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Make your New Year's resolutions positive, ongoing

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Happy 2013...and with the New Year, brings those resolutions that we all make and try to stick with, but sometimes fall short by the end of January. Even if you falter with your resolutions at times, never give up! Especially for older adults -- your resolutions should be positive and something ongoing that can support a healthy and happy life for you.

We found some great suggestions online at www.sheknows.com under "Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Seniors" (http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/850491/5-anti-aging-new-years-resolutions-for-seniors). We added a few tips of our own and a couple new ones at the end.

Try a few out and support your healthy and positive lifestyle in 2013.

1. Participate in cognitive health activities: Mental health is an important aspect of health that we tend to overlook as we extol the benefits of staying physically fit. Keep your mind engaged and stimulated through a language class, book club or by playing brain games and trivia on the computer. Our Area Agency on Aging District 7 Art Show is coming up in May -- let your inner artist shine and join us for the fun! For other activities in your area, check with your local Senior Center.

2. Exercise or start a new physical activity: Exercise doesn't have to be exhausting, and it certainly doesn't have to feel like work. Older adults are increasingly looking to classes such as yoga and tai chi to not only increase physical health, but also to meet people and widen their social circles. Our Agency offers some initiatives that support falls management, better balance, and helpful tips for living with a chronic disease. Call us at 1-800-582-7277 to learn more.

3. Eat more fresh foods: Processed foods are easy to throw together for a meal, but they come with a host of health issues and concerns. Make a promise to eat more fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables and you'll see a noticeable difference in the way you look and feel.

4. Make your home safer: According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year. Many of these falls are preventable, especially if home safety tips are implemented. Tips like moving cords out of walkways, having good lighting near beds, and taping down edges of carpet and rugs can help tremendously with decreasing the number and severity of falls for seniors. For seniors in Ross or Scioto counties, the local SHIP (Senior Home Information Program) is a free program that can assist older adults age 60 and over with a home safety check to identify problems that make an individual susceptible to burglaries, fires, or injuries due to falls. Call us at 1-800-582-7277 to learn more.

5. Schedule regular check-ups: Unfortunately, with age comes an increased risk of illness and other complications such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis and other medical conditions. Making sure that you schedule a regular annual checkup can help in early detection and prevention. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) includes a number of preventive and screening services such as mammograms, prostate screenings, flu shots and yearly wellness visits with a physician who accepts Medicare coverage. To learn more about what services are included, log on to www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-and-screening-services.html. If you are living with a chronic disease, call our Agency to learn more about our Chronic Disease Self-Management Classes that are offered in selected counties throughout our district.

6. Spend more time with family and friends: Life can become so busy that we sometimes forget to make time for the important people in life -- our family and friends. Schedule a weekly or monthly dinner with those special people in your life. Staying in contact with those who are close to you is important not only for your well-being, but also for your safety. If you need help or assistance, make sure you know the family and friends you can turn to and make sure they are familiar with your schedule and whereabouts.

7. Learn more about your community: Do you know the resources in your community and what is available for help and assistance? Our Agency is here to not only help you with questions concerning long-term care, but we can also help you find and identify resources in the community to help you with home and community-based care and other helpful programs and services. Knowing what is available in your community can help support a healthy life for you, your family, friends and neighbors. Give our Resource Center a call if you have questions about the resources that are in your community. Call us at 1-800-582-7277 or e-mail at info@aaa7.org.

Pamela K. Matura is the executive director of the Area Agency on Aging District 7.