Top 8 Healthy Living Reminders for Older Adults this Fall – GUEST WRITER
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As the leaves start to change and the air takes on a slight chill, something in us knows that it’s time to snuggle up with a warm blanket and a glass of wine or hot tea. And while we may not be in as much of a rush to get outside in the cooler weather, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the beautiful fall season.
Even if we’re not as excited about it as we were when high school was starting for the year, older adults can enjoy this season in their own way. Whether it’s spending time with close family and friends, celebrating Halloween (usually less expensive than Christmas), or setting up your own version of Thanksgiving for you and your loved ones, opportunities abound. There are many ways to enjoy the fall and help make it a wonderful season for you and your family.
Since we’re talking about fall, it also makes sense to talk about how older adults can take valuable steps to ensure they are in good health now and for years to come, despite the changing seasons. As we age, we all learn that our body changes, and one of the biggest changes comes in the form of health complications. Muscles become weak, our bones become brittle and fragile, and many find it hard to sleep as comfortably as they used to.
But there are still some things that can be done in order to make this season a happier time — even if you’re limited in your abilities or have had to change your lifestyle due to health complications. The following list of reminders can help older adults live a better, healthier life this autumn.
1. Keep Moving, as so often discussed on Aging with Pizzazz
One of the best ways to help promote your overall health is to keep Moving. Whether walking around the block or doing home exercise like Yoga and Water Aerobics, anything that gets you Moving is a great way to keep your body functioning at peak performance.
However, if you’re like many older adults, you might feel lazy even if you have time to exercise. Instead, you sit in a chair or on the couch all day, which can cause your body to suffer aches and pains. It could be hard to start Moving after any hiatus, but you’ll feel super great about yourself once you do. If you don’t have the motivation to get up and do something now, there’s always a way to inspire yourself— whether it’s enlisting your grandkids to take a walk around the block or help rake leaves or set up an exercise video in your living room. (Don’t forget PizzazzEE-25, employing every muscle, every joint, every time.)
2. Incorporate One New Idea to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
In addition to encouraging yourself to get Moving, make sure that you are eating right. Fall is a great season for fresh produce, so take advantage of it by buying plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat them as your snacks or incorporate them into your lunches and dinners.
One suggestion (taken from “10 must-try easy to prepare snacks for the elderly”) is the banana and almond butter toast. You need a banana, of course, sliced into rounds, 1 1/2 tablespoons of almond butter, and two slices of whole-grain bread. Next heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and toast the bread for a few minutes. You may have to press down on it with a spatula so that it gets evenly toasted. Then take a tablespoon of almond butter and spread it on one slice of bread. Layer the banana rounds on the other slice, top it with the side that has almond butter. Press down gently and cook for another 3 minutes or until golden brown. You can serve it immediately or enjoy it later at room temperature.
3. Drink Enough Fluids, Despite Summer Heat Abating
It’s important to drink enough liquids (whatever form) to ensure your body gets all the important nutrients that it needs to function properly. Water helps you stay in good shape and keeps you looking young and vibrant. Older adults should make sure that they drink between 1 and 2 liters of water each day (45 to 60 ounces). Fruits are also good for thirst-quenching, as well as a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Consider using a juicer to make flavorful drinks from fruits like oranges, apples, and pineapples. If you don’t have a juicer, a blender will suffice. [See What ‘Sense’ Declines with Age? – MICRO POST It’s a surprise answer.]
4. Sleep Better
One of the biggest problems that older adults face is insomnia. This can come in many different forms, but if you are experiencing it, the simplest, common first step is to sleep in a dark room, while keeping your sleeping area as quiet and peaceful as possible. Remove all things that might disturb your sleep, such as cellphones, radio, or televisions. The next step is to try to relax and go to bed at the same time every night, which will help regulate your body’s internal clock and make it easier for you to fall asleep.
Since this doesn’t fit everyone’s bio-clock, consider “second sleep,” explained in detail at “Piece-ful Sleep — Aging with Pizzazz.” You might want to set a maximum time for how long you’re going to be sleeping; this may mean resorting to the alarm clock, which many of you probably threw out after Retirement. For those over 50, a frequent recommendation is about 8 hours, making it easier for you to wake up feeling refreshed. Suppose you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night. Try to go back to sleep by relaxing in a comfortable position and focusing on your breathing.
5. Do Some Engaging Activities – Pick a New One as well
If you want to feel happy this autumn and bring out your best, try engaging yourself in fun activities. You’ll be surprised at the things that you can do as you age. Often, we think about what we can no longer take on, and forget to think outside that previous box. For example, playing ball with your grandkids is one of the best things that you can do to keep your body and mind active. Or maybe join a ‘walking soccer’ group.
For seniors living alone, a new hobby like painting or knitting is exciting; even better if you can start such a new activity in a class environment. There are also a lot of ways that you can use your mind to keep it active. If you’re not a fan of sports, try something creative instead, like writing or word games. If you have grandchildren or a neighborhood teen in your life, ask them to help you upgrade your technology skills or join a new social media platform. The point is that there are fun and healthy ways for all adults to stay fit and stimulated despite our age.
6. Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D, Calcitriol, is more commonly known as the Sunshine Vitamin. Your body uses this vitamin in order to maintain bone and bone-related strength and to build and maintain healthy teeth. Many foods are rich in vitamin D including tuna, salmon, duck eggs, and mushrooms. Other sources of vitamin D are sunlight exposure through your skin. Some might recommend a tanning bed, which we discourage. Taking a supplement including vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) or alpha-calcium phosphate will provide for your needs. (This is just a quick reminder, for more details see: “The Other Vitamin K” – by Guest Writer Debra Musack, Nutrition Consultant, or “Vitamin D – Quick Update for Winter” both at Aging with Pizzazz.)
7. Reduce the Risk of Falls
Falls are the leading cause of injury in people over the age of 65, thus a risk to which we need to stay alert – and to take steps to avoid. Those living alone may consider even more precautions to reduce the risk of falling at home. Those living solo may adapt their living space in some minor ways:
- Install grab bars in your shower or by the sink
- Add an extra hand grip near any stairs or railings
- Ensure no loose rugs on your flooring
- Buy a cane with a built-in seat called a Rollator for additional support when unexpectedly needed. The seat will allow you more stability while on your feet.
8. Stay in Touch with Your Friends – Consider a Schedule
Fall is a good season to reconnect with old friends, and make new ones. Any ‘staying-in-touch’ activities help ward off winter isolation; good to start now. Technology devices have made it so convenient to keep in touch with people that this should be an easy approach to socialization. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are useful ways to connect (or reconnect) with folks, whether in our own generation or others. In addition, if you have family in another city or town, consider taking a quick trip there or inviting them to visit you. Or maybe plan on going out on the town with your friends from the neighborhood or church group, not just occasionally, but even once a week.
The older we get, the more common are health problems; and likely we will experience them worse and longer than when younger. However, it’s not all doom-and-gloom.
There are many things that you can do to reduce the risk of health issues and stay as active and well as you can. This can greatly improve your longevity, overall quality of life – and actually ‘age with pizzazz.’ Take some time to review those healthy habits and set them back on track before winter is here and enjoy your longer, happier life!
Andrea Gibbs is the Content Manager at SpringHive Web Agency, a company that offers web design services, maintenance, and Internet marketing. She specializes in content marketing, social media, and SEO. She also serves as a blog contributor at Serenity Senior Care. She’s an avid personal development enthusiast and an expert in the field of health and fitness. When she’s not writing she can be found running hills or hiking trails, rooting for her favorite team (the Pittsburgh Steelers), or watching a good Netflix series.
Title Picture credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-toasting-a-drink-7658839/
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