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60 Wellness Tips for Aging Adults in Clearwater – Part 1

As an aging adult in Clearwater, I do my best to take care of myself by making healthy food choices, eating a nutritious diet, exercising, staying hydrated, engaging socially, and getting good, quality sleep. Those are the primary elements of my personal wellness journey, and seniors should try their best to do the same for an improved quality of life.

However, in my experience as a Certified Senior Care Advisor, I’ve noticed many of our senior clients often fall short of health and wellness goals (if they have them at all) for a number of reasons. These may include physical constraints, mental health challenges, side effects of medications, or a lack of energy and motivation, just to name a few.

The problem is that many seniors are set in their ways and unwilling to try new things or stay physically and mentally engaged, in spite of the health benefits.

Fortunately, I found as many as 60 Wellness Tips for Aging Adults published by AARP that seem very doable and can improve wellness outcomes for seniors in the Clearwater area. In this first installment, I review 26 important wellness tips for seniors.

Wendy Wood, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California and author of Good Habits, Bad Habits said, “Your brain requires up to three months of daily repetition to develop the neural pathway that automates a behavior. But the biggest gain comes during that first month, so, it's important to stick with it initially.” Be persistent: The habits you set now may be the habits you stick with for life.

Boost Brain Health

  1. Schedule weekly exercise. Aim for 150-plus minutes of weekly moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Exercisers are 45 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation reports.
  2. Eat a salad every day. Just one serving of leafy greens a day was associated with slower cognitive decline, a 2017 study by Rush University Medical Center showed.
  3. Have a super berry dessert. Dark-colored berries like blueberries and blackberries contain compounds that fight inflammation and help protect your brain. One cup of blueberries consumed daily for six months can also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 12 to 15 percent, according to 2019 research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Try berries and plain yogurt as your go-to after-dinner treat.
  4. Create a green tea habit. Researchers have found that people who consumed sweetened beverages were more likely to develop Alzheimer's, while some studies suggest green tea might promote cognitive functions.
  5. Join a book club. Those who engage their mind most often through intellectual activities such as playing games or reading were 29 percent less likely to develop dementia during a five-year follow-up period, reports a 2018 Hong Kong study of adults 65 and older that was published in JAMA Psychiatry.
  6. Try something new once a week. Listen to new music, learn some words in another language or sign up for a lecture. Lifelong learning is associated with improved brain health, and staying mentally active is linked to delayed onset of cognitive decline.

Sleep Easier

  1. Make your bed each morning. According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, those who make their bed nearly every day were more likely to report getting a good night's sleep.
  2. Change your bed sheets every Sunday. Allergens can disrupt sleep. To cut down on buildup, wash your sheets weekly. Also replace pillows at least every two years and mattresses every 10, both for hygiene and for comfort.
  3. Face your alarm clock toward the wall and cell phone face down. Artificial light disrupts sleep. Instead of night lights, keep a flashlight next to your bed to use when needed.
  4. Turn the fan or sound machine on when the lights go off. Snoring partners, traffic and other ambient noise can cause you to wake during the night and experience more daytime sleepiness and fatigue. A source of white noise, like a fan, can help modulate that problem.
  5. Enjoy some chamomile tea at bedtime. In a randomized, double-blind study from the University of Michigan, those taking a chamomile extract twice a day zonked out 16 minutes faster, on average.

Pump Up Heart Health

  1. Brush and floss teeth regularly. Swollen or bleeding gums caused by bad oral health may lead to microorganisms traveling into the bloodstream, which could cause inflammation and heart damage. Older adults who skimped on oral hygiene were 20 to 35 percent more likely to die during a 17-year study done by University of Southern California researchers.
  2. Do 10 minutes of resistance training every morning. Low muscle strength is associated with an elevated risk of death in people 50 and older, regardless of general health levels. Even cardio exercise doesn't appear to protect you if you allow your strength levels to deteriorate.
  3. Replace butter with avocado. Replace half the butter in your baking recipes with mashed avocado, and sneak this source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) into smoothies and spreads whenever you can. Replacing saturated fats with MUFAs can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  4. Walk off your cravings. Smoking puts you at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. When a craving hits, try lacing up your shoes and heading out for a quick walk and a breath of fresh air. Who knows? You might just want to keep going!
  5. Add a banana. A diet rich in potassium can help offset some of sodium's harmful effects on blood pressure. Add bananas to everything from breakfast cereal to nighttime desserts to PB&J sandwiches. While you're at it, squeeze in more sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and oranges.

Suppress Stress

  1. Organize one thing each day. Whether it’s a handbag, a bedside table, or a drawer, you’ll feel like one chore is behind you, which is helpful in feeling less pressured.
  2. Take a daily “Do Not Disturb” break. No matter where you are, close your eyes and do not open them for anyone. Even five minutes will feel wonderful!
  3. Have a go-to ritual you look forward to when anxiety levels rise. Do something simple like calling a friend, having a cup of tea, playing a song on the piano, or sneaking away to read a few pages of a novel.
  4. Enjoy a daily “play snack.” Remember what you used to enjoy doing as a kid and go do that. Play with a yo-yo or Rubik's Cube. Go outside and skip rope or swing a golf club. Doodle, build a tower with toy building blocks, fold origami, and draw with colored markers. Inject fun in five- to 10-minute chunks during your day as a way to let your brain relax.

Clean Up Your Diet

  1. Bribe yourself into eating vegetables. Find a salad dressing or dip you love; you'll be more inclined to eat veggies dipped in it.
  2. Store fruit at the front of the fridge. When you bring fruit home, immediately wash it and put it in a bowl at the front of the top shelf rather than in a drawer. The minute you open the fridge, it will prompt you to eat some.
  3. Portion out nuts. In a study that appeared in BMC Medicine in 2013 of adults ages 55 to 80 at high cardiovascular risk, those who ate more than three servings of nuts per week were 39 percent less likely to die of any cause over the next five years of the study. The problem is that people often overindulge and eat them straight out of a large bag or can. Prepack them into individual serving sizes in zip-close bags so you have just one serving, not five.
  4. Decorate healthfully. If chocolates are on the table, you'll eat them. Hide the less-healthy snacks and put fruit and nuts on the table within reach.
  5. Snack before you shop. Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach — even if it's a digital store — can lead to unhealthy impulse buys. Have a bite to eat, and while you're eating, write out a shopping list and stick to it.
  6. Drink your fiber. Throw some fruit into the blender right before it goes bad. Try blending a banana, orange, and spinach; throw in some walnuts for even more fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

August is National Wellness Month, and this is my first installment of wellness tips for aging adults in Clearwater and surrounding areas, because it’s important that seniors take care of themselves for better health, wellness, and an improved quality of life.

At Home Helpers®, our exceptional caregivers regularly assist seniors with in-home care like companionship for engagement, exercise and activities, nutritious grocery shopping, healthy meal and snack preparation, and so much more to help make life easier. I gladly offer a FREE Consultation to discuss specific ways we can help you or someone you love 24/7/265.

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have been ranked among the Home Care Pulse Top 100 Leaders in Experience for home care providers in 2023 and to have received the Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2023, the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2023, and the Best of Home Care® Leader in Experience Award 2023.

We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539