As we age, our ability to protect ourselves and fight off infections sometimes diminishes. This is especially true for seniors with chronic health conditions that might limit their ability to independently stay active or even eat a good variety of foods. As cold and flu season approaches, it’s important to consider how to keep the seniors in our lives healthy. Sometimes, taking just a few simple steps can make a world of difference. Salus Homecare San Gabriel Valley provides this advice to help.
Good nutrition helps to keep the body strong and prepared to fight off infections. As much as possible, encourage your aging loved one to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy grains. Limit processed and high sugar foods. If preparing meals is difficult, consider freezer prepping meals that your loved one can easily heat up each day. Alternately, hire a homecare professional to help with meal preparation and keep your loved one company while they eat. If your loved one has swallowing difficulties or missing teeth that make it difficult to chew, consider offering smoothies, soups or pureed foods as an option.
Mindful Stress Management
Stress is proven to impact the immune system and make us more susceptible to getting sick. To help combat stress, encourage your loved one to practice simple meditation. Even staring out a window and taking some deep breaths can help. Chair yoga or a walk in the park are other options that can relieve stress and help the mind to refocus.
When we exercise, the body gets stronger. This makes activity an important component in staying healthier and fighting off infections. Exercise also helps to raise the core body temperature which some researchers believe helps to fight off infection. It increases oxygen flow and helps white blood cells to travel faster throughout the body too. Exercise does not have to be complicated. Chair exercises, walking or swimming are great options for seniors with physical limitations. If necessary, work with a physical therapist to come up with an exercise plan that is right for your loved one.
There are some lifestyle tips we can also use to keep our loved ones healthy. If you’re around a senior and you cough, cover your mouth. Encourage your loved one to get vaccinated, and vaccinate yourself too. Wash your hands regularly. Prepare food safely. If you know you’re sick, stay away. Do this even if that means calling in professional help to provide support for your loved one until you are ready to resume caregiver activities.
Helping your aging loved one to stay healthy increases their chances of aging in place and enjoying a long and rewarding life. Taking just a few simple steps really can help. Follow this advice. If you need additional support, Salus Homecare San Gabriel Valley is always her to help. Contact us to discuss your loved one’s needs and get started on developing a personalized plan of care.