How to Help Your Senior Plan for the New Year
29One of the best things you can do with a senior loved one at the close of the year is to work with them to plan the year ahead. Setting goals and making plans will help them stay productive and motivated. It will also encourage them to socialize and empower them to stay fit. Following are some helpful points to keep in mind.
Ask your loved one what he or she really wants to do in the year ahead. If you find your aging parent is bursting with ideas, help him or her prioritize them and decide which ones are the most important. Having too many goals can be overwhelming, leading to nothing getting done. A few, well-chosen goals coupled with a realistic plan for how to reach them will enable your loved one to make measurable progress towards fulfilling his or her dreams. These priorities should be listed in a visible spot and should include actions that can be taken towards reaching the goals in question.
Make Healthy Living Goals
The American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation recommends several important New Year resolutions for seniors. These include a commitment to a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, getting enough sleep every night, exercising regularly and seeing a healthcare provider as often as needed. Even committing to taking a daily multivitamin in the year ahead can make a significant difference. Helping your loved one make healthy living plans for the year ahead is one of the most important things you can do.
You should also encourage the senior in your life to pay attention to mental health. A good healthy living plan includes activities that offer mental stimulation such as reading, taking classes, learning new skills and socializing.
Encourage your loved one to be realistic when setting goals. He or she should not compare with younger individuals or even other, healthier seniors that are the same age. At the same time, don’t discourage your aging parent or loved one from attempting to reach what may seem like an unrealistic goal. Create a plan that would break large goals down into small steps that can be easily reached over time.
Draw up a Yearly Budget
Most seniors live on a fixed income, which makes it relatively easy to draw up a yearly budget. This can be a sensitive matter as many elderly individuals may not want to discuss their financial situation with younger members of the family. However, it is important to make sure that your aging parent or loved one has sound financial plans in place to ensure that he or she is properly cared for both in the coming year and in the years ahead.
Wise financial planning may also include making investment decisions and drawing up a will. If this is the case, be sure to seek expert help to prevent mistakes or loss of income.
Bear in mind that any plan you help your senior loved one create for the New Year should not be set in stone. Life happens, and sometimes unavoidable, unexpected circumstances may arise to derail your plans and goals. If this happens, help your senior loved one adapt his or her plans to better suit the new situation. For instance, a change in your loved one’s health may require him or her to forgo certain types of exercises, hobbies or activities; if so, replace these with new activities, hobbies and forms of exercise that are more suitable. If you find a goal was unrealistic, help your loved one adapt it so that it can be reached in a reasonable amount of time.
As you work together to decide on priorities and goals, you will get to know each other better. You can also involve a trusted caregiver in the creation of your plans to ensure that your loved one has the practical help needed to make his or her dreams come true. By working with your loved one and a professional caregiver as needed, you will be empowering your aging parent or relative to enjoy the golden years to the full.
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