The start of a new year means many of us are setting resolutions we’re determined to meet throughout 2022. Often, these resolutions revolve around prioritizing health and wellness. For seniors, who are at extra risk for certain conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, now is a great time to start seeking out a healthier lifestyle by focusing on two of the most important factors: diet and exercise.
Exercise and Physical Activity
People at any age can experience benefits from taking even small steps toward a healthier lifestyle. In fact, exercise has been proven to lower the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, colon cancer, and breast cancer as well as helps lower the risk of falls.
For those who are involved in the elder care of a senior, it can help to talk with them about their exercise habits, goals, and ways to motivate them. This includes:
- Help the senior citizen develop attainable goals with an exercise plan
- Share with the senior citizen that physical activity on a regular basis helps facilitate healthy aging. This includes endurance, muscle strengthening, flexibility, and balancing exercises.
- If they are worried about beginning an exercise routine, encourage them to talk with their doctor about the type, frequency, intensity, and amount of exercise they should be doing.
- Help get them involved in community activities such as exercise classes at senior citizen centers or mall-walking groups.
- Inform them about Exercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging, a free book that shows senior citizens how to begin and keep up an exercise routine.
A senior citizen may not be getting the nutrition they need due to poor eating habits. Also, they may find it challenging to get to a grocery store, or it may be too difficult for them to stand for long-enough to cook a meal.
Below are some strategies to help senior citizens discover ways to get the nutrition they need:
- Express the importance of good nutrition and the positive effects it has on the body and their well-being.
- If necessary, liquid nutrition supplements are helpful, but be sure to emphasize the positive effects of solid food too.
- Multivitamins that are 100 percent of the needed daily value are good suggestions, but avoid megadoses.
- Meal services, such as Meals on Wheels, also can be an option as a nutrition program. Check your local area for other food sharing agencies.
It’s never too late to start prioritizing health as people at any age can experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Make 2022 the year of wellness!