There are so many things that go into how, as well as how fast, we age. From diet to sleep schedules to basic genetics, it’s hard to keep track of all the different factors at play in the aging process. And while we may want to stop the clock as soon as we get past a certain point of adulthood for mostly vain reasons, it feels even more important to find ways to slow down the aging process when it comes to the seniors in our lives. When we see a senior struggling to live a normal life, it can feel frightening for us as caregivers. Whether we’re looking into ways to make their lives easier, from caregiving at home options to Seniors Helping Seniors in-home care or thinking about having them move in with us, it still doesn’t answer our questions about what’s going to happen in the future. When it comes to seniors, does have the right care actually make a difference in the aging process? If you’re looking into longer-term options for an aging adult in your life, here are some things to think about.
Diet is a huge part of how our bodies adapt to the aging process. As seniors, it’s even more vital that we get the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals in our diet so that we can stay strong and be better equipped to fight against muscle and bone degenerative diseases. While practicing a protein-rich diet full of vegetables and whole grains is important at every age, it’s helpful to bulk up on iron-heavy greens and a diverse array of good fats as we age. This won’t just help keep our immune system strong and prepared to take on anything. Eating the right spices and taking supplements such as turmeric and Omega-3 can help our bodies fight inflammation and pain from sore joints. This becomes more important as our bones and joints start to wear down and cause chronic pain. Inflammation-fighting foods such as broccoli, chia seeds, and walnuts can help protect our bodies from experiencing rifts in our sleep cycle due to joint pain, helping us get the necessary amount of shut-eye needed to live a healthier, longer life.
Even though our bones and joints may start to weaken as we age, there’s no underestimating the importance of keeping active in later life. It doesn’t have to mean heading out to the gym every day. Even if “activity” just means a few at-home yoga stretches and a brisk walk each day, these routines can help seniors stay mentally focused and engaged. Activities like lap swimming and aqua aerobics can help seniors with chronic pain and joint problems stay active without bringing on swelling, and basic yoga stretches can help with agility and mental alertness. When it comes to mental health, the benefit that active seniors get from even a half an hour’s worth of activity each day is immeasurable.
As seniors get older, it’s important to help encourage focus through hobbies. A renewed interest in an older or ongoing hobby can help a senior regain a positive sense of the future. As we age, it can become difficult to stay positive if we’re no longer to function or hold onto our independence the way we used to, either due to illness or changes in our ability to hold focus. However, introducing a new passion into a senior’s life can significantly help with late-in-life depression. Even a largely sedentary activity like chess or reading can do wonders for a senior’s attitude.
Paying Attention to the Body
When we’re growing older, dealing with an illness, or feeling trapped by chronic pain, it can be increasingly difficult to feel at home in our own bodies. This goes double for seniors. As we age, the feeling that our bodies are betraying us by losing some of their healthier, more predictable function can feel harrowing, and we begin to feel alienated from the bodies we inhabit. However, staying in tune and in touch with our bodies is an excellent way to boost mental health and positivity as we grow older. Breathing exercises, meditation, and stretching can all help us feel more aware of our bodies and help us get a head start on any potential illness or change by noticing it right away.
Bidding Stress Goodbye
The negative effects of stress are legion. Just as stress isn’t good for pregnant mothers, individuals with high cholesterol, or people in any other high-risk health situation, it can be extremely detrimental and even fatal to seniors. Helping seniors live a life that’s stress-free, if not care-free, can help prolong their lives by years and stop the aging process in its tracks.