What do seniors need to feel in control of their physical and mental well-being? Obviously, happiness is a major factor. Nothing is better for the soul than the feeling that one is leading the life they want. According to a recent North Carolina State University study, there are also several things that must be in place for an older adult to feel content. “We found that sleep, mood and stress are all important factors in determining a sense of control, and in whether older adults feel they can do the things they want to do,” reports study co-author and psychology professor Dr. Shevaun Neupert.
Below we've outlined some of the most important factors in making sure you are as happy as possible and get the most out of your golden years.
Getting 40 winks
Sleep is absolutely crucial, no matter your age. For seniors, it’s especially important, because those who don’t sleep well are more likely to experience problems with memory and concentration, suffer from depression, or develop serious health issues, including cardiovascular problems, obesity and diabetes. Lack of sleep can even have serious repercussions for the immune and circulatory systems, so seniors who struggle getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night need to take the problem seriously.
In many cases, the issue can be overcome by establishing a consistent sleep schedule; maintaining a dark, cool and quiet sleep environment; avoiding backlit devices (like smartphones); keeping bedroom clocks out of view; and boosting melatonin levels. Ultimately, restful, restorative sleep is crucial, because it minimizes stress, improves mood and keeps you feeling good overall.
For many seniors, feeling good depends on managing physical problems like inflammation and other forms of chronic pain. There is evidence that supplements like cannabidiol (CBD) can help mitigate pain and enhance one’s quality of life. A product of cannabis, CBD possesses no psychotropic properties. So if joint and/or muscle pain keeps you from enjoying an active, fulfilling lifestyle, CBD oil is a highly beneficial means of relieving inflammation.
Researchers have found that CBD produces a significant reduction in pain with very few side effects, and can be a major factor in helping seniors maintain an active lifestyle. Of course, before making a purchase, it’s important to talk to your doctor and be thorough in your research so you get the best product for your needs. Prices for CBD oil vary drastically; you could pay anywhere from$8 for a bottle to as much as $149.
Take care of your surroundings
It might sound silly, but having a clean house can actually make you feel incredibly happy and content with your life. However, we might not always feel like moving around and tidying things up — and before you know it, the mess gets out of control. To ensure that your house stays calm and serene, if it's within your budget,consider hiring professional cleaners when you don’t think you can manage these tasks yourself.
Fighting pain through diet
Supplements can be a great way to combat pain, especially when used in conjunction with diet. The Harvard School of Public Health research found that fried foods, refined carbohydrates, red meat, and sugary drinks all lead to inflammation. Heart disease and diabetes are two of the most dangerous outcomes of a diet heavy in inflammation-inducing foods, so it is recommended that seniors emphasize healthful foods, like olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish and berries to combat inflammation and the pain it causes.
Depression is frequently a problem for seniors who struggle with isolation. Although many older adults find it difficult to utilize social media and communicate through technology, others do quite well keeping tabs on loved ones through Facebook, FaceTime or simply by texting. These are easy-to-use ways to stay engaged with the world and avoid retreating into a self-imposed exile that can produce a range of physical and mental problems. Of course, there are other ways to stay connected, including taking regular trips to a senior center, meeting with friends, or participating in a group hobby.
Another way to fight depression is by keeping your brain challenged. Take advantage of free online courses offered by local colleges and universities, or spend some time on YouTube looking for instructional videos that can help you learn a foreign language, a great way to keep building those neural pathways and pursuing something you find intriguing.
It’s hard to enjoy a good quality of life as you grow older when you’re just not feeling good. Remember that finding ways to stay active is a highly effective means of staying engaged, especially if you avoid indulging in negative thoughts and behavioral patterns. With a few tweaks to how you’re living, you can be enjoying some of the best years of your life.