Putting the Pieces Together: Health, Self-Care and Seniors

Maintaining your health is not a single activity. Instead, it’s the combination of eating well, exercising, keeping your mind active and socializing. These activities are all part of a healthy self-care regimen, which is important for people of all ages. As an older adult, you have to pay careful attention to each aspect or, like an unfinished puzzle, your health and wellness will never be complete.

Keep reading to see how your daily activities fit together to keep you going strong.

Healthy eating

It’s a sad reality, but aging takes a toll on the body. If you’ve found yourself forgoing a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’re not alone. An unsettling number of seniors fail to properly nourish themselves due to a number of reasons including lack of energy, loneliness and limited access to shopping opportunities, according to Bayshore Home Care.  Fortunately, in today’s world of technology and the boom of the sharing economy making services such as Uber an affordable means of transportation, you don’t have to settle for pizza delivery or snack on crackers when you really want a home-cooked meal. Smartphone apps, grocery delivery, and meal delivery services make healthy foods easy to shop for and prepare at home. The Food Oasis asserts that grocery delivery and meal delivery are different from meal delivery services providing pre-portioned meals. Delivery services are often customizable and automated to ensure you never miss an opportunity to eat fresh even if you can’t drive to the grocery store.

Socialization

An often-overlooked piece of the senior health puzzle is your social life. Senior isolation has significant consequences that can shatter your efforts to remain healthy. Salmon Health and Retirement explains that senior isolation puts you at a higher risk for stroke, heart disease, cognitive decline and premature death.  In order to combat loneliness and isolation, you should pay attention to how much interaction you have with others. Even if you consider yourself a loner by nature, human contact is essential to your well-being. Attend church, take a few classes, or volunteer at your local elementary school or food bank. In addition to doing improving your own quality of life, the latter will provide you an opportunity to impact your community.

Mental stimulation

If you’re physically unable to leave the house, there’s still plenty of ways to stay engaged with friends and family and to participate in activities that keep your mind sharp. There are a number of affordable computers tablets that are recommended for seniors. Washington DC-based senior services provider Iona advocates the use of smart technology to challenge the mind and boost brain function. Until you are comfortable with computers, puzzles, games, and hobbies such as drawing and stamp collecting, are also excellent ways to keep your brain’s synapses firing at full speed.

Exercise

There are thousands of articles and medical texts dedicated to outlining the benefits of exercise for seniors. But to keep it simple, you should know that exercise can keep your heart strong, your muscles flexible, and your weight in check. Further, exercise can help you maintain your balance, which will improve your mobility.  Low-impact exercises are typically recommended for seniors. This may include swimming, mild aerobics, gardening, yoga and walking. Gym memberships are typically available for free or at a discount for seniors and fitness centers come with the added benefit of providing further socialization opportunity with your peers.  Keep yourself going strong for the long haul by paying attention to your diet, exercise and social and cognitive needs. By doing so, you may be able to prolong your independence and enjoy your golden years with more vigor than you’ve ever had before.