Living a happy and healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy. However there are simple do’s and don’ts that can help you create the kind of life you deserve.
Do know when to ask for help
For decades, you’ve fed the kids, cared for loved ones, mowed the lawn, and baked for church groups. Giving up independence may be one of the hardest parts of aging. Yet, asking for help can actually help you live a life that’s longer, healthier, and more enjoyable.
Has hosting the family’s traditional Sunday dinner become a burden? Consider asking your daughter or son to take over hosting responsibilities. You can still play an important role by making your famous macaroni and cheese or presiding over the after-dinner story time with the grandkids. Does the fear of falling make snow removal a nerve-wracking, miserable experience? Hire the neighborhood teen or a grandchild to dig through the snow for you.
If you are married to someone living with dementia or caring for your 100-year-old mother, look into occasional respite care. Friends and family members may be able to help out, but, if that’s not possible, consider hiring a reputable caregiver to allow you a few hours out of the house. Whether you catch a movie or chat with a friend, you can return to your ill loved one feeling refreshed and recharged. Another option is a retirement community that offers a continuum of care, from independent living to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. These communities specialize in helping in the care of seniors with dementia. They can give you the social and clinic support your loved one needs while allowing you to live a fulfilling social life in a community of active seniors.
Do make small changes in your diet
Low fat. Lots of fruits. Plenty of veggies. You’ve heard it all before. A diet rich in greens and low in bad fats can decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Diet can also be an important tool for treating certain conditions. For example, research suggests that a diet high in saturated fats triggers chemicals that cause joint inflammation in those living with rheumatoid arthritis. As a result, experts recommend RA sufferers eat a low-fat diet.
But after a lifetime of cheese steaks and macaroni casseroles it can be hard to turn into a health food nut. Rather than doing a complete menu overhaul, start with small, doable steps. For a veggie-boost that won’t leave you gagging, try adding pureed carrots or squash to pasta sauce. It adds loads of vitamins, but you likely won’t notice much of a change in the taste of the sauce.
Do communicate with your loved ones
While you might gladly chat with your family about Great Uncle Bill’s off-color joke or argue about an expensive new purchase, you may not have discussed your wishes regarding your health or end-of-life care.
There’s no question-these are hard discussions to have. But by letting your family know what your wishes are regarding situations such as life-sustaining care and organ donation, you can make their decisions about your care easier. There are several options for advance directives, from a living will to a medical power of attorney, so be sure to talk to your family, your doctor, and your attorney about which choice would be best for you.
Don’t live with pain.
Pain is not an inevitable result of age. Yet Australian studies suggest that up to 73% of independent, healthy seniors report chronic pain. Longstanding pain is a serious condition that can trigger chronic insomnia and interfere with daily living.
Don’t live with chronic pain anymore; approach a health care professional about relief options. While pain can often be treated effectively with medication, other therapies, such as acupuncture, yoga, and biofeedback,,are known to relieve chronic pain. Find effective pain management therapies and techniques, and you can dramatically increase your enjoyment of life.
Don’t neglect your choppers.
With the hubbub over healthful diets and regular exercise, dental care is an often overlooked aspect of maintaining a healthy, happy life. From gum disease to dry mouth, seniors are vulnerable to a variety of oral problems that can impact quality of life.
While you probably know that it’s important to brush and floss your pearly whites every day, it’s also important to visit the dentist regularly. Seniors are particularly prone to plaque build up. That plaque can lead not only to gum and periodontal disease, the CDC says it may also trigger strokes and heart disease, especially in those with already weakened immune systems.
Wear dentures? Make sure they fit comfortably. Dentures that don’t sit correctly can make eating uncomfortable. For some that leads to nutrition problems, which, in turn, can lead to a host of other physical issues.
If you have mobility conditions, like arthritis or lupus, good dental care can become challenging. In fact, patients with arthritis have a higher risk of developing cavities in the root of the tooth, a major cause of tooth loss. Invest in an electric toothbrush and dental floss holders to make your dental routine easier.