A Guide for Seniors on Thriving in the Wake of COVID-19
⌘ A guest post by Michael Longsdon of Elder Freedom
The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly stressful to seniors, who are considered a high-risk group and likely to experience more severe symptoms if they contract the virus. As vaccines are rolled out and the world slowly transitions to a post-COVID reality, you may be considering how to adapt to the "new normal."
After months of isolation, you may find that living alone is no longer for you, for example. In this case, you can find assisted living facilities near you via the FindContinuingCare.com platform. Moving into accommodation with other people your age can be an excellent way to make new friends and maintain an active social life, which is especially important as you get older.
You can take other steps to ensure you are looking and feeling your best as you adapt to our changing world. The below guide covers some steps seniors can take to thrive.
Make your home an oasis of calm
Whether you're still staying close to home in the wake of the pandemic or eager to get back out into the world, you want to have a comfortable space to return to at the end of the day. Take steps to make your space cozier. Eliminate clutter, which is shown to increase anxiety, and add more house plants, which are proven to reduce stress. If you have outdoor space, spruce it up with some fresh flowers. According to AARP, gardening has distinct health benefits for seniors, from boosting vitamin D to potentially reducing dementia risk.
Find senior-friendly exercise to get moving
According to the CDC, physical activity is an essential part of healthy aging. The CDC further provides exercise guidelines for different fitness levels, from moderate-intensity to vigorous-intensity aerobics. Look for senior-friendly forms of exercise. Joints tend to get worn with age, for example, so prioritize low-impact activities that won't stress knees, hips, and ankles. Swimming, cycling, and yoga are all excellent options. If you lack motivation, grab a friend to join you. Studies show people are more motivated when they workout in groups.
Make sure you're staying social
Another reason to work out with a friend is that it allows you to be social. Seniors often suffer from feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially if they live alone. Time reports that this leads to various health risks, including a greater likelihood of anxiety and depression and a diminished life expectancy. If you're still nervous about seeing people due to COVID-19, look for ways to connect virtually. A Zoom call with kids or grandkids is a great option. You can also host a virtual book club with friends or watch films together virtually using tools like Netflix Party or Watch2gether.
Transition to a senior-specific diet
Your nutritional needs change with age. As the body gets older, the metabolism slows. This means you will have less appetite and eat less. However, you still need to get a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals to maintain your physical and mental health. You may benefit from more fiber, protein, calcium, and Vitamin D in your diet, for example. Vitamin supplements can also be helpful, providing you with an energy boost. Even if you eat well, you may be lacking essential nutrients like vitamin B-12, which is responsible for helping your body transform the food you eat into usable energy.
Reentering the world if you've been cooped up due to COVID-19 fears can be intimidating. The above guide provides some tips and tools to make the transition easier. Be gentle with yourself during this time and make self-care a priority. It's been a stressful period, but you can ensure you are thriving mentally and physically in the new normal with a little effort.
Check out FindContinuingCare.com’s step-by-step guide explaining what to look for in a facility and how to find the right one for your needs.