27- Nov-2020

10 Easy Tips to improve Health in Seniors

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Dt. Kamna Desai
Dietitian Kamna Desai
- Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics & Hospital Food Service.
- Certified Diabetes Educator

Ageing isn't synonymous to a poor quality of life. In this article we will read about the difference in approach that could possibly transpire either into health or illness. It includes tips to effectively improvise health in seniors.

Getting older doesn't necessarily mean you end up insipid, dull or alone. Ageing isn't synonymous to a poor lifestyle. The definite pillars of health & wellness for seniors are balanced diet, physical fitness, enough rest coupled with regular health checks.

In this article we will read about the difference in approach that could possibly transpire either into health or illness. Follow the tips to effectively improvise health in seniors.

1. The power of good nutrition cannot be undermined in elderly but what needs to be borne in mind is that most of them have dental / denture issues because of which they often find it hard to eat variety of foods. Also, ageing leads to slowing down of digestion & incomplete absorption of nutrients. The intestinal tissues lose muscle tone and contraction which could also lead to constipation. This sluggish digestive system impacts their overall health & wellness.

TIP: It is imperative to use geriatric supplements containing proteins and fiber to avoid further loss of muscle tone.

2. Bones become naturally thinner & brittle (bone loss) with ageing. Balance is critical for elderly and low bone mass raises the risk of fall fractures. Osteoporosis & kyphosis are both due to vital nutrient deficiencies.

TIP: Seniors can start with Cissus Quandrangularis as a supplement of their choice as it is a traditional herb that helps to support bone health. Also, any joint inflammation or early morning stiffness, pain or swelling can be taken care by Fit body Joint Care from BestSource Nutrition.

3. Ageing could lead to mental decline if the neurons are not exercised enough. Neurological disorders like alzheimer's, parkinson, neuropathy, dementia, memory loss, depression, generalized brain atrophy may occur due to ageing.

TIP: Undertaking mentally stimulating / challenging tasks could benefit seniors with memory & mental health. Also, many researches indicate that daily dose of Omega 3 fish oil is fundamental for optimal brain function. Its anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties promote healthy brain cells. Phosphatidylserine supplementation may also be needed since this compound naturally decreases due to ageing. Phosphatidylserine protects the brain cells and maintains brain functions effectively. Some studies suggest phosphatidylserine alone or in combination with ω-3 PUFAs might positively improve brain functions*. Both Phosphatidylserine and Omega 3 can be bought fromwww.bestsourcenutrition.com. *https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4942871/#b26

4. It is advisable to get regular full body checks or health screenings done biannually. These can help identify abnormal blood parameters or even deficiencies. Incase of any abnormalities in blood tests, it is advisable to seek proper medical help. Also get regular dental, eye & ear check-ups to improve critical denture, sight & hearing status of the elderly.

TIP: For any deficiencies, it is imperative to rectify the same with proper use of supplements under the guidance of qualified dietitian.

5.Losing a spouse or loved one at that age could be taxing and leave the aged with no motive to live. Seniors or their care takers should take proactive steps to get them to be socially active instead of alienating themselves. The idea is not just to be physically active but partake in social functions. Being socially active helps keep negative thoughts at bay and helps them to find meaning to their existence.

TIP: Joining a senior group or community or even a laughter club may help to find their ikigai.

6. Following body's circadian rhythm and getting 8 hours of regular sleep becomes difficult due to many reasons for elderly people. They wake up for washroom and find it difficult to go back to bed. At the same time due to lack of sleep at night they may catch a nap every now & then during the daytime.

TIP: Book reading prior to bedtime can help. Chamomile Tea also helps in relaxation & good night sleep.

7.Due to a lot of limiting factors elders invariably face stress. This leaves them with an unsettling, worried or nervous (anxiety) as the body's natural response to stress. They face anxiety because of being lonely, financial woes or even health issues. In short bursts, stress can be positive, as it helps face a challenging situation. But when chronic in nature, it sucks up their vitality leaving them weaker, helpless and incapable. Chronic stress negatively impacts their health causing headaches, high BP, high blood sugar, palpitations and insomnia.

TIP: Self-help measures like practicing mindfulness, deep breathing, playing with a pet, maintaining a daily journal, talking about it to someone close, aroma therapy may be helpful. Traditionally, Ashwagandha (chronic stress reliever) is used, as it known to reduce cortisol levels. Supplementing with Ashwagandha may be easy & effective way to reduce stress and improve the quality of life.

8. To be affected by alcohol or any unwanted medicines especially to the point where physical & mental control is remarkably diminished could turn fatal for them. Trying to be as responsible as possible for your own health would help in having a healthy lifestyle. Living with no vices is the key to optimum well-being of seniors.

TIP: Aged people need to strictly avoid any kind of intoxication (smoking, drinking) or drug abuse.

9.Older people have reduced immunity, so they need to take care of their hygiene to stay away from flu & infections.

Tip: Washing hands frequently with soap & water specially after using washrooms and prior to cooking or food intake is important. Proper dental care, cutting nails regularly, weekly hair wash, wearing clean clothes may appear very insignificant but is crucial for improving health.

10.Last but not the least a healthy positive approach & attitude towards life is important. 'Positive thinking' is more than just a tagline. It means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive & productive way. Positive thinking is much more mystical than it sounds. It is proven that optimistic people have better quality of life. Seniors with a positive attitude are bound to be healthier as compared to people with critical mindset. After all ... It’s all in the head.

TIP: Life is never easy for anyone but it is the approach that one has towards it that makes all the difference.

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