New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors
The calendar has turned. Moving into a new year brings opportunities for reflection and invitations to consider what matters most to us. As 2020 begins, seniors can make personal choices about the kind of year they would like to have. Assessing values and naming desires and goals are important to do at any age. As we move toward the good we want, we nurture our health, contentment, and well-being.
The new year brings a fresh time to engage with our reality—both with its limitations and its invitations to enjoy life. While life may move a bit slower, seniors can continue to contribute to those around them, give love, and keep growing. Here are some thoughts to consider as you prepare your own resolutions for the year.
Continue to Contribute
You have good to give to others. Our social connections are part of living a vital, healthy life. When we have loving relationships, we receive interaction and the warmth that we need—like quality time, laughter, human touch, words of encouragement, and the gifts of others. We know that we are thought of, and that we matter. Similarly, when we give of ourselves, we feed those relationships. When we enjoy quality time with friends, neighbors, and family, we can thrive. Here are some ways you can keep up the good work and contribute to the lives of others.
Share Your Stories
Journal or record your life stories. Share anecdotes, tales, adventures, regrets, and lessons. Your stories are an important part of who you are. And they are valuable to others. You can even practice retelling your stories to yourself. It might sound (and possibly look) funny! But remembering your story as you tell it to yourself will help you do just that: remember. Your stories are true. They are part of you. And they are valuable. As life changes over time, telling yourself your stories can help you remember who you are. If someone like an adult child, grandchild, niece, or nephew is asking to hear your stories, wonderful! Have them take an audio recording as you tell your tales. Recordings can become a priceless gift to future generations.
Make a Collection to Pass On
Gather some of your favorite things to share with those you love. Place family photos and quotes into a book, curate a collection of artwork or crafts to give as gifts, or collect family recipes into a cookbook. Gathering and sharing your collections can create opportunities for interaction and storytelling. Enlist a family member to join you and share the fun. Ask a grandchild to help make copies and organize recipes, for example. Working together will certainly bring up memories. Include them in your work. In a cookbook, you can include a brief note about a meal: “I always made this applesauce on the first day of October. That’s when fall really started at our house.” The daily details of your life are gifts to share.
We are made to give and receive love. Love gives us life. Love is part of our stories—past, present, and future. Whether you have been loved well or not—or whether you have always loved others well or not—you can resolve to nurture your relationships with love in this new year.
Nurture Your Noticing
Part of living a good life is learning to love life. And we can love life by noticing and becoming grateful for what exists around us. Nurturing your ability to simply notice life can fill you with gratitude. And gratitude naturally leads to love. So take notice. Gaze. Ponder and wonder. Whether it’s the new bird outside your window or the crooked, childlike grin of a neighbor, or even a tiny miracle in your everyday goings on, you can notice the small things that otherwise might stay hidden if it hadn’t been for you.
Nurture Those Around You
This year you may find yourself living in a situation you love. Or you may find that life has brought changes you could do without. Whether you are living with family and friends that you enjoy or are feeling disconnected from those you have loved, you can nurture the people around you. Your gestures can be small, yet meaningful. Share a smile. Or give an invitation to eat together, walk together, or attend a class together. Just showing someone that you see them can let them know they are loved and that they matter.
We can always grow, no matter our age or stage of life. Physical, mental, and emotional growth remain relevant throughout life. Even though the bodies of older adults aren’t developing as they did in childhood, they still matter. Exercise that builds muscle, fosters bone structure, and works the heart offers myriad physical benefits. Learning new skills and ideas enlivens the mind. And fostering relationships, as we’ve mentioned, nourishes the spirit. In 2020, resolve to grow.
Exercise keeps bones and muscles strong. See what kinds of group exercise activities your retirement community offers. You may find opportunities to join a walking group, take a seniors’ aerobics class, or even participate in an aqua fit class. Join a Silver Sneakers group if one is available to you. Or find a group that travels to the local YMCA for water exercise and other group classes. The American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation suggests that socializing and exercise are great for the brain, body, and overall emotional health. Exercising in a group provides opportunities for fun as well as keeping up regular fitness habits.
Make a Change
Try something new. Sometimes making a change is exciting, motivating, and refreshing. Add a new activity or friendship or habit that you enjoy. Incorporating healthy pleasures into daily life can boost happiness and contentment levels. Small changes are easier to manage and enjoy on a regular basis. Attend an art class or book group, for example. Or replace a tired habit with a new one that energizes or relaxes you. If you find yourself watching T.V. alone every evening, making a change can provide benefits you’ll enjoy. Take an evening walk instead. Or practice yoga or stretching to wind down at night. Our lives are made up of habits. Replacing old, unhelpful habits with new ones, as James Clear suggests, is a doable way to increase quality of life.
With each new year comes opportunities to engage with ourselves, our lives, and others in ways that enrich us. Take a few moments to notice what you feel drawn toward this year. What do you love? What do you want? What can you do? Move toward the gift of life as you contribute, love, and grow.
The Cedars Retirement Community
The Cedars Retirement Community offers a full calendar of gathering times, hands-on activities, and fun events. Located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana, The Cedars believes in providing the highest quality of life and opportunity for seniors. We want to ensure that your latter years are lived with joy, enthusiasm, and relational connections. Please contact us with any questions or to schedule a tour of our beautiful lakeside retirement community.