How seniors can enjoy ongoing health and happiness
This is a guest blog post written by Karen Weeks, a senior lifestyle blogger who believes nothing is off limits to seniors. After retirement, she struggled to find a new sense of purpose which lead her to learn a new skill and took a computer course. She created Elder Wellness—an online resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies and spirits well.
Would you like to be healthy and happy in your senior years? Of course you would! We live in a time when people are living longer than ever, but unfortunately that longer life doesn’t necessarily equate to an enjoyable one. Here’s how you can make the most of every day you’re given.
The Comforts of Home
As HousingWire explains, most people would like to remain in their own homes as they grow older. However, to be safe and secure as you get older, that might involve some changes. For seniors who have more house than they really need, this might come in the form of downsizing. For some, it might mean senior-friendly home modifications. For many, it might mean both.
With that in mind, take a good look at your home environment and think about whether it’s senior-friendly, or could easily be made senior-friendly. A home that’s hard to get around—or leads to injuries—can quickly zap the fun out of your golden years!
Some basics to think about are one-floor living, a safe bathroom, appropriate flooring, and at least one accessible entryway. If you can adjust your current home to accommodate those three things, you’re well on your way to aging in place!
To give you some idea of the costs associated with these changes, NerdWallet notes you can replace flooring for about $3 per square foot—starting off—then grab bars plus installation will be about $120 each, and even add an accessible ramp for about $1,500.
Sometimes seniors overlook one of their best downsizing options: independent living. For those who like the idea of moving directly into a safe, senior-oriented environment, enjoying some amenities, and connecting with peers, it can be an ideal solution.
Independent living communities in the Chicago area vary greatly, with prices ranging from $1,500 to $9,750 per month, so before you make a selection, be sure to visit those that catch your eye.
Step Out to Step Up Health
Setting yourself up with a safe home environment is an important precaution against lost mobility in your senior years. It’s a safety net on the off-chance you become injured, require surgery or have an illness that impairs your mobility—temporarily or permanently.
Another important precaution is to stay physically active. Harvard Health Publishing points out that engaging in an exercise regimen as simple as walking can be enough to help seniors avoid disabilities and stay independent throughout their golden years. It can also lead to other benefits like sleeping better and feeling happier.
Walking is a simple and easy start, but be sure to add some resistance training and stretches to the mix! There are plenty of simple exercises you can do right in the comforts of your home; just pick up some resistance bands or weights or join a fitness center near you. If you don’t want to go alone, grab a friend! It’s more fun that way—and safer—too!
Keep Up Connections
Wherever you live and whatever you do, make sure you don’t let your social life fall away as you get older. That might not sound like it is such a big deal, but being lonely can have particularly serious ramifications for older adults, even being compared with smoking 15 cigarettes daily. It is linked with several health conditions, like depression, heart disease, and dementia, and even appears to shorten lives.
Staying connected doesn’t need to be a hassle. Look for simple and enjoyable lifestyle additions, like volunteering, strolling with a neighbor, taking a class, or getting a job. Chances are you’ll wish you’d done it sooner!
As you get older, find ways to make sure you savor every minute. Enjoy a safe home environment, stay active, and stay connected. You’ll be happier and healthier as a result.
Thank you, Karen, for sharing your insightful and inspiring wisdom for those nearing retirement or already enjoying their golden years!