Family caregivers need to ensure good health for their loved ones as they age in place or live with a condition. Regular physical activity and healthy foods reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Once you understand the health benefits of certain habits and activities for seniors, you can improve your care plan and ensure their long-term well-being.
Keep reading to learn helpful wellness tips for seniors and how you can enhance your senior care services.
Establishing and maintaining a balanced diet is essential as people grow older. Practicing healthy habits in the kitchen helps older adults stay energized, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of developing health conditions like heart disease. Limiting food with trans and saturated fats, processed sugar, and salt prevents your family member from becoming malnourished, which weakens muscles and bones and can lead to chronic health conditions.
Without a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs, your family member may experience:
- Breathing difficulties
- Trouble staying warm
- Reduced muscle mass
- Decreased energy, mobility, and stamina
- Longer recovery times from injury and illness
It can be challenging to create a plan for the older adult in your care that meets all nutritional requirements. However, a well-rounded plan is achievable with enough time, research, and resources. Use these health tips to plan nutritious meals for your loved one:
Foods rich in minerals, fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients have significant health benefits that help older adults manage their weight and stay active. While older adults enrolled in senior care may need fewer calories, their need for nutrients remains the same. Your meal preparation plan should include the following foods:
- Whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, etc.)
- Lean protein, seafood, and eggs
- Beans, peas, seeds, and nuts
- Low-fat milk products or non-dairy alternatives (almond milk, soy milk, etc.)
- Fruits and vegetables
Older adults are more vulnerable to chronic health conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Adjusting their diet and adopting other healthy habits can help prevent or treat these conditions. Eating nutrient-rich foods and limiting foods with added sugars, salt, and solid fats reduces the risk for advanced health care concerns and hospital visits.
The amount of food an individual can eat depends on their age, weight, sex, metabolism, and exercise habits. Learning how much food your loved one needs to feel full and gain the optimal amount of nutrients is essential to building a successful meal plan. For example, older adults who exercise often need more calories than those less active, but still not as many as younger adults.
Portion control prevents overeating. Carefully portion the amount of food you serve your family member and store the rest for later. Share the plate or save half of the serving for a later meal when eating out. Read the labels on drink and food containers to see how many nutrients are available in one serving.
Entertaining your family member with group activities is an excellent way to spice up their daily schedule and allow them to socialize. Give these activities a spin:
- Hobbies – No matter how old you become, it’s never too late to pick up a new hobby. Caregivers should encourage their family members to experiment with new hobbies that keep their minds sharp and allow them to explore their creativity. Creative writing, birdwatching, woodworking, and gardening are popular choices.
- Games – Games, digital or physical, are a great way to unwind and interact with others. Many board games and video games can be played alone or in groups. Visiting the local adult day center is a great way to find a variety of activities and other older adults looking for social interaction.
- Exercise – Regular physical activity increases energy, burns calories, and reduces stress. Whether you join them on a run or a walk around the neighborhood, encouraging your loved one to stay active ensures their good health. Activities like chair yoga and aerobics are excellent alternatives if your family member has limited mobility.
Reduced mobility makes it challenging for some older adults to engage in physical activity. Whether from injuries or health events like stroke or dementia, the effects certain experiences have on the body can make getting around reliably feel impossible. If you have a family member who struggles with this, there are many limited-mobility activities for them to enjoy.
Learning a creative medium like painting or photography is an excellent way for older adults to keep busy and maintain their memory and concentration. Try out these activities:
- Painting miniatures
Strength exercises like yoga or tai chi help older adults stay active without forcing them to move around. Regular physical activity improves heart rate and flexibility and provides a variety of critical health benefits.
There’s no shame in looking for help with caregiving. MDC Healthcare supports you with the full range of our resources to keep your loved one safe and comfortable at home.
Providing senior care to an older adult can be overwhelming without the right support system. You don’t need to tackle the challenges of caregiving alone. MDC Healthcare can provide the health support you need to ensure your family member’s comfort, well-being, and independence. Our highly skilled staff can help you create a meal plan that includes all the healthy foods your loved one needs. We’re lifetime learners equipped with all the latest tools and knowledge.
When you consult with us for senior care services, we give you a care coordinator who learns your situation and connects personally and professionally with your family. Our certified staff is available 24/7 for assistance.
Are you ready to deliver high-quality home care to your loved one? Reach out today.
MDC Healthcare delivers customizable, affordable, and culturally sensitive in-home health services to communities in Georgia.