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Getting Older and Staying Healthy
I always say “You get old when you stop going for it no matter what your age.” I have sometimes seen 25 year olds having less energy and drive than some 80 year olds I know.
That said I know I normally write about fitting into your Skinny Jeans, the best supplements to take and improving your self esteem. But today, I’d like to write about my getting older and taking care of yourself. It was prompted by the fact that my brothers and sisters and I just commemorated the 10th anniversary of my Dad’s passing. He would have been 93 on April 4th . By remembering I realized certainly how much I missed him, but also how many of his special qualities I take pride in having myself – such as his joy of life, his enthusiasm, his love of dancing and his ability to work hard for wanted.
Next month is of course Mother’s Day and I’d like to reflect a little more about my dear Mom and Mom’s then. You may still have your parents and they may be healthy and active even though they are getting older. Today, I thought I share about staying healthy during the “golden years”
My mother will be 87 in June and she struggles with her health daily. After a month long stay in the hospital last year after suffering from a serious bout of pneumonia, and I have seen a marked decrease in her vitality since then. She lives in Canada and is well taken care by my sister – a retired nurse. She lives alone however, and we all worry if she is getting all the nutrition, social interaction and exercise she needs.
You may be facing a similar situation with your aging parents or relatives. It can be a long and lonely journey for them as their health continues to decline. It is important that the elderly people in your life do receive proper nutrition to help keep them strong – physically and mentally.
You might find them complaining of lack of appetite or that they just can’t eat like they used to. Often this due to their digestive systems lacking the proper amount of enzymes and stomach acid necessary to break down foods properly – in particular raw vegetables and proteins. I would recommend you encourage them to eat steamed, stir-fried or sautéed vegetables, stewed or baked fruit and easier to digest proteins like fish, chicken, turkey and seafood. I usually recommend at least 6-8 oz. of protein a day. Adding a digestive enzyme would also be helpful for them. This helps them break down their food so they can get the nutrients from the foods they are eating. This digestive help might also steer them away from always go towards easily digestible and nutrient-poor alternatives like pasta and highly processed breads and pastries. So getting their digestive juices flowing again may be a better way to go.
As we age our bodies often get sluggish – so elimination may also be problem. Diet alone doesn’t cause this problem but medications could also very be a culprit here. Getting them on a supplement to help bowels move regularly is essential. An herbal formula called Triphala works very well for balancing the bowels, or 500-1200 mg or Magnesium at bedtime is also prove beneficial. You could suggest they try adding more fiber to their diet as well – bran or a fiber supplement would work well. And there’s always the old standby – prunes.
Exercise is good for everyone – even with increasing limitations your elderly loved one may be experiencing – a little movement is vital. Whether one is chair bound, arthritic or facing any other physical challenges there is always something – even small – that can be done. Also, for the arthritic older person there are many “safer” alternative anti-inflammatory supplements versus the many prescription drugs often found in their medicine cabinet. However, always check for any interaction between their medicine and supplements used.
Wonderful new research in the neuro-sciences is discovering that the human brain actually expands as we age and not the reverse, as we were once led to believe. Just think what we could accomplish with little that piece of new knowledge – a chance to truly change the way we not only see the elderly but the way we in fact will age as well – extraordinary.
Finally, studies have been done on the longest lived population in the world in Okinawa, Japan. They attribute their healthy aging not on their healthy diet primarily from the sea, or exercise like Tai Chi or even good genes. But rather it is due to their social connection with others. Seems that staying connected is so vital to longevity. When we think of the many elderly who are considered “shut-ins” it would be a wonderful idea to encourage them to get involved with others – family, new and old friends and community churches and synagogues. This will not only increase their piece of mind but will encourage a long and healthy life.
Or how about even getting them interested in the internet – why not? There are so many online social network resources these days that yes even your elderly parent could get interested. Over the weekend, I just saw a news report about a group called “Young At Heart”. They are a group of seniors who are traveling across the country singing – no not Country, or Classics or Folk songs but Rock and Roll and no not Elvis Presley either but how about Led Zepplin or the Stones anyone?… And they are loving every minute.
Again, “You get old when you stop going for it no matter what your age” So keep going for it and stay ACTIVE – physical, mentally and spiritually.
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