Retirement communities and assisted living facilities are home to a wide variety of people. Most of them are seniors, all of them have decided that they no longer want the responsibility of home upkeep and many need help with normal daily activities. However, this does not mean that these seniors have retired from life. Many of them have remained young, energetic and engaged in the many activities and interests that senior living can provide. How do they do it?
Let’s start with the standard, common sense advice given by numerous sources.
- Exercise: anyone involved in senior care will tell you that exercise is a fundamental part of healthy senior living. Exercise helps seniors to remain mobile, retaining the maximum possible muscle strength, balance and agility. The benefits of exercise are so well known that this article will not repeat them. Instead, we offer some suggestions about starting or finding an exercise program. Most communities have a ‘senior center’ or similar organization that offers numerous programs, often including organized exercise. Senior day care, assisted living facilities, retirement communities and senior living communities all commonly offer organized programs like walking, biking, swimming, yoga and other physical activities. Whatever activity you choose, exercise is a key part of healthy senior living and a path to remaining young and energetic.
- Diet, nutrition and weight control: like exercise, these closely related elements are a basic part of any senior lifestyle aimed at remaining energetic and youthful. Assisted living facilities, retirement homes and other senior care organizations all try hard to provide balanced, nutritious, calorie controlled diets. If you are not part of an organized senior group or senior-care organization, you must take it upon yourself to adopt or maintain healthy eating habits.
There is no doubt that the two items listed above are important factors in staying young and energetic for as long as possible. Everyone involved in senior care tells you those things, but there are important actions you can take on your own to extend youthful, energetic and active life. These things may not be part of your doctor’s prescribed regimen, but senior-care experts are coming to realize how important these social and psychological measures are to seniors. Think about doing each of these:
- Keep learning. There is increasing evidence that people of all ages can actually ‘exercise’ their brains, and that this can improve one’s mental performance. This may be especially important where seniors are concerned. Learning a new skill not only gives a feeling of accomplishment, it may improve or help to preserve memory function, increase self-confidence and provide a way to meet people who share an interest with you. The new skill may be something ‘frivolous’ like square dancing or playing the piano, useful like learning to use the internet for online banking or challenging like coding a computer app. Any of these activities might help to block symptoms associated with old age like forgetfulness, shortened attention span and lack of concentration.
- Have a laugh every day. Seeing the humor in life is what separates humanity from the animal world. Laughter seems to stimulate the human brain to produce dopamine, the ‘happiness hormone’, creating a brighter outlook and attitude. People who feel upbeat and happy are likely to be more active and healthy. To paraphrase a famous football coach, “Attitude is not everything, it is the only thing.” A cheerful attitude infects other people helping them to feel young as well. Try to read, listen to or view some humorous material each day.
- Be helpful and useful. A common symptom of aging is a feeling of uselessness, often for no good reason at all. Most seniors have the physical, emotional and mental ability to help others, and it is often true that we are more energetic while attending to the needs of others’ rather than our own. Look for volunteer or even paid activities that are of use to other people.
- Maintain your appearance. Looking your best encourages you to try harder at other activities, to be more outgoing, energetic and upbeat.
- Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. That’s what a famous song said, and it is good advice for seniors, as well as teenagers. Looking ahead to the things we hope for tomorrow will energize you to remain active, hopeful and youthful in thought and spirit. Set a reasonable goal and work towards accomplishing it.
- Be reasonable. For more and more seniors, there is no medical, physical or psychological reason they cannot remain energetic and active even into their 80’s and 90’s. However, age will impose some restrictions on even the very young at heart. When your legs, arms or mind tell you that you have done enough for the day, take their advice. Every day, do all you can within comfortable limits, then stop.
Working to stay young and energetic is good advice for anyone at any age, including seniors. When you transition to a senior lifestyle, it is very important to use your time, skills and talents to keep yourself as healthy, fulfilled and energetic as possible. A time may come, even for young-at-heart seniors, when homemaking, housekeeping, lawn work and routine day-to-day activities become a burden. If you are considering an assisted living facility, retirement community or other senior living community, Finding Assisted Living can help find the best option for you or your loved one.
If the task seems daunting, you are not alone; for many people, it is overwhelming. Making the transition to senior living easy and satisfying is what Finding Assisted Living and FindingAssistedLiving.com do best. FAL’s staff stays in touch with all of the businesses and professionals you are likely to need at this time of life. From medical professionals to financial, estate and tax experts to realtors or home health care providers, Finding Assisted Living knows the people in your local area who can meet the challenge.
Please contact Finding Assisted Living or FindingAssistedLiving.com by clicking the link or by calling 866-333-2657.