Celebrating “Healthy Aging Month”- Tips for Seniors & Caregivers
While scientists continue their research on finding ways to slow the aging process, they have discovered numerous ways of improving the chances of maintaining optimal health as people age.
Taking care of your physical health involves staying active, getting adequate sleep, making healthy food choices, and limiting your alcohol intake. Science proves that small changes in these areas can go a long way in supporting healthy aging.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the most incredible wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
September is Healthy Aging Month and is designated to drive national attention to the positive aspects of aging. This campaign was established 15 years ago to help individuals become more aware of their physical & mental well-being, diet, financial situations, and social skills that contribute to successful aging.
In the month of September, senior home care professionals encourage the elderly to act on how they feel and not act their age. Let’s inspire seniors to care for their well-being as they age with a healthy body (active body) and the healthiest mind (sound mental health).
Professionals exclaim that there are several ways of using Healthy Aging Month as an inspiration to celebrate life and help individuals gain a positive outlook on their life. While genetics play a crucial role when it comes to aging, the elderly and caregivers can take some steps to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
What are the Tips to Make the Most of the “Healthy Aging Month?”
During healthy aging month, home care experts can give seniors and caregivers tips to improve their physical, mental, financial, and social well-being. It is not too late to take charge of your health, after all!
Read on to discover more:
Healthy Aging Tips for Older Adults
Older family members need to pay special attention to their health as they age—the risk of chronic diseases increase when individuals reach a certain age. Seniors become susceptible to health issues like dementia, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and arthritis. However, the good news is that seniors can live longer and healthier lives by adopting key behaviors. It’s never too late to start creating healthy habits.
Here’s what family members and caregivers can do to help older adults manage their health, live independently, and lead a quality life as they age:
- Prevent social isolation: As people age, they spend more time alone. Death of a partner, poor health, and dependency on others can make them socially isolated. Scheduling daily or weekly phone calls or helping them join groups/organizations like a garden club or a walking group may help.
- Promote physical activity: The reasons for making physical activity a part of your elderly’s life are endless. Exercise works wonders in improving balance, reducing the risk of falls, enhancing sleep, and reducing anxiety & depression, among other factors. Mix up activities in their exercise regime that includes strength training, flexibility, aerobics, and balance to maintain healthy living.
- Encourage healthy eating: Healthy eating is as crucial as exercise as it helps support muscles and strengthens bones. Encourage the elderly in your life to eat a nutritious diet that consists of various fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains to boost immunity.
- Schedule Regular Check-ups: Seniors need to have regular health checks. These routine medical screenings may reduce the risk of high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Behavioral changes in the elderly can be complex and may take time to heal. However, if you are committed to helping your older loved ones adopt a healthier lifestyle, patience is the key. Make sure to have a plan B if one approach isn’t working.
Your support and encouragement can go a long way in making a difference.
5 Ways for Caregivers to Stay Healthy While Caring for a Loved One
One essential thing that tends to skip caregivers’ minds is taking time for themselves while caring for others. Caregivers should make this a conscious effort to spend a portion of their day doing something they enjoy like taking a walk, binge-watching their favorite show on Netflix, or weeding the garden.
Caring for yourself can be one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. Feeling better from within can be the starting step towards providing better care to others.
Take note of these simple steps to ensure that you find the time and resources to take care of yourself:
- Indulge in Regular Physical Activity: As a caregiver, you may indulge in regular exercise that can boost your energy levels even in small increments. Exercise may reduce stress, help you maintain a healthy weight, and keep your cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels. Walking is another excellent way of getting started, even if it is only about taking a walk around the block.
Studies show that walking for at least 2 hours per week reduces the likelihood of premature death by 39%-54%.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: The demands of senior caregiving may often make caregivers forget about healthy eating. As a caregiver, you should prioritize a healthy diet as it will give them more energy and prevent many health problems. If you don’t have time to prepare a meal, grab some nutritious snacks so that you’re able to eat even during a busy schedule.
- Make Time for Yourself: The demands of senior caregiving are extremely daunting at times. Making time for yourself can be a great way for rejuvenation. You can indulge in activities you enjoy, like reading, crafts, cooking, listening to music, or walking. It’s all about making yourself happy and relaxed, as it can be therapeutic.
- Think Positive and Stay Connected with the Outside World: Take time to refresh your mind, and recognize your limitations, as going beyond your limits may lead to depression. Do not forget to appreciate yourself for the difficult job you’re doing. If the feelings of anger or guilt take over, make sure to take a break. Staying connected to friends and family can go a long way in relaxing you.
- Keep Humor in your Life: “Laughter is good medicine” is rightly said. Try to find humor in your life by watching a silly movie or going to see a film that gives you a dose of laughter. You can also find things you can laugh about with your loved ones.
Caregiving is not always easy for anyone- neither the care recipient nor the caregiver. While many adjustments and sacrifices are involved in caring for the elderly, caregivers must cater to their own physical and mental well-being needs.
According to research, caregiver burnout is real, and depression symptoms may negatively affect up to 70 percent of caregivers.
Leading a healthy and active life is the best gift you can give yourself. Staying physically & mentally active and nurturing social connections can go a long way in being part of the bigger picture and keeping yourself well.
For Healthy Aging Month, this September, focus on creating healthier habits for yourself and for the elderly loved ones you care for.
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