Helping Seniors with Chronic Health Conditions
One of the most commonly made – and broken – New Year’s resolutions is to exercise more and eat healthier.
For seniors with chronic health conditions (as many as 85% of older adults who are struggling with at least one, and 60% with at least two), the challenge to make healthy lifestyle choices is even more challenging.
The benefits, however, are well worth the investment of time and energy, including:
- A substantial (71%) decrease in diabetes
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Better sleeping habits
- Improved balance, leading to fewer falls
- Decreased arthritis pain
- And more!
It’s crucial for seniors to first schedule an appointment with their primary care physician (and/or the specialist treating specific chronic health conditions) for approval to begin or change any exercise or dietary plan.
Perhaps the easiest, least expensive, and most enjoyable physical activity is taking walks. Find a walking buddy, start off slowly, and get out in nature to enjoy the fresh air and scenery.
Try tai chi or yoga, which are both great for enhancing flexibility, relieving joint stiffness, and increasing range of motion. Follow along with an online tai chi or yoga instructor, or join an in-person class, wearing face coverings as appropriate (and boost socialization in the process).
Build endurance and strength while going easy on joints with low-impact exercises such as swimming or riding a stationary bicycle.
Begin by replacing bad eating habits with healthier options, one at a time. For instance, if a typical snack is salty chips or pretzels, opt for baby carrots and hummus instead. Once you’ve become adjusted to that one switch, choose another – such as replacing the white bread used to make sandwiches with whole grain bread.
Include a variety of food groups throughout the day, as well as a variety of colors. Use this listing of food groups and portion sizes for inspiration.
Don’t forget about beverages! Opting for water, whether plain, sparkling, or flavored, is a much healthier choice than soda, sugar-sweetened tea, or coffee.
Staying connected to others is so important for mental/emotional wellbeing. When in-person visits with family and friends aren’t possible, keep in touch by phone or through virtual visits, using Zoom or a similar platform.
Find ways to reach out to help others, which is one of the best ways to boost self-worth, mood, and a sense of purpose. A few ideas include baking cookies to have delivered to a homeless shelter for a special, homemade treat; writing letters or cards to lift the spirits of friends or family members who are struggling; putting together care packages for local veterans.
Take plenty of time for relaxing, enjoyable self-care activities: reading, listening to favorite music, spending time in nature, engaging in art projects, etc.
Why Choose LightSpring Home Care?
Our mission is to enhance the lives of individuals by giving them the best home care possible.
Our home care professionals in Philadelphia look beyond the basic needs of our clients to become advocates for their physical and emotional well-being. Whether you are faced with a new diagnosis, recent surgery, or long-term health challenge, the care we provide is rooted in our core values.
Our senior care services allow our elderly clients to maintain as much independence as possible by providing the appropriate in-home assistance and companionship, lifting the spirits of both the elderly and the family caregivers.
LightSpring Home Care provides Home Care Services in the Philadelphia and surrounding cities.
Call us at 215-935-6321