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A New Approach to this Year’s Resolutions

Each New Year we come up with idealistic resolutions that are going to change our lives for the better such as, “I’m going to lose weight, “I’m going to be a more giving or helpful person,” or “I’m going to start a new hobby.” So we go into the New Year committed and enthused but several weeks later many of us crash and burn. Resolutions can be a good starting point and are well intentioned, but the habitual failure may be due in part to the predictable goals we set for ourselves each year. Young or old, we should consider taking a different approach to achieve our resolutions. Try something a little different this year. Instead of joining a gym to lose weight, take dance lessons or try volunteer work that requires some physical activity. Rather than trying to commit to a rigid diet, take small steps like not eating after 7 pm or not grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

Particularly for our retired readers, let’s examine some alternative resolutions for those ages 55 and better. I bet if you choose at least one of the suggestions below and stick with it, it will make a positive change in your life this year.

WAKE UP WITH PURPOSE

You can still commit to losing weight this year or becoming more active, but approach it a little differently this year. Upon retirement, some people become less physically active once they remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of full-time work. So this year to lose a few pounds and stay active, try volunteering or getting a part-time job.

If you keep busy, stay involved, and have purpose you can avoid winter sluggishness and stave off weight gain. We have many residents and family members who volunteer at Messiah Lifeways and are constantly on the go. The physical, social and emotional benefits of volunteering are tremendous. Furthermore, an increasing number of seniors are embarking on “encore careers” or “second acts” and lend their talents and spirit to a job that is more gratifying than stressful while bringing in some additional income.

If you’d like to learn more about a part-time job or a “second act” or an “encore career” check out encore.org or seniorjobbank.org, which are websites dedicated to helping people over the age of 50 connect with employers locally and across the nation for part-time and full-time jobs.

If volunteering interests you, please call Kelly Haag at 717.790.8203 or click here for volunteer opportunities at Messiah Lifeways. You can also check out RSVP of the Capital Region online to learn about volunteer opportunities available in the greater Harrisburg region.

BE CIVIC MINDED

Joining a civic or service group helps to further one’s meaning and purpose each day. National groups such as Kiwanis, Rotary, and the Lions Club are always looking for members. They greatly appreciate the experience, leadership, and talents of retirees to help guide these groups and focus on helping those who’re less fortunate. Local organizations such as United Way of the Capital Region, Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Harrisburg AreaCentral PA Food Bank, Speranza Animal Rescue, and Mission Central offer a wide variety of ways to actively help and give unto others. This is a win-win opportunity for you and the organization.

EXERCISE YOUR BODY AND YOUR MIND

A large part of New Year’s resolutions revolve around being healthy and feeling good. In addition to seeing your family doctor on a regular basis and taking your prescribed medications, taking control and managing your individual health concerns is paramount. As people age, the likelihood of developing chronic health conditions like arthritis, congestive heart failure, obesity and diabetes grows. So, of course, physical exercise and staying active are key to staying healthy. Start a walking club or try something new like Tai Chi. At Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village, the Center for Vitality and Wellness offers warm water aquatics, a fitness center and a multitude of exercise programs and classes. Additionally, programs such as Silver Sneakers, Silver and Fit, and Prime offered through your health insurance will cover the cost of monthly membership. Get out and get moving.

Equally as important as physical exercise is “mental exercise.” Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are great, but consider more active ways to “exercise” your brain and integrate it with a new hobby or interest for the new year. Learn to play an instrument, learn a new language, join a book club, or take some courses through a local community college or programs like Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning® or consider becoming an instructor for Pathways. Pathways offers 30 to 40 different classes, excursions, and service projects each fall and spring semester. Anyone age 55 or better can become a member, and it’s very affordable and flexible.

Whatever you choose as your resolution this year, switch it up and make it count. To learn about more ways to stimulate your mind, body and soul, contact the Messiah Lifeways Coaching office at 717.591.7225 or email coach@messiahlifeways.org.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

New Years Resolutions for Seniors

A Different Approach to New Year’s Resolutions

Senior Woman PaintingEach New Year we come up with idealistic resolutions that are going to change our lives for the better such as, “I’m going to lose weight, “I’m going to take better care of myself,” or “I’m going to try start a new hobby.” So we go into the New Year committed and enthused but several weeks later many of us crash and burn. Resolutions can be a good starting point and are well intentioned, but the habitual failure may be due to the approach we use. Young or old, we should consider taking a different approach to achieve our resolutions. Try something a little different this year. Instead of joining a gym to lose weight, take ballroom dance lessons or try volunteer work that requires some physical activity. Rather than trying to commit to a rigid diet, take small steps like not eating after 7pm or not grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Particularly for our retired readers, let’s examine some alternative resolutions for those ages 55 and better.

GET A “JOB”

Becoming at At Home Caregiver

Becoming an At Home caregiver would make a great “encore career” [click the picture for more details]

You can still commit to losing weight this year, but attack it from a different angle. Upon retirement, some people become less physically active once they remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of full-time work. So this year to lose a few pounds and stay active, try volunteering or getting a part-time job. If you keep busy and stay involved, you can avoid winter sluggishness and stave off weight gain. We have many residents and family members who volunteer at Messiah Lifeways and are constantly on the go. The physical, social and emotional benefits of volunteering are tremendous. Furthermore, an increasing number of seniors are embarking on “encore careers” or “second acts” and lend their talents and spirit to a job that is more gratifying than stressful while bringing in some additional income.

If you’d like to learn more about a part-time job or a “second act” or an “encore career” check out encore.org or seniorjobbank.org, which is a website dedicated to helping people over the age of 50 connect with employers locally and across the nation for part-time and full-time jobs.

If volunteering interests you, please call Lois Hutchison at 717.790.8203 or click here for volunteer opportunities at Messiah Lifeways. You can also check out RSVP of the Capital Region online to learn about volunteer opportunities available in the greater Harrisburg region.

EXERCISE YOUR BODY AND YOUR MIND

A large part of New Year’s resolutions revolves around being healthy and feeling good. In addition to seeing your family doctor on regular basis and taking your prescribed medications, taking control and managing your individual health concerns is paramount. As people age, the likelihood of developing chronic health conditions like arthritis, congestive heart failure, obesity and diabetes grows. So, of course, physical exercise and staying active are key to staying healthy. Fortunately, local seniors age 55+ can join the Messiah Lifeways Wellness program and participate in warm water aquatics and a multitude of exercise programs and classes. Also programs supported by health insurers, such as Silver Sneakers and Silver and Fit provide additional incentives for those wanting to stay physically active. Ongoing Learning for Seniors

Equally as important as physical exercise is “mental exercise.” Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are great, but consider more active ways to “exercise” your brain and integrate it with a new hobby or interest for the new year. Learn to play an instrument, learn a new language, join a book club, or take some courses through a local community college or programs like Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning® or consider becoming an instructor for Pathways.

Whatever you choose as your resolution this year, switch it up and make it count. To learn about more ways to stimulate your mind, body and soul, contact the Lifeways Coaching office at 717.591.7225 or email coach@messiahlifeways.org.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

updated: Dec. 29. 2015

Beating the Winter Blues with Messiah Lifeways

During the winter, depression and or isolation can be a challenge for both seniors as well as caregivers. Others may suffer from “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. For people dealing with SAD, the lack of natural sunlight in the winter upsets the sleep-wake cycle and their circadian rhythms. It may also affect the balance of chemicals like serotonin and hormones such as melatonin in the brain, which can alter one’s mood. Whether someone truly suffers from SAD or just has an annual wintertime malaise, these colder darker days can take its toll. Combine that with flu season and other cold weather ailments and it’s understandable why many flock to places like Florida and Arizona during the winter. But for many, that just isn’t an option. Plus, for caregivers who likely are still working or are being relied upon by their loved one, the best they could hope for is maybe a week’s vacation away from it all. So whether you’re a senior or an aging caregiver, consider these tips that can help you beat those wintertime blues, many of which are offered by Messiah Lifeways.

Exercise

Exercise and activity are important year-round, but winter makes it challenging. If you can’t go for a walk or exercise outdoors because of the snow and cold, then its time to start your regular indoor exercise routine. Fortunately, Messiah Lifeways Wellness offers both residents and others age 55+, living in the community, many opportunities to stay active and stave off the winter blues! Messiah Lifeways Wellness Coordinator, Heidi Koch, lists a number of winter exercise classes and programs that are open to residents, community members, and even SilverSneakers  and Silver & Fit participants. You can choose from options like Yoga, Tia Chi, Pilates, strength training, cardio, balance, nutrition, healthy cooking and aquatic classes. The warm water aquatic center boasts a comfy 90 degree pool and a spa to de-stress and relax! They can also provide fitness testing, wellness assessments, and personal training which are important facets to developing a winter fitness program. Prospective members can come to the pool or any of the exercise classes to “try it out” as a guest. For more information or to set up a tour, call Heidi at 717.591.7222.

Volunteer

The physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of volunteering are powerful. From soup kitchens to mailing packages to soldiers or distributing toys to children in need, there are many charity organizations in need of help especially over the winter. At Messiah Lifeways our Volunteer Program enlists the help of all ages, but in particular residents and retirees from the community volunteer their time, talents, and spirit to other residents and clients. The hands-on work, emotional bonding, and the spirit of benevolence are enough to invigorate the body and soul through the harshest of winters. To learn more about Volunteering at Messiah Lifeways, please contact Lois at 717.790-8203.

Engage in Social Activities

It is widely acknowledged that social engagement is related to many positive outcomes in older adults. People with more social ties have been found to live longer, to have better health, and to be less depressed.¹ Unfortunately for many older adults, social circles can shrink due to illness or death, friends moving away after retirement or to be closer to family. Socialization may also suffer when they give up driving or their physical mobility becomes impaired. And lastly, the cold winter months and shorter days make it more challenging for people to socialize. But there are more and more programs and services created for seniors to revitalize and reactivate their social lives. One such option relatively new to Central PA is the Connections program. A Connections membership gives seniors from across the mid-state the chance to volunteer for each other, barter services from one another, but also offers a burgeoning social circle. This reincarnated form of “social networking” rekindles the ole’ drop in visit, outings to the movies or dinner, book clubs, membership committees, parties, and more. The possibilities are limitless, and the benefits are immeasurable. To learn more about Connections, call Geli at 771.790.8223.

Another great choice is becoming a member of your local senior center. Mechanicsburg Place and Branch Creek Place offer a great place to escape isolation for a few hours a day to socialize and connect with others especially during the winter. Sit down to hot and tasty meals, join in on activities ranging from Tai Chi and line dancing to computer classes, book clubs, and card clubs. There is something for everyone. For more information, call Marty at 717.697.5947.

Seek Professional Help

Hopefully physical activity, social and civic engagement can serve as effective tools in the battle against the winter blahs. However, there are many levels of depression, and climbing out of it is no easy task. If you or your loved one feels hopeless, maintain a constant negative outlook, have significant changes in appetite, and are fatigued, irritable or restless, it could be a sign of clinical depression. Speak to a professional about treatment options so you can beat the wintertime blues.

 ¹ National Research Council. When I’m 64. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
 
Originally posted January 21, 2014. Revised January 16, 2015.

Summer! A Great Time to Get Out and Get Active

Ask most seniors what their secret to living a happier healthier life is and their answers are pretty simple. Eat well, get adequate sleep, schedule regular check-ups, and exercise your mind, body and soul. Sounds easy enough-right? Each suggestion has its challenges, but for certain people staying physically fit may be the most challenging. But thankfully as we enjoy spring and summer, we have fewer excuses and more opportunity to get out and get active.

Exercise and cardiovascular fitness are important at any stage in life, but particularly for older adults. According to the American Heart Association, “the older people become, the more they need regular exercise. Exercise helps prevent bone loss and subsequently fractures, and reduces the risk of diseases associated with aging like heart disease and diabetes and helps stave off depression. It also increases muscle strength and may improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the likelihood of falling. It also increases the ability for basic living, making it easier to do things like carry groceries, get up from a chair and take care of household chores. Being physically active is key in maintaining quality of life and independence.”

Committed to helping people stay physically active, Messiah Lifeways offers many great options for residents and community members alike to exercise and stay fit. The Messiah Lifeways Wellness program offers warm water aquatic classes, plus features two fitness centers on campus, with staff available to provide instruction and encouragement. Additionally, Messiah Village has resident walking clubs, staff and resident-run exercise classes, and activities that have fitness components built-in. We also have a beautiful 18-hole disc golf course and a nature trail located near the cottages on Willow Way. And lastly, we are now a host site for the Silver Sneakers® program.

The National Institute on Aging recommends you exercise at least 30 minutes every day if possible. And those 30 minutes can be broken up throughout the day. Now if group exercise classes or swimming are “not your cup of tea”- that’s ok. You don’t have to buy workout gear, join a gym or squeeze into that ole bathing suit. Instead, make physical activity a routine part of your everyday life. Find other activities you may enjoy doing. Take walks, garden, take the grandkids to the park, volunteer or try something new like yoga or dance lessons. Look for new ways to build physical activity into your daily routine and, of course,  you should consult with your physician. So challenge yourself this summer to become more active and fit. Then you too can know one of the secrets to a happier healthier life.

For a list of helpful websites containing exercise, fitness and wellness tips along with a listing of local parks and trails, go to MessiahLifeways.org/WellnessTips. Be sure to check out the Messiah Lifeways Wellness page at Messiahlifeways.org/Wellness to learn about the excellent exercise programs available to residents and the community.

(article adapted from Messiah Lifeways Magazine Summer 2013 Issue)