Every year we make New Year resolutions about doing more exercise, quitting junk food, or getting rid of bad habits. There’s nothing wrong with these goals, but let’s not forget to smile and have fun! Doing things that spark joy in our lives is good for us, as research shows happiness leads to better health as we age, improved relationships, lower levels of anxiety and decreases our risk of depression. This is especially important if you have dementia, or caring for someone who is living with the disease.
If you want to inject a bit more fun in your life, here are 12 New Year resolutions to try as the new year begins.
Try something new this year
Henry Ford once said, ‘anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young’. Hobbies are a great way to help your mind stay active, while creating a sense of enjoyment in your life. If you need support, chat to your aged care provider or a family member for some ideas on how to get started.
Ask for help if you need it
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help with everyday tasks. If you are no longer able to do the things you used to, take the step of applying for an aged care assessment, so you can access in home care services in your local area. Dementia Caring provides individualised Home Care Packages to help people with dementia enjoy independence at home, without worrying about the little things.
Enjoy nature more
According to research, meaningful outdoor activity has many benefits that can help slow down the progression of dementia-related symptoms. Just 20 minutes of movement outdoors stimulates the brain, releasing hormones that provide the right setting for growing new brain cells. Yet another reason why you should get out amongst the greenery each day!
Revisit past-time you’ve forgotten
Is there an activity you used to love doing, but haven’t done in a long while? This year, make some time to do the things you enjoy, whether it’s playing a musical instrument, drawing or doing puzzles. If you need help to get started, chat to your care provider or a family member and ask for assistance.
Find ways to laugh more this year, whether through watching your favourite comedy, reading a funny book, or spending time with your favourite animal. It’s not just fun, but good for your health – laughing more can boost your immune system, release pleasure-inducing chemicals in the brain, and provide mental stimulation.
Don’t forget to rest
Taking a regular break from your caring responsibilities is important, especially if you are caring for someone living with dementia. Dementia Caring offers respite care for older people with needs, so their carers have time for other activities. We provide individualised care in your own home or out in the community, giving you peace of mind knowing your loved one is in safe hands.
Learn how to cook
Spending time in the kitchen can be a fun way to relax and be creative. Take the time learn how to cook a new dish, whether it’s a fancy dessert, cultural cuisine, easy dinner option, or food that holds strong memories for you. Your family and friends – and your taste buds – will thank you!
Exercise your creative brain
Music and art are powerful ways for people with dementia to express themselves and stimulate their minds. Listening to music is a great way to enjoy emotional benefits and tap into lost memories, while a creative outlet like drawing or painting can help people express themselves to others without words.
Go on a trip
Don’t put that trip off for later! Whether it’s visiting a childhood attraction, taking a day trip, or going somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, make time to have an adventure that you’ll enjoy. Chat to your family or care provider about what support you’ll need to have a safe trip and positive experience.
Have fun with exercise
Staying fit and healthy doesn’t have to mean slogging it out on the treadmill. Fun activities like dance classes, yoga, aqua aerobics sessions or bushwalking with a group are a great way to stay fit, improve your mood and get out of the house while having lots of fun.
Join a new class or group
The start of a new year is a great time to try a new social group or class. There are many local groups where you can enjoy your favourite activities with other people, whether it’s running, craft, or a team sport. You might even make new friends as you meet people who share the same interest as you.
Personalise your space
Home should be a place where you feel safe and secure. It doesn’t take much to brighten your space – try displaying some of your favourite photos, displaying memorabilia that is meaningful to you, or getting a couple of indoor plants that are easy to care for.
Dementia Caring provides quality person-centred care for seniors living with dementia. Our experienced teams provide support services, helping people in the community access the support they need to live independently at home. For more information, please get in touch with our friendly team.