Is your elderly loved one ready for Fall and Winter?
It is common for many seniors to be more sensitive to changes in the seasons. Whether from health challenges, less than an ideal diet, medications or a combination of these and other factors, your loved ones may have more difficulty in adapting to the changing weather. With a weakened immune system, they are at greater risk for catching colds or the flu, and mobility issues can make navigating wet, slippery surfaces outside more of a challenge.
There are, however, a number of simple actions that can be taken to minimize these risks. Most are common and well known practices, but are important enough to bear repeating:
Self Care to Support Immunity
Wash hands - one of the most important (and simplest) steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. Wash with soap and running water for 20 seconds. If not feasible, an alcohol based hand gel will do.
Note: More recent research cautions against the over-use of anti-bacterial soap or hand gels. It is possible that this practice contributes to bacterial resistance.
Keep well nourished- a nutritionally balanced diet that provides enough calories along with the essential nutrients strengthens the immune system.
Keep well hydrated - water is needed for every function in the body, including the body's ability to fight infection. Good hydration also helps the lining of the nose, mouth, throat and lungs to trap and dispose of germs effectively.
Keep well rested - the body needs to sleep every night in order to repair and rejuvenate. Physical issues that come up due to lack of consistent, quality sleep weakens the immune system and places the body at greater risk for infection.
Keep motivated - depression, anxiety or any other kind of on-going emotional stress - along with physical challenges - will also contribute to a depressed immune system less capable of dealing with infections.
Note: It is crucial to seek professional help and guidance if this is an issue! Too often, the underlying causes of mental health challenges are not adequately dealt with - especially amongst seniors.
Keep moving - staying active and mobile will go a long way to countering low moods as exercise produces endorphins which boost positive feelings and keep you motivated. It is important to include activities that get the heart pumping as well as those that improve strength, flexibility and balance.Regular exercise helps to maintain mobility and thus, independence.
© Nancy Glover | Aging With Grace www.AgingwithGrace.ca
Do you need help with taking care of your elderly?
Contact Nancy to inquire about a Caregiver Action Plan assessment where all aspects of care are reviewed in order to help families create a more dynamic and positive experience for the care of their loved ones.
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Nancy Glover, a healthy aging advocate, mentors extraordinary women and men who have stepped into the challenging role of caring for their elderly spouse or parent by managing their well-being in the later stages of life. Blending first-hand expertise with practical step by step systems to support the needs, goals, and desires of the elderly spouse or parent, Nancy helps caregivers maneuver the complex and often challenging role with supportive advocacy and resources that equally focus on everyone’s well-being. Learn more about her at www.agingwithgrace.ca and sign up to receive timely information and strategies to empower caregivers and families in transition.