The aging process requires older adults to make lifestyle changes to stay healthy and vibrant. Whether you’re looking for healthy recipes, senior-friendly exercises, or local health services, there are plenty of informational and logistical resources available online and in your community.
Agencies on Aging
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) is a network of more than 600 organizations nationwide that provide assistance for local senior populations. Some operate on a statewide level, though most serve a specific group of adjoining counties.
Many AAA organizations can help arrange meal delivery, in-home assistance (including medication management), and transportation for errands and appointments. They can also put you in touch with nearby caregiver support programs. If you’re an older adult who is unsure about where to go for help or advice, try the Administration on Aging’s website, which can provide contact information for the agency nearest you.
According to an AARP report, over 10 million seniors face the threat of hunger. For those who are homebound and isolated, getting enough nutrition depends on organizations such as Meals on Wheels, which has a presence in almost every American community. Volunteers deliver healthy meals and check on homebound adults — some programs even help with transportation and basic home repair needs.
Staying healthy depends on getting the care you need on a regular basis. Check your Medicare plan every year in case there have been significant changes, a common occurrence with Original Medicare. When open enrollment rolls around, note that some Medicare Advantage plans provide additional coverage for vision and dental, as well as access to wellness programs.
Physically Active, Physically Fit
Adults age 70 and older benefit significantly from regular physical activity. Start out slowly with a low-intensity exercise to stretch out and prevent injury. If you’re into strength training, start with an easily manageable weight; once you’re stretched out and limber, you can move to a more challenging weight level.
Working your bones and muscles makes them less susceptible to breaks. Additionally, if your range of motion is somewhat restricted, try a few low-impact exercises. You can find examples on Groove Anywhere’s YouTube channel. Exercising is also a great way to improve your balance and posture, which can go a long way toward keeping yourself healthy as you age.
Accepting When It’s Time for Help
When cleaning the house, making dinner or remembering to take your medication becomes too difficult to manage, it might be time to evaluate your living arrangements. Even if you have your heart set on aging in place, you may have to reconsider if certain tasks are out of reach. In these instances, looking to assisted living could be the ideal compromise. You get to keep your independence in a space of your own but still have access to help with certain daily activities.
If you’ve decided on this housing transition, ask a family member or friend to help you take stock of nearby assisted living communities. Bear in mind as you start your search that assisted living in Memphis can vary in price and amenities, and it’s important to find one that’s situated near a good hospital like St Francis Hospital or Baptist Memorial Hospital in case of a medical emergency. You’ll also want to tour different communities to determine amenities and ambiance to ensure you find the right fit.
Following healthy habits — getting enough exercise, eating nutritional foods, and enjoying time with friends — are important at any age. For seniors, they’re essential for avoiding illness and staying strong and active, physically and mentally.
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