As a family caregiver, it’s safe to assume you want your senior loved one to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Keeping up with an aging parent’s health-related needs can be a daunting task at times, but it doesn’t have to be if you know where to focus your attention. Below, you’ll find details about what’s most important for wellbeing in the senior years of life.
The digestive system naturally slows down with age, which can make it difficult to absorb essential nutrients if your loved one isn’t eating well-balanced meals. Seniors also tend to be prone to dehydration. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends older adults follow a diet that includes:
- High-fiber fruits
- Dark green vegetables
- Fish, beans, lean meats, and other sources of protein
- Whole grains
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
- Healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats)
Preparing healthy meals is just one of the everyday tasks seniors may need help with. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable homecare services. Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
It’s important to encourage your loved one to take precautions to reduce the risk of developing seasonal illnesses like the flu. Preventative care for older adults can also include:
- Routine cholesterol checks
- Screenings for heart problems and cancer
- Breast or prostate cancer screenings
- Counseling on smoking cessation if your loved one hasn’t yet ditched this habit
- Pneumococcal and influenza vaccines
- Aspirin therapy, if appropriate
- Screenings to check for hearing and vision changes
Adults 65 and over take anywhere from 15 to 18 prescription drugs per year, on average, according to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, which is why one of the most important aspects of senior wellbeing is effectively managing medication. In a nutshell, this means being mindful of:
- Your loved one’s current medications, including over-the-counter ones and herbal supplements
- Intended dosages and times when each medication needs to be taken
- Any restrictions on what kind of foods or beverages your loved one can have when taking certain medications
- Signs of possible adverse reactions, side effects, or worsening symptoms
One of the many ways a professional in-home caregiver can help your loved one is by providing timely medication reminders. Families shouldn’t have to worry about finding reliable senior home care. Highland Park Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of elderly home care. We offer a proprietary program called the Balanced Care Method, which uses holistic methods to promote senior health, our caregivers and Care Managers are available 24/7, and all of our in-home care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
It’s not unusual for seniors to have recurring issues with insomnia or waking up frequently during the night. Help your loved one get sufficient sleep by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, making the bedroom area calm, comfortable, quiet, and relaxing, and ensuring he or she has a supportive mattress. Most seniors should get 7–8 hours of sleep per night.
Seniors sometimes become isolated as they get older, which increases the risk of depression and other serious chronic health problems. On other hand, socially active seniors may benefit from increased mental clarity and better overall health and wellbeing.
Physical, Dental, & Mental Health
Adults 65 and older are advised to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise 3 days per week, according to the World Health Organization. Doing so can increase stability, reduce fall risks, boost circulation, and minimize age-related joint and bone issues.
With dental health, seniors are advised to see their dentists every six months. The reason for this recommendation is because undiagnosed and untreated mouth infections can be associated with diabetes, heart disease, and other serious medical conditions in seniors.
Mental stimulation is just as important for keeping the mind sharp as your loved one ages. The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation recommends the following mentally stimulating activities for seniors:
- Working different kinds of puzzles like crosswords
- Learning new hobbies or skills
- Reading and other enjoyable mentally engaging activities
Seniors aren’t the only ones who need to focus on staying healthy. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Highland Park families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation. To learn about our premier in-home care plans and how they can help your loved one, give us a call at (214) 363-3400 today.