Almost every caregiver knows how difficult it can be to keep up with senior's health needs. As a caregiver, it's important to make yourself aware of senior's health requirements, especially one with chronic illness or other serious health issues while also taking care of yourself. Good health habits can make a huge difference to seniors who are prone to illness and those who may seem healthy alike. It's never too late to devote yourself to living a more healthy lifestyle!
Here are 10 tips for maintaining the health needs of an elderly loved one
(P.S. They can also apply to caregivers!):
1. Take Advantage of Free Physicals
Did you know that you could be saving hundreds of dollars on physicals? Well, it's true! Medicare offers free physicals for seniors during their first 12 months on Medicare. After the first year, seniors receive free annual wellness visits. Don't sleep on this offer!
2. Focus on Preventative Care
Preventative care visits, such as health screenings for cholesterol levels, heart problems, colon cancer, and more, qualify for Medicare coverage. It's also important that Seniors get vaccinated to help prevent pneumonia and influenza. Read our blog post Tips for Seniors: Preventing the Flu HERE!
3. Set up a Medication Management Plan
Seniors' physicians can review their medication frequently and assess their needs. Ask questions about possibly dangerous drug interactions and pay close attention to any new symptoms that arise when a senior is prescribed a new or different medicine or, such as drowsiness, allergic reactions and loss of appetite. Read our Tips for Managing Seniors' Medicine HERE!
4. Visit the Dentist Twice a Year (At least)
As the elderly grow older, their risk of cavities increases. Also, many mouth diseases are linked to and symptoms of heart diseases, diabetes, and stroke. This is why it is so important for seniors to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups.
5. Screen for Vision Changes
If you are a glasses-wearing senior or a caregiver of a senior with glasses, you should have the prescription checked every year for necessary adjustments as well as have an eye screening for health issues. Having the right prescription is more important than one would think; it can reduce a senior's risk of falling.
6. Remember Mental Health
Seniors should do crossword puzzles, read, write, paint, and try new hobbies to stimulate their brains and engage with society. These activities can help prevent cognitive decline. Read our blog post about Unexpectedly Easy Ways to Boost Your Memory HERE!
7. Stay Physically Active
Exercise not only increases energy and helps build up strength, but it improves memory and combats depression. Even short strolls around the neighborhood, long walks or an exercise program approved by the senior's physician can improve the health and extend the life span of a senior. Read our blog post about Safe and Fun Yoga for Seniors HERE!
8. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Seniors' digestive systems slow as they age, so it's important for them to consume high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Many physicians suggest seniors switch to a Mediterranean diet which consists of mainly fish, whole grains and green vegetables. Also remember that seniors are prone to dehydration, so they should drink plenty of water everyday! Read our How To: Eat Healthy as a Senior blog post HERE!
9. Get Some Sleep
Seniors often face insomnia and frequent waking up to go to the bathroom in the night, so it can be hard for them to get a full night's sleep. Turning the lights down in the evening and sometimes reading before bed can help spur drowsiness to ease seniors into sleep. Be sure to make sure the senior's bedroom is quiet, an appropriate temperature and comfortable.
Time spent with friends, children and grandchildren can make a senior's day, week or even month. It's important to make seniors feel as if they are connected, especially if they suffer from mobility issues. If your elderly loved one has dementia/Alzheimer's, please consult our blog post How to Communicate to those with Dementia HERE as well as our blog post about an App that Helps Caregivers Communicate with those with Dementia HERE. If the senior is mobile, then they should consider gardening with friends, which can fulfill both exercise and socialization needs! Read about Senior Gardening Safety HERE.
With their health under control, seniors can focus on staying active and social, which is important to their overall well-being.