The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can wreak havoc on our health and well-being, especially for those over 65 years of age whose immune systems may not be as strong. To help seniors stay healthy during the holidays and avoid the winter blues, keep these 5 tips in mind.
It can be hard to stick to a healthy diet while surrounded by rich meals and sweet treats, but it’s particularly important for seniors, especially those at risk for diabetes and heart disease. If attending a big holiday dinner, encourage seniors to eat light the rest of the day, perhaps a simple soup or salad for lunch. Ensure they drink plenty of water, and balance out the rich meals by having healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables, on hand.
With the cold weather, snowstorms and busy holiday schedules, exercise routines are often disrupted this time of year, but it’s more important than ever for seniors to stay active in the winter. Moderate physical activity can flush bacteria from the lungs and airways, thereby reducing the chance of catching a nasty winter cold, the flu or other illness. Just taking a 20-30 minute walk each day can help. While it may be too blustery for a walk outside, many residents at the Eddy Senior Living Communities enjoy walking the enclosed hallways, attending scheduled exercise classes and using the wellness centers.
While typically a joyful time of year, seniors may become nostalgic and experience heightened feelings of depression and loneliness during the holidays. Although this is less common for those living in senior communities, it’s important for all seniors to socialize with friends and family to combat the winter blues. For homebound seniors with long-distance family, consider short-term respite care or an in-home companion caregiver to fend off loneliness during the holiday season.
The stress of guests, shopping, parties and events can take its toll on our health, especially as we age. Overscheduling is especially harmful for seniors whose immune systems are weaker. Make sure elderly guests have time to relax, rest and recharge. Make time for a midday nap if they will be out late, try not to plan back-to-back days of activities, give a day of rest in between, and let them know it’s okay to ask for help or turn down an occasional invite.
Start New Traditions
Seniors are often reluctant to give up traditions, like hosting the big holiday meal, but all that cooking and cleaning can be a huge source of illness-inducing stress. If an aging parent typically does the hosting, explain the positives of passing the tradition on to younger family members, and suggest they still bring one or two of their signature dishes. Alternatively, family members can help prepare the meal, and volunteer to do the clean-up.
Keeping Seniors in NY Healthy & Happy All Year Long
During the holidays, many families will be visiting their aging loved ones and seeing them in-person for the first time in months, possibly even since last year. While the holidays are certainly not the time to have “the talk” with your parents, it is important to look for signs that indicate they need help.
The decision to move a loved one into an independent senior living or assisted living community is never easy, but with the many luxury options available today, it’s not as difficult as it used to be. The Eddy Senior Living communities in Troy, Niskayuna, East Greenbush, Slingerlands and Queensbury are a great place to live, especially during the holidays. We make it easy to eat healthy and stay active with our wholesome dining options and wellness programs, and there are numerous opportunities for socializing to ease loneliness and depression.