Health and Age CAN Go Hand in Hand: Caring For Relatives in Later Life
When we think of health, we tend to think of youth and vitality. But actually, good health is something that we can maintain right through to later life if we look after our bodies in the right way. If you’re caring or providing support for an older relative, here are some of the ways they can ensure the best health possible.
Vitamins and Supplements
Older people have different vitamin and supplement needs than younger people. For example, older adults may lack calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, potassium, and fiber. Supplements such as cod liver oil can also be useful to promote healthy joints, which again can be an issue in some older adults. While a healthy and balanced diet will cover most essential nutrients, taking a multivitamin aimed at older adults as well as any additional supplements for specific health problems can be beneficial.
A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for people at every age. But getting everything they need can be a struggle for some elderly people. For example they might find that opening tins or jars is too difficult, or they might struggle standing for long enough to cook a healthy meal. If this is the case, it could be worth looking into home care services. That way you have peace of mind that shopping for groceries and cooking is being taken care of. If you’re cooking for relatives or helping to plan their meals, include plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. These ingredients provide most people with everything they need. Take a look at the nutrients mentioned above that elderly people can lack in, and include ingredients high in these vitamins. For example, bananas are high in potassium, and eggs are high in B12.
As our bodies age they begin to slow down. So while most elderly people aren’t going to be capable of ‘going for the burn’, getting some light exercise in is still important. Depending on their mobility, this could be a case of going for a leisurely walk. Different stretches of the arms and legs can be done sitting on a chair and can help improve strength and flexibility. Exercising the legs contributes to reducing blood clots, and gentle cardio can help to keep a healthy heart. It’s important to speak to a GP before taking up exercise though, especially if they haven’t been very mobile for a while.
Certain activities can help keep an elderly person’s mind sharp, and keep their mood and spirits high. Doing puzzles, playing memory games and socialising with others are all beneficial. Elderly people can suffer with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues just like younger people- but they’re also at risk of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Living a generally healthy life and keeping on top of mental health are the best ways to help prevent this.
Are you currently caring for an elderly relative? Do you have any tips to help them maintain great health?