Feeling strong, confident and full of energy are just some of the rewards that come from having a strong immune system—that spark plug inside of you that keeps everything working as it should—a key aspect of healthy senior living. And October is the perfect month to learn how to keep your immune system “tuned up” and ready to roll.
National Senior Health & Fitness Day and Active Aging Week: October Celebrates Healthy Senior Living
This year, National Senior Health & Fitness Day and Active Aging Week are choosing to focus on how staying physically active helps keep your immune system healthy and strong. These special celebrations are geared to:
- Showcase older adults as fully participating members of society
- Highlight how positive the process of aging can be
- Inspire everyone over the age of 50 to take advantage of all that life has to offer
- Get seniors up and get moving!
Everyone over 50, regardless of age or health conditions, can live as fully as possible in all areas of life—physical, social, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, vocational and environmental. Whether you are living at home, in a senior living community, or you are serving as a caregiver, you can find a way to enhance your immune system and achieve greater wellness.
At Clearwater Living, we promote this philosophy every day, encouraging our residents to envision how they want their life to be, and then giving them the resources to make it happen.
Immune Health: Why It Is So Important for Healthy Senior Living
It’s always vital to keep moving, and it’s even more important in present times, with so many leading a more sedentary lifestyle. But for older adults, even those with mobility issues, there are ways to participate in simple exercises that can play a major role in immune health.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is the body’s defense against infections. Older adults naturally face declines in immune function as they age, but there are several ways to help. Some of these factors are the same as those that support active aging: a healthy diet, appropriate hydration, regular exercise, adequate rest, good hygiene, and decreased stress.
What role does exercise play?
One good example is bone health. Everyone loses some bone mass as they age. Regular exercise retains bone mass and lowers the risk of fractures as well as that of any other disease or condition. The more active we are, the stronger we can stay. And that calls for exercise.
Other ways physical activity benefits our immune systems and overall health:
- reduce fall risk and increase the ability to live independently
- maintain strength, healthy joints and muscles
- helps reduce or control blood pressure
- reduce the risk of colon cancer and diabetes
- ease symptoms of anxiety
- offer community and companionship when done in groups
- reduces and prevents arthritis joint swelling and pain
Hydration is also key
Drinking enough fluids is also key for good immune health and healthy senior living. Fluids help regulate body temperature and assist in eliminating bacteria and other harmful substances. Hydration can be a problem for older adults because they have a decreased sense of thirst, have medical conditions, or take medications that impact fluid balance.
Tips for staying hydrated:
- Carry a water bottle with you
- Have water by your bed
- Drink a full glass of water with medications
- Check your urine color (it should not be dark)
The right nutrients make a difference
Eating a well-balanced diet is vital to promote good nutrition and help support and maintain immunity. Some suggestions:
- Protein: helps build antibodies and immune system cells. Important in healing and recovery. Sources include eggs, milk, yogurt, fish, chicken, soy products, nuts, lean meats.
- Vitamin A: fortifies skin, tissue in mouth, stomach and intestines. Think colorful foods. Carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin D: helps regulate immune cell function. Milk, cereal, salmon, tuna, sunshine.
- Vitamin C: builds healthy skin, protects cells from damage. Choose oranges, grapefruit, papaya, bell peppers.
- Vitamin E: antioxidant that helps project immune cells. Try almonds, peanut butter, spinach, broccoli.
- Zinc: helps create new immune cells, which helps the body heal from wounds. Sources include lean meats, turkey, oysters, whole grains, seeds.
The trick is getting these nutrients. It can be harder as you age. Vitamins are one choice.
As a resident of Clearwater Living, you benefit from well-balanced, delicious offerings geared to healthy aging. Our Savor Culinary program offers inventive, nourishing dishes made to order by onsite chefs and served restaurant-style. And you can choose from several culinary venues for an always unique dining experience.
Healthy Senior Living Is Also for Caregivers
While caregiving can be rewarding, it can also be stressful and sometimes overwhelming. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do. Take breaks. Ask for help. Stay in touch with family and friends. Get enough sleep. And just as October’s focus on healthy aging reminds us, get some exercise, stay hydrated, and be sure you are getting the right nutrients. The better you feel, the better care you can offer your loved one, and the healthier you both can be.
Clearwater Living Is All About Healthy Senior Living
Our Empowered Living philosophy provides the pillars for a balanced life by highlighting the Six Dimensions of Living Well. Our diverse programs, amenities, and events promote physical activity, stimulate the mind, bring purpose and meaning to life, encourage social engagement, provide an environment that’s both beautiful and promotes healthy senior living, and nourish the mind and body.
No matter which lifestyle is right for you or your loved one, each of our communities are designed to provide the utmost care, support, and delight in the lives of residents and their families.
Contact us to learn more or to schedule a tour.