5 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

Written by Joe Fleming

Struggling to get ready in the morning? While getting older affords the freedoms of retirement, it also comes with its aches and pains that can make any morning routine a bit sluggish. If you’re looking for sure-fire ways to spice up your morning rituals and get going faster, don’t miss this essential guide:

Let the sunshine in

While listening to the song Aquarius may help you get a jump on the morning, this tip is a bit more literal. Natural sunlight exposure has been shown to serve as an environmental prod that triggers the body’s biological clock to get going. If you think about it, long before electricity existed, people’s wake and sleep cycles operated in accordance with the rising and setting of the sun. This evolutionary cue still plays a role today.

Open your blinds or curtains as soon as you wake up in the morning and let the sunshine in. Even step outside on your porch to breathe in fresh air and awaken your senses to the sights, smells, and sounds around you.

Simplify getting dressed

Common conditions like arthritis and even diabetes can make getting dressed in the morning a bit of a hassle – from fumbling with buttons to having to bend over to put on pants and shoes. Simplify this part of your morning routine with easy, inexpensive dressing aids. For example, a long-handled shoe horn can avoid causing back pain commonly associated with having to stoop and bend over to put on shoes.

You can also find dressing aids that help you pull up zippers, button shirts, put on pants, and more. Look at your local drugstore, supercenter, or big box store for the best options.

Drink water first

While tearing into the coffee may be your bulletproof way of yanking your eyes open in the morning, you might want to think first about consuming a more hydrating beverage, water. Drinking more water, in general, has not only been shown to kickstart your metabolism, but 1 to 2 glasses in the morning also helps to rehydrate the body after a night spent sleeping.

Healthy hydration in the morning can also aid digestion and stave off cravings for big breakfasts loaded with refined sugars and flours, notoriously unhealthy foods.

Listen to music

You may have heard about the powers music possesses in activating cognitive functions like memory, motor processing, and emotion. It could also be the key to boosting your own mood in the morning! Research has shown that music improves cheerfulness and alertness and induces feelings of relaxation.

If you are a morning grump, try putting together a playlist of songs you love – could be happy pop, old standards, or classical gems, it’s up to you! Don’t have a stereo or CD player? Use free music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora on your computer or smartphone to create playlists and listen to music you love.

Avoid bad late-night habits

Want to wake feeling more refreshed and energized in the morning? Turns out what you do and don’t do the night before can have a significant impact. Bad late-night habits that affect your quality and amount of sleep include:

  • Blue light exposure from devices like your smartphone or iPad
  • Drinking caffeine late in the day
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sleeping on an unsupportive mattress and/or pillow

Your mornings are sure to change for the better as your sleep quality improves as well. Facilitate the best sleeping environment by avoiding the above bad habits as well as making sure your sleeping area is dark, cool, and relatively quiet. Aids like white noise machines help some people fall asleep or at least mask the outside sounds of urban environments. Take these simple steps and you’ll wake more well-rested and ready to start the day the following morning.

Plan Ahead

It goes without saying that a little forethought can go a long way. If you want to ramp up the steam in your morning engine, try planning ahead the night before. This can include everything from picking out the clothes you’re going to wear the next day, to getting your morning music playlist ready, and even sorting your morning medicines into a handy pill organizer.

Committing to a relatively fixed order of doing things can also benefit your health as you get older. A solid routine provides both structure to your day as well as a reliable sense of “what comes next.” If cognitive decline affects your memory or orientation, it will be helpful to have familiar routines and habits to fall back on.

Small Comforts: The Many Advantages of Apartment Living

Written by Sally Perkins

When it comes time to retire, many of us oftentimes think this means finally moving to our dream home. However, while this dream may seem feasible in our minds, it might not make sense financially to sign onto another long-term mortgage payment. Rather, renting an apartment may be the best choice for living out your retirement.

Apartment living not only gives you the opportunity to rent, downsize and save money, but it has a range of advantages for people who have retired. Many retirees will be happy to learn that selling a home and renting will present an opportunity to earn capital that produces an income. Besides being a great option financially, here are some other benefits of choosing a small, comforting space for your retirement:

Let the Maintenance Team Do the Hard Work

With more than two-thirds of Americans leaving the workforce by age 66, retirees are not always of an age that want to be doing yard work and making home repairs. One of the undeniable benefits to renting modern accommodation is that many apartment complexes come with a maintenance team. This eliminates the issue of having to keep up with tedious tasks like raking leaves, mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.

Plus—who really wants to be doing that kind of hard work when you’re retired, anyway? Retirement is a well-deserved time to finally relax and not work. By having a maintenance team on hand any time something in the apartment goes wrong, breaks or needs repair is an extremely convenient feature for retirees, as it greatly reduces any anxiety over performing these tasks on one’s own.

Plenty of Privacy with Company Nearby

Another bonus of apartment living during your retirement years is the small comforts and privacy that come with downsizing. With less space to fill with your things and fewer rooms to clean, you will be more appreciative of the things you value and cherish most. Since we all crave privacy, this is a great option, as it offers the chance to put your personal touches on a smaller space.

At the same time, living in an apartment complex gives you plenty of new neighbors. By living in close proximity to other people who are a similar stage in life as you, you can easily seek out new social activities and meet new friends. Especially in complexes that are only for retirement-age individuals or couples, there will be many opportunities to interact with your other neighbors, which is important to avoid feelings of isolation.

In addition to the handy maintenance team and added privacy of apartment living, retirees have the chance to make friends with like-minded people and enjoy all of the comforts of downsizing to a rented space.

Ten Ways Seniors Can Improve Mobility and Maintain Their Independence

Written by Nurse Susan

Many seniors assume that limited mobility is an unavoidable part of the aging process. This definitely doesn’t have to be the case. By focusing on improving and maintaining their mobility, seniors can age in a healthy way, stay independent longer, and avoid falls and injuries that may negatively impact their quality of life.

Listed below are ten ways that seniors can improve their mobility to maintain strength and independence.

  1. Improve Balance

Focusing on improving balance is essential for seniors who want to avoid falls. Forms of exercise like yoga, tai chi, and pilates are great for improving balance. But, simply practicing standing on one foot (while holding onto chair or countertop) is also beneficial.

  1. Resistance Train

Resistance training strengthens the muscles and bones to improve balance and overall functionality. For seniors who are new to resistance training, bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups are a good starting point. Those who are more experienced can add resistance bands or weights.

  1. Utilize Mobility Aids

For those who currently struggle with walking, reaching, or other daily functions, it’s important to utilize mobility aids rather than simply avoid doing tasks that are challenging. Reach-extenders, canes, and walkers can help you stay active and avoid letting your limitations get in your way.

  1. Adjust Your Living Space

Making adjustments to your home can also improve your mobility and help you maintain your independence. Some good adjustments to start with include:

  • Adding ramps to the entrance of your home
  • Installing rails and grab bars
  • Getting rid of loose rugs and objects that you could trip over
  • Rearranging cabinets and closets to make items more accessible
  1. Work on Your Dexterity

If you improve your dexterity and grip strength, you’ll have an easier time handling tasks like opening doors and jars and carrying groceries. If you have a stronger grip, you’ll also have an easier time holding weights while you resistance train.

There are numerous ways to improve your dexterity and grip strength from the comfort of your own home:

  • Squeeze a stress ball or therapy putty
  • Do wrist curls with light dumbbells
  • Do hand and finger stretches
  • Practice picking up small objects like pennies or paper clips and moving them from one pile to another
  1. Tackle Household Projects on Your Own

There may be some household projects that you need help with — major projects like shingling your roof or mowing the lawn should probably be handled by professions! But, are there projects you’re outsourcing even though you could handle them on your own.

One way to improve your mobility is to challenge yourself to take on more projects. Don’t get carried away and do more than you can manage, but consider tackling tasks like changing light bulbs, vacuuming, and basic cleaning by yourself.

  1. Buy New Shoes

Sometimes, the solution to your mobility problems is simple. Changing your shoes could make a big difference in your ability to walk around and take care of other tasks. Look for shoes with plenty of tread to help you avoid slipping and falling. Your shoes should also fit comfortably and have plenty of support so that you can walk for extended periods of time without hurting your feet. Make sure you’re changing your shoes regularly, too, to avoid wearing them out.

  1. Change Your Diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help increase your energy and, by proxy, your mobility. Increasing your consumption of anti-inflammatory foods like salmon, nuts, and leafy green vegetables can also help reduce inflammation and joint pain that may be limiting your ability to move around freely.

  1. Get Your Eyes Checked

Conserving your vision with regular checkups will also help you maintain your independence. Not only will you be able to drive yourself to appointments, but you’ll also be able to spot potential tripping hazards more easily.

  1. Know Your Limits

Finally, while it’s important to challenge yourself, it’s also important for you to understand your limits. Avoid taking on risky activities that could end up making your mobility worse. If you’re not sure about a specific activity, talk to your doctor before participating.