Growing older often means dealing with new health challenges and mobility issues every day. Coming to terms with those changes can be difficult when they’re happening to someone you care about.
If your loved one is starting to worry about their independence, figuring out how to help them is an immediate priority. Healthy aging is possible as long as your loved one does what they can to support that healthy aging process.
What Promotes Healthy Aging?
What is healthy aging? It’s the process of getting older while doing what you can to lessen certain health risks that might worsen existing health issues. To promote healthy aging, you need to help your loved one create healthy habits and follow them every day.
These 10 tips for healthy aging will help your loved one maintain their wellbeing as they grow older.
1. The Power of Exercise
Exercise is one of the best things older individuals can do to maintain their health, mental clarity and mobility. However, the focus of exercise may not be what you think. Rather than working up a sweat, your loved one should focus on moving and doing exercises that build functional strength, increase balance, improve circulation and maintain a healthy weight.
Exercises like walking or swimming can help your loved one regain or build their strength without putting their joints at risk for injury. At Elmcroft, our team is happy to help your loved one experience the benefits of exercise in a safe and controlled environment.
2. The Importance of Understanding Family Medical History
Some seniors are at higher risk for certain diseases and health conditions based on their family medical history. When you’re looking for health tips for elderly family members, the best thing you can do is to review your family’s medical history.
If you see a pattern of relatives coming down with the same health conditions, mention it to your loved one’s doctor. They can help watch for symptoms and may be able to establish a treatment plan to prevent those conditions in the first place.
3. What Foods Seniors Should Avoid
One of the most effective healthy aging tips for seniors is to avoid foods that sabotage their health. Processed ingredients, fast food, excessive amounts of alcohol and sugar can all contribute to aging and may impact your loved one’s health.
At Elmcroft, we take care to provide your loved one with healthy, nutrient-dense foods designed to keep them happy and healthy.
4. Keeping Seniors’ Immune Systems Strong
The immune system works to fight off diseases and viruses that keep people from living their best lives. But it needs help to work effectively and it’s possible to boost seniors' immune systems each day.
Encourage your loved one to take immune-boosting supplements as recommended by their doctor. Help them get enough exercise and find ways to minimize stress. This will help keep their immune systems working as well as possible.
5. Why Sleep Matters
The body naturally heals and recovers after periods of activity while you’re sleeping. And just because your loved one isn’t as active as they once were doesn’t mean they don’t need rest and recovery every day.
Make sure your loved one is getting enough sleep each night. Talk to them about their sleep habits and find out if there’s anything you can do to help them sleep better throughout the night.
White noise machines, medications, therapy and changes in diet can all help your loved one sleep better and wake more rested.
6. Stay Connected to Others
Your loved one’s mental health plays an important role in their physical health. And one of the best ways to help keep their spirits up is to make sure they’re staying connected to others. Try to call, write or video chat with your loved one when you can’t visit in person. If they have friends outside of the assisted living community, try to schedule get-togethers whenever you can.
At Elmcroft, we encourage our residents to build relationships with each other and create lasting friendships. We do this by offering many senior living activities and events each week.
7. Engage the Mind
Every senior’s mind needs to be challenged every once in a while. Brain games, puzzles, crosswords and even board games engage the mind and make your loved one think in different ways. This can help seniors age while maintaining more of their memory and recall abilities.
8. Lower Stress Levels
Stress doesn’t just hurt your loved one’s mental health. It can also hurt their physical health and leads to a lower quality of life as they grow older. If you can, try to find ways to help your loved one de-stress.
If they have a special hobby that helps them relax, make sure they have access to the tools they need for it. If they like getting out in nature, try to take them on walks around the landscaped grounds when you visit.
Remember, stress relieving activities can be incredibly simple and affordable. The key lies in making sure your loved one engages in those activities whenever possible.
9. Make Dental Care a Priority
Unfortunately, a lifetime of use can damage teeth beyond repair unless your loved one prioritizes their dental care. Also, gum disease and tooth decay increase your loved one’s risk of certain diseases and health conditions if they get too severe.
At Elmcroft, our staff will help make sure your loved one stays on top of their regular brushing and flossing each day. But you’ll still want to schedule regular checkups with your loved one’s dentist to make sure their teeth and gums stay healthy.
10. Take Medications as Directed
Doctor-prescribed medications are designed to help your loved one manage any underlying health issues so they can stay as well as possible for as long as possible. When your loved one is at Elmcroft, our staff will make sure they receive their medications on time every day. But it’s still a good idea to talk to your loved one about their medications and their habits.
Explain the importance of taking their medications and answer any questions they might have. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, schedule an appointment with their doctor and let them explain everything in detail.
Stay Fit and Healthy at Elmcroft
At Elmcroft, healthy aging is a focus. Our Vitality Club is a senior wellness program designed to help residents maintain good health in six ways: physical activity, social interaction, cognitive/intellectual stimulation, emotional support, spiritual engagement and leisure projects. Through carefully designed programs, including group exercise classes, the Vitality Club promotes healthy living in all our communities.
Contact us today to learn more about our assisted living community and how to achieve healthy aging for both yourself and your elderly family members.