The light of a new year has arrived, and it is a natural time to reflect upon last year and think about the future. This year, and every year, self-care should be a central part of your senior loved one’s lifestyle. Seniors are a group that tend to let self-care slip because they have lived a life filled with caring for others. This year consider suggesting that they make a concerted effort to focus on their own health, as well: physical, social, and emotional.

Integracare offers premium home health care services in Toronto and Mississauga which are comprehensive, safe, and best-suited to our Clients’ needs. Our care plans are designed by taking into consideration one’s beliefs and cultural practices, with a focus on promoting independence and joyful living. We work collaboratively with Clients, loved ones, and the community in the provision of care. For the new year, we continue to be dedicated to offering our award-winning home health care and related services anywhere our Clients call home.

Healthy Inspirational Ideas for the New Year

While self-care can involve treating oneself to a special outing or something new for the home or themselves, a large part of self-care is living a healthy lifestyle. These resolutions revolve around that concept and that doing good things for the mind and body can increase happiness and wellbeing substantially.  

Learn something new – Continuing to learn new skills, information, and adopting hobbies throughout the lifespan is important to maintain cognitive abilities for adults of all ages. Embracing the new and unfamiliar is particularly helpful for brain health. Some ways to do so include:

  • Taking a class, in-person or online in a variety of subjects –Keeping the mind engaged and learning new information in subjects like English, math, music, arts, or science can help keep it active. Storing and recalling new information helps with memory. Attending a class in-person is also a good social opportunity.
  • Read and write in a notebook or journal – Expressing one’s thoughts and feelings is a good activity, not only for the brain, but for emotional health and wellness, too. Writing things down can assist with remembering them later, as can re-reading what was recorded.
  • Learn a musical instrument – Research has found this activity to be particularly helpful because of the multiple skills and parts of the brain that are engaged while learning and reading sheet music; coordinating fingering or key configurations; creativity with playing, improvising, or writing new tunes; and repeating what is heard. Plus, producing a sound and hearing it on an instrument engages hearing, motor and perception systems.
  • Play cognitive skill games and casual games– Games are a fun way to keep the mind active that combine time spent with others (or alone) solving puzzles, using memory, thinking of creative strategies, and other skills.
  • Follow recipes and cook in the home –Cooking from scratch is a healthy activity that allows one to be creative, try new things and tastes, and control the ingredients that goes into every meal.
  • Pick up an arts and crafts-related hobby– Another creative and artistic endeavor that utilizes different parts of cognitive and motor functioning that is thoroughly enjoyable, especially when these decorations or handicrafts can be used or gifted, like paintings, greeting cards, knitted winter wear, woodworking, soaps or candles, making loose leaf teas, and more.
  • Join a club or physical practice group, like Tai Chi, swimming, or yoga – Explored further below, a little physical activity each day is important, and this is a great opportunity to make new acquaintances and friends.

Get a bit of exercise daily – Even 10 minutes a day of physical activity makes a difference. Ideally, one should work their way up to 30 minutes a day. This can be spread out among the morning, afternoon, and evening. Aerobic activity and light strength training are good for the heart, muscles, organs, circulation, and mental health. It is important for seniors to stay somewhat active to maintain strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.

Certain activities can be adjusted to suit the physical capabilities of the individual, like performing yoga in a chair instead of standing, or swimming with the aid of a floatation device. Always drink plenty of water when exercising and throughout the rest of the day. Some ideas include yoga, swimming, Tai Chi, walking and joining a walking club, light stretching and free weight lifting, dancing, gardening, and curling.  Ensure that you or your loved one is medically cleared to perform any physical activities or exercises.

Eat more plant-based foods – Vegetables, fruits, and legumes (like beans, lentil, and peas) should make up the bulk of one’s diet. Maximize the benefits of a full range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants by eating a variety of colours and types. These foods plus spices and herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties which are vital for disease prevention and lowering the risk of illness. Supplement vitamins and minerals where something is lacking in the diet due to allergies or sensitivities. Doctors and in-home Caregivers can assist with proper meal-planning.

As mentioned above, cooking at home from scratch is an enjoyable and satisfying activity that allows for the control over ingredients like sodium, added sugar, preservatives, and processed foods, which should all be kept to a minimum for good physical and mental health.

Create a better sleep environment – As we age, it becomes more difficult to achieve a good quality of sleep. A room that has comfortable bedding, supportive pillows, has a stable and proper temperature, is dark, is quiet, and that is free from sleep disturbances is best. Naps should be taken earlier in the day, and relaxing activities like a warm bath or reading is a good way to lull oneself into being sleep-ready. It’s also best to avoid drinking alcohol or smoking to achieve a better-quality sleep, as the chemicals in these products are disruptive. Snoring and sleep apnea are important issues to speak to one’s Caregiver or doctor about because these can also disturb sleep and be indicative of a larger problem.

Volunteer in the community – Charity and giving back to one’s community feels great and it provides a sense of purpose and feeling helpful and kind. Spending time on a team helping others also benefits social wellbeing. Seniors can use their time helping in their local community and increase self confidence while doing so. Selecting a category of non-profit or a cause that is personally meaningful to the individual will make the activity all the more relevant and satisfying.

Spend time with loved one – Increased time spent alone and loneliness are common issues as people age and life circumstances change. It is easier to meet friends in a retirement community, but some seniors may have limited time with loved ones and at social engagements due to mobility or health concerns. Families should increase their availability to spend time with their senior loved ones and to help provide transportation. Integracare Caregivers can also assist with getting our Clients to where they would like to go. Plus, there is also significant value in the special bond and friendship that can form between an Integracare Caregiver and Client.

Many of the above activities can be enjoyed and shared with loved ones and new acquaintances, and they provide an excellent way to meet new people and share common interests while doing something that is beneficial for everyone.

Making regular appointments with health care providers who can also assist with integrating all the above activities is important. At Integracare we offer many home health care services provided by Registered Nurses (RN), Registered Practical Nurses (RPN), Personal Support Worker (PSW), Registered Physiotherapists and Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs). Flexible, compassionate health support in the home, hospital, or in the community is available when you give us a call today and ask how we can help.