While seniors who live in an assisted-living facility and require long-term care routinely participate in group programs that encourage an active lifestyle, those living at home have to be proactive. According to the CDC, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. today is poor heart health which leads to more serious heart disease.
This is a problem that cuts across the demographic and is not specific to older adults. But as we age, we become more and more susceptible to conditions that come about as a result of poor lifestyle choices. That is why every senior needs to pay close attention to their day-to-day living conditions.
Even if you require long-term care or in-home care, there are healthy habits that you can develop; habits mixed with a little more health care and physical activity that do not require a lot of time nor cause a lot of strain yet offer a great deal of benefits to those who participate.
Walking, for example, is a wonderful lifestyle choice for seniors. Just taking a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood every day combined with a heart-healthy diet can greatly improve your heart’s health and keep conditions such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes at bay.
Developing Simple Yet Healthy Habits
While there are lots of options such as joining a gym or a workout group to keep fit, healthy and social, those seniors who live alone may not have as many opportunities to do so. That, however, does not mean that you cannot develop some simple habits that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle bit by bit every day.
Following are some simple health habits you can start adapting to ensure that you get better as you move deeper into your twilight years:
Get Regular Checkups
This gives you a chance to keep tabs on your physical and emotional health. A trusted physician will also give you advice on the kind of activities you should regularly undertake to regulate or correct any medical conditions that might be developing.
They will also identify and determine what it is you are most at risk of developing and show you how you can either slow it down, treat it, or avoid it all together
Besides, having a regular checkup is a good way to determine where you are at the moment and starting from there as far as healthy living is concerned (just to make sure you do not take on activities that are too rigorous for your current health).
Invest in A Few Health Monitoring Devices
There is a Tractica report that says the number of people relying on technology to monitor their health at home will rise to about 78.5 million come 2020. This is a sharp rise from 14.3 million three years ago (2014). That steep increase shows you just how far technology has come and how beneficial it is to those who can make good use of it.
There are many devices that you can invest in to make your day-to-day life that much easier. Good examples include:
- Withings Pulse Ox: This is a wearable device that gives seniors more control over their own health. It monitors the users’ heart rate, sleep quality, and blood oxygen levels.
- AT&T’s EverThere Emergency Response System: This is a first from AT&T. It is a device that has a call button seniors can press to alert nearby care centers of any emergencies such as falls. It comes fully loaded with an internal GPS for easy location as well as voice command in case the wearer cannot press the emergency button.
- Metria Wearable Sensor: Created by Avery Dennison, this discreet device is a comfortable way for your medical providers to monitor your health. With the ability to stick directly to your body using a skin-friendly adhesive, it collects important medical data such as your heart rate, amount of sleep you get and your blood pressure. Your caregivers can then examine this data to determine the best way forward.
There are many other devices in the market depending on your particular needs.
Practice Convenient Exercising
A big deterrence to exercising is the fact that it can be rather inconvenient. Most seniors immediately get discouraged once they start thinking about changing into their workout clothes, going to the gym, warming up, working out then getting back home to shower and make dinner. It all seems so tedious. Why not, then, take the inconvenience out of your exercising?
As an older adult, you can easily buy a treadmill and place it in front of the TV. This will allow you to get some exercise in while you watch your favorite shows. You don’t even have to make these sessions intensive. Maybe just walk on the treadmill for 30 to 40 minutes every day.
Over time, that routine will greatly improve your physical and even emotional health—all while not missing a single episode of your favorite TV show. What’s more, combining this with a heart-healthy diet is better still. There is a whole list of other things you can do to stay healthy as a senior:
- Quit smoking
- Eat well
- Stay up to date on all your immunizations and health screenings
- Manage your stress by relaxing more, such as a yoga break
- Stay close to friends and family
- Keep your skin healthy and well hydrated
Apart from your health, there are other things that you need to take care of as you age. One of the other most important aspects of your well-being is your safety. Unless you feel safe and secure in your own environment, everything you do to keep yourself healthy will be undermined by the fact that you will be constantly stressed and agitated by your lack of security.
Safety Tips for Seniors Who Live Alone
There is more to staying safe and healthy than just hiring the best home security firms on the market. There are social aspects of the entire process that do more for your mental, emotional and physical health than having an electric fence will ever do. Things like:
Building A Close Circle of Family and Friends
One of the biggest risks to a senior’s mortality rate is isolation. There is a 2012 study that was published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,’ which shows that isolation has a marked impact on the mortality rate of people above 52 years of age. The study showed that isolation increased the mortality rate of isolated seniors and that it also contributed to:
- Poor health
- Cognitive decline
This study shows that maintaining a healthy social life is a great way for seniors to not only stay safe, but active and healthy in a community where they feel accepted, appreciated, and loved. It is also a great way for seniors to develop a sturdy support system that can come in handy should anything go wrong.
Have A Disaster Kit Handy
Disaster often strikes at the least convenient of times. Everyone, especially seniors with special needs, should develop a ‘disaster kit’ that can help them deal or whether any disasters that may come their way.
The best disaster preparedness kits can be used in the event of:
- Natural disasters
- Freezing weather
- Power outages and so on
The kit should include essential survival supplies such as:
- Medical supplies
- Bottled water
- Dried foods
- Matches and so on
Your disaster kit will make life much easier before first responders arrive. Besides, having one will give you the much-needed peace of mind knowing that should anything happen, you can help yourself and survive while you figure things out.
Keep Your Emergency Contacts at Hand
As a senior, especially if you are living alone, you need to have a list of emergency contacts nearby (preferably programmed into your phone—both cell and home phone). This list should include your most reliable family members, your local emergency response professionals such as doctors, firemen and ambulances.
You could also include a few friends who can help get you help when you need it. Think of anyone you would call for help when disaster strikes and put them on the list. If you are going to include individuals on that list, it is best to inform them of the decision and why they are on your list. This way, should that call ever come, they will know what it is about and what to do.
Keep Your Home Secure
It is always a good idea to have a comprehensive home security system installed. This will help you keep your home secure and give you peace of mind. Think of alarm systems, cameras, and a fully operational home security response team should the alarm go off.
Not only is this a good way to keep your personal belongings as well as property secure, but the response team can also be part of your emergency contacts should disaster strike. When it comes to your personal health and safety, it is all about proactivity.
It is your personal duty to keep yourself secure and healthy. These are just some ideas that will help get you started on the right path. Think of other things that are directly relevant to your personal situation and add them to the list of home and health tips in 2018.
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The number of people relying on technology to monitor their health at home is expected to rise to about 78.5 million by 2020.
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