Many people assume sustainable living or green living is only for the young. However, it is never too late for seniors to pursue this new way of living, becoming more responsible for the environment and their surroundings — all for healthier aging, a happier life, and a brighter future for future generations. Keep scrolling for our senior’s guide to live greener and discover 10 tips and tricks to achieve sustainable living for seniors.
Seniors Going Green: 10 Tips and Tricks to Help Your Parents and Senior Relatives Live More Sustainably Day By Day
Sustainable Living for Seniors: Understanding The Benefits
Before digging into the benefits of sustainable living for seniors, let’s define the concept of this emerging lifestyle.
You have probably heard about “sustainable living” over the last few years. So what is it, and what does it have to do with our lives? Sustainable living, also known as green or eco-friendly living, is a positive lifestyle movement encouraging individuals and communities to lessen their environmental impact. It can be understood as seeking viable solutions, making conscious choices, and taking mindful actions to protect and conserve the Earth in the long run.
Some major benefits of sustainable living are as follows:
- Sustainable living for seniors is good for the environment. It reduces the consequences of climate change while giving the Earth more time to regenerate itself, even though it will take a long time.
- Sustainable living for seniors can help the economy. Leveraging our uses of renewable energy helps cut back on electricity consumption, saving money and promoting a circular economy.
- Sustainable living for seniors is about preserving the Earth. It is to ensure future generations still have access to the same abundance and a place to call “home.”
- Sustainable living for seniors promotes longer, healthier living. Preserved resources and reduced pollution allow us and younger generations to live longer and healthier lives.
- Sustainable living for seniors raises the quality of life. With pollution, global warming, natural disasters, and biodiversity loss at an all-time high, pursuing a sustainable lifestyle is imperative to guarantee comfortable lives for generations to come.
- Sustainable living for seniors builds social cohesion. Living sustainably means meeting like-minded individuals with the same goals as yours in saving the planet. It strengthens the sense of community and inspires more people to live sustainably.
Sustainable Living for Seniors: Tips and Tricks to Consider
Remember, small actions can make a big impact! It is important to take one step at a time. Discover our list of 10 impactful tips and tricks for living sustainably.
It’s All About The Mindset!
Let’s admit it: the journey to sustainable living isn’t overnight. So don’t hope too high or expect your parents to adopt a new mindset immediately. It takes time and steady steps to get there. Most of the time, people struggle to make such a big shift as it is more convenient to carry on their current lifestyle. Remind your parents of better things to do when you have a chance. Small but effective steps to go green include thinking twice before buying something (“Is it worth it?” or “Do I need it?”), investing in sustainable products, and leaving no leftovers on the plate.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
“Reduce, reuse, and recycle” is the core philosophy of sustainable living. Don’t let the name fool your parents into thinking, “It is complicated. I’d rather not do it.” Sometimes, it can be as simple as reminding them to carry a water container instead of splurging on single-use water bottles every time they are on the go.
- Reduce: Making deliberate choices to reduce the impact on the surroundings by cutting waste is the meaning of “reduce.” A few actions include investing in reusable bottles/cups/lunchboxes, switching to reusable shopping bags, and buying items with minimal packaging. Avoid impulse shopping at all costs by only purchasing things you need. Ditch cheap disposables and look for high-quality and durable products.
- Reuse: Remind your parents to use items as much as possible before replacing them, meaning it is best to repair damaged items. Invest in multifunctional items or give old items a new life. For example, give Mason jars or glass containers a new life by using them as cups or storing leftovers. Another reuse idea is transforming old clothes into cleaning rags or washcloths. Consider donating old items, goods, and clothes in good condition to your church, charitable groups or The Salvation Army.
- Recycle: It describes the process of converting waste into new items. Start with purchasing goods in recycled packaging to minimize the recycling process. Recycle paper, glass, plastics, and metals whenever possible. Collect cardboard and aluminum cans and donate them to local schools and community centers; they can make good use of these materials, such as craft projects. Several clothing brands like Uniqlo collect used clothes and distribute them to people in need or recycle them into new garments.
Downsizing is a smart way to live sustainably. Besides the fact that two-story or large homes might not be suitable for your parents’ aging in place, smaller places can provide surprising advantages in terms of sustainability.
Seniors living in smaller houses are at greater ease, knowing that they can save money on energy costs and maintenance fees. Plus, house tasks become more manageable!
Be Mindful of Water Usage
There’s no life without water. Taking extra measures to conserve water is another must-do of sustainable living for seniors, especially if your parents live in states susceptible to drought, like California, Arizona, Utah, or Nevada. Common ways to prevent wasting water include:
- Installing water-saving appliances (low-flow toilets, showerheads).
- Switching to showers.
- Cutting back on shower time.
- Turning off the tap when shaving or brushing teeth.
- Only doing the dishes when the dishwasher is loaded.
- Checking for leaks and fixing them in time.
Reduce Plastic Use
While plastic has drastically changed our lives, the fun is brief. Careless use or overconsumption of plastic has increasingly threatened the environment and natural habitats. Reducing plastic consumption starts with reusable items like stainless steel straws and glass water bottles. Reuse plastic bags as much as possible. Invest in containers made of sustainable materials for cleaning products and buy refills for subsequent uses.
Limit Food Waste
The modern world has witnessed people indulging in the leisure of food. While nothing’s seemingly wrong with it, food going to waste is a more far-reaching problem than we realize, as it hurts the environment, economy, and society.
Creating meal plans keeps your parents’ serving portions in check and gives them a better picture of their grocery lists, meaning they only buy foods they will consume. Educate your parents on how to store and save leftovers correctly. Make friends with a freezer, as it helps preserve foods for months. Consuming less meat and dairy products contributes to lesser greenhouse emissions. If convenient, help your parents switch to plant-based eating a few days per week. This is especially beneficial for seniors’ overall health in the long run.
Another fun way to reduce food waste your parents will enjoy is growing a small indoor garden with kitchen scraps. Think twice before throwing away seeds or veggies with regenerative ability, like celery or carrots.
Making energy-efficient upgrades can provide sustainable benefits in the long run. In today’s market, it is not difficult to buy a good variety of products that aim to save energy, such as washing machines, refrigerators, dryers, and dishwashers. Of course, making such upgrades can be costly now, but these appliances will help your parents save money later.
Renewable energy has the potential to change our lives for the better by being a cheaper alternative to fossil fuels. Help your parents offset their electricity bills and transform their living with solar panels. If your parents’ budget is short, consider opting for community solar.
Go for Second-Hand Items
Since one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, encourage your parents to purchase second-hand items. It saves money but also reduces a lot of impact on the environment by lowering carbon emissions at the same time. The Salvation Army is a legitimate, excellent place for buying used furniture and household items in decent conditions at reasonable prices. Sometimes, conducting a hunt at yard sales can be a fulfilling experience for your parents on the weekend, alongside finding almost anything helpful for just a few bucks.
Driving is one of the leading causes of higher carbon emissions, poor air quality, and global warming. Moreover, seniors might not be suited for driving anymore with changes in health due to increasing age. Driving less may be a better way to keep your parents safe while making the world better. Tell your parents it is OK to skip driving and switch to public transportation. Sometimes, walking or cycling is a healthier option than driving.
A greener world might not be achievable if you do it alone. That’s why it is essential to inspire others to go green. But first, let’s not think of running a parade to boast about your personal lifestyle choices or blatantly pressuring them into a sustainable lifestyle. Remember, it is all about the mindset! The best example to raise awareness is taking practical actions. Help your parents host a swap party where family members and friends take turns swapping unwanted items (books, clothes, appliances) and picking new items from others. This is a more enjoyable way to introduce your loved one to green living and help them become more conscious of the environment.
If you have questions about sustainable living for seniors or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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