We as Americans live almost twice as long today, as we did 100 years ago. And the longer our lifespan, the more likely it is that our older loved ones will develop chronic illnesses and health disorders.
In fact, 13 percent of the population in the U.S. is comprised of people aged 65 years and older – and as the number of Baby Boomers entering their Golden years continues to increase, the problems associated with long-term health increase as well.
The good news is that in many cases, seniors don’t have to suffer from age-related conditions such as arthritis, hip fractures, cancer or heart failure. Most of the problems that we experience are not a normal part of aging, even though they might be developed later on in life.
Experts say that it’s really up to us to determine the quality of our lives which directly affects how long we live. The earlier healthy eating and exercise habits are developed, the greater the odds of a fuller life.
Here are a few things that Freedom Home Care found that could prove beneficial in adding years to the life of your senior.
Eating a diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains and consuming and less calories
A healthy diet is something anyone, at any age can benefit from. And for seniors, it’s even more important to make healthy food choices to help avoid serious health conditions like cataracts, dementia, hypertension and heart disease.
Eating at least five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day, choosing foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, using monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils and avoiding trans fats is recommended.
A study published in Neurology showed that people who ate 2 or more servings of green, leafy vegetables a day experienced a slower rate of cognitive change by as much as 40 percent.
Exercise is not only good for the heart, it’s also good for the brain. Getting in 30 minutes of walking, jogging or cardio activity a day – 4 to 5 times a week, has been shown to offer numerous health benefits for seniors such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, increasing bone and muscle strength, boosting heart pumping capacity, and decreasing body fat and blood sugar. Other advantages include an increase in the quality of sleep and a decrease risk of depression.
In addition to all of the physical benefits of exercise, it also revitalizes brain cells. This translates into greater alertness and reduced mental fatigue.
Other Ways to Live a Longer Life
Kick the smoking habit. While smoking can lead to serious problems like heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, emphysema and other chronic lung problems, quitting lowers your risk of contracting these illnesses to nearly the same rate of a non-smoker over time.
Challenge your Mind
Daily brain exercise like reading books, making crafts, and playing puzzles and games can greatly decrease your loved one’s risk of memory loss.
Enlist the Help of Professionals
Hiring certified and credentialed caregivers to provide in-home care or Alzheimer’s care is one of the best ways to ensure that your loved ones gets the assistance they need, while living a longer, healthier life.