For many, the New Year represents a time of renewal and an opportunity to take inventory of one’s day-to-day habits. New Year’s resolutions can be small and simple, such as doing a daily crossword puzzle to help stay sharp, or they can be deeply personal, like reconnecting with an estranged loved one. Whatever the size or complexity of your resolutions, take some time to really reflect on what can be done to improve your overall well being for 2015.
Many of us simply want to feel better. Whether it’s eating differently, exercising more, working fewer hours, or just trying to have a more positive attitude, there are ways we can invest in ourselves by making healthier choices.
Eat better and try new foods.
The internet has endless resources for healthy recipes for all kinds of diets, whether you’re going gluten-free, low salt, vegan, or cutting out processed foods. There’s also an array of cookbooks available for whatever your New Year’s goals may be.
Try yoga and/or meditation.
The practicing of yoga can do wonders for those dealing with stress, as caregivers often are. There are also modifications of poses that can be done to accommodate seniors as well. A meditation routine can help calm your mind, reducing tension and anxiety, as well as provide health benefits for your body. Both practices can be done indoors in small spaces, so bad weather and limited room never has to be a limiting factor.
Use it, so you don’t lose it.
Crosswords puzzles, word finds, trivia questions, jigsaw puzzles, and online brain games can help seniors (and those that love them) stay mentally sharp. Engage in these activities daily as part of your exercise routine.
Learn or teach something new.
Invite your senior to teach you a skill (crocheting, poker, a favorite cooking technique, or how to flirt like a gentleman) and in return teach your senior something new. Not only will you both be wiser for it, you’ll have spent some real quality time together. Make sure you allot plenty of time for these exchanges, as many of the skills you’ll learn from your senior could have some terrific stories to go along with them. This can also be a great opportunity to introduce your loved one to a new piece of technology (like e-mail or Skype) to help you stay in touch.
Get your affairs in order.
Now’s a good time to make sure your will is up-to-date (or have one drawn up) and that your family knows your end-of-life preferences. These are unpleasant topics to ponder and discuss, but it’s much better to have your wishes known and your documents in place ahead of time, rather than leaving your loved ones a puzzle to piece together during a time of mourning.
Record family stories.
Provide seniors with a journal to record some of their favorite memories, or, if they have difficulty writing due to arthritis or Parkinson’s, offer to transcribe these memories for them. Preserving these stories can be a great comfort to loved ones and a treasured piece of family history.
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