As 2021 draws to a close, most of us are looking forward to a fresh start. While many people use this time to make New Year’s resolutions, few stick to them. Since 2021 was another turbulent year, making wellness the focus for the upcoming year is more important than ever.
Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
Before you set any goals for 2022, it may be helpful to learn why so many people fail to stick with their resolutions. According to personal growth experts, there are many reasons people don’t meet their goals. Setting unrealistic resolutions, being impatient, and not having clear targets are a few leading reasons people give up. Resolutions rarely last more than a few weeks.
As you prepare to welcome 2022, remember to make your resolutions clear and attainable. Instead of listing “lose weight” or “exercise more” as goals, be more specific. How much weight do you want to lose each month? What is your overall weight loss goal? What kind of exercise will you engage in and how often? Setting specific, measurable objectives increases the likelihood of achieving your resolutions.
Think Holistically in 2022
While a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are important parts of your 2022 fitness plan, wellness involves much more than the body. It also means focusing on your mind and spirit.
Here are a few ways to get healthier in the new year:
- Limit screen time: Whether it’s scrolling social media or binge-watching the latest Netflix series, too much screen time is linked to a sedentary lifestyle. It can also contribute to stress and depression. Between COVID-19 challenges and nonstop political news, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you stare at screens too long. Limit your daily screen activity by setting very specific goals, including what types of programs you’ll watch and how much time you’ll spend on social media. While staying connected is important, overconsumption is unhealthy.
- Volunteer virtually: If you are limiting public interactions because of the coronavirus or winter weather, you can still donate your time and talent to a great cause. Nonprofit organizations have lost a lot of volunteers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have begun to create virtual volunteer jobs. Your local United Way agency might be able to help you find a virtual opportunity near you. Another option is to search an online volunteer network, like Volunteer Match. In addition to on-site volunteer jobs, they also maintain a database of agencies looking for remote support.
- Learn to meditate: Living in the moment is a matter of discipline. It is also necessary for a healthy life. Meditation is one way to accomplish this, and it can be performed anywhere. It’s also a good way to manage chronic pain. A few resources to help you get started are Headspace and Calm.
- Keep a gratitude journal: Before you go to sleep each night, write down 5–7 good things that happened to you during the day. Even simple joys such as playing catch with the dog or watching a cardinal at the bird feeder can help you develop a habit of focusing on the positive. During tumultuous times, journaling can help keep your mind and spirit on a healthy track.
Follow the Heritage Blog
If you found this article to be of interest, bookmark the Heritage Senior Communities Blog and visit often. We publish new articles every week on topics ranging from healthy living to caregiving and senior care. It’s a great way to stay on top of the latest news on aging with success!
My dad has had a few falls and a couple of close calls recently. While he hasn’t experienced any injuries, I know we have to figure out a better plan for keeping him safe. My biggest fear is he will fall and be unable to call for help. I live several hours away and can’t be there as often as I would like.
My husband and I will be spending a few weeks with my dad during the holidays. We are planning to try to come up with ways to improve his nutrition. I know that is part of the reason he’s falling.
I’m hoping you can offer some suggestions on a second concern. I want to conduct a safety assessment of my dad’s house. He was stubbornly resistant to our suggestion to hire a physical therapist to do that for us. He doesn’t want a stranger in his home. So, we’ll have to do this on our own.
I’ve already listed obvious tasks like packing up throw rugs and installing grab bars in his bathroom. What other fall hazards should we look for during our visit?
Tina in Holly, MI
Fall Prevention and Home Safety Assessments
It sounds like you have reason to be concerned. Falls are the leading cause of serious injury in older adults. Once a senior experiences a fall, they are more likely to fall again. It’s good that you are taking steps to try to prevent your dad from falling again.
Because most falls happen in the bathroom, that’s a good place to start your assessment. Specifically, you’ll want to look for the following hazards and opportunities:
- Is there a motion light or nightlight that illuminates the path your dad takes to and from the bathroom?
- Are most-used personal care items stored in places he can easily reach? Step stools can be especially dangerous for people with balance problems.
- Towel bars can be hazardous. Your dad might be tempted to use them to pull himself up or hold onto while getting in and out of the shower. Replace them with sturdy grab bars.
- If your dad has trouble sitting down and standing back up, a raised toilet seat with attached grab bars is a good solution.
- Does the floor present a fall risk? Slippery tiles and throw rugs aren’t a good combination.
- Does one of the bathrooms have a step-free shower? Climbing back and forth over the edge of a tub is hazardous for a senior struggling with balance. You may also want to add a shower chair for your dad to rest on while showering.
While the bathroom is the place seniors fall most often, also make sure:
- Stairways have even treads, a sturdy handrail, and good lighting
- Furniture is arranged in a manner that allows for easy navigating
- Pathways around favorite spots are free from clutter
- Carpeting is free of holes, rips, or bunches
- Extension cords are placed against walls rather than across floors
- Exterior stairs have a strong handrail and good lighting
- The sidewalk leading to the garage is in good shape
- The garage door opener is working
- Main pathways throughout the home are easy to maneuver and have good lighting
One final suggestion is to purchase a medical alert device. In the event your dad does have a fall, he can quickly call for help.
If you and your dad decide that he would benefit from the supportive environment offered by an assisted living community, I encourage you to consider Heritage. Call a community nearby to learn more and schedule a private tour at your convenience.
I’m heading home over Christmas to visit my mom in Traverse City, Michigan. When I was there this summer, I decided it’s time to talk with her about moving to an assisted living community.
While I’m hoping she is receptive to the idea, just the thought of bringing it up with her gives me anxiety. Mom still lives in the house she and my dad bought shortly after they were married. I know the emotional attachment she has to it.
Do you have any suggestions for how to initiate this discussion?
Your apprehension isn’t uncommon. We often hear from adult children who say they dreaded starting “the talk” so much they kept putting it off. Then a crisis occurred, and they were scrambling to research and visit senior care options. It’s an unfortunate situation as you are less likely to make an informed choice in the middle of a crisis.
The best time to explore assisted living communities is before a loved one needs to move. Not only will the transition be smoother, but they will also find their quality of life improves. From nutrition to life enrichment activities, assisted living has much to offer. I have some tips that will help you feel more confident beginning the conversation with your mom.
4 Tips for Talking to a Senior about Assisted Living
- Research your options.
Before you initiate this conversation, spend some time online learning more about the different types of senior living. With enough background information, you may be able to answer your mom’s basic questions. This includes pricing, as it’s usually one of the first concerns seniors express about assisted living. Once you have a few communities that seem like good choices for your mom, call each one for more details.
COVID-19 protocols may limit the number of visitors some assisted living communities are allowing. Fortunately, most offer virtual tours which give you a better understanding of the community. That should provide you with enough information to discuss the community with your mom.
- Show empathy.
It’s tough to really understand how difficult giving up the family home can be for your mom, but it does help if you try to put yourself in her shoes. Be kind and empathetic, even if the conversation isn’t going as smoothly as you’d hoped. Even if your mom is fearful of living alone, the very idea of making a change can be difficult.
Another issue to keep in mind is that many seniors believe myths about assisted living communities. These misperceptions may make them fearful of moving. A few additional concerns seniors say prevent them from considering assisted living include:
- Being forced to participate in activities
- Losing their privacy and independence
- Running out of money and having to move again
- Worrying that family and friends won’t visit often
Take time to listen to your mother’s concerns and give reassurance.
- Be patient and listen.
Before you start the discussion, understand and accept that it’s rare for an older adult to agree to move during the first conversation. A decision is usually made after a series of talks and visits to assisted living communities. By being patient and actively listening, you will be better able to identify and address your mom’s concerns.
An easy, non-threatening way to begin the talk is by asking your mom how she feels about living alone. Is she afraid at night? Is she struggling to manage necessary household responsibilities? Does she feel lonely? Also, ask if any of her friends have moved to assisted living. This will allow you to gauge her feelings about the issue and ease into the conversation.
- Watch your body language.
It’s easy to become frustrated when you are worried about a senior loved one’s health and safety. Being mindful of your body language can also help this talk go a little smoother.
If your mom doesn’t immediately agree to a move, it’s important not to get mad or be heavy handed in trying to convince her. While you may not verbalize your impatience, your tone and body language can give you away. Crossing your arms, using a sharp tone of voice, and avoiding eye contact are a few behaviors to be aware of if things don’t go like you hope.
Assisted Living at Heritage Senior Communities
I hope these suggestions help you and your mom work together to find a solution. Depending upon where your search for assisted living takes you, I’d also like to extend an open invitation to consider Heritage Senior Communities. With locations throughout Michigan and one in Indiana, you’ll likely find an assisted living community your mom will be happy to call home!