Each February we celebrate National Senior Independence Month and the empowerment that comes from seniors being able to care for themselves and maintain a safe and comfortable quality of life.
The more that you can do to help your senior loved one help themselves, the better they often feel – both mentally and physically.
In order to be able to take care of oneself late into your twilight years, you need to establish healthy habits for aging early on.
At Blue Water Homecare, we offer assistance to seniors as they age at home, or in a facility, but we also always encourage them to do things for themselves whenever possible.
Here are ways you can help your loved one both preserve their health and ultimately help boost confidence and independence:
Keep bones strong.
Bones become weak and brittle with age, and serious conditions such as osteoporosis can develop, creating the risk for frequent breaks and fractures. Broken bones are a major inhibitor for mobility and independence, so make sure your senior takes calcium and vitamin D supplements as needed, follows tips for fall prevention, and gets regular bone density screenings.
Maintain good heart health.
The older we get, the more clogged arteries can become causing issues with elevated blood pressure, poor circulation, and overall deteriorating heart function. A well-balanced diet, limiting foods high in fats and cholesterol, and regular physical activity can go a long way to promote better circulation and extend optimal heart health.
Exercise the brain.
It is common for many people as they grow older to become forgetful and disoriented. This can take a toll on their independence and them being able to complete even the easiest of daily tasks. Engaging in thoughtful conversation and playing a variety of games to continually exercise and strengthen mental sharpness are very helpful for your loved one. If you feel that their forgetfulness is more serious than just the occasional ‘senior moment’, speak with their physician about concerns for dementia (a severe form of memory loss) and what preventative measures can be taken.
Survey the senses.
Hearing and eyesight are often the first senses to decline as we get older. And they are typically the most important for being able to take care of yourself, as you must be able to see well enough to get around the house and hear well to communicate with others and recognize dangerous noises/activities around you. Hearing loss in particular, is important to note as it can also affect balance and pose risks for falling. Help your senior to make and keep regular appointments with their eye doctor to assess vision as well as an audiologist to check hearing.
Support urinary and digestive health
Eating habits often shift with age and once favorite foods can become less tolerable or cause constipation, stomach pain, or nausea. Eating a diet rich in fiber and plenty of fruits and vegetables can help bowel movements to be more regular. Additionally, staying hydrated is just as important to help keep things moving and prevent bladder infections, which are common in seniors, both men and women. Being able to use the restroom independently and maintain privacy while doing so is often very important for seniors.
“As much as we want to foster their independence for as long as possible, it is also important to recognize when our loved ones might need help,” says Blue Water Homecare founder and COO, Jennifer Prescott, RN, MSN, CDP. “Signs that your senior might need some assistance include that they are losing weight, falling or getting hurt often, or that their home environment has become gradually unkept and or/unsafe.”
At Blue Water Homecare, we offer personalized, safe, and comforting at-home, dementia, and Parkinson’s care services. Contact us today to learn how we can help your loved one maintain their dignity and independence while aging in place. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.