Ten Tips for Healthier Aging During These Times and Always
Not being able to visit friends and family. Worrying about money. Fearing a loss of independence. These are just a handful of the negative stressors many seniors normally face, worries that have only been enhanced with the social isolation and fears caused by the current pandemic. While we can’t make the pandemic go away any faster, we can offer these
10 TIPS FOR HEALTHIER AGING
#1 Sleep Well
“Beauty” sleep encompasses a lot more than the way we look. A good night’s sleep helps reduce inflammation, improve concentration, lower the risk of obesity and much more. The National Sleep Foundation warns that while short daytime naps are helpful, longer naps, or those taken later in the day, can cause sleep disruptions.
#2 Eat Well
A well-balanced diet is good for us whether you’re two, twenty or 82. Most nutritionists recommend making the largest item on the plate a vegetable, with whole grains and protein following. Think colorful fruits and vegetables, fatty fish (salmon, sardines), and lots of fiber which plays a big role in digestion, helps prevent constipation and can help lower inflammation, blood pressure and cholesterol.
#3 Hydrate Properly
Drinking sufficient quantities of water helps keep our skin looking healthier and our bowels regular. It also helps boost energy and brain function. Dehydration is often overlooked even though it’s a leading cause of issues with seniors who simply don’t drink enough liquids. Water is best, but milk or juice (watch the sugar!) also help keep us hydrated.
#4 Exercise the Body
Looking for information on physical activity for seniors? The National Institute on Aging offers tips for exercising outdoors, for those with chronic health conditions, how to track your progress and more. Of course, it’s always best to check with your doctor before beginning any new routine.
#5 Cease Smoking
Not a big surprise here. Tobacco is not only bad for overall health, it can make you look older, with premature wrinkles and higher incidences of skin cancer. One good note: quit smoking and that increased blood flow will help your skin start to repair itself.
#6 Don’t Ignore Proactive Healthcare
Covid-19 has thrown most of us a curve when it comes to routine medical, dental and eye care. Since seniors are especially susceptible to the virus, routine visits may have been postponed or even cancelled. But “proactive” is certainly better than “reactive” when it comes to our health. Talk to your doctor or specialist to see what infection control measures have been added to their practice to address the pandemic, and, if you feel comfortable, schedule that important proactive appointment for you or your senior loved one.
#7 Exercise the Brain
Keeping your mind active can include mental stimulation like reading, puzzles, drawing, painting and crafts. How about taking an online course? There are so many possibilities out there. Keeping the brain “young” also relies on physical exercise, healthy diets, keeping a good weight, and building social networks (which is also tied to lower blood pressure and a longer life expectancy).
#8 Strive for Social Relationships
Some research points to relating to others and connecting with others as one of the most important ways we survive and thrive. Social relationships help lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that can affect physical and emotional health. Some articles reference the “double” pandemic we’re facing – the virus itself and the social isolation it has caused. That’s another big reason we are all grateful to see this highly infectious virus addressed as quickly as possible.
#9 Secure Your Home Environment
Most of us know that falls are the leading cause of both non-fatal and fatal injuries. According to the CDC , every year three million older people are treated in the hospital ER setting for falls. At least 300,000 are hospitalized for hip fractures alone and more than 800,000 are hospitalized for both hip fractures and head injuries. Strength and balance exercises can help prevent falls, as well as regular eye checkups. Making your home safer could include installing grab bars in the shower/tub, removing throw rugs or other items that one could trip over and keeping your home well lit.
#10 Avoid Excess Sun
According to Dermatology Times, dermatologists expect to see an increase in older patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Older adults already overwhelmed with other health issues may forget to protect their skin from the sun when outside on a sunny day, which can increase the risk of skin cancer. Making sun protection (hat, sunscreen) a daily habit will lower anyone’s chance of getting skin cancer, even in winter.
Getting Some Help
Sometimes it’s hard not to be stressed. But exercising regularly, increasing mindfulness, eating well and following the above tips can help. If you’re shut in, pick up the phone and reach out to friends and family so you don’t feel quite so alone. This too shall pass!
If you or your loved one are having difficulties tackling aging in a healthy way, home health care agencies like Reliance Home Health Care, Inc. can make life easier, with help in meal preparation, shopping, personal hygiene, housekeeping, companionship and more. Call our office at 610-896-6030 to learn more. Ask us about our introductory home care offer of 8 hours free home care with no obligations.