Age affects pretty much every part of the body at one time or another to some extent, and seniors often have other unique concerns as well. Still, there are ways to counteract or address the effects of aging and live a happy, rewarding, and productive life. Here are seven specific habits that can help seniors age well and achieve this goal.
1. Staying Positive
The Journal of the American Medical Association notes seniors with positive attitudes are more likely to recover from disabilities or illnesses than their counterparts with less optimistic views. This doesn’t mean seniors need to be happy all the time, but finding positive things to focus on can definitely be beneficial.
2. Eating Right
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest following a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies, healthy sources of carbs and starches, and low-fat dairy products is good for mind-body health for seniors. Also, Harvard Health cites research suggesting the Mediterranean diet, which includes whole grains, nuts, and red wine in moderation, may ward off premature death and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in older adults.
If your loved one needs assistance with planning and preparing nutritious meals, a home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Senior care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
3. Being Active
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, women, on average, may lose nearly 25 percent of their muscle mass between the ages of 30 and 70. Exercise can reduce the loss of muscle mass, and it naturally eases pain, regulates sleep patterns, eases stress, and maintains optimal spine, joint, and brain health. Fortunately, seniors have many options for staying fit, including:
• Walking, cycling, and stationary bike use
• Gardening, walking a dog, and other enjoyable activities
• Water-based activities
4. Protecting Skin
Aging skin is susceptible to damage from the sun’s rays because of age-related changes within skin tissues. Seniors are also at higher risk for skin cancer. The National Institutes of Health references a study in which 80 percent of skin cancer cases occurred in older adults. While sunlight is a good source of vitamin D, it’s typically safer for older adults to get this essential nutrient from dietary sources like fish, eggs, and fortified cereals or supplements.
5. Socializing Often
Friends and relatives can play an important role in keeping seniors engaged and involved. A study referenced in the journal PLOS Medicine is just one of many noting a link between longer life expectancy and social interaction. From exploring social media to joining book clubs or other interest-specific groups, there are many ways older adults can stay social and age well.
6. Getting Sufficient Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7–9 hours of sleep each night. But this sleep also needs to be high-quality sleep with no interruptions so the body can reap the rewards of the deeper, restorative stages of sleep. Insomnia has been associated with accelerated brain aging, so it’s also important for seniors to stick to regular sleep schedules, discuss any sleep-related issues with their doctors, and stay active during the day to minimize daytime napping.
Consider hiring a professional live-in caregiver if your loved one needs help maintaining good sleep hygiene. For many seniors in Richmond, VA, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
7. Reducing Stress
Excess stress and anxiety can affect an aging body physically and mentally. Because there are many potential sources of stress and worry for seniors, it can be helpful for older adults to get into the habit of being open about what’s concerning them. For instance, if there are concerns about limited mobility, home modifications may be a practical solution. Stress can also be addressed with yoga and other gentle forms of exercise or meditation and similar relaxation techniques.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Richmond families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (804) 207-4746 today.