Why Older Adults Should Set New Year’s Resolutions and Goals

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Older Adults in 2022 ~

A new year brings new resolutions for many and those New Year’s resolutions could also lead to some health benefits. According to a report published in JAMA in 2019, “setting resolutions actually has practical value for older people and can impact their health positively providing a sense of purpose, which leads to better physical and mental health.”

Entering the new year can be a perfect time to start fresh and establish some new and perhaps healthier habits. According to the JAMA study, creating new year’s resolutions and goals can offer older adults a purpose, which can not only extend their lives but may also result in fewer chronic conditions, less disability and reduced mortality. People who are already suffering from chronic conditions should set simple and realistic goals that are manageable with their health challenges.

Dr. Jennifer Ziouras, Senior Medical Director, Optum Care Network of Colorado, explains that having a goal-oriented mindset can be beneficial. As a new year rolls out, Dr. Ziouras encourages everyone to keep the new year’s resolution and goal-setting tradition strong. Here are five achievable resolutions to kick off the new year on the right foot.

 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Older Adults to Promote a Healthy Life:

  1. Pursue an active lifestyle.

Dr. Ziouras says staying active is a great goal to have every year. While some exercise opportunities have become limited due to the pandemic, it is still important to stay as active as possible. Adults can engage in resistance training at home, aerobics, yoga and walks around their neighborhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular physical activity is vital for healthy aging. Talk to your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level and ask about the type and amount of activity that may be best for you. You can also check out OptumCare’s wellness program that includes free online videos of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing activities.

  1. Eat healthy

Dr. Ziouras recommends home-cooked meals and healthy snacks. If you have allergies or conditions that require a special diet, talk to your doctor about your meal plan. Depending on how they are prepared, home-cooked meals can often have lower levels of sodium, sugar and fat when compared to meals at a restaurant. Check out OptumCare’s two minute tips on meal planning.

  1. Challenge your brain and stimulate your mind.

Dr. Ziouras states that it is important to practice a form of daily brain stimulation. According to the National Institute of Aging, age can cause changes to the brain size, vasculature and cognition. A healthy life, both physically and mentally, may be one of the best defenses against the changes of an aging brain. Completing crossword puzzles or playing games, such as chess, can be fun ways to keep your mind active while enjoying a new hobby. Check out this fun activity to keep your mind active!

  1. Stay connected with friends and family

A dose of time with family and friends can be very beneficial. The National Institute of Aging mentions that older people with strong social and community ties are more likely to live a longer life and cites research stating that being in isolation can contribute to high blood pressure. Dr. Ziouras recommends adults stay in touch with loved ones either virtually or safely (socially distanced) indoors or outdoors. If you are not familiar with video call or messaging apps, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about this technology that can help your family and friends stay more connected.

  1. Nurture an interest

According to the National Institute of Aging, people who engage in activities or hobbies can feel happier and healthier. Learning new skills may also help increase cognitive function. Music, theater, dance and creative writing are just some ways that older adults may be able to help improve their wellbeing through hobbies. These specific interests may help with memory, boost self-esteem, reduce stress and increase social interactions. If you are looking for something new to learn, try this art exercise that you can do from your home to stimulate your brain and improve your mental health.

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