Help your elderly to keep a purpose in their lives with New Year's resolutions

Here’s to a new year full of new opportunities and a chance to start afresh! For many of us, the start of a new year is when we make new resolutions. Seniors too, can find that making resolutions for the upcoming year are the best way to setting goals and working towards them. No matter your age, personal development is necessary to living a meaningful life. What’s a better time to start working on yourself than the start of a new year? Inspire your elderly loved ones to enrich their lives with one of the ideas we list below.

Getting active

Getting more exercise is usually the most frequently chosen resolution we make for the new year. It’s also one of the hardest to stick to. We all make excuses to stay home on the couch instead of going for a walk, a run, or an exercise class. We must remember though, that a healthy mind means a healthy body. And our seniors have a profound need for movement and activity in order to stay young and strong. Plan an exercise regimen for your senior, and make it doable and motivating. It’s even better if they have an exercise partner so they are motivated to get out and start moving.

Staying occupied is one of the most important things to postpone the onset of Alzheimer or dementia.

Eating well

When it comes to a healthy body, eating well is quintessential to building and maintaining good health. First and foremost, proper hydration needs to be followed by everyone but especially seniors. Unfortunately, the older we get the harder it is to drink water. The elderly have blunted thirst perception. An Australian study has proven that the elderly don’t drink enough water and become dehydrated during heat waves because their brains and bodies don’t coordinate sensory signals about thirst. Dehydration causes mental fog, fatigue, headache and a most of other more serious problems.

Balanced diet is a key to keep your seniors healthy. Make sure there is enough vegetables in the fridge all the time.

Besides water, seniors need to consume balanced meals that include a wide variety of foods from different food groups. Too much starch and sugar slow down the digestive system and lack nutrition. Frequent snacking because of boredom is also a common problem among the elderly. Make sure they consume 3 full meals a day and snacks should preferably be fresh, nutritious choices.

Learning new things

In relation to a healthy body, a healthy mind is reached by engaging in new, challenging activities. Training the mind through learning builds brain power. Learning also structures time efficiently, which is especially helpful for those seniors who are in pension or living alone. Seniors will feel productive and accomplished. This prevents depression and gives a sense of meaning to life.

Learning something new can be anything, from learning how to play backgammon to baking sourdough bread from scratch. It can be a source of entertainment such as a new game to something useful that aids a senior in their everyday life. This can be learning how to use a computer, tablet or even smartphone which are essential tools in this day and age.

Even though our elderly weren't born in the digital world they can truly benefit from technologies. We just have to help them understand it and give them the right easy-to-use technology.

If smartphones or tablets seem too complex, try to simplify it with an app – for example one that helps seniors stay in touch with family and friends. Oscar Senior was created especially for the non tech savvy, so learning how to use it is actually quite easy. Your seniors will have the entire world at their fingertips. The video call feature can be accessed with just a tap of a button. Seniors will avoid feelings of frustration and discouragement and instead feel confident when using an app built just for them.

Making new friends

A large number of seniors today report feeling lonely. Social connections are harder to maintain in person as family structures have been changing in past decades. Friends too, may come and go. Encourage your senior to go out and meet new people in order to widen their social circle.

Close ties with others drastically improves mental health. Studies reveal that 17% of seniors are in contact with friends, relatives or neighbours once a week, with 11% in contact just once a month. This is a very low number, and considering a vast majority are living alone, it’s apparent that many seniors suffer from loneliness.

There are usually opportunities for senior citizens to meet and share an activity in a local community center, church, or recreational facility. Events may include bingo or karaoke night. Seniors may also have the chance to play card games like bridge, or express themselves through a creative hobby such as knitting or painting.

Volunteer opportunities

In relation to the importance of friendship, seniors may find a sense of purpose and belonging if they spend their free time helping others. A local soup kitchen may need extra hands to hand out meals. A charity organization may need someone to collect canned goods for those in need. A hospital may invite volunteers to spend time with patients who are in for a long recovery. Depending on their ability, your senior can engage in a cause they are passionate about.

Even though they got old they still can be very helpful and we can learn so much from them. Volunteer work may be the right choice for your elderly to stay occupied and feel included.

A new year inspires us to reevaluate our lives and try new things. Our seniors too, can join in on making a New Year’s resolution to boost their health and wellbeing. Taking into account their physical and mental condition, we can help them choose from a variety of hobbies and activities appropriate for those in advancing age. Anything from a weekly book club to learning how to start a video call, help your senior find what they like best. An active life greatly benefits our senior citizens, keeping them young, and improving their quality of life in general.

Do you have anything in mind that you would add to this list? Share your ideas with us.