Healthy Habits for Seniors: 6 Ways to Boost Your Quality of Life
Quality of life means something different to each of us. Essentially, quality of life refers to the level of comfort and satisfaction you feel about your life from your own subjective perspective. Though we tend to think quality of life declines as we get older, seniors actually report higher levels of life satisfaction than younger adults. If anything is getting in between you and your best life, take back control of your health with these simple habits.
1. Optimize Your Medicare Coverage
According to the AARP, seniors don’t shop around when they’re picking out a Medicare plan. This is understandable since Medicare can be extremely complicated, but it’s important to understand your options so you can make the most of your coverage. Supplementary coverage is available through Medicare Advantage plans —these can help you out with vision, dental, and prescription drug expenses as well as a variety of additional health services and programs.
Make it a habit to review your Medicare plan each year and ensure that it’s meeting your needs. Learn about the options available in your state by going to MedicareAdvantage.com.
2. Exercise However You Can
It’s never too late to start exercising. In addition to preventing obesity and making you look great, exercise can help you avoid fatigue, stiffness, muscle loss, and heart conditions. Plus, exercise is a wonderful stress-reliever and provides an instant mood boost. Going on daily walks is a great way for seniors to get started. Once you’re comfortable with moving every day, adopt some strength and flexibility workouts into your routine. Check out Nurse Next Door for some senior-friendly workout moves when you’re ready to take your exercise up a notch.
3. Follow a Personalized Bedtime Routine
Sleep deprivation is a common problem among seniors. Unfortunately, sleep loss contributes to several physical and mental conditions, including depression, memory problems, and daytime fatigue. If you think you have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor — you could have underlying conditions that are obstructing your sleep quality. You can also improve your sleep by practicing a bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, do some gentle yoga, read a calming book, and turn off electronic devices during this time. Get in the habit of winding down at least an hour before bed.
4. Challenge Yourself Every Day
Giving your brain new challenges each day is the perfect way to maintain and strengthen your cognitive abilities. Two of the most beneficial mental activities include learning a new language and learning to play an instrument. You can also exercise your mind by cooking new recipes, doing budgeting math, and taking new routes when you drive or go on a walk.
5. Eat More Whole Foods
Focusing your diet on whole foods is the easiest way to meet nutritional recommendations without consuming added sugars and fats that can wreak havoc on your health. Eating a variety of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables will provide your body with essential calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins that seniors tend to lack. Aim for plenty of quality protein, like lean meats, seafood, poultry, and eggs, to help maintain your muscle mass. Finally, try to add fiber sources, such as legumes, to your diet to support your digestive health.
6. Call Your Friends
Being lonely as a senior puts you at risk of mental illness, cognitive decline, and chronic disease. In fact, the health of isolated seniors tends to decline faster than those who regularly spend time with others. Stay socially engaged throughout your senior years by calling your friends, joining groups, and attending classes in your community. Take advantage of social media and video chat services to connect with your family members. If you live out in the country, consider moving to the city where you can meet other seniors and participate in social activities. Getting a pet can also improve your quality of life if you’re living alone.
Though you can’t stop the physiological changes that come with age, there is a lot you can do to reduce your risk of mental and physical conditions as you advance into your senior years. Make healthy choices every day, take preventive measures against anticipated problems, and stay connected to the passions and values that give you purpose.
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer who creates programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65. To learn more about Jason and the work that he does, explore Strong Well and if you have any questions for him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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