How to Live Your Happiest Life after Retirement

How to Live Your Happiest Life after Retirement

If you are like most people, you are looking forward to retirement. You can say goodbye to your full-time job and hello to spending your time however you want. Yet, regardless of how excited you are about the next chapter in your life, it can still be nerve-wracking.

Many people struggle to adapt to their new lifestyle and are unsure of how to enjoy their free time. Here are a few tips for seniors who want to live their happiest lives after retirement.

Finding Happiness after Retirement

  1. Find a sense of purpose.

Many people lose their sense of purpose after they retire. Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning is essential to your overall happiness. Feeling like your life has meaning is linked to many health benefits, including:

  • Longer life span
  • Improved brain health
  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Better sleep quality

Common ways retirees find their sense of purpose include mentoring younger generations, adopting a pet, or working part-time.

  1. Find opportunities to volunteer.

Volunteering for a cause you care about is another excellent way to find happiness post-retirement. In addition to making a positive difference in others’ lives, volunteering can also improve your sense of self-worth.

Altruistic behavior can help seniors avoid isolation. It also supports mental, physical, and social health. One of the best things about volunteering is you can donate as much or as little time as you want.

  1. Continue learning.

Taking up a hobby or learning a new skill can be a great way to enjoy retirement. In addition to keeping your mind active, continued education can give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem. You can learn anything from a new language to an instrument. You could even rediscover an old pastime. Whichever route you take, learning is always a good way to pass the time.

  1. Stay connected to loved ones.

For years, research has shown that having strong relationships is key to your overall happiness. Close bonds also support longevity, reduce depression, and alleviate anxiety. During retirement, do your best to stay in contact with loved ones and make new friends regularly. Seniors who live in isolated areas often find it easier to meet people by moving to a senior living community.

Retirement Is a New Chapter in Life

Retirement is an exciting and rewarding stage in your life. It is the perfect time to explore hobbies, strengthen relationships, and focus on the things that bring you joy. By following these tips, you will be on the way to living your happiest life after retirement.

Residents at Heritage Senior Communities Live Their Happiest Lives

At Heritage Senior Communities, we encourage our residents to enjoy their post-retirement years. We offer many life enrichment activities, including exercise groups and art classes. Schedule a private tour to see how we help residents live their happiest lives.

Are Vegan Diets Healthy for Older Adults?

Are Vegan Diets Healthy for Older Adults?

Veganism is becoming increasingly popular among seniors. Vegans eat solely plant-based foods. They steer clear from meat, dairy, eggs, honey, and any other foods derived from animals. There are many reasons seniors consider switching to this diet. Sometimes, it’s for better health, while animal rights drive others. Often, it’s both. Regardless of why seniors consider the change, the most important question is “Are vegan diets healthy for older adults?”

Benefits of Switching to a Vegan Diet

  • Boost the immune system: The ideal vegan diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Because most of these foods are nutrient-dense, they can benefit the immune system.
  • Manage chronic health conditions: Vegans tend to have healthier blood pressure, fewer cases of diabetes, and longer lives than those who follow the standard American diet. It may be beneficial for seniors with chronic health conditions.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Those who consume a vegan diet typically have a lower body mass index. As we age, maintaining a healthy weight may become increasingly difficult. This may make veganism a good option for seniors struggling with weight.

Switching to a Vegan Diet

As you age, it may become increasingly difficult to meet nutrition requirements. Veganism can make it a bit more challenging. Here are a few tips for seniors switching to a plant-based diet:

  • Take supplements: Some nutrients, like vitamin B12, are only found in meat. Seniors will need to take a supplement to meet their recommended daily intake.
  • Eat foods rich in calcium: Calcium is another nutrient seniors should be mindful of when going vegan. Many diets rely on dairy products for their daily calcium dose. Fortunately, there are plenty of vegetables, including spinach, kale, and broccoli, that are abundant in calcium.
  • Choose high-protein foods: Many seniors are concerned they won’t get enough protein if they cut meat from their diet. However, many plant-based foods are high in protein. Soybeans, tofu, and lentils are excellent options.

Cooking for One

Seniors who are cooking only for themselves may find it difficult and expensive to prepare meals with fresh ingredients. They may not see the point in cooking for a single person. This causes many seniors to choose foods with a longer shelf life as opposed to fresh foods. However, there are resources to make cooking for one easier.

Single meal planning sites provide single-serving recipes. One Dish Kitchen and the Fresh 20 for One have healthy recipes for one person along with shopping lists.

Veganism Isn’t for Everyone

Like most diets, veganism has pros and cons. Some may do well without animal products while others may struggle. Before attempting any new diet, it’s important to consult a doctor. They can help you determine if a vegan diet is right for you and your health.

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities understands the importance of eating a diet rich in nutrients. Our communities make it easy for residents to eat healthily. Our Heritage Hospitality policy offers fresh and diverse dining choices to all our residents. Contact us today to learn more about how we help seniors stay healthy.

How to Respond When a Senior with Alzheimer’s Is Agitated

How to Respond When a Senior with Alzheimer’s Is Agitated

Agitation is a common symptom among adults with Alzheimer’s disease. When a person is agitated, they may become annoyed or restless with seemingly little to no provocation. A loved one who is agitated may fidget, pace, or repeat behaviors.

It can be difficult for caregivers to watch their loved ones in distress, and naturally, they want to help. In most cases, something is causing this reaction. By understanding why their loved ones are experiencing these feelings, caregivers can learn how to respond.

Understanding Agitation in Adults with Alzheimer’s

  1. Physical discomfort

When a person with Alzheimer’s disease experiences physical discomfort, their condition can make it difficult for them to identify the source of their distress. Other times, they may have trouble putting their symptoms into words. The inability to articulate their feelings can cause them to become agitated. Hunger, constipation, and sleep deprivation are common causes of physical discomfort that can contribute to agitated behavior.

Sometimes, discomfort causes pain. A love one’s body language may tell you what is bothering them. Do they hold or rub a particular area of their body repeatedly? Does their skin appear dry or irritated? If you suspect your loved one is in pain and you can’t identify the cause, it’s usually a good idea to ask their doctor.

  1. Overstimulation

Dementia can cause a person to become overstimulated quickly. Too many people talking at once and large crowds can overwhelm them and cause them to become agitated. Other forms of excess stimulation include clutter or background noise from the television or radio.

Caregivers can help by limiting the number of stimuli in a loved one’s environment. For example, keep music low and limit the number of people in their space. If you need to go to the store, go during times when it is less crowded.

  1. Change in routine

Sticking to a routine is important for people with dementia. It lets them know what to expect and allows them to carry out their responsibilities independently. Because change causes people with Alzheimer’s to rely on their memory as opposed to their habits, they may become frustrated as they try to adapt.

It may help to let your loved one know in advance about changes in routine. For example, remind them of upcoming appointments several times. Also, be sure to let them know when friends and family are scheduled to visit.

Validate Feelings

When a loved one is agitated, do your best to remain calm. Just because the disease is causing their feelings doesn’t make them any less valid. Your loved one will appreciate you taking time to understand why they are upset and figuring out ways to help.

Heritage Senior Communities

If you are struggling to manage your loved one’s Alzheimer’s symptoms, it may be time to consider memory care. Heritage Senior Communities provides specialized dementia care across Michigan. Because our communities are designed for people with dementia, they can help reduce many symptoms, including agitation. Contact us today to learn more.

5 Ways Seniors Can Sit Less and Move More

5 Ways Seniors Can Sit Less and Move More

You may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” This expression comes from several studies that suggest a sedentary lifestyle may be worse than smoking for some people. While the idea of comparing sitting to smoking may be difficult to understand, the risks associated with sitting for long periods are difficult to ignore.

A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to:

  • Increased risk of disability
  • Increased risk of developing chronic health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
  • Negative effects on mental health
  • Higher risk of becoming overweight or obese
  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Greater risk of falling

The best way to avoid many of the health risks associated with too much sitting is to become active. If you’ve lived a sedentary lifestyle for a long time, it can be overwhelming to think about starting a new exercise program.

You may have reasons why you feel discouraged about exercising, including health problems, limited mobility, or aches and pains. However, becoming active is far simpler than you anticipate. Here are a few ways seniors can incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine.

Physical Activities for Seniors

  1. Walking: Walking is an excellent exercise for older adults. It has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of falling, a lower chance of a heart attack, and improved mental health. Even better, it only requires a pair of good walking shoes. A brisk ten-minute walk after each meal is a great place to start.
  2. Swimming: Swimming is great for seniors because it is a low-impact exercise. This means it is easier on the body than other forms of exercise. This makes swimming particularly great for seniors with limited mobility or stiff joints.
  3. Yoga: Yoga is another great activity for seniors. It improves strength, endurance, and mobility, which are essential for older adults. One of the best things about yoga is it can be adapted for any skill level.
  4. Tai Chi: Tai Chi is an exercise that combines slow, graceful movements with breath control. Because it is gentle, it is an excellent option for seniors who are just starting to incorporate exercise into their routine.
  5. Senior fitness classes: Taking classes designed for seniors is another way older adults can get active. There are a wide variety of options to suit every need, interest, and fitness level. For example, Zumba is fun for those who like to dance. Strength training classes may be better for those who want to build muscle.

The Benefits of Exercise Extend beyond Prevention

Regardless of your age, it’s never too late to start exercising. Getting fit isn’t just about preventing chronic illnesses. Exercise comes with many benefits, including improved sleep, a faster metabolism, and better physical and mental health.

Heritage Senior Communities Encourages an Active Lifestyle

In addition to assisting seniors with the tasks of daily living, Heritage Senior Communities also provides plenty of opportunities for seniors to be active. Contact us today to schedule a tour.

Vision Health & the Importance of an Annual Eye Exam

Vision Health & the Importance of an Annual Eye Exam

As you age, you may notice some changes in your vision. Many occur from the natural aging of the eye and can be improved with extra light or prescription glasses. Sometimes, vision changes are not a normal part of aging and are the beginning stages of eye disease. These are the ones seniors need to be mindful of.

Normal Age-Related Changes

  • Your eyes produce fewer tears as you age, which can cause them to feel dry or irritated.
  • You may find you need more light to read and perform other tasks.
  • Over time, the lenses in your eyes become less flexible. This can make it more challenging to focus on objects that are closer to you.
  • Changes in the lenses of your eyes can also cause the light entering your eye to scatter, which can make glares appear more frequently.
  • Over time, the lenses in your eyes may also become discolored. This discoloration can make it more challenging to distinguish between different colors.

Common Age-Related Eye Diseases

  1. Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults. This disease gradually destroys the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for focusing central vision.

  1. Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that cause fluid and pressure to build up behind the eye. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve.

  1. Cataracts

Most Americans develop cataracts by the time they turn 80. Cataracts occur when the lenses of the eyes become cloudy. The only way to treat them is by cataract surgery. There is not much you can do to prevent cataracts from developing, but using updated eyewear prescriptions can delay surgery.

  1. Dry eye

Dry eye occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears. If left untreated, dry eyes can lead to complications like ulcers and corneal scarring. These can cause some loss of vision. Dry eye can be improved by keeping the eye lubricated with products like artificial tears and prescription eye drops.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Getting regular eye exams is the best way to protect your vision. It gives doctors a chance to catch the disease early, and treatments can significantly slow its progression.

During an eye exam, doctors can also uncover other health conditions. Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and carotid artery blockages are a few diseases that can be identified in an eye exam. By catching these early, seniors have a better chance of reducing their risk of suffering from more complicated health problems down the road.

The American Optometric Association recommends that adults 60 years and older get an annual eye exam. Medicare Part B covers eye exams if you have diabetes. It may also cover tests related to particular treatments. To learn more about which eye exams and screenings your Medicare benefit will cover, visit Your Medicare Coverage.

Staying Healthy at Heritage

Heritage Senior Communities offers a variety of senior living options throughout Michigan. From assisted living to respite care and specialized dementia care, we have an option that will meet your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our communities.

4 Ways Gardening Can Help Prevent Depression in Older Adults

4 Ways Gardening Can Help Prevent Depression in Older Adults

Gardening is a common pastime for all ages. For some, gardening is more than a hobby. Tending and cultivating a garden has several physical and mental health benefits. Current research suggests it may even help alleviate symptoms of depression in older adults.

4 Ways Gardening Can Prevent Depression

  1. Gives seniors a sense of purpose.

After retirement, many seniors struggle to find a sense of purpose. With their kids fully grown, they might not feel needed. Feeling useless can lead to sadness and depressive thoughts.

Horticulture can help seniors regain their sense of purpose by giving them something to nurture. Maintaining a garden takes consistent work, and plants need to be tended daily to survive. Not only can gardening give seniors responsibility, but it can also be a reason to get up in the morning.

  1. Keeps the mind active.

It can be challenging to maintain an active mind after retirement. Studies show that the saying “use it or lose it” applies to the brain. Regularly performing mentally stimulating activities sustains cognitive health longer and increases the ability to fight mental health issues like depression.

Starting a garden can keep the mind active because it requires constant learning. For plants to thrive, gardeners need to know their optimal growing conditions and how to care for them. Horticulture can also activate the mind by stimulating the senses. Gardens are full of colors, smells, and textures.

  1. Promotes exercise.

Exercise is known to reduce anxiety and depression, but it can be particularly beneficial for older adults. Studies suggest exercise can help seniors maintain their physical functioning and delay (if not prevent) the onset of some chronic conditions—most of which can contribute to depression.

Gardening can be an effective form of exercise for older adults. It requires physical movements for weeding, harvesting, pruning, watering, and rearranging.

  1. Helps seniors feel connected.

Social connections are essential for mental health. Unfortunately, many seniors struggle to make friends after retirement. Without coworkers and frequent social outings, seniors can become lonely and isolated. This disconnect can worsen depression.

Not only can gardening help seniors feel connected to other living things, but it can also help seniors make friends. The horticulture community is vast. Gardening stores, trade shows, and online forums are great ways for seniors to connect with fellow horticulturists.

Staying Safe While Gardening

Like any age group, seniors should take proper precautions when starting an activity. Here are a few ways senior gardeners can stay healthy:

  • Accommodate mobility limitations. It’s common for people to experience mobility challenges as they age. Seniors can make modifications to accommodate their restrictions. Using raised flower beds, for example, can reduce how far they need to bend down. There are also tools specially designed to minimize discomfort in those with disabilities.
  • Warm up. Gardening is a form of exercise; therefore, seniors should warm up. Taking the time to stretch before starting can significantly reduce the risk of injury.
  • Take proper sun precautions. When gardening outside, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun. This always involves wearing sunscreen, but may also include protective clothing, sunglasses, or a hat. Also drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Gardening Is a Healthy Hobby

If you are looking for a hobby to improve your overall health, you may want to consider gardening. Tending to plants and watching your hard work come to fruition can bring a tremendous sense of accomplishment and improve your self-esteem.

Heritage Senior Communities Promotes Healthy Activities

Heritage Senior Communities encourages residents to participate in activities that improve their sense of well-being. The best way to learn how we help our residents thrive is to visit. Contact us today to schedule a private tour.