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Contributed by Karen Weeks of Elder Wellness

For many seniors, staying on top of health concerns can be a big job, especially if stress is a factor. It’s important to try and eliminate any negative feelings that might contribute to physical or mental health issues, and that’s not always easy when you’re worrying about yourself as well as your spouse or partner.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can stay on top of your wellbeing and remain healthy, vital, and active for years to come. It takes a bit of planning and an open mind, but in order to stay in good shape, it’s sometimes necessary to move away from the way you’ve always done things. Change up your routine a little and ask for help from friends and family when you need it; having their support may make a world of difference.

Here are a few ways you can improve your mental and physical health and maintain them.

Open up to technology

It’s difficult for people of any age to keep up with all the changes made in the world of technology, but it can be especially hard for seniors who aren’t as “plugged in” as young people. There are many apps for smartphones and tablets these days that are either specially-made or work well for seniors, however, including games that help boost brain health and helpers that assist in finding your car in a large parking lot. Check out this article for more info on all the best apps to keep you sharp.

Daily exercise

Daily exercise is an important part of staying healthy, especially for seniors. Just make sure it’s a routine that keeps your safety in mind; for instance, walking, swimming, and gardening are great ways to stay active, while running and bike-riding may be more difficult for seniors who are dealing with balance or mobility issues.

If you have a dog, be sure to incorporate him into your workouts. You could opt to head out to a nearby dog park or walk the trails (leashed) at a nearby park. If you’re unfamiliar where to find the nearest dog park, start with a website like Rover.com, where you’ll find dog parks listed by city. Here are a few examples: Saint PaulMiamiSan JoseIndianapolisAlbuquerquePortlandKnoxvilleMadisonCalgary, and Raleigh. It’s worth the effort: dogs are wonderful exercise companions because they’ll keep you motivated, and spending time with animals can actually help lower blood pressure and boost your mood.

Get involved

Getting involved in your community can do wonders for your mental and emotional health, so look for ways you can give back, such as volunteering at the local library, gathering warm coats and gloves for underprivileged kids in winter, or organizing a benefit for the arts. Giving back is a great way to boost your self-confidence and stay active and vital. Go here for more ways to get involved.

Join a club

 Do a bit of research to find out what kinds of clubs are available to seniors in your area, such as a dance group, a bowling club, or an art appreciation group that meets once or twice a week. Every city has something different, so hop online to find the best options in your community. If there’s nothing that appeals to you, consider starting your own club! Ask a few friends to join you in gardening every weekend, or get together for coffee once a week to discuss a book or movie. Being a part of something can help you stay active, beat loneliness, and will give you something to look forward to.

These are just a few ideas; you can use some of these or create your own ways to stay healthy. Think of the things you enjoy doing and put an active spin on them; get a friend or relative to join you; remember to plan for safety before starting a new routine. Talk to your doctor about the best ways you can stay on top of your health.

 

On this “Things to Know Thursday,” we are bringing you three assistive technology (AT) resources that are packed with useful information.

  1. The first resource is a website created by Amy Roman, a speech-language pathologist who works with people with ALS.  She has compiled a wealth of information regarding communication for people with ALS who may lose the ability to speak throughout the disease progression.  Topics on this website range from voice banking to speech generating devices to alert systems.  Amy has even developed communication software called AlphaCore that addresses unique challenges that are specific to people with ALS.  Check out the Amy and pALS website to learn more!
  2. The next resource is a free app named the CP Channel, which was created by the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.  This app features educational, informational, and entertaining videos designed to assist people with CP, their family, friends, and professionals.  This app is a must-have if you or someone you know has CP.  Download it for free on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store!
  3. The third resource we are sharing with you today lives on Pinterest.  The Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota regularly updates their AT Pinterest boards, keeping you up to date on new AT devices, software, and apps.  Have fun scrolling through this resource for people with all types of disabilities!

Do you have an amazing AT resource to share?  Comment below with your suggestions!

 

Contributed by Jackson Hille, Content Marketing Manager from FormSwift

A power of attorney form is a legal document that will never become a fad or something you discuss during a happy hour with friends. Nonetheless, it is a form that will always become important during your most challenging life experiences, so we hope that this guide will serve as a valuable educational reminder and introduction to the ins-and-outs of a power of attorney and a resource that you can always bookmark to share with a family member, friend, or colleague when the time is appropriate.

Learn everything you wanted to know about the power of attorney form by reading the rest of the guide found here: The People’s Guide to a Power of Attorney

 

Contributed by Caleb Anderson from Recovery Hope

Mental health is an issue that affects not only people with disabilities but all of us.

Which resource below could help improve your mental health today?

Thanks to Caleb from Recovery Hope for sharing these resources!  Please share this list with those who could benefit from mental health improvement strategies (that’s all of us!).

A Checklist for Parents with Children with Mental Health Problems

For Teachers: Children’s Mental Health Disorder Fact Sheet for the Classroom

Promoting Mental Health at Home: How to Design the Perfect Meditation Room

Healthy Eating and Depression: How Diet May Help Protect Your Mental Health

5 Ways to Use Feng Shui in Your Home Design

Drug Abuse and Addiction: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction

Anger Management and Addiction: How to Take Charge of Anger Issues in Sobriety

Elderly Mental Health: How to Help Your Senior

Coping with the Loss of a Loved One

 

Contributed by Natalie Kelly from Forever Curious

At Forever Curious, a group of librarians and educators gather resources and provide lessons plans in order to promote education for all ages.  They have generously shared with us the following resources regarding home-related considerations for people with disabilities.  Check them out!

Managing Sensory Processing Issues At Home
Cleaner Indoor Air & Chemical Sensitivities
Disabled Home Modification Checklists and Funding
Home Modifications and Selling Your Home
Special Needs Safety Around Construction Sites
Renters’ Rights for People with Disabilities
Moving for Seniors and People with Disabilities

 

Contributed by Karen Weeks of Elder Wellness

 

Golden Activities for Your Golden Years

 

For many seniors, approaching retirement is both exciting and worrisome. You’ve worked hard all your life and are eagerly counting down the days when your life isn’t dictated by spending 9-5 on the job. On the other hand, you look at this approaching 40 hours of free time and wonder: How am I going to fill it?

 

You’re right to be a little nervous about how to fill your time with quality, interesting activities in retirement. Studies show that while retirement does, in fact, lower stress, it can also increase depression and worsen physical health. How can something that we all look forward to– something we earn as a reward for a hardworking life–be harmful? The answer isn’t about retirement itself; it’s what you do during retirement that matters. If you want to stay happy and healthy after your final day on the job, you’ll want to focus on two things: staying social and learning new skills. Here are a few tips on how you can accomplish both in your golden years.

 

Playing a Musical Instrument

Many people think learning to play an instrument is a skill reserved for childhood, but older adults are seeing the benefit of picking up an instrument. For some, learning to play an instrument is fun and challenging–they are motivated by seeing (and hearing) their progress. For others, the one-on-one contact with a teacher or the excitement of learning in a group setting helps them make new friends.

 

Regardless of your reason, music enriches lives– especially seniors. Physically, music helps you concentrate better, keeps the pain of arthritis at bay and improves dexterity. Mentally, music has been shown to lower stress, calm bouts of anxiety and improve mood.

 

If learning a new instrument seems like a great way to elevate your retirement, be sure to consider a few factors before plunging ahead. Do you want to take online or in-person classes? What kind of instrument do you want to learn? Do you want to play and practice solo or in a group? Many adults enjoy learning the saxophone, clarinet or trumpet for their versatility. They can practice at home, play in groups, take classes in-person and supplement their learning online. Before purchasing any of these instruments, be sure to review buying guides for your desire instrument, for example, review this clarinet buying guide to find out which clarinet is best for a beginner.

 

Understanding Computers and the Internet

The world is connected by global technology, a kind of technology that some seniors find intimidating. However, if you want to see pictures of your grandkids at Disneyland, you know you’re going to have to figure out how to check email. And if you want to video chat with your daughter so you can see her smiling face, you need to get comfortable with a smartphone. Even some doctors do online video visits, instead of going into the office for simple checkups.

 

Taking a class that helps build basic computer skills and teaches you to navigate the Internet can make technology more fun and less menacing. Even better– sign up for a class with a few of your friends. That way you can help and support each other when you apply your new skills at home.

 

Building a Community Garden

To make the most of retirement you’ll want to focus on activities that get you active, challenge your mind and enrich your social life. That’s why music is such a powerful tool–it can enhance all three. Being part of a community garden is another hobby that touches on all three.

 

Community gardens are gardens that you work on as a group. You may have your own plot to tend to or have a role to play in the garden overall. The benefits of a community garden are both individual and communal. You can have fresh produce on your table, while also sharing skills, recipes and responsibilities with people of all ages and backgrounds. Community gardens beautify neighborhoods and get people involved with each other. Plus, since the workload is shared, you don’t have to worry about the laborious task of tending to a garden all by yourself.

 

Whatever path you choose to explore in retirement, just make sure it’s fun, exciting and interesting. You don’t want to start something only to feel burdened by the obligation. How you enjoy your golden years is up to you–just make sure you actually enjoy them!

 

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