Seniors can remain healthy with proper diet and exercise. Caregivers play a vital role in assisting seniors to get proper nutrition, develop healthy habits and provide companion care.
Become More Active
Exercise plays an important role in keeping seniors healthy. It could be as simple as going for a walk or using exercise equipment. One thing to keep in mind though is seniors or their caregivers should discuss exercise routine with their doctors prior to starting.
1. Find something that seniors enjoy doing. Caregivers can help them too.
2. For any exercise routine, seniors should slowly work their way up.
3. Exercise routine must be geared toward their fitness level.
4. Caregivers or family members can also join seniors while doing exercise so it can become a group activity and be more enjoyable.
Why is being active important?
1. Can delay or prevent diseases – It can reduce or prevent risk of heart attack or stroke. By just doing some walking, light exercise or even household work blood flow increases to the heart and boosts overall health. Research show that regular exercise is beneficial for many diseases such as arthritis, diabetes or hear disease. It can help keep cholesterol levels in check which in turn reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
2. Live longer – Regular exercise such as walking or swimming can increase life span by three to five years, according to World Health Organization.
3. Prevent falls – Falls can be prevented or reduced in seniors by regular exercise since it improves muscle and bone density. Falls are a major reason for broken hips and other injuries and causes disability and hospitalization for seniors.
4. Reduced risk of developing Dementia & Alzheimer’s – Exercise can delay or reduce the risk of developing dementia’s. Increased blood flow in the body due to exercise is beneficial to all parts of the body including the brain.
It is extremely important for seniors to have good nutrition. Poor nutrition can affect mind and the body. It can also cause a number of other health problems in seniors.
As we grow older, our metabolism slows down and burning calories gets harder. Our bodies may need more of certain nutrients. According to National Council On Aging (NCOA), a healthy meal should include;
1. Whole grains
2. Low-fat dairy,
3. Lean proteins and
4. Fruits and vegetables.
Tips for making meals & snacks easier for seniors:
1. If a senior is having difficulty in swallowing, moisten or mash food with milk or sauce.
2. Cut-up food into bite size pieces to make meals and/or snacks easier to eat.
3. For seniors that cannot add salt in their diet, substitute it for other herbs and flavors.
4. For seniors with not much appetite, caregivers can keep food nearby for easier snacking.
Eating Healthy After 50
1. Add fatty fish to your diet along with flax seeds and nuts since they may benefit heart and brain.
2. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
3. Add leafy green vegetables to your diet. Example spinach and kale.
4. Keep consumption of sugar and solid fats to a minimum. Example cookies, chips.
5. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of liquids. Avoid sugary drinks.
6. Eat fruits and vegetables.
7. Healthy diet should also include proteins, grains and dairy.
(Always check with your doctor regarding recommended foods to eat as well as servings due to various medical conditions)