Aging brings with it certain changes we can all be assured of, and while we might not be what we were in our youth, we can still thrive throughout our golden years. Sometimes the simplest of changes can equate to a better quality of life. Here are some ideas that could mean improved health and happiness as you grow older.

Take care of your body

Getting older obviously means changes to your body, but with a few basics, you can feel great and stay in shape. A good starting point is to ensure you see your doctor regularly, and that you have appropriate healthcare coverage to help pay for basic health requirements. As an example, Georgia Health News points out many seniors miss out on necessary dental care because of a lack of insurance.

If money keeps you from seeing the dentist or tending to other basic needs, investigate supplemental insurance such as Medicare Advantage. The supplemental plans can provide coverage for many things Medicare doesn’t help with, like vision exams, dental care, prescriptions, hearing exams, and even gym memberships. Consider checking options and consider whether you should make changes in your coverage.

Another basic aspect of physical health is exercise. Multiple studies indicate many older adults avoid exercise for a variety of reasons. You might have joint issues, fear injury, or you might be reluctant to join a gym. Thankfully, you can set up an effective workout area in your own home, allowing you to exercise at your own pace and with no worries about the weather. Look hard enough and you can find ways to exercise indoors without spending a lot of money. In addition to using app and videos to help develop your exercise routine, you can do simple balance exercises (standing on one foot) or using your own body weight to do push-ups.

Clear a flex room or an unused corner so you have space to stretch out, and add a few pieces of equipment. You can put some belongings into storage if necessary, getting things out from underfoot, and buying time for you to think about rehoming them.

Trade a lawn for a garden

Gardening offers some important health benefits to seniors, such as reduced stress, healthier bones, improved cardiovascular health, and it can even fight memory loss. Many seniors are still dealing with large properties, and while a big yard is a boon when you have kids running around, when the nest is empty it becomes a major chore.

If your kids have moved on and it’s time to cut back, consider trading the lawn for a garden. And if you decide you can’t possibly garden that much lawn, balance it out by hiring a lawn care service. The cost of hiring someone varies by location but averages around $60 per hour. When you weigh in the equipment maintenance, any chemicals you use, gas, and the time and energy it takes, it can be a smart way to free you up from the burden of a tending the yard so you can focus on other passions.

Get a furry friend

Having a wagging tail or purring companion waiting for you can be a big boost in life. In fact, Aging Care points out seniors reap important benefits from pet ownership, such as reduced blood pressure, lowered stress levels, enhanced socializing, and more physical activity. It lowers your risk of depression and wards of loneliness as well.

According to some statistics, the average annual cost for dog or cat ownership varies, starting around $580 for a small dog and $670 for a cat. Factors depend on the size of your pet, species, and if there are any medical needs. You can save substantially on initial costs by adopting an adult pet from a shelter or rescue. It’s a chance to bring home an animal that has seen a veterinarian, and might even know house manners.

Growing older presents a number of challenges, and with a few simple strategies, you can thrive. Take good care of your body, consider tending a garden, and think about an animal companion. There are plenty of fun opportunities for cultivating health and happiness if you know where to look.

Written by Jason Lewis, Guest Blogger for Pacific Beach Training