No matter your age, staying healthy, taking care of your body, preventing illness, and keeping your mind active are critical. For those 65 or older, a common cold or something simple like poor nutrition can quickly turn into something far more serious. Secondary infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections can be dangerous for seniors and are more likely to result in hospitalization.
Especially if they have a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease, it becomes even more important for seniors to take the extra steps necessary to remain healthy and active. In this article, we will discuss five simple health tips that seniors should consider to stay healthy as they age.
1. Stay Active
The best thing that seniors can do to keep their body strong and active is to stay physically active. Not only does it reduce the risk of dementia and other cognitive issues, but it also prevents heart disease and diabetes, two of the most common health issues for seniors. There are plenty of safe exercises for seniors, including:
- Swimming and Water Aerobics: The buoyancy of the water supports seniors and reduces their risk of injury while giving them a full-body workout.
- Yoga: The low-impact movements are great for flexibility, balance, and strength.
- Pilates: Similar to yoga, pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that works on core strength and balance.
- Exercise Bikes: Low-impact cycling is a great way to get in some cardio and improve balance without putting too much strain on joints.
When it comes to working out, seniors should avoid exercises that involve full-body contact, such as football or basketball. They should also start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of their workouts as they become stronger.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Aside from physical activity, a healthy diet is one of the essential elements of staying healthy as a senior. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help seniors maintain their weight, reduce their risk of chronic diseases, and boost their overall health. According to the National Council on Aging, the best foods for seniors include:
- Fruits and Vegetables: There are plenty of options when it comes to fruits and vegetables, including apples, oranges, broccoli, spinach, kale, tomatoes, and more.
- Whole Grains: Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and farro are great sources of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals.
- Lean Proteins: Lean proteins like fish, chicken, beans, lentils, and eggs are important for muscle health and recovery.
- Healthy Fats: Healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, avocados, and fatty fish are important for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Seniors should limit processed and sugary foods, which can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. If they struggle to prepare meals, food delivery services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron can ship meals, so they don’t need to go to the grocery store. If they need help with meal preparation, there are plenty of local home health care services that can offer assistance.
3. Get Social Interaction
Loneliness is a serious problem for around 36% of adults. Nearly one in four seniors faces social isolation, which increases their risk of depression and other mental health problems. That’s why it’s important for seniors to stay socially active and connected to friends and family. Social interaction is essential for seniors, for several reasons:
- It improves their mental health
- It can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation
- It’s an opportunity for them to stay active, engaged, and connected with the people around them
- When others see them, they can keep tabs on their health and ensure they’re not in danger
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for seniors to stay socially engaged, including:
- Volunteering: Volunteering is an excellent way for seniors to give back while connecting with the community
- Group Activities: From book clubs to art classes, there are plenty of group activities that can help seniors stay connected and engaged
- Virtual Meetups: Social media and video chat platforms like Skype and Zoom make it easy for seniors to stay in touch with family and friends from around the world
- Online Learning: Sites like Coursera and Udemy offer a variety of courses that can help seniors stay engaged and learn something new
4. Get Regular Checkups
Survival rates for many common chronic diseases are higher than ever. Prostate, breast, and thyroid cancers now have five-year survival rates of over 90%, and seniors still have a good chance of survival if they’re diagnosed with one of these conditions.
To help ensure that seniors can catch any health issues early, most older adults should get checkups at least once per year. If they have any chronic health conditions, they should get checkups and follow-up appointments even more frequently. During their checkups, seniors should discuss any changes in their health with their doctor, such as:
- Weight loss or gain
- Fatigue or sleep problems
- Changes in appetite
- Pain or stiffness
- Trouble breathing
It is also important for seniors to get regular screenings and tests, such as blood pressure checks, cholesterol checks, and mammograms. These screenings can help identify health issues early and allow them to take steps to prevent or treat any conditions before they become more serious.
5. Move Into an Independent Living Facility
While some believe that senior living is reserved for those who are too frail to care for themselves, many independent living facilities offer a great range of services and amenities. These facilities typically provide:
- A safe and secure environment
- Transportation services
- Help with daily activities like shopping, meals, and laundry
- Social activities and events
- Exercise classes
- Private apartments or homes
Living in an independent living facility like Riverview Retirement Community can help seniors remain as active and healthy as possible by helping them stay active, social, and connected to their community. Plus, they can access services that can help ensure their safety and wellbeing, such as medical alert systems and emergency response teams. These facilities also provide peace of mind for family members who live far away, knowing that their loved one is in a safe environment with access to all the necessary resources.
By following these tips and talking to their doctor, seniors can remain healthy and active well into old age. They can continue enjoying life with family, friends, and like-minded peers with the right care and support. No matter where seniors are on their journey of aging, there are plenty of resources available to help them stay safe and healthy.