Don’t Go it Alone: New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors and Their Loved Ones Many of us make New Year’s resolutions every year with the best of intentions, only to forget all about them by February. If you’re tired of unsuccessful resolutions to get in better shape, learn a new skill or quit an old habit, maybe it’s time to enlist the help of a partner.
New Year’s resolutions are a great opportunity to bond with a senior loved one to help them – and you – reach your goals. There’s proof that when we have a partner who holds us accountable and encourages us, we’re more likely to see those goals come to fruition.
Of course, New Year’s resolutions need not always be about self-improvement. The New Year is also an ideal time to take care of important tasks like creating a will or connecting with a parent or adult child through activities designed to bring us closer. Below are four New Year’s resolutions that seniors and their loved ones can do together:
Get connected. According to United Healthcare’s recent survey of 100 centenarians, staying social with peers and family is as vital to their health as eating right and exercising. If you or your loved ones live far away, make a resolution this year to stay in touch with them with the help of technology. Social media platforms including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter are easy ways to stay connected with family and friends. In fact, seniors aged 65 and older are the fastest growing demographic of Facebook users. And, according to seniornet.org, today one out of five seniors spends one hour or more on Facebook daily.
Social media isn’t the only way to use technology to stay connected. Video chat, via Skype, Apple FaceTime, or Google Hangouts, among other video talk tools, make it possible to communicate quickly in real time with loved ones near and far.
Get Healthy Together. Fitness and diet goals are often easier reached if you have a partner working towards the same results. Make a plan to check in with one another daily or weekly to share healthy recipes, exchange fitness routines, and to encourage each other to stick to the resolution for better health. Take a fitness or cooking class together or, if you and your loved one live far apart, schedule a workout date on Skype or FaceTime with your fitness partner while you’re exercising, giving you the opportunity to catch up with each other at the same time.
Share the Family Story. Every family has a unique and inspiring story. Schedule some time to meet with your parent or other senior loved ones and let them tell stories of their childhood and the life lessons they’ve learned along the way. Consider recording the stories using the video feature on your mobile phone or a video camera, let your senior loved one write out their memories, or use an online tool like LifeBio.com. Not only is documenting the family story a wonderful way to preserve history, but it’s also good for your health. Recent studies have shown that by sharing their history, seniors can improve their self-esteem, reducing stress and anxiety.
Talk About the Tough Stuff. Discussions about medical care are not easy, but they are essential to help you and your aging parents enjoy their golden years to the fullest. In the event your senior loved one becomes incapacitated, having a plan for estate arrangement, wills, and the designation of a primary caregiver is important. The peace of mind that comes with knowing your parents are cared for and ready for any challenges that may come their way will help everyone enjoy the rest of the year with less stress and worry.
Start 2016 off with a promise to be healthier, learn a new hobby or skill, or connect with family and friends. With a little encouragement from others, your New Year’s resolutions really can be achieved.