Making sure our senior loved ones are living healthy is not an easy task. We’ll have to arrange their dental appointments, medications, physicals – the list goes on and on. As a family caregiver, our health could suffer from constantly putting our senior loved one’s health first. How can we improve the health of seniors, especially seniors with chronic diseases or other medical problems?
People who had a healthy lifestyle when they were younger tend to become healthy seniors. But it is never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy, regular doctor visits, getting enough sleep, and keeping active can make a difference even to seniors who are prone to illness or have not made their health a priority in the past.
Keeping up with our parent’s and senior loved ones’ health care needs can be a daunting challenge. Here we’ve compiled a list of 10 Healthy Living Tips for Seniors recommended by caretakers at an independent senior living community to follow to help you make sure your senior loved ones live as healthy as possible.
Create a Healthy Eating Plan
As we age, our sense of thirst lessens, so make sure your senior parent drinks enough liquids. Seniors should eat meals consisting of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. If you keep to a set schedule throughout the week, you’ll be less likely to forget. Make sure your senior is getting enough nutrition; you can plan your meals here myplate.gov.
Visit the Doctor Often
It is recommended that a healthy senior should visit the doctor at least once a year. Seniors should do preventative care visits to screen for cholesterol levels, colon cancer, heart problems, and more. Seniors also need to get vaccinations to protect against pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
Medication Management Strategy
Please talk about the seniors’ medication with their doctor often. Learn about side effects and possible interactions. Make sure to monitor any new symptoms (allergic reactions, drowsiness, loss of appetite, and others) after the senior changes medication or starts a new one.
Get Enough Sleep
Insomnia is common in old age. Dimming lights in the evening and reading before bed can help spur drowsiness to ease seniors into sleep. Be sure to make sure the senior’s bedroom is quiet, at an appropriate temperature, and comfortable.
Boost Brain Health
Activities such as listening to music, writing in journals, and solving crossword puzzles will boost your senior’s mental health. Keeping your senior’s brain active can ward off a decline in mental health.
Screen Eyes for Health Issues Regularly
Experts recommend annual eye examinations for seniors. Seniors that have the right pair of glasses will be less likely to fall.
Seniors are less likely to feel lonely when they have the opportunity to spend time with friends, family, and peers. Blood pressure and stress levels increase when people are lonely, especially seniors. Loneliness is a risk factor for cognitive decline, which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercise can boost mood, improve sleep, and help with depression, anxiety, stress, and more. A structured exercise program approved by a doctor can make a difference even among older individuals who do not currently exercise.
Healthy seniors can do more and stay active, which is essential to their overall well-being. Even happy, healthy seniors present many challenges for caregivers, but they can also contribute more to their health, giving caregivers a little less to worry about.
Free Annual Wellness Visits
Medicare provides a free yearly wellness visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan to prevent disease and disability based on your current health and risk factors.
Dental Visits twice a year
As we age, our teeth experience wear, and gums can recede, making the teeth more susceptible to cavities. Oral bacteria has been linked to heart disease, arterial blockages, and stroke. So seniors should visit the dentist twice a year.
About the Author
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.