Every minute of every day, you have a superpower inside of you. One that keeps you healthy and fit 24/7 without ever having to put on a cape or leap over a tall building. It’s your immune system. And it takes center stage in October as a key component of healthy aging.
In fact, the entire month is dedicated to senior health—shining a light on healthy aging and how it can empower older adults to thrive. Whether you are living at home, in a senior living community, or serving as a caregiver. You are important. You have wisdom and talents to share. Maintaining your immune health can help you do just that.
And at Clearwater Living, we are joining the celebration!
Active Aging Week and National Senior Health & Fitness Day: All About Healthy Aging
The International Council on Aging offers some answers on why immune health is so important.
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.
How can you keep the immune system strong? Nutrients. 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, and lean meats.
- Vitamin A: Fortifies skin, tissue in mouth, stomach, and intestines. Think colorful foods. Carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, squash, and 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, and bell peppers.
- Vitamin E: Antioxidant that helps protect immune cells. Try almonds, peanut butter, spinach, and broccoli.
- Zinc: Helps create new immune cells, which helps the body heal from wounds. Sources include lean meats, turkey, oysters, whole grains, and seeds.
Getting these nutrients can be a challenge for seniors. Oral supplements are one choice. As a resident of Clearwater Living, you’ll benefit from well-balanced, delicious dining geared to healthy aging. Our Savor Culinary program offers inventive, nourishing dishes made to order by onsite chefs and served restaurant-style in a comfortable, inviting setting.
• Exercise. Regular exercise retains bone mass and lowers the risk of fractures as well as that of any other disease or condition. In addition, exercise improves immune function, including supporting greater antibody or cell-mediated response to vaccinations, particularly in older adults.
• Hydration. Drinking enough fluids is also key for good immune health. 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)
If you are a caregiver — healthy aging is just as important for you
Caregivers are superheroes too! And 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, stay hydrated, regularly exercise 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.
Healthy aging is very important at Clearwater 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 beautiful for effortless living, and nourish the mind and body.
Clearwater Living communities are here to inspire delight in your everyday life.
Whether you’re moving into a Clearwater Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care community, each resident can discover a world of options that enable choice and empower successful aging. Call the community nearest you today!