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10 Tips for Seniors to Achieve Wellness at Home accent

June 5, 2024 | By

To live independently as long as possible, prioritizing mental and physical wellness at home is key. The following 10 tips are essential for helping seniors maintain their health and flourish.

1. Create a comfortable living environment.

For older adults, the best strategies for maintaining wellness at home start in a comfortable, safe living space. Consider ways to rightsize and organize your home so it serves your needs and isn’t a burden to maintain.

Beyond decluttering, you should prioritize home maintenance tasks that help prevent injuries. Create clear and safe paths throughout the house by eliminating tripping hazards such as rugs and electrical cords. Add extra lighting in darker areas such as hallways, stairs, and corners. Install anti-slip flooring or mats in areas prone to wetness, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

As you age and your physical abilities and care needs change, update your space accordingly. Add safety measures such as grab bars in the bathroom, widen doors to make rooms wheelchair accessible, and choose ADA-compliant door handles and drawer pulls for ease of access.

2. Establish a routine.

Taking a day off from your responsibilities, staying in your pajamas, and vegging out on the couch from morning until night is nice on occasion. However, spending too many days in a row in this pattern can negatively affect your overall well-being.

Finding a routine that works for you and sticking to it provides real benefits, including helping you manage stress, stay active, eat healthier, and sleep better. You don’t need to create a complicated routine; simply establishing a set time to wake up can put you on the right track each day.

Not sure where to start? Don’t try to revamp your entire schedule all at once. Make small changes to your routine, and consider ways to incorporate new healthy habits into existing behaviors. For instance, if you always drink coffee in the morning, use that time to stretch or practice mindfulness techniques. This kind of association helps reinforce new habits.

3. Maintain a nutritious diet.

Providing your body with nutritious, healthy food can make a big difference in your long-term well-being. Making the best mealtime choices starts with understanding the nutritional guidelines for your age range. For instance, you need more protein as you age, but around 50% of women and 30% of men 71 and older fall short of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) daily protein recommendations.

As often as possible, choose foods that are not only delicious but also packed with the vitamins, minerals, and protein you need to support your long-term well-being. Reach for legumes and other heart-healthy foods, berries for a memory boost, and leafy greens for a vitamin-packed crunch.

If leaving the house to shop for ingredients is difficult, take advantage of grocery delivery options. If preparing your own meals isn’t possible, consider signing up for Meals on Wheels or another meal delivery service.

4. Prioritize physical activity.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. This number might sound intimidating, but moderate activity can take many forms in and around the home.

During moderate activity, your heart rate should be slightly elevated, but you shouldn’t feel too winded to carry a conversation. Walking your dog around the yard, playing actively with a pet in the living room, gardening in your flower beds, and performing vigorous household chores such as mopping all qualify. Low-impact physical activities such as yoga, tai chi, and light strength training also provide plenty of benefits, including improved flexibility, core strength, and balance.

5. Stay socially connected.

Without regular socialization, older adults are at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension, anxiety, and dementia. The good news is that you don’t need to leave the house to stay socially connected.

Invite friends and family to come to you by hosting a meal, a game night, or a movie night on the couch. When circumstances make it difficult to connect in person, technology is key for staying in touch. Schedule regular video calls with family and friends, and try texting throughout the day to keep up with the important individuals in your life.

Want to meet new people from the comfort of your couch? Search for online hobby groups, book clubs, and religious organizations where you can plug in. You can even volunteer remotely!

6. Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

Wellness at home isn’t only about the body; it’s also about the mind and emotions. Mindfulness involves slowing down your thoughts, paying particular attention to being in the current moment, and allowing yourself to sense and feel what is going on around you. Regular relaxation and mindfulness practices can improve your overall mental health, immune response, and sleep quality while lowering blood pressure, anxiety, and even chronic pain — and you can do it from anywhere, including your kitchen table.

7. Stay mentally active.

Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness in maintaining overall well-being as you age. To maintain mental fitness, cultivate intellectual engagement and a sense of curiosity each day in a variety of ways. Depending on your interests and passions, try some of the following:

  • Completing puzzles and games, whether alone or with others
  • Reading new-to-you or old favorite books
  • Taking online classes or listening to online lectures
  • Completing memory-training exercises

8. Connect with nature.

Exposure to nature and green spaces is critical to maintaining mental health, cognitive function, and a strong immune response. Whenever possible, take in some sun and fresh air from a porch, window, or back step. If your home isn’t near any green spaces, consider keeping plants or changing up your decor to include pictures of nature, which provide scientifically proven relaxation effects.

9. Maintain healthy sleep habits.

Adequate sleep is an important part of maintaining your overall health and keeping your immune system strong. According to the Sleep Foundation, adults should sleep for 7-9 hours per night.

If you find it difficult to rest, try the following strategies for better sleep: 

  • Be consistent: Establish an evening routine in the hour before bedtime, and lie down at the same time each evening.
  • Cultivate a peaceful sleeping space: Remove distractions from your bedroom, especially electronic devices such as smartphones and TVs.
  • Moderate daytime habits that may interrupt nighttime rest: Decrease screen time throughout the day, and limit daytime naps. In the two hours leading up to your regular bedtime, avoid caffeine and large meals.

10. Seek preventive healthcare and regular check-ups.

The risk of developing health issues increases as you age. Preventive screenings can help you identify potential problems and live a healthier, longer life, but fewer than half of adults age 65 or older are up to date with essential preventive services.

Speak with your doctor to understand which screenings are recommended based on your age, health, and gender, and ensure you schedule them in a timely manner. Essential yearly preventive services include, but are not limited to: 

  • An annual wellness exam
  • Vaccinations
  • Screenings for cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis
  • Blood tests to measure cholesterol and hormone levels

Experience senior wellness at home with WellAhead.

From staying active and eating well to fostering meaningful relationships, the true key to maintaining wellness at home is taking thoughtful, proactive steps to protect your health.

When it comes to living independently, you don’t need to do it alone. Programs like WellAhead — A WesleyLife Well-Being Experience provide support designed to help seniors stay at home and independent. With a wide selection of services to choose from — including personal training, a wellness center membership, fresh meal delivery, housekeeping, and more — you can customize a support plan according to your needs.

Explore a smart way to stay healthy at home with WellAhead

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