Without a doubt, 2020 was a challenging year for many different reasons, with the coronavirus pandemic topping that list. Although we are continuing to navigate life during this pandemic, it seems as though closing the book on 2020 and welcoming 2021 has given people a sense of hope for a better year to come. As we embark on this new year, now is the perfect time to set goals and intentions for the months to come. We’ve compiled a list of resolutions, both big and small, that any person, but especially seniors, may want to consider tackling in 2021.
Establishing a regular exercise routine is a popular resolution. Staying active as we age is essential to both our physical and mental health. The benefits of exercise are numerous for seniors and include optimal weight maintenance, improved balance and coordination, muscular strength, joint health and flexibility, and better mental, bone, and heart health. Recent studies show that exercise can help protect against acute respiratory distress syndrome and complications from COVID-19. Begin with 10 minutes a day and working up to 30 but be sure to chat with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Eating healthier is probably alongside exercise at the top of most new year’s resolution lists. A healthy diet has positive effects on cardiovascular health and is essential in keeping the body in tip-top shape. A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can also lower the risk of cognitive decline. Eating a variety of healthy and colorful foods that include unsaturated fats, leafy green vegetables, fruits, lean protein, Vitamin C, and Omega-3 fatty acids will fuel the brain and promote memory retention, clarity, and mental sharpness. Start by making small changes that will lead to long-term habits, like choosing chicken or fish instead of steak and adding spinach to a morning smoothie.
Try a New Hobby
Most seniors look forward to their retirement years when the hustle and bustle of daily life slows down a bit. However, in many instances, retirees may find themselves feeling bored and even depressed with so much extra time on their hands. Trying a new hobby will help fill those empty hours and sharpen cognitive ability, keep the mind active and engaged, potentially allow for new social opportunities, and challenge and stimulate new neuron pathways. Painting, cooking, knitting, writing short stories or poetry, and learning to play an instrument are just a few ideas for seniors to try.
Reach Out to an Old Friend
As the years pass and circumstances change, losing touch with an old friend or loved one is inevitable. Resolve to reach out to an old friend you’ve been missing or meaning to get in touch with. These days, technology makes it so much easier to be in touch with those that do not live close or that you may not be able to see in-person. With the coronavirus pandemic, seniors have become increasingly more familiar with technology and may feel comfortable sending a text, an email, or even setting up a video chat.
Review and Update Legal Documents
While not the most exciting resolution, creating and keeping legal documents up to date is important for people of any age, especially seniors. Everybody, regardless of financial standing or age, should have an estate plan drawn up that includes a comprehensive list of assets, a last will and testament, an advance healthcare directive, a power of attorney, and information regarding end-of-life planning. If you or your loved one does not currently have these items, or they need to be updated due to recent life events, we urge you to make this a priority in the new year.
No matter your age, the new year is the perfect time to consider any changes or improvements that you may want to make in your life. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”