7 Essential Elements of Senior Wellness
Maintaining or enhancing one’s health and wellness shouldn’t stop at a predetermined age. As we get older, we need to pursue a balanced mind and body by focusing on our physical well-being as well as our happiness, fulfillment, and mental fortitude.
Seniors should not be afraid to live their best and most fulfilled life. With the assistance of family, friends, and professional in-home caregivers, seniors can successfully pursue the following seven elements of senior wellness.
A proper diet is the foundation of good health. Without the right levels of nutrients, seniors will have trouble maintaining cognitive and physical energy. A few nutrition recommendations include the following:
- Flavor foods with spices and herbs, but use less salt
Seniors can lose the ability to taste salt in food, but don’t try to overcompensate. Too much salt can increase the risk of heart disease.
- Drink milk
Milk provides calcium and protein to promote healthy bones.
- Don’t depend too much on nutritional supplements
Vitamins and minerals in natural foods are always better than dietary supplements.
Most healthy seniors need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to feel recharged the next morning, according to research. Older adults may awake earlier in the morning due to body rhythm changes called advanced sleep phase syndrome.
However, this means older adults may need to go to bed earlier in the evening. Additionally, a range of physical conditions associated with aging can make it difficult for seniors to get enough sleep, which can cause sleep deprivation.
Here are some tips to help seniors get a better night’s sleep:
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine in the evenings
- Go to bed and awake at the same time every day, even on weekends
- Don’t take naps longer than about 20 minutes during the day, if possible
- Ask a doctor if a medication or physical condition could be preventing sleep
- An in-home caregiver could help monitor proper sleep habits and assist with any sleeping discomfort.
A lack of exercise quickly leads to many health problems in both body and mind. Seniors don’t have to break records at the gym to stay healthy and feel well. A moderate amount of physical activity each day will keep the body in good working order and lead to a clearer mind and a greater sense of fulfillment.
Consider the following recommendations for senior activity:
- Older adults should achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Gardening, walking, and outdoor hobbies can provide proper physical activity
- Cardiovascular health workouts and muscle-strengthening activities are recommended together to prevent the potential for falls, heart attacks and many of the most common causes of senior debility
Loneliness is a silent killer for the elderly and is a contributing factor to dementia, depression, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other mental and psychological conditions.
Seniors need to interact regularly with other people in order to maintain well-being. Community activities, games, and projects can foster a sense of interest, usefulness and social bonding. Even a good conversation from time to time is a necessity.
For seniors needing to stay at home, an in-home caregiver could provide interaction they desperately need and crave.
After retirement and withdrawal from economic and political involvement, seniors may need to find something new to provide direction and purpose. They may need to realize their lives are meaningful.
Volunteer work and other activities that help others are excellent outlets for seniors to find self-purpose. A Visiting Angels caregiver could assist with transportation to and from such causes.
Falling is one of the biggest safety risks for seniors. Making a senior’s home physically safe and easy to navigate is a first step toward wellness.
Seniors also need protection from scammers who prey on the elderly. Family caregivers need to take precautions ahead of time to prevent senior loved ones from falling victim to telemarketing and online scams.
An in-home caregiver can supervise and ensure both physical and non-physical safety measures for seniors.
As seniors grow older, they naturally begin to reflect on their lives and achievements. Seniors want to pass along their knowledge and information to younger generations.
Family and friends can help foster their senior loved one’s sense of identity and accomplishment by encouraging him or her to tell stories, write down memories, and to participate in society as a mentor and teacher. Seniors may often discount the scope of what they’ve achieved during their long life, but recognizing and celebrating these achievements can be an important source of satisfaction and well-being.