Caring for an aging loved one can be one of the most truly rewarding and challenging times of your life. However, by focusing on whole person health and wellness, your senior can continue to enjoy life and vitality long into their retirement years.
Poor nutrition is one of the leading causes of death and disease in the U.S. but this is especially true for the elderly. It is critical that seniors maintain their suggested calorie intake and eat in moderation from each of the food groups, especially fruits and vegetables.
Recommended Foods & Exercises for Seniors
Seniors should focus on lower calorie, but high protein diets to maintain their ideal weight and their muscle development. Many elderly like programs such as Weight Watchers which make selecting a balanced diet easy. Other programs such as the DASH Diet also offer the proper balance of nutrients without complexity.
Regular exercise is a must for all, but especially the elderly. Programs should focus on building endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Walking and lifting light weights can fill exercise needs, minimize injury, and can be done anywhere.
A standard bathroom can pose many hazards to seniors, who may be limited in their mobility. Adjustments can dramatically increase safety in the bathroom and minimize worry.
Senior Friendly Bathroom Appliances
Examine your senior’s bathroom and identify areas of potential danger or difficulty. Install lever faucets that don’t require twisting to operate. Install grab bars and rails in areas where slipping is likely, such as in the shower, or where an elderly person is likely to be bending down, such as near the toilet. Non-slip rugs and mats are a must.
Add a Spaloo bidet toilet seat for maximum hygiene, comfort, and ease. They are especially good for people with mobility issues. Curbless showers, walk-in tubs, and elevated toilets also make it easier for those with limited mobility to use the bathroom safely, although these additions require a larger investment.
For people of any age, sleep is directly related to quality of life and overall health and well-being. However, many seniors could benefit from improved sleep.
Any senior’s mattress should be in good condition and comfortable. Mattresses should relieve pressure points and offer a restful night’s sleep. Memory foam mattress toppers can help improve a traditional mattress as can other types of foam wedges. Pillows should support the head and neck and leave the spine in alignment, regardless of the sleeping position.
Home Care Bedding Fixtures
Should your loved one need more support getting in and out of bed, a number of accessories can help. Bed rails can provide support and are easy to install. Lifting poles and accessories can be installed above a bed, allowing an easy reach handle for movement as well. Adjustable height beds, while expensive, can allow your senior easy access to their bed and minimize falls.
As people age, the mobility required to manage hygiene can often become challenging. Caregivers must give special attention to senior’s personal care in a dignified and efficient way.
Personal Care Tips
Seniors should be certain their face, hands, and genital area are washed daily – bathing can be less frequent and should be done only if necessary for those with limited mobility.
Be sure to assist your loved one with dental care as well – maintain dentures or natural teeth with regular cleanings as brushing to decrease bacteria. Offer an electric razor for shaving as it is less likely to cause injury overall.
Lastly, maintain a light-hearted attitude and a sense of humor. Personal care is a private matter and it will take some adjustment and levity for you and your senior to become comfortable with this intimacy.