January 11, 2019
By: Darleen Mahoney
A few simple precautions can help make your home or senior living community safe for you or your senior from dangerous falls.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the number one cause of injuries among Seniors. A person living with a cognitive impairment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s is two to three times more likely to experience a fall with serious injury than their cognitively intact counterparts. Injuries from falls in seniors are more detrimental as they may result in a more serious injury or even death. These more serious injuries can include hip fractures, cuts, serious head and brain injuries. Even when there is no serious injury, a fall can be very scary for a senior and cause them to avoid activities out of fear of falling.
Due to the high risk of falls associated with this population, creating a safe home environment and living space is extremely critical.
You can make your home safe from falls with a few basic changes. It does not have to be a complete house remodel; a few simple tweaks can make a big impact.
The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in a home. Falls often occur when getting in and out of the tub or shower. Grab bars are an essential part of any Senior’s bathroom. Grab bars reduce the risk of slipping and falling. Grab bars are inexpensive and simple to install. If you have concerns about the appearance of installing grab bars in your home and want to maintain a certain aesthetic appeal, Grabcessories.com offers beautiful safety grab bars that blend right in to your living space. Their products completely blend into a bathroom design while providing a safe environment. They offer 2-in-1 Fall prevention systems disguising grab bars as bath accessories. These fall prevention accessories are not only available for homes but cater to senior living communities as well.
Other important tips to make the rest of a home or assisted living community safer is:
• Removing any tripping hazards – fix any loose carpet, throw away rugs, remove furniture that may block or make maneuvering around a space more difficult.
• Clutter – A neat home free of clutter can help prevent a fall
• Lighting – Inadequate lighting, especially for seniors who may have poor eyesight or may be unsteady, can be detrimental to a senior living space
• Foot wear – While socks and slippers may be the most comfortable, its important to make sure that they are non-slip. If possible, encourage them to wear something with a rubber sole.
• Non-slip flooring – Add non-slip linings to tubs and showers
Falls among seniors are a serious problem and a bad fall can have a huge impact on an otherwise healthy and independent senior. The good news is that falls can be prevented. Following the simple guidelines and doing a little planning can significantly reduce the threat of a fall, giving you or your loved ones many more years of independent living.
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November 19, 2018
Christmas can be a very overwhelming time for someone living with dementia. A sudden influx of friends and family can cause individuals to feel stressed, agitated and confused. Active Minds outline their top tips for supporting your loved one through the overwhelming Christmas period, whilst ensuring you enjoy a magical festive time together.
This will help the day run as smoothly as possible, ensuring that both you and your loved ones enjoy the festivities without a hitch.
- Create a schedule, ensure celebrations are planned for earlier in the day to avoid tiredness or agitation.
- Speak to friends and family in advance about plans, and make sure everyone works together to ensure elderly members feel included and part of conversations.
- It may be a good idea to familiarise extended family members with any behavioral changes that they may expect to view in the person with dementia.
- A person with dementia can find large groups intimidating so keep invitations to a minimum.
- Familiarise you loved one with the guests in preparation for the event, talk about them and show pictures of everyone who will be coming.
- Have a quiet room set up where your loved one can go if things become a bit too much, with some activities that can help them relax.
- Plan some simple family activities and games that are inclusive to all generations.
Eating and Drinking
Food and drink plays a big part of Christmas. It’s important to think about eating and dietary requirements for elderly relatives as rather often older party members may have particular needs.
- Those with dementia may struggle to eat for many of reasons, such as a lack of appetite. So it’s best to avoid overloading their plate with Christmas Dinner, as this can be a daunting prospect.
- Keep alcohol to a minimum to avoid arguments or accidents that can agitate a person with dementia.
- Try where possible to serve food that is familiar to your loved one as this will help them feel comfortable and relaxed and may even spark memories and conversation.
- Sometimes people with dementia experience problems with vision. To avoid confusion, place colour-contrasting rugs in front of doors or steps to make sure they are visible (dark coloured rugs may be mistaken for holes).
- If the house is unfamiliar to your loved one, place labels on doors to help them move around easily.
- If possible, limit access to places where injury could occur, such as kitchens or staircases.
- Keep a list of emergency contacts nearby.
- If staying the night, leave lights on in case your loved one gets confused if they get up during the night.
Take time for yourself
Caregivers often struggle trying to balance Christmas plans and looking after their loved ones, meaning it can be an incredibly stressful time of year, so you must make sure you take some time for yourself.
- Pace yourself and set realistic goals so you don’t overstretch.
- Assign another member of the family to also be on hand to ensure that your loved one is ok and comfortable, so the job isn’t entirely your responsibility.
- You may want to have a respite care plan put in place to begin shortly after the festivities have ended. This would ensure to give yourself a well-deserved break.
- Be proud of yourself – Christmas can be a tough time for both a person with dementia and their carer.
If you have an elderly relative or friend that’s not spending Christmas with you, regular phone calls can help elderly people not feel isolated or lonely. Although this can be a very busy time of year, try and make time for a visit, even if it’s only brief, as this will be hugely beneficial for them.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the giving and receiving of gifts. Choosing gifts for people with dementia isn’t always easy, so we’ve put together a few ideas which make the perfect present.
- A DVD of a classic film or TV series from their past, the film may help to spark memories.
- There are jigsaw puzzles available which are created especially for someone with dementia, including illustrations which can encourage reminiscence and conversation, perfect as a stimulating gift.
- Make a memory book or photo album full of special times spent together. Not only will you be creating something that you can enjoy with your loved one, this will be a reminiscent gift, that your family member can pick up and look at any time they want.
- Giving your loved one a board game to enjoy with everyone is a great gift. Active Minds have developed special dementia friendly games such as Animal Bingo and a specially adapted version of Snakes and Ladders.
- Colouring books are a relaxing activity to help a person unwind and focus, as well as giving a sense of satisfaction once the colouring is completed.
Activities are one of the most effective ways to keep people with dementia calm and content over the Christmas period, visit Active Minds to take a look at their resources and activities suitable for those with dementia.
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November 15, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Oh, the holidays! The season where everything is jolly, trees are twinkling, children’s eyes are glistening, and tables are surrounded by family’s laughter and love. This is not necessarily the case for everyone, especially for seniors. As seniors age, they may no longer feel like celebrating the holidays anymore. For them the holidays may take on a different meaning and can make them sad, depressed or feel anxious. A few key indicators of (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder, may be unusual fatigue or sadness or little interest in the holiday season in general.
There may be different triggers that may cause these feelings of melancholy over the holidays. Digging deep into the heart of the matter with a frank conversation will help you to make sure that your loved one has a more joyous holiday season.
Seniors may reflect on holidays past, struggling to find the joys in the present. It’s okay to treasure those old memories and keep them in a special place in their heart. Its also okay to enjoy the present holiday and find joy in making new memories.
The death of a loved one during the holidays can also be a trigger. Even if the loss occurred many years ago, it brings up memories of the loss itself bringing on feelings of grief and emptiness. There may be guilt if they are having a good time.
Take the time to talk through how your loved one is feeling and let them know that their feelings are normal. Everyone grieves in their own way. Ask them what their wishes are to help them handle it as you acknowledge their feelings together.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Light a candle in memorial
- Place the person’s picture in a special place
- Family dinner where everyone shares a special memory
Stress is another factor that can cause depression and/or anxiety among seniors. Pressure from family and friends to attend holiday celebrations the same way or differently than in the past. Keeping a senior occupied with the festivities of the season may very well be therapeutic, but nothing can ruin a holiday occasion faster than having so much to do that that you can’t enjoy the holiday. The idea of baking, decorating, shopping and all the traditions that are enjoyable may become overwhelming if overscheduled. Prioritize what is important and be realistic. Focus on what you and your loved ones need rather than what others expect of you.
Financial pressures can also cause depression for seniors on limited budgets. Not only are they purchasing gifts, but additional holidays meals and their heating expenses tend to increase. This season is an overall expensive time of year. Reminding your loved one that it truly is the thought that counts when it comes to gift giving and here are a few suggestions:
- Baked Goods
- Drawing Names
- Handmade Gifts
- Passing Down Family Heirlooms
Keep in mind that there is a difference between the holiday blues and depression. If you feel that your loved one is experiencing something more than the blues, seek the advice of a professional.
Perhaps the most effective cure to the holiday blues is a few simple physical gestures of affection such as a hug or holding a loved one’s hand. These simple acts can reduce stress, anxiety, while bringing joy and love to both of you.
As a caregiver or family member of a senior suffering with the holiday blues, make it your mission to get involved. You can make a significant difference and lessen the holiday blues for your loved ones for a more enjoyable holiday season for all.
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October 25, 2018
Courtesy of Hazel Bridges
Most of us know we could be making healthier choices, and we have some understanding of how these could help us in old age. Now that you are a senior, you may start feeling like you missed your chance. This is not the case, however, and you are never too old to take control of your health habits and start working toward a better quality of life. Here are a few simple ways to do that.
According to the CDC, the benefits of exercise as a senior include improved stamina, bone health, muscle mass, and reduced risk of injury. There is some evidence that it also improves cognitive skills such as remembering words. By regularly working out, you increase your ability to live independently, keep up with grandchildren, and generally make the most of your golden years.
You don’t have to take up a whole new sport or get into anything particularly intense. You can adjust your activity to your level of fitness and to any injuries you have. Some seniors choose to join a class where they can meet new people and have an excuse to get out the house. Learn something new, like tai chi or water aerobics, or join a walking group to socialize with other seniors from the neighborhood.
If that doesn’t sound like your thing, there are also plenty of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. If you need equipment, a basic set of dumbbells and resistance bands can allow you to do a variety of strength workouts, which are incredibly beneficial in terms of muscle and bone strength. A yoga mat helps you stretch safely and comfortably, which can keep you flexible and improve circulation. Whatever you choose, consider investing in a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, which can help you monitor your progress. Check out iMore’s guide to Fitbits for seniors to choose the best one for you.
Eat Well — and Switch Things Up
It’s incredibly important to eat a healthy diet later in life. You may have heard that your metabolism slowing will have impacted your body’s ability to burn calories, but the truth is that this doesn’t make that big a difference. You should still focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats while avoiding sugar and processed foods. Any other specific requirements will depend on your body. Talk to your doctor to see if you could use more of a specific nutrient in your diet, such as calcium or iron.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from some kind of mental health disorder. Many of the conversations around old age and mental health revolve around dementia because it tends to occur in older adults. This awareness is important; however, it is also worth remembering that other, more common forms of mental illness also affect seniors.
This includes depression and anxiety, which could be caused by a variety of factors associated with old age. Staying active, eating well, and socializing regularly are key to promoting good mental health, with the latter in particular being essential. Seniors who report feeling lonely and isolated have an increased risk of physical and mental decline and dying earlier. If you feel your social circle is not satisfying you, join a class or group that can help you meet people. It is never too late to make new friends.
As you get older, it can be easy to feel like your quality of life is set to inevitably decline. However, it is important to remember that many of the health issues associated with old age are preventable through a few key lifestyle changes. You can enjoy a fulfilling and exciting life in your golden years as long as you commit to taking control of your physical and mental well-being.
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October 18, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
As the hot days of summer fade away and the leaves begin to change and the weather gets crisp, the season of fall is most welcome. Fall is not the only season that arrives in October, but a most unwelcoming season arrives as well…. flu season. Flu season is most active between October thru May. As this season is upon us, its important to be proactive in flu prevention, symptoms and treatment. The flu season is not the only season you want to experience, but the one you want to avoid.
While a flu diagnosis is serious regardless of age, a flu diagnosis in Seniors carries greater risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adults 65 and older are at greater risk of complications from the flu because they may have weakened immune systems. The CDC estimates that between 70%-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths and 54%-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in those over the age of 65.
A flu vaccine is the best option in flu prevention. It is recommended that Seniors and their caregivers receive the flu shot every year. The best time to get a flu shot is October thru November, so mark your calendars! The CDC reports that the flu vaccination may reduce the risk of getting the flu by 40-60%. The CDC recommends that even Seniors with weakened immune systems receive the vaccines, the vaccine can still protect against the illness and can weaken the flu strain if the immune suppressed Senior comes in contact with the flu virus.
Other ways to avoid getting the flu:
- Washing hands and wrists/ Hand sanitizer when more convenient
- Avoiding people who are sick
- Get plenty of rest
- Eat healthy, boost immunity
- Getting exercise-this could reduce your risk by a third
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth-this is how the germs enter the body
- Sanitize your Mobile devices
- Adding Vitamin C-Boost your immune system
The onset of flu symptoms can happen very quickly, some people developing symptoms one to four days after exposure to the virus. Seniors may develop the flu and their symptoms look very different than typical flu patients. Therefore, Seniors who have the flu are misdiagnosed or delayed in their diagnosis and therefore can progress into a more serious health problem. Most flu symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees, many Seniors with the flu do not have a fever, cough, or a sore throat.
Symptoms in a Senior may include:
- General discomfort, knowing something is clearly wrong
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Flu-like symptoms that get better and then worse
- Swollen mouth/throat
If you’re over the age of 65 and experience any of these symptoms, visit your physician right away to reduce the potential risk of a flu diagnosis. If you see your doctor within the first 48 hours, your doctor may prescribe you an antiviral medication. When taken at the onset of the flu, this medication can reduce the symptoms and the severity of your illness.
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September 6, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Nutrition is important at any stage of life, but seniors even more so as their nutritional needs change. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is necessary for health, overall wellbeing, and vitality. Many seniors may suffer from physical health issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s, mood, and/or diabetes. Many of these can be improved with daily nutrition.
Many older adults lack basic vitamins that are especially important to aging bodies:
- Calcium and Vitamin D-needed for bone health, as we age less calcium is absorbed
- Vitamin B12
Pro-active planning for nutritional and delicious meals for a senior may seem like a lot of work on the front end but in the long run may take away the stress of making a variety of meals every night that should to be healthy and nutritious. Seniors need to eat on a schedule, they are very routine oriented especially if there is any cognitive decline. Routines for those suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s can improve their day to day moods and irritability.
While the idea of meal planning may seem daunting, check out these positives:
- Saves Time (all meals completed in one day)
- Saves Money
While a meal of broiled chicken, steamed broccoli, and brown rice is healthy, you probably won’t have too may asking for seconds. Most Seniors are going to opt for a tasty dish over a healthy dish, they also have diminished olfactory senses with impacts seniors interest in food. In other words, if it doesn’t tickle their taste buds, they will be significantly less inclined to eat a meal.
Now, I mentioned that meal planning can save time. This you will find interesting and requires organization in the beginning. This can be accomplished by utilizing a few cookbooks that are tried and true with recipes that are delicious, healthy and time saving. They must also be easy to follow and uncomplicated. Once you have chosen your cookbooks, code your recipes with colored stickies by which ones are around 20 minutes prep time and protein/vegetable. Develop a meal planning sheet or utilize a Google Meal Planning Doc for 3-4 weeks of meals. Once these have been completed, you can reuse them ongoing week after week. Keeping in mind that a variety is as important as taste, rotating a schedule for example: Chicken, Fish, Beef, Fish, Chicken, Vegetarian, Fish to ensure 3 out of 7 days of fish and only one beef day.
How does meal planning save money? How many times do you “run” to the grocery store? If you are planning ahead with less trips to the grocery store, you are saving money. For example: if you “run” to the grocery store to pick up a lemon for a recipe, do you ever just come home with a lemon?
If you are thinking that this all sounds amazing, but time is truly not on your side. There are other options to consider in food delivery services specializing in the dietary needs of senior adults and more generic health or whole foods centric that offer meal delivery right to your front door. These services may be found online by doing some your research.
As a Senior may transition over from an aging in place environment and meal planning is no longer an option; nutrition, healthy eating, and tasty food should still be an important factor in considering any type of Senior community or Assisted Living. So, taking into consideration the Senior community or facilities dietary offerings is as important as any other amenities. When you begin your research, visit us online at SeniorLivingGuide.com to check out the different menus, Chef’s, and dining options available at Senior communities at any location where you may want to make your next reservation. Bon Appetit!
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August 30, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The elder abuse epidemic that continues to climb in this country is rarely addressed but is alarming. In the United States, more than a half a million elder abuse are reported while its estimated that millions more go unreported. Understanding the many faces of what elder abuse look like are the best forms of education on prevention. The more informed you are, the more you can do to protect yourself. Elder abuse is actual physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. These can be caused by neglect, abandonment, or isolation. Elder abuse is also found in identity theft and/or taking advantage of an elderly person financially.
The emotional treatment or psychological pain of older adults includes:
- Yelling and Screaming through intimidation
Elder abuse can truly happen to anyone and the abuser could be a friend, family member, caregiver or a stranger. Many times, emotional abuse is conducted by the caregiver. For many caregivers a support system should be in place to help avoid this type of scenario.
Seniors that can be more vulnerable to elder abuse are one’s that live alone. If you live alone, do not isolate yourself and continue to be social with your family and friends. Get involved in your church, local community events, volunteering or senior centers. Keeping your mind sharp and being physically fit will help make you less of a target and vulnerable to elder abuse as well.
The most reported form of elder abuse is financial. You must limit the amount of information that you share with people, including on social media and personal information that you are filling out online. When you receive your bank and credit card statements, review them carefully to make sure that they are correct. Do not just throw documents in the trash, make sure that you shred all your important documents that have any personal information on them; including social security numbers, banking numbers, and any other personal information.
Everyone deserves to live in safety, security with respect and dignity. If you suspect that a senior or elderly person is at risk from neglect or is being abused, or preyed upon financially, speak up. To report abuse, many states have Elder Abuse hotlines or call your local law enforcement. Learn more about signs, prevention and how you can help educate and those abused at elderabuse.org .
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August 21, 2018
Courtesy of Hazel Bridges
If you’ve ever laughed because your grandparents or elderly parents eat dinner at 4:30 p.m. so they can be in bed by 8:00 p.m., you may be unaware that physiological changes brought on by age may cause older adults to sleep less and on a different schedule than they used to. They may be up several times a night and sleep a lot during the day, but experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep each night regardless of age.
If insomnia or some other cause of sleep deprivation is at fault, it needs to be addressed with strategies aimed at making it easier to get to sleep. There are many tips for improving your ability to sleep, and often the simplest ones are the most effective.
A good soak in a warm bath can help lower your body temperature and heart rate enough to make you feel sleepy. It’s a relaxing, soothing way to wind down as bedtime approaches, and scented bath salts can help augment the effect. It’s worth a try, especially if you’re used to pacing the floor and watching late-night television for hours on end.
Create a good sleep space
Setting up a proper sleep environment is essential for improving your night’s rest. That means keeping the bedroom dark, cool (about 72 degrees), and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains if light from outside is a problem, or turning on a source of white noise, such as a phone app or a floor fan, to create a constant source of masking sound so the neighbor’s dog or passing motorcycles don’t jar you awake. Establish your bed as a place for sleeping only and try not to go to bed until you feel tired.
Seniors who suffer from sleep deprivation often make the mistake of getting in bed whether they’re tired or not. Avoid vigorous physical activity an hour or two before bedtime and turn off all electronic devices, including the computer and television, at least an hour before going to bed. Winding down is about easing your mind and getting ready for sleep. Reading a book and listening to soothing music or a CD with sounds from nature can sometimes help overcome insomnia.
The more you sleep during the day, the harder it may be to nod off at night and get the REM sleep your body needs. While napping is something many seniors enjoy during the golden years, don’t let it wreak havoc on your sleep. However, you should avoid taking stimulants during the day to stay awake if you’re used to napping, as they can affect your sleep at night as well. If necessary, establish a sleep routine in which you go to bed earlier than usual each night.
Avoid food and alcohol at night
It can be hard to sleep when your body is digesting, so avoid eating a meal or heavy snacks close to bedtime. Alcohol can also have an unsettling effect at night time and produce repeated trips to the bathroom. For the same reason, it’s a good idea to avoid drinking a lot of water before going to bed.
Regular physical activity which increases your heart rate and metabolism will work to your advantage at bedtime. Walking, jogging, bicycling, or yoga can work your muscles and limbs enough to create a natural and healthy fatigue by bedtime, and are all safe and low-impact forms of exercise that are perfect for seniors. Avoid any such activity within three hours of going to bed so that you have time to come wind down and relax.
Sleep testing and Medicare
Sleep studies help doctors identify disorders and fashion treatment strategies for patients with chronic sleep problems. Such testing measures information while you sleep that can help in fashioning a diagnosis. Medicare may pay for “medically necessary” testing for seniors, while Medicare Part B may cover tests and devices ordered by a doctor to diagnose sleep apnea. Medicare may also cover a three-month trial for CPAP therapy.
Finding a way to get the sleep you need can be as simple as getting more exercise, or it could involve medical testing and a diagnosis requiring specialized treatment. In either event, it’s worth getting restful sleep that helps keep your body healthy and your mind sharp.
Photo Courtesy of Pexels.com.
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July 27, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Its happening, you are making the move from your family home and familiar neighborhood and friends to a retirement community, either active or assisted living. You have worked very hard to make sure that you are making wise decisions and you know what you want or need in the place you will be moving. You know that one of the main ingredients that you need for yourself is to continue to be as active and social as possible. You know that you need to make new friends in your new living environment, as this is important to you. The good news is that it’s very possible.
For older adults, new environments and living spaces, new routines and new faces can be reason enough to become isolated from people and things that they enjoy, become lonely and feel depressed.
It’s important to acknowledge this as a possibility before making the move. Planning ahead to make an effort to meet and interact with the other residents is important prior to the move. Look at the calendar of events and outings. Go ahead and sign up for activities and clubs. Keep your commitments!
There are also other ways to meet new friends daily that share the same common interests. Check out the following:
- Hobby focused groups
- Book Clubs
- Watch TV with groups vs. privately
- Run errands with groups-Ex: grocery store
- Support Groups-Ex: emotional, medical
If your community offers welcoming events for new residents, attend the event! Each new resident needs the same love and support that you did when you first arrived. If you don’t feel that you had a welcoming environment, be the one that makes the change! You never know who you are going to meet. You don’t want to miss out!
Be informed of what resources that you have at your disposal and take advantage of them. If you have a special interest and its not available, find out if you can start a new group.
If you feel like you are taking these steps on your own and you’re still struggling to make friends, confide in a caregiver to see if they can provide a solution. If you prefer, confide in a family member or someone that you feel comfortable talking about your struggle seeking their advice.
Actively taking steps to make new friends can be exhilarating and stressful at the same time. Maintaining healthy friendships in retirement is good for your mental and emotional health. It can help with anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Be happy and find your new found lifelong friendships in retirement!
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July 16, 2018
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Courtesy of Janet Campbell
When you’re tending seniors, you want to provide the best possible care to ensure the best quality of life. In order to be effective and efficient it can help to create a checklist, whether mentally or physically, of the areas you should discuss on a daily basis. Follow these important guidelines to ensure you’re covering the crucial aspects of your senior’s care and making the most of home health care visits.
Sleep. As we grow older, getting sufficient sleep is an area in which many seniors struggle. It’s also an area that can have ramifications in other parts of life, contributing to a variety of mental and physical health concerns. According to The Guardian lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, reduced ability to focus, poor memory and a shorter life span.
For seniors, the concerns are even more far-reaching, with some studies showing poor sleep quality contributing to dementia, depression and the decline of other mental faculties. These together can be a slippery slope. With health concerns mounting, some feeding each other such as obesity contributing to sleep apnea and heart disease, depression can then worsen, sleep can worsen and a vicious circle can quickly develop.
There are many ways to encourage better sleep quality. One idea is to establish a bedtime routine including a warm, relaxing bath to help unwind. Sunlight can help trigger healthy body rhythms, so spending time in the outdoors during the day can also be a boon. Physical activity can also help seniors sleep, so long as they avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime. Also offer an appropriate sleep environment, free of noise and lights. Seniors should have a comfortable bed that alleviates pain as well. For those who wake up groggy or achy, consider upgrading to a new mattress better suited for an aging body’s needs. It is best to replace your mattress every seven to eight years to get a good night’s sleep. If you dream of reducing the number of times you toss and turn each night, refer to this guide to choose a comfortable mattress.
Diet. Meeting a senior’s nutritional needs is another key way to enhance quality of life. As we age the body’s metabolism gradually slows, and as some experts point out this can mean less calories burned. Seniors should opt for foods that are nutritionally dense instead of consuming empty calories. The diet should be tapered down according to need, rather than adding the nutrient-dense choices.
The diet choices should be simple, satisfying and nutritious. Plates should be half-filled with fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be the source of at least half of the grain choices. Whole grains include foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereals and whole grain breads. Seniors should avoid consuming excessive amounts of sodium. The diet should include healthy fat sources such as nuts, avocados, vegetable fats and fatty fish. Protein sources should include eggs, chicken, fish, beans and nuts.
Exercise. Getting sufficient exercise is another key component in maintaining good quality of life for seniors. OnHealth explains loss of muscle mass associated with aging contributes to the metabolic decline in seniors. Staying fit helps keep muscles and bones strong, helps maintain a healthy weight, and helps maintain or restore balance. Seniors who stay active can reduce their risk for health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, obesity and back pain. A senior fitness program can enhance flexibility, memory function and improve mood as well.
Seniors can begin exercising at any age but should discuss a new exercise program with their physicians. Scheduling sessions can help stay on track, and celebrating progress can be an encouragement. Seniors should include aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises in their regimen. Gentle chair yoga is a good option for many seniors new to exercise.
Easing a worried heart. Has your senior been fixated or overly worried about life lately? Chatting lightly can begin loosening up a senior who has become wound too tight about the ups and downs of life. First and foremost you must listen – most folks benefit from a sympathetic ear even if their listener doesn’t give them a solution to their problem. But if there are recurring issues then you could begin gently guiding them to take some action towards acceptance, no matter how small it might be. It could be as simple as some advance planning for the inevitable, or volunteering part time.
Better health, better life. Helping a senior maintain a good quality of life is paramount. Check off these three things when visiting seniors: Ensure seniors get sufficient sleep, enjoy a healthy diet and participate in an exercise program. Make the most of home visits with these simple guidelines.
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