Good Habits for Healthier Aging (and How Home Care Helps) Part II

Click here to read Part I of this article

Small choices we make every day can have a major impact on our overall health and wellbeing. While there are countless lists online of seemingly simple habits to develop, medical, social and psychological changes normal in the aging process can make these adaptations difficult to achieve.

The following blog outlines classic healthy habits found on most elder-focused blogs, challenges you may experience pursuing these goals, and how a home health care service can make these changes more attainable.

1. Visit your doctor regularly

Undergoing regular health screenings to identify and manage growing health concerns is one of the most important ways you can stay informed of your long-term health. Building good rapport with your primary care physician also means you can identify and modify unhealthy habits before they impact your wellbeing. Man helping elderly man out of car

Why it’s hard: As medical needs increase with age, so does the number of visits you may need to make to your primary care physician. This can be a hassle for many and potentially dangerous for those with limited mobility, balance, or ability to drive or take public transportation on their own.

How home care helps: A home caregiver can be a valuable travel companion when visiting your doctor, and can also assist you in tracking future appointments.

Additionally, some visits to the doctor may lead to an overwhelming amount of new information. A home caregiver can assist you in documenting what you have learned, and a home care agency can ensure any relevant information from your visit is passed on to other parts of your medical support team.

2. Pick up a new hobby

Learning a new hobby or skill is one of the best ways to combat boredom, and can help preserve your cognitive health in the long-term. Things like becoming a more regular reader, picking up a new game, working on puzzles, or teaching yourself a new recipe can improve your mood and help you stay mentally active.

Why it’s hard: Deciding on a new hobby can be a challenge unto itself, but a lack of companionship or support makes losing interest in your chosen activity much more likely.
How home care helps: New hobbies, games, or projects are always more fun with a companion, and your caregiver can help keep you interested in a challenging new task when the going gets tough.

Working on a hobby or project with your caregiver is also a great way to develop a better relationship with your caregiver, create new bonds, and promote more social engagement with others.

3. Quit smoking or drinking

While stopping unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking are great choices at any age, kicking a bad habit is critical for older adults.

Smoking is expensive, lowers your ability to exercise, limits your sense of taste and smell (making nutritious meals less appealing) and can have serious impacts on your cardiovascular health.

Why it’s hard: Quitting smoking can be done at any age, but older adults who may live alone, or don’t have regular support from a trusted companion will have a much harder time kicking the habit.

How home care helps: Having a caregiver in the home can help “keep you honest” when you are struggling to stop smoking.

Furthermore, many people use tobacco and alcohol to fill in downtime when bored. A caregiver can help keep your mind off your old habits during challenging periods of cessation and give you the encouragement you need to make and maintain healthy choices.

4. Lower your stress levels

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?

Encountering an occasional stressful situation is a totally normal part of the human experience, but long-term exposure to stress can have lasting impacts on memory, mental health and possibly make you more susceptible to dementia over time.

Why it’s hard: Digging yourself out of a cycle of stressful events can feel impossible when on your own. Oftentimes, stress isn’t caused by a single event, but a broad range of challenges that can make it very hard to focus on and eliminate any one source of stress.

How home care helps: Lowering a client’s stress level by tackling difficult or time-consuming tasks is one of the greatest advantages offered by home health care. In addition to performing tasks a client may not be able to efficiently perform themselves, a home caregiver can also lower stress by working with a client to build a schedule to systematically complete long-overdue, stressful chores.

It’s easy to make a list of recommendations and offer advice, but actually acting on these frequently-cited tips can be difficult when living alone or managing a chronic condition.

If you are struggling to make positive changes at home, or worry that a loved one is struggling to live their best life, call SelectCare today or request a free in-home care guide to learn more.