Spring is finally here – and if you’re like most of us, the changing seasons are a great time to throw open the windows (literally and metaphorically) and do some spring cleaning to your home and even your lifestyle.
“I would encourage everyone, but especially older adults, to challenge themselves to give their lifestyle a healthy spring cleaning,” says Angel Van Horn, Community Relations Specialist at Park Manor, the most trusted retirement community in Nashville, TN. “Spring is a great time to jump-start some good changes for yourself – and may be a chance for you to dust off those New Year’s resolutions that fell by the wayside during those final winter months.”
Whether you’re a senior who’s living independently, living with a family member or living in a senior living community like Park Manor here are some healthy habits to give your lifestyle a spring cleaning.
Get Your Yearly Physical.
Spring cleaning often revolves around doing those tasks that you accomplish once a year in order to keep everything running smoothly, like changing the furnace filter, getting your HVAC tuned up, cleaning out the gutters. Guess what? Your body could benefit from a yearly tune-up, too. If you haven’t already, call your doctor to get your yearly physical scheduled. This is a great opportunity to check your stats (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose levels and other key factors), talk about any concerns you may have, be sure your medications are working well and, basically, get a baseline to measure your health.
This is also a good time to schedule those other yearly visits that you may have been putting off. If you haven’t had your teeth cleaned within the past six to nine months, get a dentist appointment on the calendar. You should also schedule an eye appointment – even if you have perfect 20/20 vision, you’ll want to make sure an ophthalmologist checks out your eye health to rule out cataracts, macular degeneration or other age-related eye issues.
Lace Up Your Walking Shoes.
Getting regular exercise is important for maintaining your well-being, but in the winter, it’s often a lot easier to sit on the couch than brave the ice and snow. Now that the snow is melting and the world is thawing, this is a great opportunity for you to grab your walking shoes and go exploring through the newly awakened landscape. Health-wise, a daily walk is one of the best physical activities for older adults – it’s low-impact, doesn’t require any special activities and has many benefits: it helps control blood sugar, improves bone health, boosts your cardiovascular system and helps you have deeper, better sleep.
Plus, being outdoors has numerous benefits, too. It provides you with a much-needed boost of Vitamin D, and it’s been shown that fresh air actually has “antibacterial” properties that will help keep you from getting sick. Being in nature also stimulates all the senses, which helps bolster brain health as well. So get out there and get moving – just be sure that you’re wearing appropriate shoes and choosing a terrain that’s appropriate for your activity level.
Try a New Form of Exercise.
Walking is a great way to get your blood moving, but spring is a good time to pick up another form of activity, too. Low-impact aerobics classes are great for seniors – choose from yoga, Pilates, tai chi or even water aerobics to get your cardiovascular system working as hard as possible (while also building resistance and increasing suppleness in your joints). A low-impact activity is especially suitable if you have mobility issues or chronic pain from old injuries or arthritis.
Give Your Green Thumb a Workout.
Gardening is an incredibly popular activity for everyone – but seniors, especially. Springtime is the prime season for gardening as people start clearing out what’s left of winter and planting new crops and flowers for the year. Not only is it an immensely enjoyable activity, but it also has a multitude of health benefits. For example, it helps you get some much-needed Vitamin D, and provides a good source of exercise. It also can increase flexibility and strength, which can help reduce the risk of falls, bone problems and fractures. It’s also been proven that being outside in nature can be as relaxing, calming and inspirational as doing an hour of meditation.
Lighten Up Your Plate.
Fruits and veggies are plentiful in the spring – think ripe strawberries, plump peas, crunchy lettuce and fat asparagus spears – and make a refreshing addition to your dinner plate after months of heavy stews and comfort food. Spring is the perfect time to add things like salads and other light fare to your meals – not only do they taste great, but these types of foods help improve your health and reduce your risk of ailments including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even dementia. Consider speaking to your doctor about your diet if you’re planning on making an overhaul – he or she will be able to give you some appropriate suggestions based on your current health level and abilities.
Drink More Water.
While you’re outside and working up a sweat, be sure that you’ve got a water bottle with you. As we get older, dehydration becomes a risk factor, particularly because your ability to notice thirst decreases. Dehydration affects our mental abilities, concentration and memory, and can increase our risk of falls. Aim for at least eight cups of fluid per day. Water is best, but herbal teas, fresh vegetable juices and other lightly flavored fluids are all good options, too.
Watch Out for Allergies.
Did you know that we can become allergic to different things as we age? Springtime is often the beginning of hay fever season for many people – particularly those who are sensitive to pollen and grass. Allergies can actually cause issues besides discomfort – they can lead to sinus infections, colds and breathing problems. Keep an eye on the air quality levels (many weather apps now will list allergen levels along with temps and other factors). If you notice you’re having issues with seasonal (or all-year) allergies, talk to your doctor. He or she can prescribe a good allergy treatment to help keep your spring from being overly sneeze-filled.
If you have more questions about “spring cleaning” health tips for seniors, please contact us at 615.277.1107.
Love Where You Live!
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Do I love where I live?” If you ask that question of the residents of Park Manor, Nashville’s premier retirement community, the answer would be a resounding, “Yes!” For over 50 years, Park Manor has served Nashville’s seniors by providing a community designed to support an active, independent, secure, healthy and worry-free lifestyle. Located on seven spacious acres in the desirable Nashville neighborhood Belle Meade, we’re proud to provide a lifestyle our residents love each and every day.
Park Manor’s approach to senior living is simple: exceed our residents’ expectations. We strive to provide everything you could possibly need and want to live your life the way you choose. At Park Manor, you will enjoy a standard of living reminiscent of a luxury resort – but it’s not a vacation – it’s your lifestyle! This commitment is why we are held in such high regard by our surrounding community and are known as the premier retirement community offering independent living and assisted living lifestyles.
For seniors requiring memory care, Park Manor is associated with the prestigious Abe’s Garden® Memory Care Center of Excellence. Abe’s Garden® is committed to transforming the care of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by establishing a national model of residential living and day care programs for those suffering from the disease. Abe’s Garden® provides an unprecedented level of care in addition to a comprehensive array of services and lifestyle options.
At Park Manor, your continued independence is our top priority. Enjoy living life as you choose ... in the comfort and privacy of your own apartment, while having the peace of mind of knowing help is available if and when you need it.
For more information, please call 615.277.1107.