One essential part of living a healthy life is self-care. Self-care can help seniors get everything they need for physical and mental health, especially during events like the pandemic. But what is self-care, and how can it work specifically for seniors?
What is self-eare?
A lot of people see “self-care” as a trend among younger people. It certainly has taken on the image of treating one’s self and working towards relaxation. Proper self-care goes much deeper than that, though! A good plan for seniors will include everything they can do to protect or improve their health!
It even has an official definition with the World Health Organization! The WHO defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
So, how can seniors make self-care a part of their routines? It’s necessary to think about everything that goes into healthy living: diet, exercise, and mental health. Everything starts by setting small goals for yourself, though!
Set small goals
Creating small, achievable goals is the best first step in making lifestyle adjustments that improve self-care. It doesn’t matter how old you are – changing habits takes time! If you’re a senior, consider starting with a general check-up with your physician to discuss any health concerns you have.
Many older adults are at risk of malnutrition for many possible reasons: decreased appetite, dental issues, a loss of senses like taste or smell, a lack of interest in cooking for themselves, and even mental health. It can lead to weight loss or – if the diet is full of too many trans fats and a lack of nutrients – weight gain.
Proper nutrition can boost immunity, fight illness-causing toxins, keep weight in check, and reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss, and cancer. A diet full of fruit, leafy greens, fish and nuts can help maintain brain health and mental acuity.
While these foods are healthy, they don’t have to be boring! Self-care can also be about enjoying them. Having a care provider or family member on hand for food preparation can keep meals delicious and healthy.
Everyone loses muscle mass and bone density as they age. But while it’s not entirely avoidable, seniors can slow it down with an active lifestyle. Exercise not only keeps the body healthy – it can boost and support one’s mood, too!
Walking is a great place to start – it’s a free, low-impact activity with many benefits. Seniors can go for walks by themselves, with friends, or accompanied by a caregiver to improve their health, get some outdoor time, and be social. Swimming is another gentle, fun exercise that seniors can enjoy with others or a caregiver. Before a senior begins a new exercise routine, they should talk with a physician.
Mental health care
Facing new challenges and different sources of stress that come with ageing can affect the mental well-being of seniors. Depression is not a normal part of ageing and should never be treated as such!
Other self-care recommendations on this list can reduce anxiety and depression. Nutritious food and exercise both have a positive impact on mental health! Other activities like connecting with loved ones, partaking in hobbies, and even mindfulness exercises like meditation can do wonders for mental health self-care.
If you’re a senior experiencing mental health issues or notice the signs in an elderly loved one, don’t hesitate to seek help from a physician.
Contact Vera Home Care today
Could a loved one use a little extra assistance with implementing or executing a self-care routine? Home care workers can help your loved ones stay healthy and independent.
Contact us today to learn more!