Following an eventful – to say the least – 2020, most of us are ready for things to get back to the way they were before the COVID-19 pandemic struck early in the year. While there appears to be good news on the vaccine front, we still need to be patient and follow the safety protocols we’ve become accustomed to until these vaccines become widely available.
As the group facing the greatest health impact from COVID, seniors have had to be even more vigilant in practicing social distancing while also taking care to follow the other protocols such as washing hands and wearing masks if they do need to go out and face the public in grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential trips.
We’ve seen the staggering toll the virus has taken in some nursing homes. Even those who haven’t caught it have been affected by further isolation from family and friends as they try to keep the virus at bay. That’s one reason why it’s been particularly important to keep seniors safe in the comfort of their own homes, making in-home care more essential for some than it’s ever been.
At Veterans Care Coordination, our mission is to improve the quality of life for Veterans and their families by helping them secure the benefits they’ve earned, including in-home care. In working with the top home care providers, we’ve come up with six ways that seniors can get 2021 off to a solid start and be ready to take advantage of all the world has to offer once things are safer for us all.
While in-person visits should remain at a minimum at least through the first quarter of 2021, it’s still important to keep in touch with family and friends. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to not just speak with loved ones, but also to see them “live and in color.” Even those intimidated by most technology are able to find an application that’s easy to use, so be sure to take advantage and stay connected. That way you’ll be up to date with all the latest once you can meet in person.
Try Something New
Exercising the body is still important (we’ll get to that) but exercising the mind is vital, too! Seniors adept at using technology to keep in touch, as in the example above, can also take the
next step and use the many online quizzes, games and mind exercises available to stay sharp. Plus, just good ol’ reading is always a nice way to work the brain, whether it’s revisiting a classic novel or exploring topics of interest.
As we age, it’s tempting to just be still. There’s nothing wrong with that, in moderation, but it’s more important than ever that seniors make an effort to be active. Whether it’s watching an exercise video online or taking a walk in the park, it’s going to make a huge difference as you get older if you can stay physically active. You’ll feel better and it can help with everything from obesity and blood pressure to diabetes and arthritis. If you can get outside and get some fresh air (wear a mask if lots of others are around), that’s even better!
While this may seem like a no-brainer, it can be easy to fall into the habit of having prepared food delivered. Much of this, especially fast food, is dangerously high in sodium and calories. Even if you live alone, there are healthy food options that can be delivered, or you can use a service to have your groceries delivered to your house or brought to your vehicle at the store. Online recipe searches can provide interesting new dishes and even videos of how to prepare these dishes.
Now that you’re a senior and probably retired, you no longer need to set an alarm clock so you can get up and go to work. Still, it’s important to stick to a routine and get a solid night’s sleep every night. You may find that you don’t need to sleep as long, or that you like to take a nap in the afternoon. That’s fine! Just be sure to have a comfortable, dark bedroom that makes it easy to establish and keep to a consistent pattern of rest.
Watch the Signs
Forgetting things occasionally is a natural result of aging, as is reduced dexterity and possibly balance. Following the tips above should help alleviate some of this. But if you begin to forget to take medication, notice tremors or find yourself getting lost in familiar locations, those could be signs that something more debilitating is taking place. The most important action to take with any potential illness or condition is detecting it early so treatment can start. Putting it off can result in a much worse outcome that necessary. Establish a good relationship with your doctor – they’re there to help you live your life as healthy as possible!
No matter if you live alone or with a spouse or loved ones, these tips are designed to help you not just enjoy your senior years but thrive through them. After the tribulations of 2020, we’re all ready to make 2021 a much better year. Take care of yourself so you’ll be ready to take advantage of all the good things that are just around the corner.