As we age, there is no better place than Northern Michigan to enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle. Supporting your physical, mental and emotional health are key pieces to maintaining independence well into the golden years. Here are a few topics that we are exploring to support healthy aging in Northern Michigan:
Most older adults want to do everything they can to stay happy, healthy and independent. A good diet supports the physical strength and mental well-being that we all need.
Eating fresh foods can make a profound impact on your heart. Studies show that 70% of heart disease can be prevented with correct nutrition. But eating right isn’t always easy. Surprisingly, as we age, even our taste buds change. Increased sweet and salty cravings can be satisfied by eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only are they delicious, but they also help reduce cholesterol.
Often people don’t want to buy fresh fruits and vegetables because they worry they will spoil. Most local grocers know this and make it easy to purchase only what you need. You can also keep produce longer by freezing it into individual portion sizes. Having frozen fruits and vegetables on hand is great! It’s convenient and you get to enjoy them all year long.
There are lots of options for finding fresh, local produce in Northern Michigan. Here we are blessed with an abundance of fantastic farmers markets and local grocery stores. Try delicious fresh produce and improve your health in the process.
Getting outside is just as important for your health now as it was when you were a kid. Spending time outdoors exercising or just enjoying the scenery can improve your health and your mood.
In Northern Michigan, there are plenty of opportunities and activities for people of all abilities to enjoy the outdoors. At Hull Park in Traverse City, anyone can walk on the paved pathway, fish from the dock, or sit and watch the boats on Boardman Lake.
Some beaches are equipped with Mobi-Mats, which provide a hard surface across the sand so anyone can get right up to the waterfront. There are lots of Mobi-Mats throughout the region, including Sleeping Bear Dunes, Clinch Park, and the Petoskey State Park.
Another option is to explore trails like the ones at the Grass River Natural Area. The boardwalks covering the trails are wheelchair friendly and provide access to the unique wetland environment.
Or how about getting outside right at home? A walk with family and friends is a good way to socialize and get some exercise. Lawn games such as bocce ball, croquet, horseshoes or even playing board games, are great ways to spend time outdoors.
Shuffleboard is a great social activity! You can find courts across Northern Michigan at senior centers, parks and even some restaurants.
Many of us have family members spread across the country and world. Even if you live close by, busy lives can make getting together difficult. Communicating across generations also creates unique challenges. Many technologies in use today were not designed for older adults and can cause frustration.
We know that loneliness increases the risk of high blood pressure, depression, and even the ability to think clearly so staying in touch with the people you care is important.
One solution we’re excited about is the grandPad, an easy to use tablet that makes keeping connected effortless, fun, and secure. Video chatting is as easy as the push of a button. You can record voicemails, share photographs and a lot more. In addition to the grandPad, new technologies, programs and apps are being created every day to make keeping in touch easier.
Scheduling regular phone calls has benefits too. Our loved ones know they can count us, they look forward to the conversations—and that improves overall health and wellbeing.
Of course, using the old-fashioned mail is very much appreciated by the generations that grew up writing letters. Print photographs, send them to your loved ones and talk about them over the phone.
Put some thought into what kind of communication plan will work for you and your family. It’s proven to have a big impact on staying happy and healthy.
As we age, one large concern for many of us is our cognitive health. Becoming forgetful can be challenging. The good news is that we can reduce our risk of cognitive decline. At Comfort Keepers, we encourage our clients to incorporate these four strategies to keep the brain healthy:
Scientific studies suggest the key to maintaining a healthy brain is active engagement. So keep learning, stay active, and be social!