10 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions For Older Adults

If you’re looking to make this year one of your healthiest and happiest years yet, read this.

Happy New Year! It’s not uncommon to hear of health resolutions like exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking or eat healthier. We’ll explore why health goals like these are important to become and stay healthy. So, if one or more of these items is on your personal goal list, hopefully this will encourage you!

10 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Older Adults

The American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation recommends these top 10 healthy New Year’s resolutions for older adults to help achieve your goal of becoming and staying healthy.


Be active

While this is likely no surprise — physical activity can be safe and healthy for older adults — even if you have heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis! In fact, many of these conditions get better with mild to moderate physical activity. Exercises such as tai chi, water aerobics, walking, and stretching can also help you control your weight, build your muscles and bones, and improve your balance, posture, and mood. Check with your insurance plan to see if you are eligible for the SilverSneakers program, which can provide access to local fitness centers.


See your provider regularly

You should schedule an annual wellness visit with your healthcare provider around your birthday month to discuss health screenings and any changes in your advance directives. At each visit, talk to your provider about all the medications you’re taking, and whether or not you still need them. Find out if you should be getting any new or booster immunizations/shots.

Stimulate your mind

Challenging your brain to learn something new through a university or community class, book or movie club, or photography group, helps keep your brain healthy, says Dalhousie University. Lifelong learning helps build cognitive reserve, the brain’s resilience and ability to cope with stress and challenges.

Participating in the arts through music, painting, writing, dance or theatre can stimulate people in unique ways that bring cognitive and mood benefits, according to McMaster University.


Quit smoking

Did you know that cigarette smokers are twice as likely to develop heart disease as non-smokers? It is never too late to quit. You can still reduce your risk of many health problems, breathe easier, have more energy, and sleep better if you quit smoking. Ask your healthcare provider for help. Don’t lose hope if you failed to quit in the past. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good.


Prevent falls

One in every three older adults falls each year — and falls are a leading cause of injuries and death among older adults. Exercises such as walking or working out with an elastic band can increase your strength, balance, and flexibility and help you avoid falls. Also ask your healthcare provider to check that you’re not taking any pills that can make you more likely to fall. Eliminate items in your home that are easy to trip over, like throw rugs. Insert grab bars in your bathtub or shower, and install night lights so it’s easier to see at night.


Eat healthier

As you age, your body still requires healthy foods, but you will need fewer calories. Strive to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day in a variety of colors. Eat nuts and beans daily along with fiber-rich whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole-grain pasta.

Try to avoid fatty meats by choosing lean-meat options like chicken or turkey. Also, you can eat heart-healthy fish a couple of times each week. Add sources of calcium and Vitamin D to your diet like milk, yogurt or cheese. Healthy fats are great options (like olive and canola oils). You can spice up your food to add extra flavoring when cooking. You can seek out healthy choices through your physician or a dietitian.


Limit your alcohol

At any age, excessive alcohol consumption should be avoided as it can make you feel depressed, cause trouble sleeping, make you feel physically ill, and cause overall health problems. Older adults should be extra careful because it can interact with medications and increase your risk of falling. One drink is considered 12 ounces of standard beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. Older men should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks daily, and older women to 1 drink daily. (There are variables to this based on other factors, such as weight.)


Humor, or a smile, can make you feel good even in difficult times. Laughter also strengthens your immune system, lifts mood, eases pain and lowers stress.

Speak up about your mental health

About 1 in 5 older adults suffer from depression or anxiety. Some signs of depression are ongoing feelings of sadness, fatigue, changes in appetite, or losing the desire to do things that you enjoy. Also, you may have difficulty sleeping, feel worried or irritable, or a desire to isolate yourself. Talk to your support network and your healthcare provider if you’re struggling, or if you’re experiencing any of these signs for more than two weeks.

Get some sleep

It’s important to get enough sleep to feel your best. Older adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Avoid daytime naps if this keeps you up during the night. You can access https://sleepfoundation.org/ for additional information and tips on how to sleep better. You should contact your medical provider if you have ongoing issues with getting adequate sleep.