Are you seeking opportunities to make the most of your well-being?  As we journey through our senior years, it can sometimes feel like there isn’t much we can do about changes that can go along with aging.  However, there are steps you can take that help ensure your health and happiness as you grow older.  Read on for tools and tips to help you thrive!

Understand your costs

Health care is a must at any age, but it can be especially crucial in your senior years.  However, many seniors don’t understand the costs involved with Medicare.  For example, Part A is free to most seniors because they paid Medicare taxes for 10 years (40 quarters) or longer.  However, if you do not pay Medicare taxes for 40 quarters, you can pay up to $437 per month for coverage.  Sometimes, working a few more months can make an important impact.

Food for thought

We all recognize that our bodies change as we grow older.  Sometimes, it’s surprising how those changes affect some of our habits, such as the way we eat.  As Everyday Health explains, older adults’ nutritional needs change significantly.  Our metabolism slows as we age, which means we naturally start burning fewer calories.  If you become more sedentary on top of that, it can lead to weight gain and exacerbate health concerns.

Try to structure your meals to reflect your changing needs.  It’s important to aim for nutrient-dense foods, such as salmon, kale, and blueberries, to consume fewer calories and get much-needed nutrition.  Include plenty of fiber, fruits, and vegetables, and avoid foods with empty calories, like white bread, ice cream, and concentrated fruit juices.  To spice up your meal planning, explore these healthy aging recipes from Eating Well. Even if we eat nutritiously, we may not get all the nutrients we need, so it’s beneficial to take a multivitamin every day. A multivitamin can help fill gaps in your diet, along with raising your mood and giving you extra energy.

Embrace exercise

Do you currently participate in an exercise regimen?  According to some research, older adults of all ability levels can benefit from a fitness program, even if they never exercised in the past.  It’s a great way to optimize your well-being, as you can boost strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular health.  What’s more, exercise appears to be good for your mind, helping to enhance cognition, lift your mood, and boost confidence.

If you’re new to exercise and need extra support, one way to ease into fitness is to use weight machines or do chair exercises, since the structure can keep you more stable.  As you get stronger, add floor exercises and dumbbells.  There are also gym programs aimed specifically toward older adults, and you can often participate for free.  It’s a chance to not only stay fit, but to connect with other seniors and stay engaged with your community.

Keep connecting

How much time do you spend with friends and family?  Many older adults end up leading lonely, solitary lifestyles.  Chicago Tribune explains senior isolation is associated with serious health consequences, comparing it to smoking 15 cigarettes per day.  It appears being lonely for an extended period of time can even shorten your life.

Living an independent life is a blessing, but make sure you maintain a social life.  Grab lunch with an old friend once a week, volunteer for an organization you feel passionate about, or join a club that sparks your interest.  Think about things you enjoy doing, and get involved with people who share your enthusiasm.  You can become a Master Gardener, join a chess club, or participate in a reading group.  There is something for everyone!

As you grow older, you can remain happy and healthy.  Make sure you know your health care costs, get good nutrition and stay active and connected.  Throughout your golden years, you’ll be sure to shine!



**** Karen Weeks is from California.  After retirement, she was bored and struggled to find a new sense of purpose.  So, she decided to learn a new skill.  She took a computer course and learned how to build her website.  Now, Karen is trying new things all the time.  Karen was quoted saying “I believe nothing is off-limits to seniors, and I want to spread the word!” ******