Cheers to the new year! With 2022 now upon us, it’s time to think about how you can make the most of the next 365 days. Here are some ways to rejuvenate your self-wellness.
Be of Good Health
It’s always important to do what you can to maintain your best health. Keep these things in mind for the new year.
- Continue established regimens. Continue taking your medications as prescribed and visit your physicians as needed. You may also want to schedule your annual wellness visit and a comprehensive medication review.
- Be realistic with resolutions. At the start of every new year, it’s natural to want to set some goals. In fact, according to a recent Economist/YouGov poll, one in four Americans will make resolutions for 2022. If you set goals, be sure to be realistic about what you can do and what makes sense for your current situation. But don’t be disappointed if things don’t go as planned. You’ll be in good company; apparently, some 80% of us fail to keep our resolutions.
- Be careful with fitness. If you’re thinking about boosting your fitness, check with your physician before starting anything new. There are programs available for seniors, with workouts and classes designed for older adults. Your area senior center may offer low cost exercise programs.
Evaluate Your Space
In the spirit of a fresh start, now is a great time to organize your home and ensure that it is still a good fit for you. Here are some ways to get started.
- Clean up clutter. If you’ve accumulated piles of stuff, now is the time to clean up that clutter. Put it away unless you no longer use it or no longer want to keep it. If it’s worth donating, then pass it along to someone else, or to an organization such as Goodwill or Salvation Army, so it goes to good use. And if it’s not worth donating, then it might be time to recycle or throw it out.
- Eliminate tripping hazards. Falls are the leading cause of serious injury for older Americans, and most falls occur at home, so eliminating anything in your home that could be a tripping hazard is critical.[3, 4] Start with throw rugs, which are known to contribute to falls, as are damaged carpets, especially if the edges are curled. Other common hazards include loose cords, cluttered walkways, broken or uneven steps and slippery surfaces, such as shower floors.
- Assess your home. With kids likely gone, you probably have different needs, so now is a good time to think about whether your home is still a good fit for you. Taking care of a lawn and traipsing up and down stairs might not be on the top of your list of fun things to do! Maybe it's time to look for a one-story home or a maintenance-free community. Think about convenience and safety as you get older as well.
Even before COVID-19 made the world wary of get-togethers, social isolation posed a serious health risk to aging adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), social isolation is thought to significantly increase the risk of premature death and is associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke. While you do still have to be cautious about COVID, there are ways you can reconnect with family, friends and community.
- Join (or rejoin) clubs. If you were active in local clubs, or are looking to find some clubs or groups to join, look for fun options in your area, such as garden and book clubs, church gatherings and walking groups. You can search online for clubs in your area or get help from your Area Agency on Aging (AAA).
- Learn some new skills. Many communities offer low-cost classes for all ages, and you may even find some options specific to seniors. Check with your community recreation department for classes that could include arts or computer classes, aerobic classes; and more.
- Consider volunteering. If you want to make a difference or just need a good excuse to get out of the house on a regular basis, consider donating your time. There are many opportunities at local museums, libraries, hospitals, churches etc. There are also national organizations, such as AmeriCorps, that have service opportunities especially for seniors.
Make the Most of a Brand New Year
The new year provides each of us with a chance to make a fresh start. With these suggestions, along with ideas of your own, you can start strong and keep it going throughout the year.
 Frankovic and Sanders (2021). Americans who plan to make New Year’s resolutions are more optimistic about better things in 2022. YouGov America. https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2021/12/23/americans-who-plan-make-new-years-resolutions
 Luciani, J. (2015). Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail. U.S. News & World Report. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail
 National Council on Aging. Get the Facts on Falls Prevention. https://www.ncoa.org/article/get-the-facts-on-falls-prevention
 National Institute on Aging. Fall-proofing your home. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/fall-proofing-your-home
 Rosen, Mack and Noonan (2013). Slipping and tripping: fall injuries in adults associated with rugs and carpets. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3591732/
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html
S7694_21-6715_enewsletter 2021_C Reviewed 1/14/22
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