Aging is what we make it. For some, the limited mobility and reduced performance that come with age sound intimidating, but there are steps you can take to help you age gracefully. To set yourself on the right track, taking care of your wellbeing is best started sooner rather than later.
Self-care is critical for seniors looking to develop the skills necessary to adapt to whatever old age brings. Maintaining independence, preventing diseases, and improving the overall quality of being — these all factor into living longer and better.
To perpetually maintain a sound body, mind, and soul, here are seven self-care tips we recommend that will help make getting older not just bearable — but downright enjoyable.
1. Consult Your Doctor Regularly
One of the things that can compromise independence among seniors is chronic, untreated, or uncontrolled diseases. Due to this, it is essential for seniors to assess their health status regularly. Visiting the geriatrician at least once a year should do the trick, as will following up on the recommended treatment plan.
Unfortunately, seniors are no strangers to self-medicating, which can be a serious and even life-threatening practice. Without consulting a doctor, seniors should never trust their own judgment to mend a health issue as it may lead to further med-caused health complications.
Oftentimes, seniors ignore the fact that excessive meds consumption can lead to accidental overdosing or worse. Therefore, it is vital for seniors not to self-medicate and always consult with their physician beforehand.
2. Regular Exercise
Playing a sport or staying active is not always easy as we age, but it does promote greater longevity. Regular exercise is essential to maintaining an excellent physical condition, along with a healthy lifestyle. Even a daily 30-minute walk five days a week can drastically improve your circulation, mobility, and agility.
If playing a sport is not an option, practicing yoga or swimming will do the trick. Physical activity has shown tremendous behavioral health benefits in seniors.
Emotionally speaking, exercise helps seniors reduce anxiety levels and relax.
As regular physical activity raises the levels of endorphins, norepinephrine, and serotonin, seniors can enjoy reduced mood swings and higher satisfaction as a result.
Exercise also improves cognitive performance in seniors with dementia and other mental disorders. It can also boost their self-esteem, ameliorate their sleep cycle, and give them a sense of purpose.
Maintaining physical activity is a remarkable tool in the prevention of bone fractures in the elderly. At a cardiovascular level, moderate aerobic exercise can help strengthen the heart.
Finally, physical activity contributes to the prevention and management of other age-related diseases, including heart failure, type II diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and depression.
Check out our recommend exercises for seniors to get your blood pumping.
3. A Restful Night
A good night’s sleep positively affects the health status of seniors. It allows them to rest sufficiently and maintain their mental health. Sleep can be affected by many causes as we age. Therefore, if you are having trouble sleeping, you should be checked by your doctor before a greater problem arises. Also, regular rest diminishes the need for sleep-inducing medication in seniors and can simultaneously decrease symptoms of chronic pain or decompensated diseases.
That said, resting is not to be done in excess. Seniors are advised to avoid extra-long naps or binging in front of the TV or computer. Aging groups are also advised to refrain from drinking stimulating beverages, such as coffee, energy drinks, and sodas, and to avoid other things that may negatively affect their sleep, like excessive heat exposure and playing music while sleeping.
4. Train The Brain
Mental activity is indispensable in preserving intellectual abilities in seniors.
Training the memory, learning a new language, and perfecting a manual skill are all ways to help seniors improve their focus and problem-solving skills. The same benefit applies to learning a new dance, listening to music, and writing.
Mind games like Sudoku can enhance the brain’s overall performance. The great thing in today’s age is that all of these things can be accessed online for seniors who may be isolated or restricted in their movements.
Language apps and brain-training games can be downloaded onto devices or used on websites — often for free. Installing adequate cybersecurity or vpn software is also advised for seniors regularly using online applications, as cyber crime is becoming more advanced and trickier to detect.
With greater activity, seniors can expect greater engagement — both physical and especially mental. If neglected, the brain will throw itself into a resting phase, which can be impairing if not lethal for seniors of all ages.
5. Pay Attention To Nutrition
Food and nutrition play an essential role in seniors’ longevity. After all, we are what we eat, and as we age, the way we eat needs to be readjusted accordingly.
Although the impact of food may have seemed irrelevant in their youth, many seniors need to pay closer attention to it once they begin to age. Nootropics such as CBD oils could be worth investigating, as they have been shown to help people stay focused and calm, and promote a good night’s sleep.
In addition, nutrition and special diets can help the body compensate for any deficiencies. Speak with your doctor or nutritionist to find the right diet for you. There are some vitamins and minerals which are good for almost everyone, however, so be sure you are consuming foods that are rich in the following.
An insufficient supply of this vitamin can lead to anemia, where the red blood cells are too large and immature. Introduce more legumes, green vegetables, fruits, cereal, and brewer’s yeast in your diet. As vitamin D can also be acquired from the sun, doctors recommend 20 minutes of daily exposure to sunlight.
A deficiency in this vitamin can be related to cognitive impairment. To get more B12, introduce more enriched cereals, lean meats, liver and fish, and seafood into your nutrition plan.
Calcium and Phosphorus
Both essential minerals for the bones, calcium, and phosphorus reduce the risk of osteoporosis in seniors. These are to be ingested generously and can be found in dairy products, enriched soy derivatives, fish (spine included), and nuts.
This natural antioxidant regulates the immune system in the elderly. It can be sourced from meat, fish, seafood, eggs, cured cheeses, whole grains, and legumes.
If you have a lack of iron, iron supplements can decrease the absorption capacity, which ultimately makes them ineffective. For seniors, we recommend that all iron is naturally obtained through mineral-rich foods like spinach.
Older people often suffer from constipation, but fiber-rich foods help control the issue. Beneficial fiber sources include bread, whole grains, pumpkin, and avocado, all of which normalize and regulate intestinal transit.
The consumption of sodium (salt) should be reduced in seniors and compensated with potassium consumption. Potassium can be found in foods like fruits and vegetables and skimmed yogurt.
6. Mingle, Mingle, Mingle
The passage of years gives many older adults feelings of loneliness. Children and grandchildren move out and then move on, which may leave seniors feeling alienated. That is why providing sufficient company for the elderly is fundamental for their wellbeing and longevity.
Making friends and encouraging socialization can give seniors a sense of purpose.
It allows them to create their world, feel more independent, and build new friendships. By forging interpersonal relationships with other seniors, this age group can share experiences and realize that they are never alone.
Socialization in seniors has favorable effects on their physical health. It alleviates joint pains, reduces symptoms of chronic diseases, fights hypertension, and prevents diabetes. Emotion-wise, being active and outgoing helps seniors fight feelings of abandonment, anxiety, depression, or hopelessness.
It may be hard due to current events for seniors to socialize face-to-face with friends or family members, but cloud calling on an electronic device could be the next best thing. Nowadays, you can play board games, take part in quizzes, or video chat with anyone at the click of a button.
7. Optimism, With A Side Of Independence
Seniors who hope to prolong their lifespan — in all fabulous ways, too — need to nurture a sense of optimism and independence. Both together can be used as serious fighters against physical and emotional dependability. Plus, optimism gives seniors energy to wake up every morning and love their surroundings.
Seeing yourself as an individual who can still take control of your life will give you self-esteem and help you live each day to the fullest.
By integrating autonomy and optimism as a way of life, practicing positive emotions, and focusing on what is good, you can live a more fulfilled and accomplished life. The power of positive thinking and positive doing is incredible, and it’s bound to bring even the bluest of seniors out of their shell — and into a world worth living in.
Aging gracefully is all about taking care of your body and mind. Numbers don’t matter if you’re getting the right nutrition, the right amount of physical activity, and taking some extra measures to keep your spirit active.
During your senior years, taking advantage of the extra time you have to take better care of yourself is crucial. Therefore, following these few tips can help immensely in enjoying what could be the best years of your life.