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Monday, January 2, 2017

Top 20 New Year’s resolutions for seniors

Life is full of traditions. Many are handed down through the years, and some are newly created between family and friends. Either way, traditions are part of the colorful fabric that intertwines our lives and holds us together, transcending time and distance. One common tradition this time of year is making New Year’s resolutions, which usually include stopping bad habits or starting good habits.

We’ve compiled our top 20 New Year’s resolutions designed to keep you connected, in touch, and in tune with each other the entire year:

1. Be around next year to make another resolution.

It’s all about living life to the fullest and focusing on being happy throughout the year.

2. Pray for peace in the world.

Hope that the future brings more love and compassion to people everywhere.

3. Smile more.

It’s a good time to learn to be kinder, more understanding, and learn to have more patience. It’s important to make an effort to never go to bed angry and wake up with cheerful thoughts each day.

4. Be a better listener.

When you’re wise and have so much to say, it’s sometimes difficult to not interrupt others when speaking.

5. Drive more carefully.

A resolution we should all make at any age.

6. Visit or write your grandchildren.

The art of a handwritten letter isn’t lost just yet. If you can’t get out to visit your grandchildren due to locality or mobility reasons, try starting a pen pal system with them. Seniors who stay connected with family and friends are more likely to feel content.

7. Rekindle or find a hobby.

Whether it be painting or coin collecting, many seniors forget about hobbies they once enjoyed for hours on end. Use the fresh start of the new year as inspiration to get back to one of your favorite pastimes.

8. Volunteer.

Experience a sense of purpose and satisfaction by helping others in need. There are endless opportunities for volunteering these days, be it a local food shelter or simply visiting with a less mobile senior.

9. Take your health into your hands.

Listening to health professionals is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Knowledge is power at any age. Do your own research on healthy habits and you can begin based on your individual health needs.

10. Find a new, healthy activity.

Not everyone is a runner, and some people hate working out in a group. The great thing about physical fitness is that there are so many ways to incorporate it into your lifestyle.

11. Check something off of your bucket list.

Entering your golden years doesn’t mean that the excitement is over. This can be the year you finally take that trip to Paris, reunite with your childhood best friend or buy your dream car. It might take some work, but think about the biggest goal you have yet to accomplish and start working toward it.

12. Connect more with friends and family.

As children and friends get older, their families grow — and their free time shrinks. Make connecting with loved ones a priority this year. This can happen by scheduling a weekly Skype call with your grandchildren, having coffee every other week with your old high school pals or making sure to fit in a date night every month.

13. Reduce.

One of the best lessons we ever learn is the difference between “want” and “need.” Making the move from a house to a retirement community is a great example of downsizing and making this important decision. But it doesn’t have to stop there. Look around your home and see where you can reduce clutter.

14. Be a kid again.

Did you love riding bikes as a child? Did you take Saturday morning shopping trips with your mother? Think about a happy memory from childhood and bring it back to your life in a new way.

15. Tell your story your way.

Sharing your life with your children and grandchildren will mean more to them than you know. Technology makes it easier to share photos and stories than ever before. Upload old photos to Flickr or start a blog to share your story with the world.

16. Brush up on new technology.

Speaking of new technology — are you confused about the Facebook feature your granddaughter explained to you? Would you like to figure out how to video chat on your own? Learn about a piece of technology that is of interest through a local community class or your own research. Searching YouTube for tutorials is a good place to start, or reach out to the tech addict in your life.

17. Celebrate the little things.

Every healthy check-up, child’s birthday, and reached goal is another reason to celebrate. Make 2017 the year that you acknowledge and celebrate the good moments.

18. Start a letter journal.

Thanks to the internet, handwritten letters are almost a thing of the past. However, seniors come from an era when writing letters by hand was an important, valued form of etiquette — a more personal way of keeping in touch.

19. Plan to age gracefully.

Growing old has advantages as well as a few disadvantages, such as wrinkles, gray hair and changes to our bodies. It is never too late to decide to pursue a healthy lifestyle, which increases the odds of aging gracefully.

20. Talk about the hard stuff.

This resolution is not fun, but it is the most important. While your senior is able, help set the standards of care he or she desires should he or she become incapacitated later. Decide if you will designate a family member or hire a senior care professional to be the primary caregiver. Talking about estate planning and wills, along with other related issues, helps prepare everyone for the inevitable. Discussing these things in advance ensures that your loved one’s wishes are recorded and understood by all.

For more information on aging related issues contact Elderbridge Agency on Aging at www.elderbridge.org or 800-243-0678. You may also contact LifeLong Links at www.lifelonglinks.org or 866-468-7887.