Five Key Health Strategies for Seniors

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As the child of an aging parent, you may wonder how you can keep them in good health for as long as possible. These five key health strategies cover the most important elements of well-being for senior citizens.

Diet

One of the problems that make it difficult for the elderly to eat a healthy diet is a lack of appetite. However nutritious their food is, they have to actually eat it for it to reduce their chances of certain conditions and get maximum benefit. Not eating enough has many negative consequences.

Some tips for increasing healthy eating are:

  • Setting a routine time for meals and snacks
  • Combining socializing with mealtimes
  • Boosting the value of meals by adding cheese, cream, butter, eggs, fish or meat, and beans
  • Taking steps to prevent dry mouth
  • Providing tasty, nutritious snacks
  • Checking for difficulty with swallowing
  • Making meals that they enjoy

Seniors experience a reduction in thirst, but this doesn’t mean they don’t need the liquid. Keeping hydrated will help prevent urinary tract infections and constipation.

Exercise

The biggest advantage of exercise for the elderly is that it enables them to perform the activities of daily living more easily. Exercise also improves balance and may help prevent falls. It may reduce incidences of diabetes, osteoporosis, heart conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and depression.

Water aerobics is one of the best exercises for seniors. It is especially helpful with arthritic pain as it does not stress the joints. The whole body can be exercised. Other suggested workouts include Pilates, resistance band exercises, and chair yoga.

Preventative Strategies

Dental care must be maintained. The elderly must continue to care for their teeth through daily brushing and flossing and dental appointments twice a year. A dry mouth can cause cavities. This is often the result of medications. Oral moisturizers can be obtained from the pharmacy.

Natural immune boosters can help prevent flu, which is a strain on the body, especially for seniors. Recommended supplements are zinc, Vitamins A, C, and D, and probiotics. Protein is needed for repairs after an illness. Chicken soup continues to be a remedy for those who get the flu.

Regular medical check-ups are necessary, at least annually. This is a good time to check your parent’s medications and make sure they know how to take them.

A Healthy Brain

Mild cognitive impairment can lead to dementia in the elderly. One way to prevent this is to keep blood pressure at a healthy low. The MIND Diet was specifically designed to maintain brain function and prevent dementia.

Exercise, such as brisk walking, has shown benefits in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The elderly also need to keep their minds active through learning new hobbies, playing games, reading, and creative writing. This helps the brain form new cognitive pathways after natural decay.

Stress Management

If your parent is stressed, you need to establish why. Stress decreases enjoyment in life and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia, diabetes, and depression. Examine their living arrangements to see if they are coping. You may need to look into senior living communities like Belmont Village to reduce heavy tasks.

Above all, remember that they need companionship and to see their children often.

Taking care of an elderly parent is a blessing. Help them age well.

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