By Rivka Kulik
As we approach the end of 2021 and greet 2022, it’s time to make new resolutions. Although, perhaps we should refer to them as end-of-the-year resolutions and start now. Deciding to start resolving early can be, if applicable, resolution number one.
For older adults, we have some resolutions that can decide on and accomplish on their own or with help from their caregivers and loved ones. When presenting these ideas to the important older adult in your life, please remember the golden rule of self-determination.
Whatever you have been putting off, don’t anymore. The longer you wait, the harder any task becomes. Big tasks might be scary, so tackle it a bit at a time. But start step one now. Ask for help. Your home health aide will be willing to assist, as would others in your life.
Forgive - Others and Yourself
Life is at a point where there's no reason to rue the past with regrets. Make peace with mistakes you've made, learn from them, and move on. Make peace with someone with whom you have been at odds. Remember the better parts of the person, remember why you were friends and the good times you shared. Even if you were right and your friend was wrong. Nothing beats the serenity of peace.
Renew a Friendship
Have you thought, I wish I hadn't lost contact with her? Call her, email her or even send an old-fashioned letter. She may be surprised but delighted. You may not become the very close friends that you once were, but friendships at this age are precious. Collect them, renew them, expand them.
Mind Your Health
Eat healthy. Try a colorful diet of a variety of fruits and vegetables, and follow your doctor's food advice. Exercise on whatever level you can. Go walking. Do chair exercises. Fetch something on your own instead of asking someone to do it for you.
Make the doctor's appointment that you have been putting off. If you’re still smoking, see if you have the willpower to quit now. Nurture yourself, so you remember you are eminently worthy of being nurtured.
Exercise Your Brain
Do crosswords puzzles, jigsaw puzzles or sudoku. Play games. Borrow a student’s math book or vocabulary book and see what you remember or can learn. Try learning a new language. If that seems too hard, learn a song or poem in another language. If your home health aide is from another country, ask for help and make it a joint project.
Volunteer. Become a mentor. You have lived long enough to learn lessons that you can share. Based on your career, past or current hobbies or your life experience, choose an area that you know or are comfortable with and give to others. The more than you give, the more you will gain.
Update Your Legal Documents
May you live a long and healthy life! But please make sure your documents are in order and conform to your wishes. Read COHME’s previous blogs on planning for end-of-life to educate yourself and loved ones.
Share Your Memories
Talk to your children and grandchildren, nieces, nephews and neighbors. Tell them your stories. Share your recipes. Pass on family photos. Show someone that special article of clothing and explain why and how it came into your life. Compile a scrapbook for the next generation. You can even build a family tree of all the past generations that came before you.
Start a gratitude journal, or if you already do so, encourage your friends and family to share gratifying moments. Say hello to your neighbors. Smile at others. Compliment a stranger on her pretty skirt or his classy tie. Make someone’s day. Find occasions to celebrate. Every day is a new day where we can find human connection and happiness. Go grab that happiness. You deserve it.