Written by Karen Weeks
Healthy living is a goal we all tend to have, but it looks different for each stage in life. Seniors have their own specific health goals and requirements that are far different from that of a young or middle-aged adult. In other words, you’re unique and your needs are unique too.
Since there isn’t a set way to live a healthier lifestyle, where in the world should you start? Here’s what you need to know.
Consider Your Living Situation
Your home should be a safe space to live and age, which is why CNBC says aging-in-place modifications are a necessity. You can install many of them yourself, such as grab bars, extra lighting, non-slip rugs/mats, and new door handles for easier grip. For those using mobility devices, you can widen the doorway by removing hinges and molding to add a few extra inches for easier comings and goings.
However, you must put serious thought into whether you’re truly able to care for yourself. Perhaps assisted living is worth your consideration, as it enables you to maintain independence while also offering assistance in those areas you need it most.
There are plenty of assisted living facilities in Buffalo for you to consider, but just keep needs, amenities, and of course price, in mind. If you’re unsure where to start, keep in mind that A Place for Mom partners with 50 facilities in and around Buffalo, and they can help you find a match at no cost.
Fill Up Your Plate
As humans, our nutritional needs change as we age, meaning that we may need to fill our plates differently. Aim for nutrient-rich, low-cal foods for the best bet, since seniors tend to lack certain nutrients and failing to get the right amounts can cause issues.
For example, calcium and Vitamin D are essential for maintaining bone density, Vitamin C helps with wound healing and iron absorption, protein builds and repairs bone and muscle, and healthy fats give you energy. It can be difficult to get everything you need, so the AARP recommends talking with your doctor about taking supplements.
As for filling up your plate, there are plenty of easy make-ahead recipes to be found online but a meal delivery service might be easier for those who aren’t as comfortable in the kitchen or have trouble getting to the store.
Don’t Forgo Exercise
Exercise is necessary for all ages, but it takes some adjustment to find the right exercise routine for you. The best part about exercise is that there’s an activity for everyone whether it’s a traditional gym workout, dancing, swimming, yoga, cycling, golfing, gardening, or walking.
To ensure you’re being both safe and proactive in your workouts, consider working with a personal trainer (like Shayna and Khaya of Weighted Plate!) who can help you create a routine to meet your age-related needs, goals, and abilities. Before you hire, ask about their experience working with seniors, what you can expect, and any extra benefits that come along with it such as nutritional coaching.
Don’t Let Your Doctor Become a Stranger
It’s easy at any age to skip and reschedule doctor’s appointments, especially if you feel fine, but you really should go. Why? Your doctor can spot silent symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high/low blood sugar, as well as make sure you’re up-to-date on important screenings and immunizations. Plus, going to the doctor makes it the perfect time to bring up any health questions or concerns that you’ve been putting off.
In addition to seeing your regular doctor, pay a visit to your eye doctor, dentist, and audiologist. If you find it too costly, consider whether your current Medicare plan is right for you. Do some research on both Original Medicare (Part A and B) and Medicare Advantage, as you may find that the latter meets your needs more completely and cuts out-of-pocket expenses.
We should all strive to live a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Add if you have age-specific needs, and it's downright overwhelming at times. Start with the basics – living situation, nutrition, exercise, and general health – and the rest will fall into place.
This article is a guest contribution from Karen Weeks at Elderwellness.net.