These 4 Simple Solutions Will Help Seniors Enjoy Healthier Lives
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Aging is no walk in the park, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it gracefully. From deciding where and how to live to making the most of exercise and nutrition, these simple solutions will help you live a healthier life during your senior years.
Embrace Downsizing in Its Many Forms
Downsizing is a buzzword recently, but for good reason. Having too much stuff—and even too much space—can lead to stress, frustration, and even depression. Living with less can feel freeing, though getting there can be a process.
For seniors, there are a few options when it comes to downsizing. You could decide to sell your home and move somewhere closer to your family. You could select a single-level home with less square footage to make your golden years more enjoyable and safer. Or you may decide that an independent living community is a good choice.
Especially if you’re looking for a sense of community, touring local communities might be a logical next step. Senior communities often include amenities like fitness facilities, internet and cable service, and on-site restaurants or dining halls. Plus, you won’t need to worry about home maintenance or upkeep since groundskeeping is part
of the package.
Most communities also offer inviting outdoor spaces and gardens plus recreational activities for residents. Cura provides attentive caregivers who can accompany you for one-on-one attention in a senior community, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Better Well-Being Through Oral Health
Many of us think of our heart and lungs when we think of parts of our bodies that affect general health. However, you might be surprised to learn your mouth should rank near the top of your list.
It seems our oral health is linked with the big picture a lot more closely than it might seem at first glance. Issues like diabetes, heart disease, dementia and depression are often noticeable in your mouth before other symptoms reveal themselves.
That makes it incredibly important to take proper care of your teeth and gums. Issues like stains or misalignment can be embarrassing, and some people even believe that as you get older, your dental health matters less. These outlooks often lead to neglect, which sets the stage for larger health problems down the road.
If this hits close to home, rethink your oral health routine. Add a whitening solution if stains are bothering you, or try a straightening treatment to help correct overcrowding. There are plenty of over-the-counter whitening treatments that noticeably address stains.
For crooked teeth, expensive braces are no longer the only option. There are plenty of effective in-home therapies that are affordable and effective. Systems like byte, for example, get high marks for ease of use, cost and accelerated results.
These at-home options are also convenient; since your progress is monitored remotely by professionals, you won’t need to schedule multiple appointments with a dentist or an orthodontist. What’s more, once your teeth are in proper alignment, you’ll be able to clean them thoroughly and prevent plaque from building up in previously hard-to-reach places.
Plan for Potential Mobility Challenges
Many older adults deal with mobility issues as they age. But the good news is that you can start planning for your health and safety now.
First, adding mobility aids to your home helps reduce the risk of accidents. Accessible features like non-slip flooring, handrails in bathrooms, and lower countertops in the kitchen can make a difference in your daily life.
You can also look to your physical health now to prepare for the future. Continuing to exercise helps to maintain bone health, mitigates fall risks, and keeps you active and enjoying the outdoors.
Harvard Health recommends a combination of weight-bearing, resistance, and stretching exercises for optimal bone—and overall—health. Everything from walking and dancing to stair climbing provide excellent health benefits.
Certain exercises are better suited to reducing fall risk than
others. For example, alternating lunges, single-leg stands, sit-to-stands, triceps kickbacks, chair leg raises, and slow toe touches are ideal for enhancing balance and building strength.
Look to Nutrition to Prevent Health Problems
Unfortunately, older people tend to wind up with nutritional deficiencies more often than younger folks. But with a few tweaks to your diet, you can make sure you’re not missing out on key nutrients.
You need to make sure your diet is varied and contains nutrient-dense foods with essential vitamins and minerals.
A colorful selection of produce is healthiest, and your plate should also contain low-fat dairy, protein, and whole-grain carbohydrates. Paying attention to fiber content (higher is better) and sodium levels (lower is best) can also help you make healthier choices.
Of course, there are many roadblocks to healthier eating, especially for seniors who already face health challenges. But there are solutions to food not tasting as flavorful that can keep you on track. For example, one option is to add spices, herbs, or lemon juice to recipes—by avoiding salt, you’re staying healthy, but also adding welcome flavor to your plate.
Other strategies for boosting your nutrition include eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day, cooking potluck-style with friends for variety, and trying new foods with a variety of recipes.
If making hot meals each day is too much, consider make-ahead freezer meals. You and a loved one or friend could even meal prep together and share the fruits of your labor. Freezer meals like broccoli chicken casserole, meatloaf, lasagna, and even burritos are easy to reheat and enjoy anytime.
From physical health and nutrition to where and how you live, there’s a lot to consider as you get older. And not every solution is right for every senior. But with these strategies, you’re one step closer to more enjoyable—and healthier—golden years.
Guest post by Libby Howell, Blogger at grandparent.info. As a 60-year-old grandparent of seven, Libby prides herself on successfully spoiling every child with minimal complaints from her daughter, son, and their respective spouses. She lives right across the street from five of her grandchildren and 1.5 miles away from the other two. Even with chronic back problems, she is determined to earn the title of “World’s Best Grandparent” and spends every afternoon loving on her kids’ kids, one child at a time. Libby created Grandparenting.info and is writing her book to share what she’s learned as a grandmom and to help new grandparents make the most of every second with their grandkids.
Photos via Unsplash