Heading into the new year comes with certain traditions, including setting personal goals or resolutions. Because 2017 is here, you may be wondering what kind of resolutions to consider. In the hopes of giving you plenty of choices, here are four New Year’s resolutions for seniors that will have a direct impact on your quality of life. Choose one, choose them all, or choose a variation that suits your situation best—no matter what you do, you will feel inspired to make 2017 your best year yet.
1. Make New Friends
There are direct links that demonstrate that senior socialization fosters cognitive and physical health. When seniors have a support system of peers and friends, they tend to be less depressed and exhibit fewer signs of dementia. Ring in the new year with a bit of happiness by pledging to make new friends this year. Set your sights on a realistic goal of meeting three new friends each month of the year. While it might seem awkward at first, greeting new neighbors or making new friends will benefit you in the long run.
If you already have a healthy support system of friends, make sure that you interact with them regularly. Try to host a coffee date at your home monthly or put a standing weekly meet-up on your calendar. Friendships take work, and while it may be easy to choose to hibernate in the cold beginning months of the new year, opt instead to make appointments with new and old friends. Everyone will appreciate the time to visit with one another. Make 2017 a year full of meaningful friendships!
2. Try a New Hobby
New learning, especially in the senior years, has been linked to increased cognitive health. Make 2017 the year that you finally try out that new hobby you have been thinking about. It’s fun, it’s a great way to meet new people, and it can pay off with better memory in the future.
Try a cooking class, sign up for a senior hiking club in your area, join in your neighborhood’s birding group, or learn a new language. The sky's the limit, and thanks to your community resources, you can likely find a hobby that is worth a few months of your time and investment. Contact your local library, senior center or community college to start your search.
3. Move Daily
Exercise is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions for seniors and for every age. However, don’t pin yourself down with a resolution that is entirely based on losing a few pounds. Instead, focus your goal for the new year on a realistic resolution to move daily.
As we age, we tend to be a bit more sedentary. This lack of movement can cause joint stiffness, decreased range of motion, and less strength or endurance. All of these factors can significantly increase your risk to fall or to become ill. By making a commitment to move daily, based on your current ability and condition, you are giving your body the gift of health and movement.
Walk around the block, do fine motor exercises, join a yoga studio. Whatever movement you choose, make sure it makes you feel empowered and proud; this way, you will keep doing it. 2017 can be the year you start progress toward your movement goals.
4. Ask for Help
Finally, consider making a resolution that reminds you that it is okay to ask for help. If you are the type of person who is fiercely independent and never asks anyone for assistance, try this resolution for 2017. You may find that you feel more connected, less stressed out, and even healthier at the end of your year when you ask for help more often.
Ask a family member to bring you a meal when you are feeling ill or ask a neighbor kid to shovel your sidewalk so that you can spend more time safely outside. Asking for help not only models the behavior for your own kids and grandkids, but it can also give you more free time doing things you really love.
What New Year’s resolution will you choose? We wish you health and happiness in 2017 and hope that your resolution gives you an even better year than you expected.