5 Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Older Adults

new years resolution apple with tape measure around itYou’re never too old to make New Year’s resolutions! Although it doesn’t have to be January 1st to make healthy changes in your life, this time of the year signifies rebirth and fresh starts. Below we share five healthy habits to consider making in the New Year. It’s never too late to be smart about your physical, mental and emotional health!

1. Schedule Your Yearly Exams

Some people wait months to get into their doctors, so plan ahead by scheduling your appointments early in the year. By scheduling your checkups in January, you can get first pick on dates and times, too. See your general practitioner regularly to stay on top of blood pressure, heart problems, cholesterol, vaccinations and more. Also, schedule preventive screenings, such as breast, colon and prostate exams. For a list of screenings recommended for older adults, visit WebMD.com or talk to your doctor. 

2. Manage Your Medications

When you see your doctor, discuss your current medication list. As people age, they tend to be on more and more medications, but not all of them may be necessary. Review your medications and verify that you still need them. Some drugs can cause serious side effects that impact quality of life, while others can cause adverse side effects.

3. Make Socialization a Priority

Spending time with others is one of the best ways to prevent late-life depression in older adults. If you live alone in your home, interaction is especially important. Join activities at the local library, park district or senior center to meet new people. If you can’t drive, a home health aide can provide you with transportation and companionship. Your home health aide can even find other activities in your area, such as bingo nights, church events and book clubs.

4. Eat for Nutrition

Your vitamins and nutrients should come from the foods you eat. By getting enough of the right nutrients, you can maintain bone health, energy levels and weight. A healthy diet also reduces the risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. A home health aide can assist with meal planning and grocery shopping. Focus on foods that are on the perimeter of the grocery store - fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products, fresh meats and fish and whole grains.

5. Practice Gratitude

Take time each day to reflect on what you are grateful for. It can help to write in a journal and keep track of your responses. As people age and things get more difficult, it’s easy to think negatively. Practicing gratitude helps you keep a positive mindset and maintain balance and perspective as you go through the aging process.