It's no secret that the older adults in our community are the ones that are the most susceptible to health problems. This is true even with the significant innovations in medicine and healthcare.
In fact, CNN's article on senior health news states that over one-third of patients over the age of 70 end up in a worse condition after a stay in a hospital. This due to the physical and mental strain that illnesses put on them.
Considering the implications, it's understandable why more people are starting to make senior wellness a priority. The best way to look out for the well being of seniors is by investing in both health and wellness for seniors.
What makes this matter even more complicated is the fact that promoting wellness for older adults can be vastly different from younger individuals. This is because of the many factors that come into play when talking about health and wellness for people who are getting up there in age.
This is why we've put together essential tips catered towards creating an effective senior citizen wellness program. These tips are geared toward addressing common health problems that are associated with aging.
We'll also be providing advice on healthy aging or tips that are focused on addressing what older adults need to do to live a healthy lifestyle. These tips will revolve around managing common problems the elderly population has to deal with.
How to Promote Wellness While Aging
If you're a senior citizen looking to live a healthier life, do your best to follow our senior wellness guide and refer to this list as your senior citizen wellness check.
Harvard Health Online highlights how something as simple as walking can help ward off cardiovascular disease.
And while people may often associate exercise with its benefits to the body, it also goes a long way when it comes to preserving your cognitive functions. A study conducted by the National Institute on Aging suggests that exercise can help preserve brain health as well.
Get Enough Sleep
While exercise is important, it's also crucial to give your body ample time to recover. This is why getting enough sleep is vital when it comes to staying healthy.
A study published in Nature Neuroscience details that sleep disruption and an overall lack of sleep has been associated with impaired long-term memory. If you want to live a healthier life, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Take the Proper Supplements
Calcium is a common supplement that seniors take, as it makes them less susceptible to bone-related injuries. Vitamin B12 is also another commonly used vitamin, as aging can slow down the body's ability to absorb it from the food that they eat.
Stick to a Balanced Diet
In line with the previous tip, senior living also entails being more conscientious about what you eat. Now, we understand that simply saying "eat healthy" or "stick to a balanced diet" can be rather vague. This is why it's best to consult with a nutritionist.
A good rule of thumb would be to cut back on food that is high in sugar, fat, and salt. These types of food can often aggravate or cause illnesses that older adults are susceptible to.
Visit the Doctor Regularly
Many conditions and sicknesses associated with getting older can often go undetected until it's too late. To avoid this from happening, it's in your best interest to visit the doctor consistently and regularly.
Regularly, in this case, means coming in for a physical and a check-up at least once a year. Remember that catching these sicknesses and conditions early is of the utmost importance, so don't put off your check-ups.
However, in case of any untoward circumstances, it's also best that you have a pre-identified urgent care clinic or any facility of an urgent care franchise near your area to make sure that, in case of any emergency, you can quickly be accommodated.
Maintain Good Hygiene
Aging also affects the immune system of the elderly. MedlinePlus details that getting older slows down the immune system. This means older adults have to have to be extra careful, as diseases that would otherwise be a nuisance could prove to be far more serious to senior citizens.
Practicing good hygiene can be a huge help in minimizing the risk of getting sick. In fact, simply washing your hands might be enough. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes that using alcohol-based sanitizers can reduce the number of microbes and germs.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help
The fact of the matter is, growing old sometimes means needing to ask for help. In fact, the American Association of Retired Persons highlights how a significant amount number of the United States' aging population require more care.
A home care franchise that offers full senior care support is the usual go-to option for many. Most of them offer caregiving services, whether they're in-home or not. Caregivers can provide seniors with the help that they need to live healthier and happier lives. They do everything from general health care to basic nutrition but their duties are also rather flexible and could depend on your personal needs.
Keep in Touch with Friends
One often neglected aspect of senior health is loneliness and social isolation. The National Poll on Healthy Aging details that about a third of the senior population is lonely.
While this is concerning on its own, loneliness has been tied to other health concerns such as heart attacks and strokes. This is why it's important to address your social needs as a senior. A good way to do this would be to keep in touch with your friends and loved ones.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Mental health is a huge part of living a healthy life. This is why it's worrisome that the World Health Organization reports that people aged 60 or above suffer from some form of mental disorder.
Keep this in check by prioritizing your mental health. If you need to talk to a professional to get a handle on your mental health, this is something you should address as soon as possible.
Manage Your Stress
Stress can take a tollon your health. This is especially true for senior citizens, which is why you should try to live a stress-free lifestyle, as HealthDay's piece on seniors' health news highlights that stress can take a toll on one's individual immune system cells.
To remedy this, do your best to avoid stressful and mentally taxing situations. By doing this and staying away from things that stress you out, you should notice health benefits in no time.
Healthy Aging Checklist
To sum things up, you'll want to make sure that you take care of these aspects of your life in order to live a healthy life as a senior citizen. You can refer to this as your best health checklist for seniors:
- Physical: Achieve this by getting the right amount of sleep, exercising regularly, sticking to a healthy diet, and seeing your doctor routinely.
- Mental: Prioritize your mental health by keeping your mind sharp and seeking professional help for any issues you may be experiencing.
- Social: Loneliness can take a toll on your mind and your body. Spend time with your community and the people you love.
Common Senior Health Problems
There are a number of issues that come with senior living. It would be in your best interest to watch out for these by making the necessary lifestyle changes.
- Memory Problems
Management of Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and various cardiovascular diseases are things that have to be constantly managed. Other issues such as sleep problems can also arise. While it may be difficult, it's not impossible as long as you commit to living a healthy lifestyle.
Knowing is half the battle when it comes to managing chronic conditions. As long as you know what to do and what to avoid, you can make informed decisions that will benefit your overall wellbeing.
Preventative Health Services for Adults
As mentioned in the list of tips, regular check-ups allow you to catch potential illnesses and conditions before it's too late. Be sure to undergo blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, and diabetes screening regularly.
Other preventive measures you can take would be installing bathroom safety products to prevent falls and accidents.
Medical, Legal, and Financial Advance Care Planning
Health and wellness can only go so far. Seniors also have to plan for the day where diet and exercise simply won't be enough.
Luckily, the National Institute on Aging has a wide range of advanced care planning that can help you out with this. These range from legal and financial planning for people living with Alzheimer's or suffer from memory loss and other cognitive illnesses to organ donation and transplantation resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
The older one gets it becomes more and more important that you take a more active approach when it comes to health. Staying active, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep is a great way to improve your overall health.
You can read up on our full health and wellness guide for seniors above but to refresh your memory here are the 10 recommendations to live a healthier life are as follows:
2.Take the Proper Supplements
3.Stick to a Balanced Diet
4.Visit the Doctor Regularly
5.Maintain Good Hygiene
6.Get Enough Sleep
7.Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help
8.Keep in Touch with Friends
9.Prioritize Your Mental Health
10.Manage Your Stress
Senior wellness is all about addressing the physical, mental, and social needs of senior citizens.
The importance of keeping active and exercising regularly cannot be overstated. Exercising regularly can help ward off common diseases associated with aging.
Seniors tend to be susceptible to chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and various cardiovascular diseases.
Walking is a great low-impact activity that can help senior citizens stay in shape. Other recommended activities you can try would be calisthenics and swimming.
Senior should stick to an exercise program that isn't high impact. Exercises that put a lot of pressure on their bone structure and joints should be avoided. Luckily, it's still possible to build muscle strength through various fitness classes that cater to the elderly.
There is no singular wellness model for senior citizens. All you can do is use the information collected from seeking professional help to make the right choices that address your specific wellness needs.
Here's a list of health and wellness resources for seniors:
Exercise Programs for Seniors - A wellness program designed to promote physical activity for people who are up there in age. These activities are designed to be appropriate for older bodies.
Healthy Meals for Seniors - A menu of food items that address common health issues such as high blood pressure, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The food on this menu is also designed to be quick and easy to prepare.
For more information on senior care, check out the rest of the resources on SeniorStrong!
Nathan Justice manages community outreach programs and forums that help many senior citizens. He completed a counseling program at the University of Maryland’s Department of Psychology.