Making Resolutions – You’re Never Too Old!

Interestingly, as we age, our perspective on resolutions evolves with us.  A senior is typically not thinking in terms of finding another job or saving more money.
Elderly couple sitting on a bench with their bikes

“So, did you make a new year’s resolution?”

By Tim Mitchell, Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E.

Happy New Year!  The year is so fresh you can almost still hear the clanging of glasses as family and friends toasted in the new year.  Of course, with the new year comes that word with which we have a love/hate relationship, “resolution.”  It’s not uncommon to hear the question come up in conversation around the first of every year, “So, did you make a new year’s resolution?”

How about you?  Have you made a resolution to start the new year?  If so, beware.  Statistically, 75% of us will allow our newly recognized commitment to fall by the wayside within the first 30 days.  And, only 8% will follow through with their resolution for the entire year.

As you might expect, the most common New Year’s resolutions are health related, such as eating healthier, exercising more, and losing weight.  If those things are among your resolutions this year, you are part of nearly 70% of all resolution makers.  Other popular things people resolve to do is save more money, learn a new hobby or skill, find another job and spend more time with family and friends.

Interestingly, as we age, our perspective on resolutions evolves with us.  A senior is typically not thinking in terms of finding another job or saving more money.  Usually, they are retired and living on a fixed income.  However, being concerned with one’s health is always important regardless of age.

The American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation suggests older adults consider the following when making New Year’s resolutions: Balance your diet, be active, see your doctor regularly, use your brain, and cross an item off your bucket list.

Whatever you resolve to do, studies have shown that the chances of fulfilling a resolution or goal can dramatically increase, by as much as 46%, by joining a club or a group of like-minded individuals.  Most of us need the external motivation that comes from being surrounded by others who are also trying to accomplish the same or similar goals.

For some individuals who are dealing with multiple complex medical issues, even the above resolutions recommended by the Health in Aging Foundation may be too strenuous.  Many older adults struggle to get out of a chair or walk a dozen steps from the living room into the kitchen.  For these individuals, resolutions may be drastically different.  That was exactly the situation Mildred and her family experienced.

Mildred (name changed for privacy) had suffered some very debilitating setbacks.  After spending time in the hospital, she was sent to a rehabilitation center for follow up care.  Physical therapy was difficult, and her progress was not significant.  Unfortunately, she came to a point where she had exhausted all the Medicare funds made available to her for physical therapy.  With therapy discontinued, it appeared she would likely never walk again.  She became very despondent and her family had given up hope.  Believing they would only see her health continue to decline, they tried to prepare for the inevitable, thinking she would be bedridden for the remainder of her life.  However, they did not want to place their loved one in a nursing home.

Fortunately, the family was introduced to Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E.  As the PACE interdisciplinary team met with Mildred and her family, one of the team members asked, “Mildred, what are your goals? She replied without hesitation, “I want to walk again.”  That was Mildred’s resolution!

The team assured her they would do everything they could to help her accomplish her goal.  To her surprise, and to the astonishment of her family members, Mildred began walking with a walker within a few months. Her goal was accomplished!  Today, she walks throughout her home with only the assistance of a walker, giving her the independence she desired. This accomplishment is something she and her family never thought they would see, and it has literally changed their lives.

Mildred’s chances of walking dramatically increased because she was surrounded by other people who were accomplishing similar goals and she was cheered on by a healthcare team that believed she could accomplish her goal of walking again. Being in the Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. atmosphere of support and encouragement made all the difference for Mildred.  She and her family are extremely grateful for this new-found independence.

Resolutions aren’t confined to New Year’s Day.  Every day is an opportunity for a new resolution or goal.  That is a very important message for older adults.  One is never too old to make resolutions or set new goals.  The healthcare team at Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. exists to help older adults reach their goals and remain independent for as long as possible.

To learn more about the services provided by Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E., please call (269) 441-9319. Or, visit us at www.seniorcarepartnersmi.org.

 

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