Tips for Staying Healthy Over the Winter
As people age, it can become harder for the body to fight off illness and fully recover. The immune system weakens and other conditions can complicate a cold or the flu. Taking steps to stay healthy and protect against illness (as much as possible) is essential for seniors. From eating right and staying active to avoiding certain situations, there are many ways seniors can be proactive.
Get vaccinated. December 4-11 is National Influenza Vaccine Week. If you and your loved ones haven’t already been vaccinated, now is the time. Adults age 65 and older can get a “high dose vaccine” to provide even more immune support and protection. Remember that it takes about two weeks for the vaccination to become fully effective, so still take care around individuals who may be sick. While getting a flu shot won’t guarantee that you won’t get sick – it only protects against certain strains of the flu, it can help reduce your risk.
Rest up. Give your body plenty of time to rest and recover, especially if you are feeling worn down. Pushing too hard can stress your body and weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to illness. Sleep allows your body to heal and recharge, fighting off germs.
Avoid individuals who are sick. As much as you want to see your grandchildren or visit with friends, if someone is ill, try to stay away until they are feeling better. Limiting your exposure to germs can help you stay healthier. In the meantime, consider using FaceTime, Skype, or another digital platform to stay in touch without sharing germs.
Wash your hands. This is an effective way to reduce the spread of illness if you are vigilant about it. After you’ve been out in public, touched common items, or spent time around a lot of people, it’s a good idea to wash your hands and even change your clothes. If you can’t get to a sink, keep some hand sanitizer in your bag or car. Try to avoid touching your face as much as possible because the eyes and mouth are prime entryways for germs.
Eat right. Make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein. This can help boost your immune system. If you can’t find fresh produce, frozen is okay too. Consider freezing your own over the summer and fall so you have plenty come colder weather.
Stay active. Regular exercise can help to stimulate your immune system, sweat out toxins, and keep illness at bay. It also supports stress management – too much stress can weaken your immune system. It’s great to go outside and get fresh air, but make sure to bundle up. Exercising at home or the gym are other options when going outside isn’t safe.
If you are receiving in-home care in Columbia, a caregiver can help with creating grocery lists, preparing meals, scheduling appointments, accompanying walks, and remembering to take medication as prescribed. They provide another sets of eyes and pair of hands to keep seniors safe and support aging in place. Caregivers from Always Best Care provide as much or as little assistance as needed and can help seniors make the most of each day – including taking steps to stay healthy and active. Schedule your free consultation today.