Senior Happiness Every Day: Simple Goals for Good Health
Meaningful goals are a simple way to create opportunities for happiness.
This time of year, calendars are full of celebrations. In June, we mark accomplishments and milestones like graduations, weddings, and anniversaries, plus gratitude for the contributions of special men in our lives on Father’s Day. Celebrating these moments feels good and brings a sense of pride and fulfilment.
Celebrating daily accomplishments is important, too, and has just as many benefits. Meaningful and achievable daily goals are a simple way for seniors and their caregivers to build opportunities for happiness, health, and wellbeing into each day.
Read on to learn more about why meaningful goals are good for senior health, how to be “smart” about creating goals, plus tips for seniors to feel satisfied and successful in senior living – inspired by our own daily calendar.
Creating Opportunities for Happiness: Why Goals Feel Good
Just think about how good it feels to check items off a to-do list. Creating and completing a goal is satisfying, and acts as both a mood booster and a brain booster. That is especially helpful for seniors who have challenges with low mood and the feelings of “fogginess” that can come with it.
Whether seniors are working toward a big goal, like completing rehabilitation after surgery or illness, or a small goal, like drinking enough water each day, creating and completing a goal brings three opportunities to feel good. When you set a pleasing or exciting goal, your brain releases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. Then, your brain releases dopamine again right before you reach your goal, and again when you celebrate your success.
A meaningful, motivating goal also activates the regions of the brain associated with attention. The brain “rewires” itself to notice and reward any information or behavior connected with achieving the goal. That makes you feel better and more focused!
Working toward a meaningful goal naturally brings a sense of purpose, and for seniors that means improved health and overall wellbeing. Seniors who find meaning and purpose in their lives tend to be happier overall and report lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. They also report fewer stress related physical symptoms.
How Seniors Can Create Healthful Goals
Meaningful and achievable daily goals are opportunities for seniors to feel satisfied and confident. Whether you are helping your senior loved one set a big goal, a small goal, or you’re creating goals for yourself, the process is the same.
Work more satisfying moments into your day with goals that are SMART:
- Specific. Set goals that are specific. For example, instead of a vague goal such as “get healthier,” set a goal to drink a certain amount of water each day.
- Measurable. A good goal can be measured. If your goal is to read more, it is easy to measure the number of pages you read per day or per week.
- Achievable. Satisfying goals are achievable. If walking five miles each day is out of reach, set a goal to walk five to ten minutes for a manageable “win.”
- Relevant. A relevant goal aligns with your bigger goals or purpose. A goal to attend more social events is relevant for someone who values connecting with others. A goal to get stronger is relevant for someone who wants to dance at their grandchild’s wedding.
- Time-Bound. Good goals have a time frame. That might be attending one fitness class each week for a month, drinking a certain amount of water each day, or finishing a craft project in time to give it as a birthday gift.
And most importantly, remember to celebrate your accomplishments!
Get Inspired: Ways for Seniors to Feel Fulfilled Every Day in Senior Living
Big and small goals create daily opportunities for reward and fulfilment. Here are examples inspired by our calendars:
- Attend a yoga class each week for month.
- Take one fitness class each week.
- Walk for five to ten minutes per day.
- Pick one new event to attend each month.
- Talk to one new person at each event you attend.
- Send one greeting card each week.
- Create a curriculum: Set a goal to watch the One Day University programs each week for a month.
- Keep a daily gratitude journal.
- Attend a religious service each week.
Looking for more inspiration? See our calendars here, and learn how Sunnyside Manor residents successfully use our rehabilitation center to meet their health goals.
Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor
When you have questions about senior living, we are here to help. Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.
Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier family-owned senior living community. The community features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.