While old age may come with some changes in lifestyle for seniors, there’s no reason they can’t lead a fulfilling and active live similar to the ones they were accustomed to — even if mobility issues might hinder some of their physical functioning. Seniors can keep active regardless of whether they live at home or in a retirement community, as both settings can provide needed social stimulation, although seniors will have to find some motivation of their own.
It’s important to be social and present for a number of reasons, especially as you age. There are benefits to be had for both your physical and mental well-being, which are always a focus in retirement. Here are some ways to start getting active today:
Any amount or type of exercise, so long as you can get it at least semi regularly, is good. That means everything from walking to biking and from swimming to cardio and water aerobics is included. There’s no limit to what you can do with your exercise regimen, and you can even find workout partners to join you. Say you’re a morning person and enjoy early walks; chances are you might find another like-minded soul in a retirement community who would be more than eager to exercise together. Such opportunities highlight the dual positive effect that exercise can have on physical and mental health.
Plan a vacation
Now that you have the time, think about taking a trip somewhere — near or far. Perhaps there’s a part of the country you’ve never been to but have always wanted to see, or a foreign destination you’ve had your heart on visiting. The golden years are called so for a reason, and you deserve to enjoy the time after a life of working and caring for family. Americans are notorious for not taking advantage of vacation time when in the workforce, so there’s a good shot you’ve earned the leisure time.
The most important thing to decide on in vacation planning — other than where to go, of course — is how you’re going to pay for it. Many seniors live on fixed incomes, but that just means you’ll have to find the most cost-effective options for transportation, lodging and sight-seeing. It may also help if you don’t have monthly property taxes or home maintenance expenses that can eat into savings.
Get a pet
Companionship is a wonderful thing, and it’s key to warding off isolation in seniors who may have lost a spouse or who are far from family. While there’s no substitute for a loved one, man’s best friend, or even a cat, bird or rabbit, can help provide at least some of that companionship seniors may be missing. Having a pet to take care of can help seniors feel they have something every day to look forward to and manage. While puppies may be a handful, the right older dog can ease into your way of living.
Try out social media
Believe it or not, but social media can be fun for seniors, rather than the time suck such sites are sometimes made out to be. Having a profile to connect with neighbors who may have moved away or just to share old photos with family helps fulfill some of the need for social engagement we need to live happy lives.
Plus, the possibilities for making sincere connections are endless. Consider the story of a 22-year-old rapper from New York and an 86-year-old retirement community resident who bonded while playing the popular online game Words With Friends. A year later, and he traveled down the coast to Florida just to make his internet friend a pal in real life. The bridging of cultural and distance gaps is what makes social media so valuable, and seniors should think about giving it a try.
Join a book club or social group
Camaraderie is easy to find for seniors living in a community or at home, you just need to look for chances to forge those relationships. Joining a group that gets together and discusses shared interests or partakes in a hobby together can help connect you with new friends to meet, increase your skills or knowledge and provide social stimulation that gets you out bed and excited for the day’s events to come. Places to look include community center bulletin boards, or similar kiosks found in senior living communities. Don’t be afraid to try something new; while you may have a side book club with old friends going, maybe think about woodworking or an activity you’d never been partial to before.
Find a part-time job
If you’re looking to generate those extra savings for a vacation, or some other purchase, try applying for part-time jobs if you’re able and have the means to reliable transportation. There are plenty of opportunities created by the sharing and gig economy that seniors can take advantage of. Those with cars and who can drive safely (including at night) may want to think about becoming a ride-share driver, if only for a few hours a day to earn some added dollars and get out and about.
Giving back to your greater community always generates positive feelings, and volunteering can help improve your activity levels at the same time. Whether there’s a cause that you’ve supported all your life or an awareness effort you’ve been sympathetic to before, taking the time to improve the lives of the disadvantaged or sick will help provide you with meaningful goals to pursue. Any amount of time you can devote to such causes will be well-spent, even if all you do is clean up around your apartment or home and donate goods like clothes that aren’t used anymore.
When considering whether to downsize your home entirely, talk to Edgewood Healthcare. We’re proud to operate senior living communities that not only provide residents with all the care and services they need, but also the opportunity for social interaction and engagement needed to keep active in old age. Visit our page today.