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Celebrating National Assisted Living Week

Celebrating National Assisted Living Week

The COVID-19 crisis has been incredibly challenging for those who love and work with older adults. As National Assisted Living Week kicks off on Sunday, September 13, we wanted to highlight the special partnership between seniors and caregivers.

In honor of this special week we share tips for aging well and living your best life at every stage in life.

8 Tips for a Long and Healthy Life

  1. Be proactive with health.

When you are healthy, it’s easy to take wellness for granted. People often ignore their health until they experience a medical issue. This is true even for older adults. The problem is, if you wait for a health problem to arise, it might be more difficult or even too late to treat it.

Build a good relationship with a primary care doctor you trust. Then follow their advice for routine screenings. This proactive approach allows small issues to be detected early, when treatment is more likely to be successful.

  1. Exercise and avoid being sedentary.

The risks of a sedentary lifestyle are significant. Spending too much time sitting can lead to a variety of health issues and even early mortality. Commit to exercising more and sitting less. Walking, cycling, chair yoga, swimming, and low-impact fitness programs can help. Being mindful of how much time you spend sitting is also essential. Some older adults find a fitness tracker with a movement reminder alert helpful. They are available in a variety of prices.

  1. Exercise your brain.

Your body isn’t the only thing that needs a regular workout. Brain health impacts your quality of life during retirement, too. When you do the same thing day after day, your brain health can suffer.

By challenging your brain on a regular basis, you may be able to protect memory and concentration. 6 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Brain offers suggestions on how to do that.

  1. Become a lifelong learner.

Another tip for keeping your brain healthy is to continue learning. Tackling new things challenges the brain. It also gives the spirit a boost. There are many ways to learn and grow right from home. Master a foreign language by taking a free online course. Watch YouTube videos to learn a new instrument. You can even try watercolor or acrylic painting with an online class or kit from the craft store.

  1. Live with purpose.

Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy yourself. But it’s still necessary to have a sense of purpose. It is linked to a longer life span, a healthier brain, and an overall improved ability to face life’s challenges.

While you may have retired and have adult children that are on their own, there are a variety of ways to add purpose to your days. Volunteer your time and talent for a local nonprofit organization, even if it’s virtually. Write your autobiography or research your family’s roots. Adopt a pet so you have a pal who counts on you every day.

  1. Stay in touch.

Isolation is a contributing factor to many health risks. It increases the chances of depression, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. You can combat that by staying in touch with friends, family, and your community. Socialization is also linked to quality of life.

When you can’t visit face-to-face, video chat services, such as Zoom or FaceTime, are the next best thing. Most are easy to install and use from a smart phone or tablet.

  1. Eat healthy.

Nutrition impacts health at every age. A well-balanced diet is essential to thriving during retirement. Nutritional needs change as we grow older and the body processes nutrients differently.

While seniors might need less calories, they often require higher amounts of key nutrients. For example, vitamin D deficiency is more common among older adults. If you aren’t sure what type of diet you should be following, talk with your primary care physician for a recommendation.

  1. Get your zzz’s.

It’s common for seniors to experience insomnia and other sleep problems. Many don’t discuss it with their doctor because they think it is a normal part of aging. Sleep is vital to living well, so problems shouldn’t be ignored.

If you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep, talk to your doctor. They will likely have ideas to help, including ordering a sleep study to identify and treat potential problems.

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