The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a very strange year for individuals living in long-term care facilities. Between health risks and lockdown orders, many seniors have been removed from their family and friends at a time when connection is most important. As the year draws to a close, people all over the world will make New Year’s Resolutions in an effort to be better humans and create a more enjoyable 2021. Even if you cannot physically be with your loved ones who reside in skilled nursing care facilities, setting goals together can help them to look towards a better future and feel a little less alone.
Why Seniors Should Make New Year’s Resolutions
Though depression and loneliness are not exclusive to seniors, they are more common in later years as social circles dwindle due to relocation, retirement, and death of friends and spouses. Many older adults also experience profound disappointment due to failing health and the inability to engage in activities that once brought them pleasure. Combine that with current visitation restrictions in many skilled nursing care facilities and the outlook can be very dim. New Year’s Resolutions serve as promises to oneself, which can be motivating and positive for people who feel that have little to look forward to. These goals provide struggling seniors with something to look forward to and a reminder that things can always get better.
Creating New Year’s Resolutions Together
About 60 percent of people say they make New Year’s resolutions every year, yet only 8 percent say they actually follow through on their goals. As a solitary activity, it can be easy to start to “cheat” on your original resolutions and eventually abandon them altogether. Setting goals with someone else adds an additional layer of accountability that could encourage sticking with it. For long-term care facility residents in particular, having shared goals could be the encouragement needed to reach out to family members more often and give them something to talk about and celebrate together. Making a New Year’s resolution list also allows adult children to encourage their parents to make healthy lifestyle changes in a more fun and low-pressure way.
What New Year’s Resolutions Should Seniors Make
The exact New Year’s resolutions that your senior will make depends on personal circumstances, values, and priorities, but there are some simple changes that could benefit most adults in skilled nursing care facilities. Try some of these ideas to keep your loved ones focused on the positive:
- Learn to use new technology: Video conferencing and email are great ways to stay in touch with loved ones, but many older adults resist learning new things. Schedule a video chat once a week with an email during the middle of the week for regular contact.
- Tell their story: Leaving behind a legacy is important. Gather up old family photos and letters and help your loved ones to record stories and memories to share with future generations. Recalling the past can help those with Alzheimer’s to keep their brains active.
- Be more active: Exercise is good for the body and mind. If your senior has mobility restrictions, physical therapy in long-term care facilities can help them to safely become more active. You can make your own fitness goals and share your successes.
- Learn a new skill or hobby: Life in skilled nursing care facilities can get tedious, but there are always ways to explore new interests. Princeton Health Care Center offers many activities for our residents to try. Plan to do the same activity in your home so that you can do it together once regular visits are safe.
- Prioritize health goals: Everyone could stand to be a little healthier. You and your loved ones can both commit to staying in touch with your physicians and following up with recommended screenings and lifestyle changes.
Have A Better Year At Princeton Health Care Center
If your loved one needs a safe and supportive place to age, contact us today. Our long-term care facility is happy to support families through these difficult times and to help our residents live their very best lives.