Staying Connected While Staying Healthy
Since COVID-19 lockdowns started earlier this year, older adults have been told to stay home and away from others, to keep “safe.” But that isolation has a cost: depression, loneliness and even declining health. While the pandemic brings an unusual and unforeseen set of circumstances, I want to suggest we seek balance. We know there are some key elements that help us age well. For example, at Avenida Lakewood we have a program called Five to ThriveTM which is centered around mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. I would like to encourage each of you to evaluate these elements and try to incorporate some of them into your daily lives while staying healthy.
Live Well – This means live your life with purpose. What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? Is it helping others by volunteering, or taking care of a loved one? It could be caring for a pet or simply plants around the house. Do what you find spiritually rewarding.
Live Confidently – Have peace of mind about your financial future, protect your assets and learn how to avoid scams and frauds targeted at seniors. Are you prepared for your future? Plan and ensure your estate will be taken care of they way you want.
Live in Motion – Keep your body as active as possible for as long as possible. Activity can look different from person to person but it’s important you are doing all you can to stay physically strong. Do you feel like you have gotten weaker since the pandemic started? You can access online exercise programs on your computer, tablet, or smart phone. Take walks when and where you can. If chair exercises make more sense, do them often. There are many resources available to you. And always check with your doctor when embarking on a new activity.
Live and Learn – Keep your mind as active as possible. Find ways to keep learning. What is something new you would like to learn? How about a new language, new song, new game, a new musical instrument? Tackle learning some new aspect of technology or try journaling or creative writing which can be self-empowering.
Live Connected – Being part of a community is vastly important to aging well. Are you feeling disconnected? Stay engaged with family and friends through virtual/video calls or get together in small groups while practicing social distancing. If you were involved in community groups before, figure out how to stay connected with those groups now, even if it’s by phone or correspondence. Staying socially- connected is one of the biggest challenges for older adults during the pandemic.
Ensuring that these five key elements are part of your daily experience will help you age well and feel better. I put this challenge to all our older adults to be resourceful and creative in figuring out how to incorporate all elements. At a time when so much is beyond your control, I encourage all of you to take control of your life and choose how to live it fully.
Shelly Stewart-Girton, LPN
Avenida Lakewood • (720) 705-0055