September is a beautiful time of year on the East Coast. The sweltering hot, humid weather from summer starts to cool off, and fall is in the air. Not only does September hold the first day of autumn, but it’s also hailed as the “Healthy Aging Month” of the year.
Thankfully, we live in a day and age where healthy aging is made possible by advances in modern medicine and technology. Having said that, we tend to overlook the simplest activities that provide significant benefits to our daily health.
Healthy Aging for Seniors in September
Healthy aging should not be a stressful thought; age is just a number after all. Health is a culmination of mental, physical, emotional, and social well-being. Healthy Aging Month is an opportunity to celebrate the positive aspects of growing older and encourage aging adults to prioritize their wellness.
Stimulate Your Brain
Everyone knows eating right is one way to stay in good health, but feeding your brain with healthy activities is just as important. Play memory games to keep your mind young and improve short and long-term memory. Sudoku puzzles are a great, analytical workout for your brain testing strategy (and patience). Crossword puzzles test spelling and critical thinking. Read last month’s blog on improving brain health for more tips.
Research has shown that even normal activities, such as reading and writing, provide fantastic health benefits at every stage in life. One study found that those who engaged in mentally stimulating activities daily showed 48% less cognitive and mental decline compared to those who did not. Neurologists Vemuri and Mormino write, “read more books, write more, and do activities that keep your brain busy irrespective of your age.”
Channel Your Inner Artist
On the same note as finding activities that stimulate the brain, creativity is a medicine in its own right. Take a music class to learn a new instrument or sign up for a local art class–it’s never too late to learn a new skill or invest in a new hobby. Go to an art supplies store and pick up a canvas and some acrylic paint. Purchase a craft set with directions and supplies included. Make homemade cards or stationary.
I spoke with an elderly woman the other day who saw a poster for an art competition and thought, “Why not?” She went to the store for supplies and started creating. Maybe she won, or perhaps she didn’t. Either way, she challenged herself and was set on enjoying the process. Find new ways to get inspired and invest in activities that give you a creative outlet whether you share them with the world or not.
Schedule Your Social Life
Life is better when spent together. Isolation breeds mental illness, so go get some fresh air with a friend. You could invite a neighbor on a walk, schedule a lunch date, or volunteer your time somewhere. Go out to the grocery store to be around people, pick up some healthy snacks, and get some exercise. Embrace your age; don’t let it dictate your day.
If you don’t want to leave your house for social activities, let them come to you. Invite friends, family, or neighbors over for a game night or organize a lighthearted bake-off. Spending quality time with others gives you something to look forward to and can fill up your calendar quickly. Call a friend, family member, or even grandchild to spend some time with you today. People are genuinely invaluable to aging well.
Physical activity is a primary way of keeping your body healthy and happy. Even small, daily exercises such as walks, calf raises, curling soup cans, and sitting down and standing up from a chair can be immeasurably helpful to your muscles. A simple activity to start this month is walking outside to get your mail. While you are outside, you may even get your daily dose of Vitamin D.
If possible, don’t restrict yourself to your home or living space. The world is wide and there are places to explore! Use this month as an opportunity to try new things, engage your brain, stay social, and make it a point to be active each day. Don’t let age hold you back. Do the things you want to do, but adapt them as needed to fit your needs.
Aging Well with Commonwise Home Care
Caregivers improve the quality of life for older adults by enabling them to visit more places, try new experiences, and become more active in their daily lives. In home senior care gives seniors the ability to go places and do things they were not able to before. Have a destination or activity in mind? Let your caregiver know so we can make each day a memorable one.
Commonwise Home Care only hires the best, most compassionate caregivers who have your loved one’s best interest in mind. Our caregivers offer seniors the support of companionship along with practical services such as meal preparation and medication monitoring. For more information on how Commonwise Home Care can assist with senior care management, please call 434.202.8565.
Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.