly popular hobby for senior women, but there are also some men that have taken up the activity. Making a scrapbook (or many scrapbooks!) is a good way for seniors to document their lives, as well as the lives of family members, in a creative and engaging way that many generations will enjoy. It combines practicality and organization with creativity and flamboyance, something that is often in need of balancing for people who like a combination of logic and creativity and their lives.
While there are some basic “rules” of scrapbooking, nearly anything goes! And, in addition, you can involve younger family members in the scrapbooking process as another way to connect and create lasting bonds between yourself and your grandchildren.
Baking is a popular activity for seniors because people of all ages gravitate toward and thoroughly enjoy an attractive loaf of bread or a well-decorated cupcake. Baking is not a high impact activity, but it allows seniors to get up and move around just the right amount without overexerting themselves. Baking is a fantastic activity for grandparents to do with their grandchildren, and it’s also a good way to make and maintain new social connections!
Have you started attending a local game night or movie night with other seniors? Bring a plate of your fresh, homemade cookies and you’re sure to make new friends right away! Baking can be fun for both men and women, and it’s never too late to learn how to do it.
19. Attending Sporting Events
From football and soccer games to gymnastics and martial arts tournaments, there are a diverse array of sporting events that you could attend as a senior citizen. No matter what kind of sport you’re interested in, chances are good that there’s a live event nearby for that sport. This can be a particularly fun activity for seniors since it’s possible to go either alone, with a group of friends, with a significant other, or even with extended family. Sporting events are almost always a social occasion though for event goers, so this can be a good way for seniors to get an extra dose of socialization along with some excitement.
20. Visit a Museum
Visiting a museum is a low-key activity for seniors who want to do something interesting and fun without worrying about overexerting themselves. There are a lot of wonderful, fascinating museums to visit in the world, and there’s probably a local museum (or a few) that you’ve never even thought to visit before. Museums are thought-provoking and often educational, and they can be a fun way to spark conversations with friends. A quick online search or a visit to a local tourism office is all that’s needed to find the museums in your area.
Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Monika White, Ph.D.
Staying healthy and feeling your best is important at any age. These tips can help you cope with the changes that accompany growing older—and live life to the fullest.
The keys to healthy aging
As we grow older, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, including career transitions and retirement, children leaving home, the loss of loved ones, physical and health challenges—and even a loss of independence. How we handle and grow from these changes is often the key to healthy aging.
Coping with change is difficult at any age and it’s natural to feel the losses you experience. However, by balancing your sense of loss with positive factors, you can stay healthy and continue to reinvent yourself as you pass through landmark ages of 60, 70, 80, and beyond.
As well as learning to adapt to change, healthy aging also means finding new things you enjoy, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and loved ones. Unfortunately, for many of us aging also brings anxiety and fear. How will I take care of myself late in life? What if I lose my spouse? What is going to happen to my mind?
Many of these fears stem from popular misconceptions about aging. But the truth is that you are stronger and more resilient than you may realize. These tips can help you maintain your physical and emotional health and continue to thrive, whatever your age or circumstances.
Myths about healthy aging
Myth: Aging means declining health and/or disability.
Fact: There are some diseases that become more common as we age. However, getting older does not automatically mean poor health or that you will be confined to a walker or wheelchair. Plenty of older adults enjoy vigorous health, often better than many younger people. Preventive measures like healthy eating, exercising, and managing stress can help reduce the risk of chronic disease or injuries later in life.
Myth: Memory loss is an inevitable part of aging.
Fact: As you age, you may eventually notice you don’t remember things as easily as in the past, or memories may start to take a little longer to retrieve. However, significant memory loss is not an inevitable result of aging. Brain training and learning new skills can be done at any age and there are many things you can do to keep your memory sharp. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.
Myth: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Fact: One of the more damaging myths of aging is that after a certain age, you just won’t be able to try anything new or contribute to things anymore. The opposite is true. Middle-aged and older adults are just as capable of learning new things and thriving in new environments, plus they have the wisdom that comes with life experience. If you believe in and have confidence in yourself, you are setting up a positive environment for change no matter what your age.
Aging well tip 1: Learn to cope with change
As you age, there will be periods of both joy and stress. It’s important to build your resilience and find healthy ways to cope with challenges. This ability will help you make the most of the good times and keep your perspective when times are tough.
Focus on the things you’re grateful for. The longer you live, the more you lose. But as you lose people and things, life becomes even more precious. When you stop taking things for granted, you appreciate and enjoy what you have even more.
Acknowledge and express your feelings. You may have a hard time showing emotions, perhaps feeling that such a display is inappropriate and weak. But burying your feelings can lead to anger, resentment, and depression. Don’t deny what you’re going through. Find healthy ways to process your feelings, perhaps by talking with a close friend or writing in a journal.
Accept the things you can’t change. Many things in life are beyond our control. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems. Face your limitations with dignity and a healthy dose of humor.
Look for the silver lining. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.
Take daily action to deal with life’s challenges. When a challenge seems too big to handle, sweeping it under the carpet often appears the easiest option. But ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away; it allows both the problem and your anxiety to build. Instead, take things one small step at a time. Even a small step can go a long way to boosting your confidence and reminding you that you are not powerless.
Staying healthy through humor, laughter, and play
Laughter is strong medicine for both the body and the mind. It helps you stay balanced, energetic, joyful, and healthy at any age. A sense of humor helps you get through tough times, look outside yourself, laugh at the absurdities of life, and transcend difficulties.
Tip 2: Find meaning and joy
A key ingredient in the recipe for healthy aging is the continuing ability to find meaning and joy in life. As you age, your life will change and you will gradually lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. For example, your job may change, you may eventually retire from your career, your children may leave home, or other friends and family may move far away. But this is not a time to stop moving forward. Later life can be a time of exciting new adventures if you let it.
Everyone has different ways of experiencing meaning and joy, and the activities you enjoy may change over time. If your career slows down or you retire, or if your children leave home, you may find you have more time to enjoy activities outside of work and immediate family. Either way, taking time to nourish your spirit is never wasted.
If you’re not sure where to get started, try some of the following suggestions:
Pick up a long-neglected hobby or try a new hobby. Taking a class or joining a club or sports team is a great way to pursue a hobby and expand your social network at the same time.
Learn something new, such as an instrument, a foreign language, a new game, or a new sport. Learning new activities not only adds meaning and joy to life, but can also help to maintain your brain health and prevent mental decline.
Get involved in your community. Try attending a local event or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you. The meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life. Community work can also be a great way of utilizing and passing on the skills you honed in your career—without the commitment or stress of regular employment.
Travel somewhere new or go on a weekend trip to a place you’ve never visited.
Spend time in nature. Take a scenic hike, go fishing or camping, enjoy a ski trip, or walk a dog in the park.
Enjoy the arts. Visit a museum, go to a concert or a play, join a book group, or take an art appreciation class.
Write your memoirs or a play about your life experiences
The possibilities are endless. The important thing is to find activities that are both meaningful and enjoyable for you.
Tip 3: Stay connected
One of the greatest challenges of aging is maintaining your support network. Staying connected isn’t always easy as you grow older—even for those who have always had an active social life. Career changes, retirement, illness, and moves out of the local area can take away close friends and family members. And the older you get, the more people you inevitably lose. In later life, getting around may become difficult for either you or members of your social network.
It’s important to find ways to reach out and connect to others, regardless of whether or not you live with a spouse or partner. Along with regular exercise, staying social can have the most impact on your health as you age. Having an array of people you can turn to for company and support as you age is a buffer against loneliness, depression, disability, hardship, and loss.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to be with other people. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you find ways to get out of the house (if possible) and socialize:
Connect regularly with friends and family. Spend time with people you enjoy and who make you feel upbeat. It may be a neighbor who you like to exercise with, a lunch date with an old friend, shopping with your children, or playing with your grandkids. Even if you are not close by, call or email frequently to keep relationships fresh.
Make an effort to make new friends. As you lose people in your circle, it is vital to make new connections so your social life doesn’t decline. Make it a point to befriend people who are younger than you. Younger friends can reenergize you and help you see life from a fresh perspective.
Spend time with at least one person every day. Whatever your living or work situation, you shouldn’t be alone day after day. Phone or email contact is not a replacement for spending time with other people. Regular face-to-face contact helps you ward off depression and stay positive.
Volunteer. Giving back to the community is a wonderful way to strengthen social bonds and meet others interested in similar activities or who share similar values. Even if your mobility becomes limited, you can get involved by volunteering on the phone.
Find support groups in times of change. If you or a loved one is coping with a serious illness or recent loss, it can be very helpful to participate in a support group with others undergoing the same challenges.
Tip 4: Get active and boost vitality
Don’t fall for the myth that growing older automatically means you’re not going to feel good anymore. It is true that aging involves physical changes, but it doesn’t have to mean discomfort and disability. While not all illness or pain is avoidable, many of the physical challenges associated with aging can be overcome or drastically mitigated by exercising, eating right, and taking care of yourself.
And it’s never too late to start! No matter how old you are or how unhealthy you’ve been in the past, caring for your body has enormous benefits that will help you stay active, sharpen your memory, boost your immune system, manage health problems, and increase your energy. In fact, adults who take up exercise later in life, for example, often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts—because they aren’t encumbered by the same sports injuries that many regular exercisers experience as they age. Similarly, many older adults report feeling better than ever because they are making more of an effort to be healthy than they did when they were younger.
A recent Swedish study found that exercise is the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life—even if you don’t start exercising until your senior years.
But it’s not just about adding years to your life, it’s about adding life to your years. Exercise helps you maintain your strength and agility, increases vitality, improves sleep, gives your mental health a boost, and can even help diminish chronic pain. Exercise can also have a profound effect on the brain, helping prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia.
Exercise tips for older adults
· Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Find out if any health conditions or medications you take affect the type of exercise you should choose.
· Find an activity you like and that motivates you to continue. You may want to exercise in a group, like in a sport or class, or prefer a more individual exercise like swimming.
· Start slow. If you are new to exercise, a few minutes a day puts you well on the way towards building a healthy habit. Slowly increase the time and intensity to avoid injury.
· Walking is a wonderful way to start exercising. Exercise doesn’t have to mean strenuous activity or time at the gym. In fact, walking is one of the best ways to stay fit. Best of all, it doesn’t require any equipment or experience and you can do it anywhere.
· Exercise with a friend or family member. You can help to keep each other motivated and you’ll not only benefit from the physical activity, but also from the social contact as well.
As you age, your relationship to food may change along with your body. A decreased metabolism, changes in taste and smell, and slower digestion may affect your appetite, the foods you can eat, and how your body processes food. But now, more than ever, healthy eating is important to maintain your energy and health.
Avoiding sugary foods and refined carbs and loading up on high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead will help you feel more energetic, while eating with others is a great way to stay in touch with friends.
Get plenty of sleep
Many adults complain of sleep problems as they age, including insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and frequent waking during the night. But getting older doesn’t automatically bring sleep problems. Developing healthy sleep habits as you age can help you ensure you get enough quality sleep each night.
Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool, avoid artificial light from screens for at least one hour before bed, and increase your activity levels during the day. A soothing bedtime ritual, like taking a bath or playing music can help you wind down and get a good night’s sleep.
Tip 5: Keep your mind sharp
There are many good reasons for keeping your brain as active as your body. Exercising, keeping your brain active, and maintaining creativity can actually help to prevent cognitive decline and memory problems. The more active and social you are and the more you use and sharpen your brain, the more benefits you will get. This is especially true if your career no longer challenges you or if you’ve retired from work altogether.
Challenge your brain. For some people, challenging your brain could involve playing new games or sports. Other people may enjoy puzzles or trying out new cooking recipes. Find something that you enjoy and challenge your brain by trying new variations or increasing how well you do an activity. If you like crosswords, move to a more challenging crossword series or try your hand at a new word game. If you like to cook, try a completely different type of food, or if you’re a golfer, aim to lower your handicap.
Vary your habits. You don’t have to work elaborate crosswords or puzzles to keep your memory sharp. Try to work in something new each day, whether it is taking a different route to work or the grocery store or brushing your teeth with a different hand. Varying your habits can help to create new pathways in the brain.
Take on a completely new subject. Taking on a new subject is a great way to continue to learn. Have you always wanted to learn a different language? Learn new computer skills? Learn to play the piano? There are many inexpensive classes at community centers or community colleges that allow you to tackle new subjects.
Summer Jackson, the author of this Age-Friendly Blog is an advocate for aging, and she insists that we all can live an unprecedented quality of life as we age. She believes that accomplishing this requires educating people of all ages, and involving people, organizations, and community leaders in a shared process. Read on. You will find her posts to be insightful, fun, and inspiring for people of all ages...
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