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Thursday, September 12, 2024

Looking Forward: Embracing the New Year as an Older Adult

With so many of us feeling refreshed and optimistic after the holiday season, there’s no better time to start planning to make 2016 your best year. Whether or not you are a fan of making New Year’s resolutions, the beginning of the year is a great time to set up a game plan to make the most of the next 365 days. Starting the year with goals will help make taking action easier.

Are you ready to make 2016 your best year ever? Here are our top tips for how seniors can embrace the New Year.

Pick Up a New Skill

An active, engaged mind is a healthy one. As explained by The Guardian, “Evidence of the benefits of learning during the latter stages of life is overwhelming, from research by the Alzheimer’s Society showing delayed onset of the disease, to reduced dependency on welfare support.”

There are so many ways to keep your mind engaged. Whether you choose a challenging game, like Sudoku, or teach yourself a new skill, such as photography, keeping your mind active will help keep you sharp (and entertained)!

Brain training is another popular way for older adults to challenge themselves and keep their minds healthy, thanks to research-backed series of short games. We recommend Lumosity, a brain-training program available for use on the web or through a smartphone app. Users play a series of fun games to help improve a variety of core cognitive abilities, including memory and decision making skills.

More traditional console video games, including shooter games such as Call of Duty, can also help improve vision. If shooting games aren’t up your alley, you’ll be happy to know there’s a variety of other video games – from racing to exercise games – which have been proven to improve cognitive abilities.

Attend a Class, Lecture or Seminar

Picking up a new skill isn’t the only way to keep learning. There are many ways to learn about new topics, both in person and online. Do you like history? Gardening? Health? Finance? No matter what topic sparks your interest, there are ample resources to help you learn more.

Looking for a lecture to attend? Chicago Methodist Senior Services offers free events throughout the year meant to engage older adults on a host of subjects. Some upcoming topics include how spirituality plays a positive role in the aging process and understanding Medicare Home Health benefits.

Volunteer for a Cause You’re Passionate About

Volunteering is a powerful way to make a difference in your community. In addition to helping those in need, volunteering can be beneficial to your health: a study of Americans over age 60 found that those who volunteer reported lower levels of disability and higher levels of well-being versus non-volunteers.

Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services is always welcoming volunteers to partner with us to bring diversity, skills and services that help us deliver the special experiences and personalized level of care which we are known for. Volunteer Coordinator Ann Brennan says, “Volunteers play an important role in fostering the physical, intellectual, social and spiritual wellness of our residents.” There are a host of opportunities available for those looking to volunteer with CMSS, ranging from supervising field trips and helping with art projects, to providing entertainment, to simply building friendships with our residents.

For more information about volunteering with Chicago Methodist Senior Services, please email Ann Brennan at

How do you plan to make 2016 your best year ever? Let us know in the comments!

Photo via Flickr by Colin Gray/The Arches

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