What does senior wellness mean to you? Too often, we tend to think that being healthy begins and ends with working out and eating right. But there are other crucial components to well-being, too.
Get That Shut-Eye
It’s true that you need less sleep as you get older. But that doesn’t mean that routinely binge-watching Netflix won’t have its health consequences after a while.
First, consider some short-term risks of going without sleep. You’re more likely to have a fall or another injury if your senses aren’t at their sharpest. And it goes without saying that driving while tired is a recipe for disaster.
But in the longer term, consistently going without sleep can start taking a toll on your immune system, your moods, and even your memory function. In addition, sleep deprivation can contribute to health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and blood pressure.
How can you trick yourself into getting enough sleep? Make sleep as much of a senior wellness priority as you would taking your daily medication. And if sleeplessness is more a question of insomnia than of self-discipline, try to develop a more consistent time for going to bed and getting up. That way, your body is more likely to “remember” to feel sleepy at bedtime.
Flex Your Brain
Hobbies that require mental effort can help you stay sharp as you get older. If you haven’t already built these kinds of activities into your routine, now is a great time to start!
Puzzles such as sudoku and crosswords are the classic brain “gyms.” And they’re even portable, whether your format of choice is a paperback puzzle book, the crossword section of the newspaper, or even a smartphone.
If playing games with others is more your speed, try getting together with friends more often for board games, chess, or cards. Invite a friend for a quick game of bridge, or set up a game in a common area at your retirement community.
Keep Your Spirit Strong
If there’s one aspect of wellness that too many of us ignore, it’s spiritual wellness. There’s truth behind the adage of “keeping body and soul together.”
Spiritual growth can come from many sources. Attending traditional places of worship, practicing meditation and yoga, capturing Mother Nature’s beauty through painting, or even being in service to others through volunteering — these can all feed your soul.
Whatever your version of spiritual well-being is, ask yourself if you devote enough time to this aspect of your health. After all, studies show that prayer, meditation, and other types of soul-boosting, de-stressing actions can help regulate your mood, ease your mind, and even help control chronic health issues.
Don’t Neglect Exercise & Diet
Of course, along with the fun aspects of wellness like playing cards with friends, we can’t escape the need to cut back on unhealthy treats and adding more exercise to our day.
Yet, fitness and healthy eating don’t have to be a chore! If you just can’t make yourself get to a fitness center, consider walking or biking in natural settings that lift your heart. On the other hand, if a solitary hike doesn’t appeal to you, check out the group exercise classes offered by your retirement community.
If your favorite cardio exercise is a non-load-bearing activity like swimming or biking, just be sure to add strength training a couple of days a week to maintain strong bones and overall muscle tone.
Similarly, eating well doesn’t need to be an overwhelming undertaking — especially if your independent living community’s dining options feature nourishing meals that you don’t even need to make yourself! And when shopping for yourself, slowly add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, along with lean proteins and whole grains, while cutting back on sugary and high-fat foods.
Spending meaningful time with other people tends to pull together different aspects of wellness, especially the physical, mental, and emotional components. That’s a strong part of why an eldercare community that combines independent living with a keen sense of fellowship can help enhance all aspects of wellness.
Deupree House offers numerous opportunities to socialize. From meeting friends at one of our two dining rooms to gathering in our many indoor and outdoor common areas, there’s always a place to find community. Of course, our Wellness Center provides both the physical and emotional benefits of taking various fitness classes together. And check out the poetry readings, flower arranging lessons, and other activities offered throughout the Deupree community.
After all, that’s what independent living is all about! Rather than spending time and energy on home upkeep and other chores, you’re able to devote yourself more to the many aspects of wellness that are more important than ever. Contact us today to learn more!