New Year, New You—Easy Health Tips for Seniors To Start 2019 Off Right

The new year is right around the corner, which for many of us means it is time for those New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are hard not only because they are difficult to stick with, but because they require you to make a major change in your life and how you are doing things each and every day.

However, if you choose the right resolutions and take the right approach to really sticking with your new plan for the new year—they can change your life for the better. Any senior out there who is looking for some healthy new resolutions for the upcoming year can start seeing some really positive changes in their overall health and well-being if they are just willing to make the effort.

If you want to be inspired by some new healthy resolutions for 2019 here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Starting a new exercise regimen. Starting to exercise doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be fun. For seniors, finding the right form of exercise is all about finding something you enjoy and something that will keep you active. Perhaps it is squash or golf. Many senior centers and retirement communities have fitness classes designed for seniors that can also be a fun social activity. Worried about arthritis and joint pain? Swimming and water aerobics are great options—you just need to find something that works for you so that you actually stick with it.
  • Improve your balance. Falls are the number one reason that seniors end up in the emergency room and they can have a serious impact on their health. Many seniors end up hospitalized or worse because of a fall—so in 2019, why not make a resolution to improve your balance? This is a great way to prevent falls. Strengthen your muscles, consider balance ball exercises, and take the time to do a fall-risk assessment to help with prevention—they can all help you make sure you aren’t falling in the new year.
  • Take care of your mental health. Being healthy is about more than eating right and exercising. This year, make a resolution to boost your brain and give it the “workout” it requires. If you are able to keep your brain stimulated, it will only improve your brain function and improve your memory. Plus, exercising your brain is easy, you just need to do one brain boosting activity every day. This can be word games, puzzles, Sodoku, or playing a musical instrument.

Sure, they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks—but that doesn’t have to be true! There is no better time than the present to change your bad habits, adopt new healthy ones and make some great resolutions that will change your life for the better in 2019 and beyond.

This Year—Give a Senior Center a Try

The year 2018 is quickly coming to a close, which means it is time to start thinking about the new things that you will try in the new year. For any senior out there who is looking to make 2019 their best year yet—why not consider joining a senior center?

There are senior centers in cities and towns all over the country, and they are a very important and valuable resource for seniors who want to enjoy some companionship with their peers during the day. These seniors centers are great for active seniors who want social outings but can also help seniors who struggle to get out of the house and cook for themselves as easily as well.

Most senior centers are available for a free or very affordable membership (depending on the actual center) and are easy to join. If you are considering looking for a new senior center for your new year, you may be surprised to find just how many senior centers there are out there. As you start to look at your different options, here are some tips on how to make sure you are finding the right senior center for you.

Here are a few different things you can expect to find in certain senior centers:

  • Routine social events. Whether they are outings to destinations in the community, ice cream socials or dances, a great senior center will always have fun big events for all of its members to enjoy.
  • Fun classes. Many senior centers will have art classes, foreign language classes and classes designed to teach seniors new, fun skills, all as part of their program.
  • Hot meals. This is one of the most important things that you can expect from a senior center—a place to get a hot, nutritious meal. While you don’t necessarily have to eat at the senior center, it is important to know that you can eat a hearty breakfast and a healthy lunch at your community center.
  • Exercise opportunities. It is so important to stay active as you age, and a great senior center will offer exercise opportunities for the seniors who utilize their services. This can be organized exercises classes, access to a gym or trips to a local pool—all in the name of staying active and healthy.
  • Transportation services. There are many senior centers that offer transportation services, such as bus trips to the grocery store, transportation to events or even transportation to pick members up—it isn’t something every senior center has, but it is a great resource when it is available.

Most importantly, you will want to find a senior center that you feel comfortable with. If you keep these tips in mind and know what to look for, you will know when you have found a great senior center to meet your needs.

Tips for Seniors on Selling Their Home

One of the most difficult decisions that many seniors will have to make is when they should sell their home. It is a dilemma that many seniors deal with, when they must decide to let go of their long-time home and move either into a more manageable place, in with a relative or to an assisted living community.

It is difficult enough or many families to convince their senior loved one that they should move at all, but it can be even more challenging to decide when is the right time to sell. After all, a home is often the most valuable asset that a senior has, so they should be careful about when they are selling so they can make the most of this decision.

If you feel that now is the right time for you or your senior loved one to sell their home—here are a few tips to consider.

  • Make sure you know the current value of the home. Most seniors have been in their home for a very long time when they are finally ready to sell. This can make it difficult to really know the home’s current value. If seniors are not knowledgeable about current prices, it could cause them to accept much less for their home than it is really worth.
  • Work with an agent who is familiar with seniors. It is important that you work with a real estate agent who is familiar with senior housing options. There are many agents who work closely under the guidelines of the Housing for Older Person’s Act and who can help seniors make appropriate sales decisions. This is also a smart way to avoid schemes and scams during the transaction process.
  • Have a plan on where you are going next. It can be really difficult to line up your moving time lines, but for seniors, it is typically best to make sure that they have a new place lined up before they sell their old one. This will make the entire moving process easier and ensure you don’t have to live in temporary housing. Whether you are moving to an assisted living community, nursing home or just a different house, it is always smart to have your next location ready for your move.
  • Take your time when packing. This is one of the most difficult steps in the moving process for more seniors. Moving not only means all of the buying and selling paperwork, but it means packing up a home and years of memories. Seniors should give themselves more time than they originally think when packing. This can not only be a very physically taxing undertaking but a very emotional one—and one the is typically much harder than most seniors assume.

The right time to sell a home can be different for everyone—you just have to decide what makes the most sense for you and your family.

7 Ways to Beat S.A.D.

Now that winter is practically here, there are more and more seniors who are struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. If you aren’t already familiar with S.A.D., it is a common condition that impacts people of all ages during the winter season. It causes depression and depression-like symptoms and is often linked solely to the season and time of year.

Unfortunately, while S.A.D. can impact any person, of any age, it is most common in seniors. This is why it is so important that seniors are proactive about this condition and aware of what they can do to prevent them from falling victim to S.A.D.

  1. Get outside. Even if it is just to sit outdoors for a few moments wrapped in a blanket. Getting outside and breathing in fresh air and enjoying real sunlight can go a long way in battling S.A.D.
  2. Exercise. Even something as simple as walking the mall is a great form of exercise and one that can help you release endorphins that will boost your mood and help you feel more like yourself.
  3. Change your diet. Positive diet changes can go a long way for anyone battling depression or depression-like symptoms, and a complete diet change during a S.A.D. episode can give the body the jump-start it needs to reset and get back to feeling like normal.
  4. Take a vacation. Sure you won’t be able to do this every time you feel depressive symptoms—but this is a great solution for seniors who suffer with S.A.D. every year. Instead of bearing through the winter and another year of seasonal depression, plan a trip to somewhere sunny during the winter. It is a great way to get ahead of the problem before it starts and to get over your feelings of seasonal depression by basking in the sun.
  5. Light therapy. There are many studies that like S.A.D. to the fact that people aren’t getting enough sunlight in the winter. A great way to change this is to invest in a light machine. Light therapy can help any senior get over their S.A.D. symptoms.
  6. Stay connected. There are many seniors who not only deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but who also deal with loneliness and isolation. A great way for seniors to combat these feelings of isolation is to stay connected with friends and family. Weekly dinners, regular video conferencing and more can all help any senior with S.A.D.
  7. Meditate. During the cold, gloomy days of winter when you really need a boost, try meditation. Any person at any age can meditate and it is a great way to change your mood by boosting serotonin levels. With meditation you can not only calm your mind but get rid of anxious energy and negative thoughts.

Of course, if seniors continue to experience depression-like symptoms, it is important that they visit their doctor for more help. While S.A.D. typically goes away when the seasons change, this isn’t always the case and if you are worried about anyone hurting themselves, or hurting others, it is important that they get help right away.

Indoor Activities for Seniors When the Weather Gets Cold

It is that time of year again.  That time of year when the temperatures start to drop, and it starts getting cold, wet and miserable out.  However, it is important to remember that being outside in the winter isn’t just uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous, especially for seniors.  This is why when seniors have the choice between going outside in bad weather or staying indoors, it is always best to play it safe.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to have fun and prevent yourself from feeling locked up when the weather is bad.  Here are a few different safe, engaging and fun activities that any senior can enjoy when the weather outside gets frightful.

  • Do a puzzle, either alone or with a friend!
  • Do crosswords from the paper or from a crossword book—there are plenty of options out there.
  • Listen to old music—or maybe even do some dancing!
  • Knit or sew something that will help keep you warm when the weather is cold.
  • Read a new type of book you have never tried before, it can be fun to branch out.
  • Start an indoor garden.
  • Redecorate a room in the house, there is no better time to do it.
  • Stay active with easy indoor exercises like stretching, touching your toes or jogging in place.
  • Have a movie marathon featuring old movies from the past—it can be a fun trip down memory lane.
  • Take the time to sit down and video chat with family members from around the country. This is a great opportunity to catch up with those that live far away.

While it is normal to want to get out of the house, and no one likes feeling cooped up, it is important for seniors to remember that going out in bad winter weather can actually be a safety issue.  Instead of risking a fall or your health by heading outdoors, keep these fun indoor activities in mind. They can help pass the time until the weather clears up and it is safe to go back outdoors.

Exercises That Can Help Any Senior Stay Active in the Winter

Winter can be a really fun time of year, with all of the holidays and celebrations that come during this season.  However, many people find that when winter hits, it becomes easier and easier to stay trapped indoors and to stop getting as much exercise as they need.  This is particularly true for seniors.  While warmer temperatures make it much simpler to get out and go for a nice walk, when you spend most of your time trapped indoors, your exercise routine can get in a rut as well.

This is why it is so important to make sure that you have an exercise plan that you can perform indoors, where it is safe.  While going to a local gym or fitness center is a great option for the winter, it is also smart to have a backup plan in case the weather is bad and you can’t drive. Fortunately, there are plenty of home DVDs, online workout streaming services and more that make it easy to access workout classes right from the comfort of your own home.

If you are a senior who normally likes to get out and walk outside for their normal exercise routine, here are a few different winter-friendly options to consider:

  • Pilates. A great exercise for building core strength and toning muscles without putting much pressure on the joints. Building the core is a great way for seniors to prevent falls.
  • Yoga. This is a great way to keep the muscles loose and limber and is a great exercise for seniors who want to keep their muscles loose but active. Yoga is also great for stress relief and finding inner peace—which can be helpful on days when seniors feel cooped up in home.
  • Swimming. While most seniors won’t be able to swim inside their own home, this is a great exercise for seniors during the winter as it doesn’t put extra stress on the joints and is a great cardio and muscular workout.
  • Body weight workouts. There are many home DVDs and exercise videos that are designed to be complete body weight workouts. These are great for seniors because they don’t require heavy weights—meaning they are easy to do at home, and you are less likely to get injured lighting something too heavy.

The great part about these workouts is that they aren’t only perfect for doing inside, but they are also low-impact workouts that won’t cause extra stress on the body.  These are great exercises for seniors who still want to stay active and healthy but who don’t want to injure themselves while working out!  They really are the best of both worlds.

Tips For Preventing Slip and Falls This Winter

Now that the winter is here, it means it is time for many of us to start dealing with snow and ice.  Depending on where you live, snow and ice can be a serious problem in the winter, which is why all seniors should know about proper slip and fall prevention. Slip and fall accidents are the most common reason that seniors end up in the emergency room and they are even more common in the winter when it gets slippery out. Unfortunately, slip and falls are sometimes unpreventable accidents, but the more that you can do to lessen the chances of this happening this winter.

  • Make sure you have the right footwear on. This is one of the most important tips that you can keep in mind during the winter.  Even if you don’t think it looks particularly slippery out, you should make sure that you wear flat, comfortable shoes with plenty of traction on the bottom.
  • Be extra cautious at night. Black ice is a real thing, and you need to remember that many times, you can’t always see ice even when it is there.
  • Never go out alone when it is icy or slippery out. Winter conditions not only increase the chances of falls but seniors who fall when they are alone, may not be able to get up and get the help that they need. This can be fatal for many seniors.
  • Always have someone preemptively deice sidewalks and walkways to and from the house. Even if it is only raining.  The weather can drop at night and cause wet surfaces to ice over.

These are simple, yet useful tips that can help keep you and your loved one’s safe this winter.  If you are a senior or have a special senior in your life that you are looking after, then these tips can go a long way in helping you stay safe this winter—and all year round.

 

How to Winterize Your Home For The Season


Now that winter is here, it is time to make sure that your home is ready for the cold weather season. There are many things that you should be doing to your house before and during the winter. This can not only help keep your house safe, but help keep you safe as well. If you find that you cannot handle these responsibilities, you may want to consider hiring a professional, or have a friend or family member come help you.

– Check the heating system. More often then not, you won’t realize there is an issue with the heating system until the first very cold day of the year when you try to turn your heater on. Don’t wait until you actually need it—test the heating system out. Make sure that you clean out the furnace and check your heating vents too while you’re at it.

– Check all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure to double check the batteries. When you turn the heat on for the first time, the carbon monoxide detectors will detect any leaks.

– Install a new programmable thermostat. This is a great option for seniors who may forget about changing their heat. These programmable thermostats can help automate the heat and make sure that the home is always at a safe temperature.

– Check the outdoor faucets and hoses. This can prevent any icy surfaces from forming.

– Clean out the gutters. This way snow and ice won’t build up and do damage to the gutters or the exterior of the home.

– Check the chimney flu in the fireplace. Lots of people want to cozy up next to the fire when it gets cold out, but it is important that the fireplace, particularly the chimney is ready. Sometimes, there can be buildup in the chimney flue, which can cause a fire hazard.

These tips are essential to keeping yourself and your home safe this winter—and they can make all of the difference in how your season goes.

Why Travel?

We understand that not everyone likes to travel. No doubt it can be challenging, but there are significant benefits if you choose to enliven your routine with a little excursion. 

Traveling makes you smarter!

From the beginning of choosing a location, packing your suitcases and figuring out the logistics of who will water your plants or sit your pet, traveling takes you out of your routine. Anything new and different like this which engages your brain, causes new neurological pathways to grow.

Learning a new language, taking a cooking or painting class while on your trip and meeting new people all place you in unique situations, and your brain strengthens.

Traveling is healthy for you!

Traveling makes you strong!

We realize that all these new patterns outside the everyday routine can be perceived as a hassle to some people. Yes, and that’s good! We learn flexibility, creativity and self-reliance. Those are great attributes to have and useful to daily living.

Flexibility of mind, new solutions to new challenges and our sense of who we are and how we cope gets stronger.

Traveling helps you become an interesting story teller. 

When things don’t go according to plan, those seemingly challenging circumstances make for the best stories!

If everything goes perfectly on your trip or vacation, and people ask “How did you enjoy yourselves? How was your trip?” All you can say is “Great!”

But if you lose your luggage in a foreign country, an unexpected hail storm hits your day outing, or your boat’s motor konks out, it’s then that you have stories to tell!

Don’t fret, go with the flow!

Traveling opens your mind.

One of the best benefits of travel is the widening of perspective.

When you visit other cultures, engaging with the people, their customs, their food, their language and the different natural surroundings, it can’t help but change your perspective.

That internal road to opening your mind has benefits for you when you return home.

Traveling helps you lighten up.

When you take a trip, you realize that you can’t bring everything with you in your suitcase. It’s just not possible.

So, when you live out of a suitcase for a month or more, you come to realize that all the “stuff” you have at home might not be as necessary as you once thought. How many pairs of shoes do you need? How many sweaters, shirts, and change of clothing are crucial to a comfortable life?

Did you survive not seeing your favorite TV programs? Did you miss that ball game?

The encounter with minimalism that travel requires is refreshing.

Take a chance, take a trip!

So you see, the exotic and the new that you encounter when on the road has measurable, significant benefits for you.

Grow your brain! Expand your mind! Lighten up on your stuff and take a trip!

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website Amazon.com.

Social Media for Seniors: Staying Connected with Family

Homebound seniors often experience isolation and loneliness. These feelings can lead to depression and decreased energy levels. However, thanks to technology, today’s seniors can connect with friends and family members at the click of a button. Social media is a great tool for older adults and homebound seniors to stay up to date. Here’s how the most popular social media platforms are connecting seniors with their loved ones.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media platform, and the number of seniors on Facebook is growing! Facebook is designed to connect friends and family members together, making it the perfect choice for seniors. Seniors can follow their family members, read status updates, see new photos and make comments and hold conversations within the platform. Whether on a computer or through the app, Facebook brings family and friends that much closer to home.

In addition, seniors can join different groups on Facebook to find people with similar interests or needs. The Facebook Messenger features also allows for calls and video chats. This social interaction can be just what seniors need to brighten up their day.

Pinterest

Pinterest is like a digital scrapbook. Seniors can get crafting ideas, recipes, quotes, and more! Pinterest allows seniors to find things that are meaningful to them and save them in an organized digital platform. Pinterest also allows seniors to comment and start conversations. They can follow their friends and family members to see what their interests are.

And if your family is up for it, you can create a shared board and collaborate. Maybe your family creates a board for Christmas activities to do this year or recipes you want to try out at Thanksgiving.

Instagram

Instagram is all about the visuals. This picture and video platform allows seniors to see pictures of their loved ones and follow hashtags that interest them. Want knitting tips? No problem! Seniors can post their own photos as well so that the family can see what they are doing. In addition to posting in an Instagram feed, seniors can record Instagram videos. These videos are perfect for showing off a new craft, telling a story, or sharing your pet’s new tricks.

Seniors can comment on photos and videos that they like to spark conversation and keep tabs on what their loved ones are doing.

Twitter

Twitter is all about short updates. With a small character limit, tweets are very succinct and to the point. It can be easy to stay up to date by following your loved ones on this platform because updates are so short. Twitter is a great place for starting conversations. Seniors can send direct messages or just comment on tweets themselves. And you can retweet things that you like. Did your granddaughter perform well in a gymnastics meet? Retweet it!

Seniors can even follow hashtags, like they can do on Instagram, to learn more about topics that interest them.

Making Social Media Easy

But if you’re new to social media, starting a profile may seem daunting. Don’t worry! Here is a quick and easy guide to social media to help you get started.

While social media is no replacement for in-person interaction, it is a great resource to help seniors stay engaged with their friends and family members until they can see them again. If your family member requires more interaction, you may want to consider companionship services.

As social media platforms evolve, there may be even more opportunities for seniors to stay connected digitally.