The following is a sneak-peek preview of author June Duncan’s new book,The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers. June is a qualified professional, and friend of Aspire Home Health and Hospice. Be sure to check out her guide, and to read the excerpt below.
From depression to fatigue, insomnia to bone density loss, seniors face a lot of unique health challenges as they age. While that list does sound grim — there is a lot to be excited about in your golden years — and a lot of hope to postpone and even prevent some of those health concerns from creeping up on you.
One in three seniors in the United States has been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, and more than 12 million are managing a diabetes diagnosis. However, you have worked too hard to spend your golden years plagued with mental and physical health concerns. Fortunately, you can help guide your future in a completely different direction. You can age happily and in good health; here are six ways to get you started.
Stay Up-to-Date on Medicare Changes
Knowing what is and isn’t covered by Medicare will empower you to make informed decisions about your health. Explore supplemental plans, such as Medicare Advantage, that can give you additional coverage to keep you healthier longer. Understanding Medicare and finding a plan can be complicated, but there are a lot of resources that will guide you through it.
Be Safe on the Road
Although it might break your heart to give up the independence of driving, you risk breaking a lot more than that by staying behind the wheel when you aren’t able to drive safely. Fortunately, our modern world has a lot of easy-to-use options for transportation. Use ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft to literally go anywhere. Cars are almost always running, and you rarely have to wait more than 10 or 15 minutes for your driver to pick you up. Don’t forget about public transit — many of them are the cheapest option and offer special discounts for seniors.
Exercise is one of the most — if not the most — effective way to stave off illness and disease in your golden years. Regular, moderate activity, such as light jogging, walking, taking an aerobics class, or going swimming, can reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack, improve bone density, prevent falls, and promote confidence and independence.
Make Healthy Food Choices
Choosing a salad over a burger or veggies instead of fries creates a healthy pattern your entire palate can follow. A well-balanced diet gives you energy, lowers your risk of chronic health issues such as diabetes and heart disease, and builds muscle that protects your bones. Choose foods that are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients while trying to avoid processed sugars, saturated and trans fats, and excessive amounts of salt.
Start a New Hobby
After retirement, you might find that you have a lot of free time on your hands. If you let that get the better of you, you might become withdrawn and bored. Instead of sinking into your couch, consider soaking up a new adventure. Try out a new hobby and see if it gives you a renewed sense of purpose. Gardening, golfing, hiking, caring for a pet, knitting, photography, or needlepoint are all ways to engage the heart and the mind.
Meditate and Learn to Let Go
Breathe in, breathe out — it’s both that simple and that hard. Carving out 10 to 20 minutes a day to practice meditation can help you heal emotional wounds that are holding you back and let go of past hurts that have been haunting you. You’ll feel calmer (even your blood pressure can be lowered) and will act with more thought and intention. You’ll be able to let go of thoughts, feelings, and patterns that no longer serve you.
Being a senior — experiencing those coveted golden years without judgment or illness — can be one of the most rewarding stages in our entire lives. While there are many important assumptions to consider on your journey, such as your doctor’s recommendation, you can make the choice to find health and happiness in your own way.