As we grow older, our body tends to change also. The skin gets wrinkled, the brain and other organs may not function effectively if not taken proper care of at a young age. Since seniors experience changes as they age, they’ll need to alter their lifestyles to keep their systems up and running. They may need to change the kinds of foods they eat – mainly the level of junk they consume, go for regular checkups carrying out more exercises, among others.
Also, it is known that those who had a good, healthy lifestyle in their youth tend to grow to become healthy seniors. Even though you didn’t have the opportunity to eat healthy foods or didn’t pay much attention to your health status while growing up, it’s never too late to start leading a healthy lifestyle even as you’re older.
Being a senior entails having a major change in all aspects of life, ranging from the physical to the mental, social and even emotional aspects. As a guide towards a healthy lifestyle for seniors, we’ll have a look at 10 tips to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Before that, let’s look at some of the changes that old age brings to various parts of the system.
What’s Normal When Old Age Sets In?
Having a good idea of the mental and physical changes that are evident when you age helps you notice any abnormalities in the system on time. So, here are the common bodily changes you should expect at old age.
The large arteries of the heart become stiffer as you age, a condition known as arteriosclerosis related to higher blood pressure. This occurs when the walls of the arteries accumulate a lot of fatty deposits known as plaques which harden and narrows the arteries, thereby limiting blood flow to the heart.
As we all know, the brain is one of the most delicate organs of the body. As we grow old, the brain tends to weaken depending on the lifestyle you portrayed while growing up. You tend to forget things easily, may not be very smart like before, or even slow at multitasking when old age sets in.
As you age, your bones become thinner and lose density with time. This, at times, leads to osteoporosis. When the bone is low in mass, they’ll be a high risk of broken bones, which sometimes leads to a decline in height or a bad figure.
Just as you’ll experience a decline in the efficiency level of most organs as you age, you’ll also notice that your five senses – hearing, vision, taste, smell, and touch won’t be as sharp as they were before. For the sense of hearing, you’ll notice certain changes within the parts of the ear, which limits your degree of hearing and may even affect the sense of balance.
Same also for the sense of vision as you’ll need reading glasses. Your sense of taste will gradually vanish due to the decrease in the number of taste buds. Most things might taste sour, or you wouldn’t be able to differentiate different tastes anymore. Your sense of smell will also be affected due to a decline in the rate of mucus production and loss of nerve endings. Not forgetting that you’ll also have a reduction in your sensitivity to touch, pain, pressure and vibration.
THE GUMS AND TEETH
While growing, the top enamel protecting the teeth from decaying tends to weaken and wears away- leaving the teeth exposed to cavities.
Wrinkled and saggy skin is the most notable feature of old age. The skin has lost most of its elasticity during this period and becomes thinner.
Other Notable changes include;
- Slower digestion which leads to constipation and stomach pain.
- A decline in the production of sex hormones.
10 Tips For Seniors To Stay Healthy
Always Eat A Healthy Diet
Sticking to a healthy diet as you age is essential for your overall well being. As stated earlier, old age also comes with slower digestion. You should add important vitamins and high-fibre foods into your diet to this effect. Eating a Mediterranean diet has proved beneficial in boosting the brain’s efficiency and proper growth. Also, incorporating fibre into the diet of seniors doesn’t just help maintain a healthy diet, but it lowers the risks of major health issues like stroke and heart disease.
In addition, a healthy diet won’t be complete without staying hydrated always. Seniors are highly prone to dehydration. Providing lots of water to them always helps them stay energized and prevents constipation and even urinary tract infections.
Have proper sleep
Sleep is one thing that’s always recommended for both the old and young in society. It is stated that 7-8 hours of bedtime must be adhered to for your physical and mental well-being. As you age, you’ll notice that your sleep time shifts so that you sleep very early in the evening and wake up before anyone else. This is normal so long you stick to the regular 7-8 hours of bedtime.
In a situation where you experience acute insomnia, seek medical attention immediately so that the doctor will check for what’s keeping you awake and provide possible solutions for you.
Socialize More with Family and friends
Pushing forward out of that granny’s couch to interact more with family and friends can benefit your health. Lack of socialization and isolation amongst seniors leads to depression and low self-esteem and increases your level of stress hormones that pose additional dangers to their health. It can cause inflammation, for instance. According to Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience research, continuous inflammation can lead to serious health issues like cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Be Physically Active
Exercise is essential for all ages, especially for seniors. According to the national institute of health, staying physically fit enables them to have a proper weight check and prevents chronic health issues and complications. As we all know, exercise is more like food to the brain. It helps counter depression while boosting both the energy and memory levels in seniors. But does exercise here mean heavy weightlifting?
Totally not. As a healthy senior, you’re advised to incorporate some aerobic exercises and strength training, balance and some low impact exercises. As you age, your bone becomes weak, so weightlifting might pose serious issues to your health here. Also, try to seek advice from a certified healthcare professional to know what exercise you should carry out.
Reduce Or Rather Stop Alcohol Consumption
According to the U.S Department of Health on Human Services 2015-2017 Dietary guidelines, alcohol consumption needs to be set at one drink per day for both men and women. Alcohol has an imposing risk factor to the brain and even the physical well being of the youths; talk more of seniors.
Most diagnosed patients with heart diseases and cancers are related to smoking. If you’re already in the act, you should quit it at once. Quitting smoking comes with many health benefits like a lower cholesterol level, reduced risk of cancer, lung damage, diabetes, stronger bones, muscles, better skin, and a strong immune system.
Good Dental Hygiene is a Must
To protect your teeth and gums, it’s advisable to brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush, cleansing daily. Not only does this routine keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it also helps in preventing inflammations in your mouth that can help reduce the risk of inflammatory conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Diseases can be easily treated when noticed at their startup phase. Go for regular checkups, and be 100% sure your system is fit at all times. Always seek medical attention on some lingering issues on your mind, and ask the doctor for preventive measures for some diseases your age is prone to.
Never skip medications prescribed by the doctor.
This may look more like a time-wasting step, but it is also helpful for a healthy lifestyle in seniors. Try doing a periodic medication review with your primary healthcare doctor to know if it’s still needed to take the drugs. Always remember to take drugs only prescribed by your doctor and try to ask questions regarding the drugs when necessary.
Go for an eye checkup.
Most seniors at the age of 50 tend to experience a change in their vision. To this effect, you’re advised to go for regular eye exams as it offers the ability to detect signs of the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Also, seniors who wear glasses should check their prescriptions with their doctors every year and stay away from sunlight.
As you age, your system tends to weaken and be susceptible to many diseases. You can’t prevent all of them with drugs alone, but with a healthy and effective approach, be rest assured that our immune system will stay strong to give you all the protection you need. So tell us, are you ready to prevent those old saggy wrinkles from setting in?