Senior Health - Options and Needs

08 March, 2020
Senior health largely depends largely on their lifestyle. This stage can be one of the most profitable and interesting with proper nutrition, regular physical activity, and a good attitude.
Senior health deserves our full attention. This is because aging often brings organic and psychological problems that show themselves in a different way in each individual. Unfortunately, these problems aren’t always understood or properly addressed.
There’s a widespread idea that old age means disease and decrepitude. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Yes, people lose some skills over the years and there’s a greater risk of having certain illnesses, but the issue of health in seniors doesn’t have to be a problem.
Practicing good daily habits is one of the decisive factors for staying in good shape and maintaining a good quality of life as you age. This is the best tool you have for moderating the effects of the passage of time and feeling better.

Basic senior health needs

Firstly, an older person should do regular medical check-ups without necessarily devoting all of their time to them. In addition, there are three main concerns when it comes to senior health care:
  • Nutrition
  • Physical state
  • Psychosocial dimension
As you well know, nutrition is fundamental to being healthy. Following a well-balanced diet is key, especially as you age. Likewise, it’s crucial to stay physically active in order to function as you should.
The psychosocial dimension largely regulates the adoption of healthy habits at this stage. Ideally, the elderly person implements a self-care routine, but this is only possible when there’s enough motivation and confidence to do so.
A doctor evaluating a patient.
Older people should have frequent medical checkups.

Nutrition

People, as they age, must eventually change their eating habits. Some of the signs that might indicate it’s time to do so are:
  • The intestine shows changes, shown by frequent episodes of constipation or diarrhea
  • The body begins to accumulate fat
  • A loss of muscle mass or weight
There isn’t one specific diet for all older people. People must adopt a healthy diet at any stage of their lives, but especially when they age. The only restrictions happen when there’s a disease that limits what you can eat.

Fall prevention

Falls are frequent in older people and are one of the things that lead to faster deterioration and dependence. This is why you must do everything you can to prevent them. One of the key measures for it is to counteract the loss of muscle mass through frequent physical activity; lifting weights is a good exercise for this.
In addition, you must adapt your environment to your aging needs. For instance, you could install switches near the bed and try not to move around in the dark. Also, remove any objects from the floor and fix the floor mats to facilitate access to personal items. An unstable person must wear footwear suitable for their needs.
A pair of hands.
During the third age, the skin weakens and requires particular care so as not to suffer pathologically the effects of the passage of time.

Skincare

An elderly person’s skin is thinner and drier, therefore more fragile and less elastic. Generally, an older person must maintain proper hygiene, preferably with the aid of a neutral soap for personal grooming. They must also use sunscreen and avoid long term exposure to the sun. Likewise, they should wear cotton clothes and drink about two pints of water a day.
You must pay particular attention to the skin of older people with limited mobility. Thus, it’s very important to help them change positions frequently, every two or three hours at most. It’s also crucial to keep their skin moisturized.

Senior emotional and cognitive health

Older people must usually make adjustments to their lifestyle. And in order to achieve it, they must set attainable objectives and goals that go according to their taste, interests, and needs. Inactivity and isolation can easily lead to depression.
This is why it’s very important for them to maintain an active social life. Also, it may be necessary to learn to ask for, and receive, help at this stage, without feeling useless or a burden to others. Similarly, you must participate in activities where you can help others as it will help you feel good about yourself.
Finally, there are over 100 forms of dementia in old age and the best way to prevent them is by maintaining regular physical activity, as well as an intellectual activity. Try not to consume tobacco and alcohol. As you can see, finding a way to enjoy your life is the main antidote against health problems as you age.

Vassallo, C., & Sellanes, M. (2001). La salud en la tercera edad. Argentina: Secretaria de la tercera edad, 2-127.