Wellbeing in Older Adults: Top Wellness Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle
Did you know that coffee may help you live longer?
Whilst this may be the case, we’re certainly not suggesting that you should rely on the consumption of coffee alone when it comes to wellbeing in older adults.
It would certainly be a breeze if we could boil it all down to one simple, easy tip; but the truth is, maximum health is achieved by adopting a combination of lifestyle factors.
Keen to find out how you can boost your loved one’s health in 2021? Keep reading for our top tips!
Wellbeing in Older Adults Tip 1: Follow a Nutritious, Healthy Diet
Whilst chocolate, pastries or very-well-buttered toast may be a delicious way to satisfy your hunger, they’re likely doing more harm than good when it comes to food health.
Of course, it’s OK to enjoy occasional treats, but for the most part, a diet rich in vitamins, minerals – and, most importantly variety – is key to prolonging a healthy life.
For older individuals, it becomes even more important to consume a variety of different foods, since many aspects of their mental and physical health are more prone to decline.
When creating a meal plan for your loved one, ensure it’s low in saturated fats (i.e. butter, fatty meat, cakes) to reduce the risk of weight-related illnesses. Instead, it’s a good idea to include plenty of fruits and vegetables (two cups of fruit a day is recommended, due to sugar content), as well as an abundance of whole grains (i.e. wholemeal bread, oats, rye), to ensure adequate intake of fibre – and in turn, improved digestion.
This Salsa Verde salmon with smashed chickpea salad is a great example of a healthy meal; the salmon provides a good dose of healthy fats, whilst the salad offers plenty of protein, iron and fibre.
At our care home in Hertfordshire, we were incredibly grateful to receive a box of vitamin D capsules as part of a government initiative to increase protection against COVID-19. It’s been very well received and will certainly help to supplement the lack of sunlight we’ve experienced as a result of the winter lockdown!
Stay Well Hydrated
Is your loved one consuming the recommended 6-8 glasses of water per day?
Start paying close attention to how much water your loved one is drinking. It can be all too easy to forget to drink as much as we should, with feelings of thirst often being mistaken for hunger.
Dehydration can be the disguised culprit of a number of health complaints – from tiredness and lightheadedness to headaches and dry skin.
If your loved one struggles to drink plain water, try lightly flavouring it with fresh fruits, or making water-based ice pops in the warmer months. Try to ensure that their intake of alcohol and fizzy drinks is limited, too, and avoid excessive consumption of caffeine.
Including water-based vegetables in their meal plans is a great way to encourage hydration, too; cucumber sticks and chopped tomatoes work very well as a tasty snack.
1-in-4 adults worldwide do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity, according to WHO.
Whilst this statistic is pretty eye-opening, we know all too well how difficult it can be to find the motivation to exercise – particularly during the colder months. However, the benefits attached to exercise make it a no-brainer.
Regular exercise is known to reduce the risk of a number of life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease and several cancers. From a mental health perspective, it’s enjoyed by many globally as an instant mood lift and long-term relief from anxiety.
Whether your loved one enjoys swimming, low-intensity workouts or simply walking, encouraging them to move their body – if only a little – is much more beneficial than staying still for long periods of time.
Stretching, too, offers a multitude of physical and mental health benefits – from boosting circulation and preventing injury to improving range of motion. If your loved one isn’t too keen on the idea of a complete yoga class, try suggesting a few arm stretches from the comfort of their chair.
As humans, we’re social beings. In order to maximise wellbeing in older adults, we need to ensure that they engage in regular interaction with other like-minded individuals to combat loneliness.
Perhaps there’s a local book group near you or a community centre with regular events; take time to explore your community and see where your loved one could get involved.
Take Sleep Seriously
Too many underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. It’s one of the most effective ways to strengthen our immune system, maximise mental performance and maintain a healthy weight.
If you know your loved one struggles to maintain a healthy sleep cycle, try suggesting ways that they can help their mind and body to switch off. Using a lavender oil/spray can work wonders; whether it’s sprayed liberally around their bedroom or added to an essential oil diffuser.
It’s also a good idea to remind your loved one to resist the temptation to look at screens (such as their TV) one to two hours before they settle down for the night. This allows melatonin (the ‘sleep hormone’ located in our brain) to remain in abundance, allowing us to succumb to a peaceful slumber.
At Foxholes Care Home, we’re passionate about ensuring that our residents live happy, fulfilled lives. To find out more about our care, take a few minutes to browse our website.
Alternatively, take a look at our previous blog to find out how pet therapy can help boost your loved one’s mental health.