The golden years should be the best years of our lives. After decades of hard work, this is the time to finally invest in ourselves and our own joy. For some seniors, however, that can be difficult as their mental and physical health begin to decline. While age-related decline is inevitable, it’s how we react to it and care for ourselves when we’re older that can significantly affect our overall wellness. Now is the perfect time to implement ways to achieve better overall health and live your golden years to their fullest.
Invest in Supplements
Unfortunately, the body’s way of processing food changes as we age. It can become more challenging to eat the way we did in previous decades or our taste buds start to lose sensitivity, making food less interesting. When this happens, it’s advisable to add supplements to our diets to ensure we get the vitamins and minerals we need. Calcium, iron and vitamin D are common additions. Another add-on to your wellness regimen to consider is cannabidiol (commonly known as CBD). A derivative of the hemp or marijuana plant, CBD helps soothe many of the issues that seniors commonly face, including chronic pain and difficulty sleeping, but it doesn’t make users feel high or “drugged up” the way marijuana and opioids can. Different supplements provide different benefits, so do some research and speak with your doctor before introducing anything new to your lifestyle.
Aid Your Sleep Habits
Seniors need as much sleep now as they did in their 20s and 30s; the right amount lands somewhere between seven and nine hours. If quality sleep is proving elusive, there are easy tricks you can incorporate in addition to CBD to make your nights better. The first step is to make your bedroom more conducive to sleep. This means making sure your mattress and bedding are comfortable. If you don’t have light-blocking curtains or shades, now is the time to add them. Dark, cool and comfortable is the perfect cocktail for a great night’s sleep. It’s also important to have a faithful nightly routine. Minimize TV watching in the bedroom, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and stick to the same bedtime and wake time every day. Sleep disorders in seniors are common, so if you try all of these steps and still have trouble, it’s time to speak to your doctor.
Loneliness is a major issue within the senior community. Isolation can lead to the deterioration of our mental faculties, and it can also increase our likelihood of illness. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of opportunities for seniors to spend time with others, even if family and friends are too far for regular visits. Look for local groups that engage in your favorite hobby, and find out when they meet. You could also sign up for classes at a community college or a senior center. You might even try volunteering with the hospital, library or homeless shelter. If you no longer drive, there are many volunteer-based groups that offer the seniors in their communities rides to social gatherings; you can use Eldercare.gov’s community assistance locator tool to find an organization that can help you get around and prevent you from feeling isolated.
Exercise the Right Way
Fitness is key to maintaining not only a strong body, but a light spirit as well. It keeps our bones dense and strong, immune systems in good condition, and minds sharp. Yet, as we age, we need to take more care with the exercises we choose. Seniors who are already conditioned for running, cycling or weight lifting might find they’re slightly slower but still able to maintain their regular regimens. Seniors who are just starting out with fitness need to take it slow and make sure they have someone guiding them. Walking, yoga, light resistance training, and swimming are all gentle ways to give seniors the activity their body needs.
There are numerous ways you can improve how you feel. Don’t overlook any aspect of your well-being, as every piece plays a role in your overall health. When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to really enjoy what should be some of the best years of your life.
Article by Jason Lewis
Mr. Lewis has firsthand experience as a senior caregiver, in addition to a background in personal training. He’s passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free.