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A New Year’s resolution worth keeping…
By Robert P. Dean
Change is always possible. It’s never too late to make positive change, to try new things, and to live healthier. As easy as New Year’s resolutions are to make, they are even easier to break. That’s why it’s important to set realistic goals that are not only desirable but also doable.
A few suggestions for those who are looking to make a change and to have a rewarding experience at the same time:
Try something new. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to try or do but haven’t… now’s the time. Explore new social opportunities to meet new people. Join a travel club. Start a new hobby. Join a book club, or a health club. Check out your local senior center… there is always a lot going on there.
Return a kindness or pass it forward — volunteer. There are many volunteer opportunities available throughout Berkshire County. Here at Elder Services, volunteers help with our Meals on Wheels deliveries, and at our lunch sites, which are located throughout the county. Other volunteer opportunities include driving seniors to and from medical appointments, grocery shopping, and serving as companions. There are also rewarding volunteer opportunities in our Money Management, SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Elders), and Long Term Care Ombudsman programs.
Get moving. Exercise your body and your brain. Physical exercise can help control weight, build muscle, and improve balance, and in addition can help prevent falls. Walking, swimming, and bicycling are great forms of exercise. So are dancing and gardening. Keep your brain active. Read. Play bridge and other card games. Do crossword and Sudoku puzzles. Take an adult education course. Local colleges may offer free classes to those age 65 and older.
Eat well — and eat healthy. Yes, it’s possible. Experts recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Go for deep colors: dark green, bright yellow, and orange choices such as spinach, collard greens, carrots, oranges and cantaloupe are extra nutritious. Choose fiber-rich whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta. Eat heart-healthy fish like tuna or salmon, and less fatty meats such as chicken and turkey. Choose low fat milk, cheese, and yogurt. Limit alcohol consumption while keeping in mind that what’s moderate for a younger adult may be too much for an older person.
Research shows that our health behaviors tend to mirror those of our friends and family. Find things to do with friends and family that are healthy and enjoyable. Avoid negativity.
As we talk about resolutions, it is important to recognize the overwhelming preference of Berkshire seniors to continue to live in their own homes and communities, and that if or when they need long-term care services to receive those services at home. If you or someone you know can use some assistance, give us a call. There is no place like home.
On behalf of Elder Services, I would like to wish each of you a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.
(Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the many volunteer opportunities available through Elder Services or the many services we provide, please give us a call at 1-800-544-5242or 499-0524.)
Robert P. Dean is Executive Director of Elder Services.