Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Older People

It’s great to start the new year with good intentions, but sometimes it’s difficult to know where to begin. We’ve put together a few new year resolution ideas for older people, focussing on staying healthy, happy and active.

  1. Stay active

Staying active is harder the older we get but getting outside for a short walk every day can help maintain strength, improve balance and reduce the risk of falling. If the weather’s not looking great try some chair-based stretches at home or put some music on and have some fun! It’s worth looking around locally for group activities to join in with, from bowling and curling to darts and snooker. There are some great classes around for older adults too, why not try dancing, yoga or Tai Chi. Classes have the added benefit of meeting new people and helping maintain coordination and memory functions, which is an added benefit.

For those in our care homes who are less mobile, activity coordinators will assist people to join with regular chair-based classes or taking a walk. Recently three residents from our Heartlands Care Home in Birmingham completed a 5-mile sponsored walk to help raise money for their Resident’s Comfort Fund. Other residents take a short walk to their local shop for a newspaper, maintaining regular routines is great for wellbeing too.

Our chair-based pom-pom sessions and seated yoga are a big hit with our residents. At Eccleshare Court in Lincoln residents have enjoyed a year-long theme of dancing in their home. They’ve taken part in a dance-a-thon and enjoyed displays of highland dancing and ballet from local youngsters. Entertainers have come to the care home to sing a variety of styles of music getting everyone up and dancing along.

Residents from Heartlands Nursing Home walking around their local lake.

Residents from Heartlands Nursing Home walking around their local lake.

  1. Stay sociable

Loneliness and isolation are increasingly common in older people who may feel out of touch with the younger generation or have lost confidence after the death of a spouse or friends. Staying in touch with family and friends can have huge benefits, just a 10-minute phone conversation to check in with a friend can lift spirits and make a big difference.

If reaching out to friends or family is difficult then organisations like Silverline offer a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Their number is 0800 4 70 80 90.

  1. Learn something new

We’ve all heard the saying “You’re never too old to….” So why not try something you’ve always wanted to do? Change can be scary but can have wonderful emotional, intellectual and spiritual benefits.

Residents living with dementia at Rose Lodge Care Home in Marketing Deeping tried an art class for the first time. They enjoyed expressing themselves in a way they’d not tried before and were able to focus on the task in hand for a good period of time, improving and maintaining concentration.

Members of the gardening club at The Grove Care Home have turned their hand to woodworking, building bird boxes to sell at their Summer Fair. After the session, one resident commented, “I’ve never tried using a screwdriver before, but I actually really enjoyed it”. You’re never too old to learn a new skill!

Eccleshare Court residents curling at their local leisure centre

Eccleshare Court residents curling at their local leisure centre

  1. Healthy diet

It’s easy to lose interest in food or rely on the same thing day in day out, but the chefs at our care homes work tirelessly to make mealtimes an enjoyable experience for residents. The catering team uses fresh ingredients, often using herbs or vegetables grown in our own gardens. Growing your own ingredients is a great way to make dishes tastier and more wholesome. Tables are always set with fresh cloth and laid with knives and forks making each meal an occasion. Whether you live at home or in a care home, planning your meals for the week, trying something new and making meals a social time are all possible.

Staying hydrated is also important, keeping a bottle of water or jug juice to hand is a visual reminder to keep drinking throughout the day. Our residents can benefit from visiting one of our grazing stations where a range of healthy snacks are available 24 hours a day. This is great for people who prefer smaller portions or need to build up to a healthy weight.

  1. Keep your brain active

It’s not just the body that needs to be kept healthy; the mind needs to be kept active too. Whether you enjoy puzzles, reading books, attending lectures, or socializing with others all can help keep you alert, engaged and enjoying life. Age UK and other organisation often run classes such as Singing for the Brain, trips, and outings, Art for dementia and Memory Cafes. Information about local classes can be found here.

The University of the Third Age (U3A) is a UK movement of retired and semi-retired people who come together to continue their education and learning. Members draw from their own knowledge to teach and learn from each other, sharing opportunities and ideas. From Astronomy to Shakespeare, Genealogy to Maths the subject range is huge with a range of options to learn online, join a local group or access resources and books.

A resident from The Grove Care Home constructing a bird box.

A resident from The Grove Care Home constructing a bird box.

Our care homes often welcome people from local interest groups to speak to residents about a variety of topics from model railways to gardening and crafts. Enabling people to retain their connections with their local area and continue to enjoy hobbies and interests all helps towards retaining a healthy and happy lifestyle.

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