By Kent Elliot
Aging comes with many difficulties, and even the healthiest among us wind up losing some spryness as we get older. For many, this change can be a dramatic one. Seniors often experience anxiety about how they will navigate their golden years. Here’s a look at a few of the things that seniors worry about, and how to address them.
Navigating and Maintaining the Home
As you get older, the house you’ve thrived in all your life may not work well anymore. For the lucky ones, grand staircases, large tubs, ornate doorknobs — many of the features you may have once adored can present a challenge. Mobility is often impacted by age, and seniors feel the pressure.
The National Institute on Aging explains how aging in place becomes much more challenging. Even if there aren’t any mobility concerns, the simple act of staying up on chores can be a burden when combined with waning energy levels. Many seniors put themselves through undue stress trying to keep their house up to par when it’s become too difficult.
Seniors in this position might consider bringing in a roommate to help with some of the financial and physical challenges of living alone. Having a roommate can also ensure that emergency services are called if there are any health issues. Another option is downsizing to a smaller home or looking into independent living facilities. Independent living offers spaces that are easy to navigate and typically include food service, housekeeping, and opportunities to socialize and develop community. Research your options to find something that suits both your needs and budget.
Many seniors worry about the issue of social isolation. It’s a serious concern — a lack of social contact is a problem facing many older adults. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, many seniors become relatively homebound at some point. Getting out and about gets more difficult, so they’re more likely to only see those who come to them.
Fortunately, with a little creative thought, seniors can get the socialization they need. If it’s only a matter of not knowing where to find new friends, consider joining a class for a hobby you’re interested in, such as music or art. This way you’ll not only get to know new people, but you’ll also learn a skill along the way.
If mobility is a concern, the aforementioned independent living facilities can make a huge difference. Most communities’ built-in amenities encourage residents to get out of their rooms and go meet their neighbors. It’s easy to build up a great community when you’re surrounded by potential new friends.
Staying in Shape
The same mobility issues that make it difficult to navigate the home or get out and meet new people can leave seniors anxious about their ability to stay in shape. After all, the recommended thirty minutes of exercise a day is a daunting task when simply getting up and moving around the house can cause serious joint or muscular pain. Fortunately, there are ways of gently exercising that are well suited for older people.
For those who are mobile, gentle walks outside can be a good option for seniors. Go at a gentle pace, and consider a park path with many benches so you can take breaks as needed. If the weather isn’t accommodating for outdoor activity, go for a walk in a mall or museum.
Wheelchair users can look into wheelchair yoga poses. Ideally these should be performed with a friend or partner, and if you need more support in your chair, consider better cushioning.
Get the most out of your fitness routine by combining it with meditation. You can either incorporate meditation as a way of preparing your mind and body for working out, or you can meditate as a way to cool down after you’re done.
Aging can come with challenges, but planning ahead will make those challenges less stressful. Seniors can reduce stress by thinking forward and giving themselves the assistance they need to thrive. With forethought, the golden years can be a joy-filled, stress-free part of life.