August is National Wellness Month, and in my first blog installment, 60 Wellness Tips for Aging Adults in Clearwater – Part 1, I began by sharing 26 of those wellness tips to encourage seniors to take care of themselves for better health, wellness, and improved quality of life.
In Part 2, I provide you with the remaining 34 wellness tips for aging adults, so I invite you to read on to continue your positive journey toward optimal health and wellness!
Get Back in Shape
- “Commute” even if you spend most of your time at home. Take some time to walk, bike, or jog. In a study, older women who averaged 4,400 steps per day (compared to just 2,700 steps) were 41% less likely to die during a follow-up of 4.3 years.
- Set a “stretch timer.” Use a timer or alarm to remind you to stand up and get your blood flowing and muscles moving once every hour. Your brain needs oxygen to be productive, so if you need a reminder to get up and move, set a timer!
- Stand or walk when taking calls. They’re called “mobile phones” for a reason. Every time your phone rings, stand up or go for a walk. It’s an easy way to decrease sedentary time and get some extra steps in while moving your body.
Set Boundaries with Technology
- Turn off all phone notifications. Americans already check their phones an average of 96 times a day, according to 2019 research, so you’re not likely to miss anything.
- Establish no-phone zones. Begin with no phones at mealtimes or in the bedroom. Swedish research in 2018 found a connection between cell phone use and depressive symptoms and sleep problems.
- When you wake up, don’t reach for your phone. Use an alarm clock rather than relying on your cell phone to wake you up. Do something you love instead: Journal, stretch, exercise, make coffee, or read one chapter in a book.
- Go screen-free one day a week. “My family and I have turned off all screens for one full day each week for 11 years, and we spend the day doing things we love. It's our favorite day of the week,” says author Tiffany Shlain.
Improve Your Relationships
- Do the dishwasher boogie. If you are a senior living alone, pick a chore you do not like and make it fun by doing a little dance while you complete the task. If you are married, dance together in the kitchen or wherever as a reminder of how much fun you have together.
- Make eye contact over dinner. While dining with your spouse or friends, maintain eye contact for at least 60 seconds in order to really connect.
- Give Friday night thanks. On Friday night or any night, be grateful for at least three things, and if you are dining with family or friends, share these things for which you are grateful, and encourage them to do the same. This can easily become a habit that offers a unique perspective for others.
- Keep your list of loved ones close. Write three to five names on a sticky note and stick it to your fridge or near your computer or display their photos. Typically, we are happier if we feel deeply connected to a few important relationships rather than attempting to stay in touch with everyone.
- Make short, regular check-ins with loved ones. A study showed that even a few 10-minute phone calls each week can reduce loneliness by 20 percent.
- Contact one long-lost friend every week. We often talk ourselves out of reaching out, thinking we'd be interrupting them, or they won't welcome hearing from us. But being the one who initiates contact can be a great gift — and another way to cure loneliness. In a study published in 2020 in the journal Heart, male and female cardiac patients who reported feeling lonely were two and three times more likely to die, respectively, a year after their hospital discharge.
- Give small gifts. A handwritten card, flowers, an act of service or a texted photo are examples of how we can bring joy to both ourselves and those who may be lonely or anxious.
Become More Resilient
- Spend 20 minutes among the trees. That's exactly how much time you need in nature to reduce your level of stress hormones significantly, according to a 2019 study. Additional time reduces it more, but not dramatically, researchers found.
- Ask what you can do to help. Make a habit of asking others if you can be of service. The more connected you are with your community, the more support you will receive during difficult times.
- Keep a “no regrets checklist.” Write down a list of all the things you've had to put off over the years because of work or raising a family. Then make a timeline for how you'll revisit these goals. Regret is largely avoidable with a little reflection and mindful focus.
- Journal a little each day. Keeping a daily gratitude journal in which you can count your blessings will help you keep perspective when hard times hit. At the end of each day, write down three or four things you feel proud of, positive traits you learned about yourself or positive actions you took toward nurturing yourself that day.
Take Care of Your Skin
- Apply SPF 30 sunscreen every day. Even on rainy winter days. Don't forget areas such as your ears, the tops of your feet and the back of your neck. Once you begin a skin protection routine, it allows your skin to start repairing itself.
- Use sun blocking lip balm every day. Lipstick protects women against skin cancer of the lip, which is why it's seen far more commonly in men. If you don't wear lipstick, use SPF lip balm.
- Be a morning (or evening) person. The risk of skin damage is highest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Scheduling your outdoor time at 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. instead of noon can significantly lessen skin damage over time.
- Take time to appreciate your partner’s skin. And while doing so, look out for changes in his or her moles. People often notice skin cancer because of a spot that doesn't look quite right. Be familiar with your own moles and get a screening if you notice suspicious changes in shape, texture, color, or size.
Cut Back on Your Vices
- Put your TV in a time-out. Be mindful of exactly what content you consume -— and choose a specific show or film to watch. When it's over, turn the TV off and go for a walk or take a bath to give your mind a break.
- Make online shopping less impulse driven. Delete your credit card information from websites on which you regularly shop. Having to grab your wallet to pay for an impulse purchase adds an extra step that gives you more time to consider whether the item is actually necessary.
Clean Your Environment
- Store leftovers in glass containers instead of plastic. Plastics often contain harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates that can seep into food and may negatively impact your health.
- Opt for fragrance-free products. If your household cleaner or air freshener says “fragrance,” you might want to toss it. If the ingredients are not disclosed, the product likely contains harmful chemicals that are carcinogenic. Also, to improve the overall health of your air, invest in a HEPA filter.
- Bring plants into your home. Plants not only look beautiful, but many of them, such as bamboo palm and English ivy, can improve air quality.
- Choose organic fruits and vegetables when possible. By opting for organic produce, you're reducing your exposure to pesticides. Organic foods may also be more nutritious than their conventional counterparts.
Get Your Gut in Shape
- Try natural constipation treatments. OTC laxatives can interfere with how you absorb nutrients, an issue of rising importance as you age. Look for ways to add more fiber to your diet, as well as foods that are natural laxatives: Kiwi, prunes and rhubarb are all good options.
- Lay off the artificially sweetened gum. For some, foods sweetened with sucralose or fructose, like sugar-free mints or candies, will cause problems with abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
- Do some diaphragmatic breathing. Stress or anxiety can amplify problems in your GI tract. Work on taking deep breaths that expand your abdomen. This activates the autonomic nervous system and makes your GI tract less sensitive to various stimuli.
- Place a step stool in front of the commode. The idea is to get your knees above your hips so that you're in more of a squatting position. This straightens out the lower part of your colon so you can pass stools more easily.
Stay Flexible and Improve Your Posture
- Do an hourly posture check. Sit or stand up tall with your feet flat on the floor. Look straight ahead, bring your shoulders back and down, and slightly tuck in your chin. Hold this position for a count of five. Repeat this several times throughout the day. Doing so will get you used to maintaining a healthier, upright posture.
- Change how you carry stuff. The goal is to balance the weight evenly to both sides of your body. When carrying bags in your hands, it's best to have a similar amount of weight on both sides; this will allow you to maintain an upright posture. If you're using a backpack, put on both arm straps to spread the burden equally. You should avoid slinging a heavy bag over just one shoulder. If you are leaning over to the side or bent forward, you are carrying too much of a load.
At Home Helpers®, our exceptional caregivers regularly assist seniors with in-home care such as companionship for engagement and activities, personal care services, homemaker services, and assistance with technology, as well as specialized care services for Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s, recuperative care, stroke recovery support, and 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