Regardless of how old you are, leading a healthy life and staying physically active should be a priority. However, neglecting a healthy lifestyle as a 60+ older folk can pose serious risks and complications. For instance, something as mild as a common cold or flu can become secondary infections such as bronchitis, sinus, pneumonia, or an ear infection.
Again, if such an older adult is suffering from chronic illnesses like asthma or diabetes, a respiratory infection can make these worse. To enhance the immune system, reduce illnesses and increase longevity, adhere to these top 10 health tips for the elderly.
Top 10 Health Tips For The Elderly
1. Rest Properly
Older adults or seniors often experience insomnia and frequent waking, especially at night. This could happen due to excess caffeine intake, inactivity in the day, or medical conditions like restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. Getting adequate sleep can alleviate stress, boost the immune system, concentration and memory, and help the body repair itself.
You can work on developing your sleep habits by simply doing the following:
- Get night sleep for about seven to nine hours.
- Set the same time for waking and going to bed daily.
- Avoid taking naps during the day.
- Abstain from caffeine or alcohol at night
- Dim the lights in the evening to induce drowsiness.
- Make the bedroom relaxed and comfortable for the night.
After practicing these routines and you find it challenging to rest or sleep, consult a medical professional.
2. Eat Healthy, Balanced Meals
During our senior years, our digestive system becomes slower. Therefore, including high-fiber foods and vitamins in your diet as you age is vital for leading a healthy life. They help the elderly decrease potential heart problems and stroke, enhancing the immune system to fight against harmful microorganisms. Examples of foods rich in fibers include vegetables, lean meats, and fruits.
In addition, these veggies and fruits are antioxidants, protecting the body cells from damage. Furthermore, limit fatty foods and sugar consumption as they activate inflammation in the body and suppress the immune system.
3. Stop Bad Habits
These bad habits include excessive alcohol intake, smoking, hard drugs, etc. They harm the body, fasten aging, and reduce lifespan. If you must take alcohol, let your health provider recommend the safe amounts of alcohol to consume daily or weekly.
4. Drink Enough Fluids
One of the common health tips for the elderly is staying hydrated. Generally, the elderly are likely to feel less thirsty with age, making them susceptible to dehydrating. As a caregiver, ensure your oldies drink lots of water at intervals. Staying hydrated prevents UTIs (urinary tract infections) and constipation. Aside from water, you can also take freshly made fruits, fruit-infused water, herbal teas, milk, coconut water, etc.
5. Stay Active
Exercise is necessary for every phase of life, especially for the elderly. Some of the benefits of partaking in physical activities include:
- Enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight infections and inflammation.
- To strengthen the muscles.
- Sustaining a healthy weight
- Preventing chronic heart diseases, says the National Institute of Health.
- Enhancing sleep, memory, and energy level.
- Physical activities also alleviate depression and stress.
However, physical activities shouldn’t be strenuous as high-intensity exercises can weaken immune cells. Consider physical activities like jogging, swimming, walking, biking, yoga, or other low-impact exercises. Communicate with a medical professional to determine the best workout program for your age and condition.
6. Go For Regular Check-Ups
The immune systems of the elderly are weaker than younger adults. Therefore, it gets challenging to fight off diseases at older ages. Set out time to go for annual general checkups. It helps detect underlying conditions like blood pressure and diabetes and get early treatment. Asides from your annual checkups, always contact your doctor if you encounter any health challenges.
7. Socialize with Others
The Journal of Health and Social Behavior (JHSB) reveals that lack of socialization and isolation in older adults result in elevated stress levels, low self-esteem, and coping difficulties.
In addition, high-stress levels could cause inflammation, which over time graduates to serious health issues like:
- Metabolic disorders
- Neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
- Cardiovascular disease
The elderly can explore several opportunities to socialize and connect, including volunteering services with residential communities and church groups. Another way to wade off loneliness is spending time with their grandchildren, children, and relatives in a family get-together. Having people come around and interact with seniors improves their mental state and promotes a positive approach to life.
8. Take Supplements
Certain supplements contribute to boosting the immune system. However, please speak with your medical provider about its safety and dosage usage, especially when combined with other drugs. Some recommended supplements may include vitamins B6, B12, D, and calcium.
9. Screen For Vision Changes
From age 50, most people notice a decline in their vision. Older adults already on glasses should go for annual eye checks for changes. These changes could help them get improved prescription glasses or treatment. Most eye screening tests focus on detecting diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration, and low vision. You can also protect the eyes (indoor and outdoor) from UV rays by wearing sunglasses or photochromic glasses.
10. Enhance Cognitive Health
The National Institute on Aging reports that acquiring new skills and being mentally active improves thinking ability. Activities like writing, reading, new hobbies, and crossword puzzles keep oldies in sync with their environments, stimulate their minds, and prevent cognitive decline.
11. Stay positive
Scientists discovered that lifespan could extend by 7.5 years when you remain optimistic about growing older. Factors such as overall health, gender, and wealth were the parameters in the research. However, avoiding the challenges that come with life is inevitable, from losses to disappointments. Nevertheless, learn to be thankful and optimistic to keep your mental and physical health in good condition.
Takeaways- Health Tips For The Elderly
When people maintain healthy habits in their younger years, they are most likely to stay in good health as seniors. Even though falling sick as a senior is inevitable, you can take proactive measures to empower your immune system against many sicknesses.
Thankfully, it is not late to start adapting to a healthy lifestyle and diet choice. Following the above health tips for the elderly and your doctor’s recommendation will make old age an enjoyable experience.