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Older adults who do volunteer work to help others, such as mentoring children in need, aiding refugees or addressing climate change enjoy better health and find meaning and purpose in daily life. Doing good through formal or informal volunteering lifts mood, protects the heart, preserves memory, and reduces dementia risk. Volunteering also helps to ease stress, anxiety, and chronic pain, reduce disability risk, and add years to life.
If you‘ve fallen into believing your individual efforts to go green won’t make a difference, think about your grand- and great-grandchildren, and the kind of world they will inherit. Also consider that there are over seven million people over 65 in Canada today*; if every senior were to implement even one of the following eco-friendly suggestions, think of the difference it would make!
Tracing your family roots or ancestry – the study of genealogy – ranks in the top 30 of the world’s most popular hobbies.* Many seniors enjoy jumping on popular ancestry websites to create their family trees, track down distant relatives, and discover fascinating lore about where they came from.
People with a sunny outlook enjoy better mental and physical health, and they are generally more resilient in coping with challenges and setbacks. Studies show that an optimistic attitude helps to protect the heart, reduces stress and anxiety, and boosts immunity. Accentuating the positive is also good for brain health, lifts mood, increases longevity and improves sleep.
Health Canada advises older adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week, in sessions of at least 10 minutes at a time. They also recommend adding bone and muscle-strengthening exercise twice a week,* especially useful for balance and preventing falls.
Headaches affect about half of adults globally and preventive non-drug strategies can be effective in helping to relieve headache pain and improve quality of life. Low-impact exercise, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can prevent or ease headaches by reducing stress and unwinding tight muscles. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, staying hydrated, and avoiding headache triggers can also help to prevent or reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
A healthy human gut environment, which contains many different types of good bacteria, contributes to better overall health and longer life. Regular exercise, an active social life, and a nutritious diet rich in fibre, probiotics and prebiotics can improve and restore gut health. Better gut health can help to lift mood, sharpen your mind, and boost immunity.
Spring offers many opportunities to walk outdoors in a variety of natural settings, which can boost your physical and mental health. Studies shows walking in nature can help to keep your heart fit, calm your mind, lift your mood, lower anxiety, and ease chronic pain. Walking outdoors also supports brain health by sharpening your thinking and judgement, preserving memory, and reducing dementia risk.
For older adults, a pet can have numerous benefits. Seniors with a pet report they enjoy feeling needed and love the companionship that a dog, cat, bird, fish, or reptile brings. Their pet also makes them feel valued, and even safe. *
Taking care of plants and gardening can do wonders for your well-being. Scientific research has shown that simply being in contact with plants can improve your mental and physical health. On top of that, gardening is a great excuse to get some much-needed exercise and therefore can help you maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure.
Older adults show greater resilience in coping with pandemic isolation than young people, but are still experiencing increased levels of depression. Spring offers fresh opportunities to tap into that resilience and prevent or ease depression by getting a healthy dose of nature and doing group outdoor activities in your community. You can also brighten your mood by planting a spring garden and practicing tai chi in the fresh air.
There are numerous ways for seniors to combat boredom, including keeping mentally, physically and spiritually active, trying new things, and importantly, maintaining a social life with friends and family. But while it’s easy to identify the antidotes to boredom, how do you apply them?

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