Many senior citizens believe that the only time they should start caring for their health is when something goes wrong. While it’s undoubtedly important to know your body and to take notice of any changes, it’s just as essential to focus on the many healthy habits for elders that you can implement throughout your senior years. Not only will these routines help reduce your risk for developing a senior health issue, but they will also help you feel more youthful and energetic. Here is a list of five senior care routines that can help seniors stay healthy:
1. Exercise Three to Four Times per Week With Low Impact Workouts
Don’t underestimate the benefits of senior exercise. Multiple studies show a correlation between exercise and improved cognitive and physical functions. In fact, in one study from the Alzheimers Society of 716 people with an average age of 82 years, people in the bottom 10 percent for daily physical activity were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as those in the top 10 percent.
All senior citizens can benefit from a low-impact workout. This is a type of workout you can do without putting too much stress on your joints, which still helps your body. Some great low-impact activities include walking around your neighborhood, swimming, light yoga, and tai chi. Workouts like this will improve your strength and energy levels, prevent senior health issues such as muscle loss and improve your overall quality of life.
2. Maintain a Lean Body Mass Percentage (Avoid Being Underweight)
Many senior citizens make the mistake of not eating enough food. It can sometimes be difficult for senior citizens to eat a proper amount of food throughout the day, especially if they have trouble cooking for themselves. However, seniors should always strive to maintain a senior-appropriate body mass index.
Underweight senior citizens often have a number of health issues, including muscle loss, osteoporosis, a lower life expectancy, and an even higher risk of depression. However, this doesn’t mean that senior citizens should overeat, which is why it’s crucial to find a senior care routine that works for you.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet Consisting of Fruits, Vegetables, Proteins, and Grains
Another care routine that senior citizens should focus on is maintaining a healthy diet. Yes, this means avoiding unhealthy snacks, but it also means making sure you eat the right kinds of foods. The best senior diets consist of a mix of all four food groups, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains:
- Protein helps build muscles, which improves your strength and keeps your body healthy.
- Fruits are high in antioxidants that help fight off aging.
- Vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals that keep your body strong.
- Grains provide an extra dose of energy, while whole grains like brown rice and wholegrain bread provide additional nutrients.
Don’t feel like you have to give up all your favorite foods, though. Try making healthy swaps for unhealthy food items where you can. For example, replace regular pasta with wholegrain pasta. For seniors struggling with a loss of appetite, look into things that can help stimulate that.
4. Stay Hydrated by Drinking Six to Eight Glasses of Water per Day
Drinking plenty of water isn’t only good for your body, but it also helps you lead a more active life. If you’re not adequately hydrated, you may feel extra sluggish and unable to stay as active as you’d like. Water is essential to so many of the bodily functions that we often take for granted, including the transportation of nutrients, regulating body temperature, and eliminating waste through urination.
Many senior citizens don’t drink enough water because they don’t realize they’re thirsty. Dehydration is actually one of the most common reasons for hospitalization amongst elderly patients. One study found that 34% of nursing home patients admitted to the hospital were diagnosed with dehydration.
For these reasons, you must put a plan in place to ensure that you’re drinking at least six to eight glasses of water or other non-caffeinated drinks every day, which is roughly two liters. Try keeping a bottle of water by your side throughout the day, or invest in a water cooler. If you don’t like drinking plain water, try adding slices of fruit or cucumbers to infuse your water with extra flavor, but avoid adding high-sugar fruits such as pineapples and melons. Not only will this help keep you hydrated, but it will also help your body fight off senior health problems like urinary tract infections and constipation.
5. Sleep Seven to Nine Hours Each Night
Finally, make sure you’re getting enough sleep by sleeping seven to nine hours each night. Sleep is one of the most important parts of any care routine, even when you are young! It is a myth that sleep is something you can “skip” just because you’re a senior citizen. When you don’t get enough sleep, it doesn’t just make you feel tired the next day; it can also lead to several other issues, such as a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.
Establishing a good bedtime routine can help you get enough sleep each night. A good bedtime routine includes eating your dinner earlier in the day, avoiding caffeine after 6 pm, and doing some light reading before going to bed (not through an electronic device!). Additionally, make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool and that you have a comfortable mattress and pillow. Like many other seniors, if you need help sleeping at night, try taking sleep aids like melatonin supplements, magnesium, or herbal tea.
As you can see, making minor changes to your daily routine can make a big difference in how healthy you feel. By implementing these healthy habits for elders into your routine, you’ll be able to take control of your senior health while also making the most out of your older years. To learn about senior care options available to you, reach out to 24/7 Nursing Care, a leading provider of nursing care services in Miami. We can provide you with valuable senior care information and compassionate senior home care assistance that allows you to live safely and independently at home.