Many older adults complain of joint stiffness, lower back pain, and worry. These may lead to decreased independence, high healthcare costs, and a low-key life. As per statistics, 23.5% of noninstitutionalized persons aged 65 and above have fair or poor health. So, you’re not alone in these struggles. But you can do something to avoid these predicaments. With a balanced approach, you can achieve vibrant health and live joyfully.
Note that it isn’t about a power diet or struggling with an intense fitness regime. What is it, then? A holistic approach – something that caters to your physical well-being, mental resilience, and social connection, all at the same time.
This article explores each of these elements in detail. Continue reading for the details.
Promoting Senior Health
1. Physical health
Physical health encompasses strength, flexibility, proper body function, and pain management. Below are ways to uphold physical well-being.
2. The power of movement
Exercise is a powerful health tool for seniors. It helps build strength, promote flexibility, and relieve pain. Adults aged 65 and above need a minimum of 150 minutes weekly of moderate exercise.
Simple exercises like strolling around your neighbourhood can work wonders. It’ll help you climb stairs and bend over without strain. The flexibility in muscles and joint movements you achieve also helps you mitigate senior fall risks. You’d also want to consider swimming. Gliding through water is low impact. Tai-chi is another worthwhile consideration for the old. The slow dance moves improve balance and focus.
3. Nourishing the body
The foods you eat significantly affect your physical health. So, be smart in choosing nutrient-rich options that can benefit your body.
First, fruits and vegetables. Talk about berries, kale, spinach, bell peppers, and the like. What do they offer? Things your body would be pleased to absorb, namely vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. They can fight inflammation and, most of all, boost your immunity.
Next, the protein sources. Fish, beans, lentils, and chicken are your best friends if you’re after amino acids that can help build and repair tissues.
The power of whole grains can’t be stressed enough, too! Wheat, brown rice, and quinoa contain significant amounts of fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied for longer periods. Plus, they’re digested and absorbed slowly by the body, which is important for managing blood sugar.
Along with healthy eating, remember to constantly stay hydrated. Studies reveal that proper hydration may help decelerate aging and keep diseases off. Carrying a water bottle when away from home helps a lot in this area.
4. Preventive Care
Regular checkups and screenings should be one of your non-negotiables, particularly if you want to identify potential problems in your body before it’s too late. When detected early, conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis can easily be managed.
Open communication with your doctor is a critical element when it comes to preventive care. Explain vividly how you feel and air your concerns without fear. Your honesty is what would allow the doctor to correctly diagnose your condition and give appropriate recommendations/solutions.
5. Mental Health
Mental health is about maintaining positive thoughts, balancing emotions, and being able to reason logically.
6. Mind over matter
Keep your mind sound at all times. About 14% of seniors aged 60 and above suffer a mental disorder. Furthermore, about 27.2% of deaths from suicide are from this age group. Focusing and working on your mental health helps avert such unfortunate events. Don’t be part of these figures.
What to do? Always engage in brain-stimulating activities. Go solve some Sudoku puzzles and crosswords. Use apps like BrainHQ and Lumosity, which have dozens of brain-training games to keep your mind sharp. Your memory and reasoning are stirred up, boosting brain function.
It’s also not too late to learn new skills. Yes, you read that one right. Painting, playing musical instruments, carpentry, or pencil drawing – any of these is an excellent approach to keeping your brain engaged and enhancing your cognitive capabilities.
Senior mental health services can be of great help, too, if you need specialized guidance on positive lifestyle changes and coping skills.
7. Building Resilience
Stress can significantly affect your emotional well-being. Your winning point is knowing how to avoid it. Mindful meditation could be an excellent starting point. Find a tranquil corner, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and focus on the present moment. This will help you stay calm and melt your worries away. Doing this consistently builds up emotional resilience, which you need to survive your sunset years.
8. Social Connection
Humans are social creatures. They naturally flourish with connection and belonging. Everyone has a profound desire to interact with others and form meaningful bonds.
9. The Power of Belonging
Older adults do well when they feel they’re a part of a community as opposed to isolation. In this regard, consider joining gardening clubs, fitness squads, book clubs, mentorship programs, lunch groups, or volunteering at local community-based organizations. Interacting frequently with agemates in such setups is like sunshine for the soul. It’s enjoyable and helps you pursue charitable goals. It also lessens boredom and boosts your mood. And the bonds created with your friends cultivate a sense of belonging, making your spirit ever elated.
Isolation from family and friends can adversely affect mental health. So, avoid locking yourself indoors. In the absence of appropriate clubs in your residential area, leisurely talking with neighbors is also an option.
10. Embracing Technology
Leverage technology to keep in touch with friends and family residing far away. Use video calls for one-on-one chats. A brief hearty talk with your grandkids is enough to light up the rest of your day. Social platforms are excellent for public discussions. You can also share cherished moments through photos or videos or voice your thoughts through short texts.
Explore senior-friendly apps that are easy to navigate. Examples include Nextdoor for socializing with neighbors and Zoom for virtual meetups.
11. Active Citizenship
Despite your age, you can still contribute positively to your community. The feeling of satisfaction brings happiness, an elixir for your health. You may want to teach life skills to the youth. The experiences you’ve gained over the decades can help you offer valuable insights to young people trying to find their bearing in life. Or you can volunteer at a local library or even babysit if you’re still energetic.
These kind deeds leave a legacy of purpose and a deep sense of self-gratification. Generation after generation will remember you long after your demise.
Aging isn’t a ticket to ill health. The truth is you have the power to transform your physical, mental, and social well-being. To add to that, putting the necessary effort to uphold health brings an explicable form of joy and a sense of fulfillment. What’s more, your kids and grandkids get to witness your vitality and learn how important it is to embrace self-care. And the community at large sees your resilience, positively influencing their view of old age.
Engage in exercises. Eating healthily. Jog your mind. Connecting with family and friends. These are the secret (well, not anymore) ingredients of a life well-lived.