Keeping New Year's resolutions can be a struggle for anyone, including older adults. However, it does not have to be this way. If goals are simplified and mindsets altered, older adults should have no problems with keeping their resolutions past January.
Keep your resolutions to a minimum. Having too many resolutions can lead to discouragement when all goals are not met. Try to only make one or two resolutions for the New Year.
Set realistic goals. Start with small resolutions and make sure they are attainable. It is great to push yourself, but you don't want to set goals that can not be reached.
Be patient. Correcting bad habits and making positive changes is not an easy process. It takes time and there will be setbacks. Try not to get discouraged or punish yourself.
Be proud. Be proud of your accomplishments and reward yourself. This will give you incentive to keep up with your resolutions.
The American Geriatrics Society's Foundation for Health in Aging has provided the following top 10 New Year's resolutions for older adults:
Eat a healthy diet. Experts recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose fiber-rich whole grain bread, rice and pasta. Pick less fatty meat, like chicken. Shoot for heart-healthy fish, like tuna or salmon, twice a week. To help keep your bones strong, include sources of calcium and Vitamin D in your diet. Use healthier fats, such as olive and canola oils, instead of butter or lard.
Take a multivitamin-mineral. Check labels and choose one that includes 100 percent of the "Daily Value" for most vitamins and minerals.
See your doctor or healthcare provider regularly. That means at least once a year, unless he or she says you should come in more often. At each visit, talk to your provider about the medications you're taking and any health concerns you may have.
Exercise. Exercise is safe and healthy for older people, even older people with illness like heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis. Many of these conditions actually improve with exercise. Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Toast New Year's Day with a smaller glass. According to experts, moderate drinking means just 1 drink per day for older men and a drink daily for older women. Since alcohol can interact with certain drugs, ask your healthcare provider whether even this much is safe for you.
Prevent falls. Falls are a leading cause of injuries and deaths among seniors. Exercises can boost your strength, balance, and flexibility and help you avoid falls.
Workout your brain. The more you use your mind, the better it will work. Reading, crossword puzzles and socializing give your brain a boost.
Get help quitting. You can lower your risks of many health problems, breathe easier, enjoy more energy, and better sleep if you quit smoking no matter how long ago you started.
Guard against feeling down or anxious. Lingering sadness, tiredness, loss of appetite or pleasure from things you once enjoyed, difficultly sleeping, worry, irritability, and wanting to be alone most of the time can all be signs that you need help. Tell your healthcare provider right away.
Get a good night's sleep. Get at least 7 to 8 hours each night. Avoid daytime naps, which can keep you up in the evening.
For more information, contact your health care provider or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120.
People can e-mail HealthLink?Litttauer at email@example.com, visit its website at www.nlh.org, or visit its wellness center at 213 Harrison St. Ext., Johnstown, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.