Who doesn’t love indulging during the holiday season? Rich food, delicious drinks, and decadent desserts make every gathering something to look forward to. This is a time of year to celebrate, but it’s not a time to stop thinking about how we can still encourage healthy behaviors from our loved ones and from ourselves while enjoying the season you celebrate to the fullest.
- Waist Watchers – This seems the one time of year when no one’s worried about what’s on anyone else’s plate—unless it’s to note something delicious missed on a buffet. A happy holiday is a healthy holiday, and most Americans, not just seniors, would benefit from limiting their intake of red meat. Make sure to have leaner versions, like turkey and salmon, available as alternatives. Similarly, make sure some sweets are heavy in fruit instead of processed sugar. Dark chocolate, rich in antioxidants, is an excellent choice for the conscious party planner.
- Walk It Off – It’s especially easy to ignore exercise after a heavy meal when it seems impossible to move. If this is you, plan ahead and get a walk in before you eat. Grab a buddy, a light jacket in this unseasonably warm weather, and go looking at decorations. For those with limited mobility, or even those temporarily immobilized by calories, seated stretching is a great way to keep moving or get moving again.
- Riddle Me This! – Research continues to show that mind consistently challenged is less likely to suffer significant cognitive decline. Puzzles and skill-based games and crafts aren’t just fun that everyone can enjoy; they’re also ways for your loved ones to stay sharp. Just remember to keep the competition friendly for everyone, and no slamming the table when Aunt Viv puts a hotel on Boardwalk.
- Ritual and Remembrance – As adults age and lose independence, some seniors may become homebound, meaning that holiday celebrations might be the only significant interaction they get through the season. Helping to making sure that a senior’s holiday is special and celebrated in a way that they find familiar and comfortable, either by co-attending a religious service, or just singing a favorite holiday song together, helps the senior and caregiver alike, fostering good will and cross-generational relationships. It might be the most inexpensive gift you give all season, but it also might be the one that is most cherished.