How to Keep Seniors Healthy
Seniors live full lives and want to enjoy their golden years without being burdened by poor health. Many suffer from loss of normal brain function that may be the result of dementia, delirium and amnesia. Dementia is the presentation of the sum of physical diseases and infections over a lifetime. Nerve cells that have been negatively impacted may not show symptoms until the golden years.
- Lapse in judgment
- Repeating themselves
There is no known cause or cure for dementia. The symptoms can only be delayed with the right medication, including cholinesterase inhibitors to improve memory retention and retrieval; these include donepezil and galantamine. Memantine is an NMDA receptor antagonist that works to improve memory and learning. Antidepressants might also be prescribed to improve low mood and irritability.
Tips on how to keep seniors healthy
Leading a healthy lifestyle is essential for a cognitively impaired senior and their caregiver(s). Even if a senior is in good health, there are plenty of lifestyle adjustments that should be made.
Regular exercise to prevent broken hips
As the body ages, so do the joints. A lifetime of regular exercise eases the joints into their golden years. Doctors always caution seniors that a broken hip can lead to a tremendous downfall in health.
During any given year, more than 300,000 seniors go to the ER for hip fractures. Ninety-five percent of them are caused by falls. Women 65 years of age and older are more likely to be hospitalized because they are more likely to develop osteoporosis at a higher rate.
One hip injury can beget another. You may not be able to prevent an injury, particularly if a senior lives alone, but regular exercise can keep their bones strong and their reflexes tight.
How do you keep seniors healthy and exercising? Seniors require companionship, making a shelter dog the perfect best friend for them. Besides affection and protection, a shelter dog will give a senior the excuse needed to get out and exercise.
Dogs should be walked in the morning and at night. Many neighborhoods have dog parks, increasing the opportunity to socialize. Seniors can form a group to explore parks with or without their pups.
Speed does not matter with this activity.
A dip in the pool is so refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Seniors can do a few laps or take a few classes to improve their abilities. Many gyms offer aqua aerobics, making this activity a winner for those who want to be fit without putting too much wear on their joints.
Known for its deep stretches and sense of community, yoga is offered in libraries, malls and community centers with seniors top of mind.
Seniors still want to have fun! Dancing is perhaps the best way for them to lift their spirits and see their friends. Zumba Gold was specifically designed for seniors. Most of these classes are scheduled in the morning and can be taken multiple times throughout the day and week.
If a senior has enjoyed tennis at some point in their life, they will be eager to play Pickleball. Taking place on a smaller court and moving at a slower pace, this game can be played singles or doubles.
Some seniors love the thrill of the road and others prefer to cycle indoors. Biking keeps their joints strong and their minds agile. Research the best bikes for seniors and help them find the best biking paths.
Going after the blue monster is one of the best ways for seniors to stay mentally fit. The game does not require too much walking if hip issues are a concern. Many can play with their friends and stay in the shade.
Nutrition tips for seniors
Aging is a personal experience. Many seniors will find that the foods they once loved are now too heavy to properly digest. Below are a few nutrition tips to keep seniors feeling their best and address their changing appetites.
Seniors need to stay hydrated. If they do not like the taste of tap water, there are many sparkling H20 options. Encourage seniors to drink throughout the day and to keep a record for their doctors.
Explore protein sources
Aging changes the body in numerous ways. Body fat is harder to get rid of in seniors because its stores increase. Protein is needed to keep the body healthy and lean muscle mass steady. Seniors can get protein from animal or plant sources.
The World Health Organization recommends at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Heart disease can be reduced by up to 30 percent just by adding another serving of fruit, and these servings aid in digestion.
Sugar is great as a treat, not as a regular part of a senior diet. Our sense of taste and smell decline as we age, making the body crave salt and sugar to compensate for the lack of flavor. Sugar can make a senior more susceptible to glucose issues.
Use honey as a sweetener or have your senior do a detox so foods such as carrots and apples are just the right amount of sweet for them. If they have a sweet tooth, make sure to allow them occasional treats so they do not feel like they are being treated like a child.
As we all learned during quarantine, socialization is vital to mental health. Even the most introverted senior will want to see friendly and familiar faces. Explore community centers and include your senior’s input into which activities they want to center their day on.
Some may be hesitant in the beginning, but after having a day of fun, they may change their mind!
Stay connected to your senior by signing them up for Q Link Wireless. They will receive 3GB of data, plus UNLIMITED talk and text as members of our newly expanded network.