Shelter your body but let your mind run free

Living and Aging Well

Living and Aging Well: Column by Juliana Young
Posted 5/6/20

To embrace a positive balanced approach to health and aging, the importance of keeping our minds as active as our bodies is essential. This article provides some great tools to keep your mind active …

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Shelter your body but let your mind run free

Living and Aging Well

Posted

To embrace a positive balanced approach to health and aging, the importance of keeping our minds as active as our bodies is essential. This article provides some great tools to keep your mind active especially during this season.

Older adults have been instructed to limit face-to-face interactions with individuals outside their immediate household to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus. This has forced many family members to avoid visits to parents and grandparents or stop visiting older loved ones at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and in their homes for fear of spreading the virus.

In a world where social distancing and shelter-in-place orders are the new norm, now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we do whatever we can to reduce isolation among people of all ages.

With decreased social engagement and stimulation comes decreased mood and overall well-being, and in some cases, this results in depression. Some older adults may also be at higher risk of isolation because their social world becomes smaller and their opportunity to socially connect decreases.

The fact of the matter is that the basic principles of healthy living remain the same, so we should look for alternative ways to meet those needs. People need to remain physically active, eat healthy foods, remain connected to family, friends and their community, and maintain good mental health.

Staying physically active can mean getting out for a walk every day for 20-30 minutes while waving at neighbors at a distance. If you were used to going to the gym or recreation center to work out, look online for exercise programs from your local senior centers, SilverSneakers.com and go4life.nia.nih.gov.

If you need assistance with your computer or smartphone and your family can’t come over to show you at this juncture, try to connect with companies that specialize in helping seniors. Senior Planet is a Denver-based company that assists older adults on how to use technology. They have some great “how to” videos on their website called “While Stuck at Home.” You can also learn how to set up a “Zoom” video call to connect with your family and friends. Find them at SeniorPlanet.org.

Google Arts & Culture (type in search bar) teamed up with more than 2,500 museums and galleries to provide virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the most famous museums around the world, including Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, London’s National Gallery and the Guggenheim in New York City.

If you want to connect with creatures, big and small, several aquariums and zoos that are temporarily closed still offer virtual visits. The Denver Zoo provides a “Zoo to You” online experience that includes a virtual safari, daily videos, and wildlife-themed activities to keep you informed and entertained. The Monterey Bay Aquarium features creatures ranging from jellyfish to penguins.

As “Champions of Aging Well,” Home Care Assistance of Douglas County created a comprehensive “Life Enrichment Guide,” full of meaningful activities to keep the mind and body active from the comfort and safety of your home. All of these activities can be accessed through a smartphone or a computer, and will open your eyes to a virtual world of possibility. To view the “Life Enrichment Guide” go to HCADouglasCounty.com and click on Resources to download a free copy. Have fun, learn new things, and go on some adventures!

Juliana Young is the business development manager with Home Care Assistance of Douglas County. For more information, visit www.HCADouglasCounty.com, or call 720-287-1685. This column is hosted by the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County. For more information, please visit www.MyDougCoSeniorLife.com, email DCSeniorLife@douglas.co.us or call 303-663-7681.

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