If your loved one is like 77% of aging seniors, then they want to stay in their home long term. Having proper personal care will be crucial to maintaining independence in old age.
Healthy aging begins with personal care, whether that’s with assistance or on your own. This includes exercise, diet, hygiene, and care options to improve personal care for seniors.
Research in recent years has demonstrated the benefits of exercise for aging adults. Not only are the physical advantages becoming more clear, but there’s now evidence of cognitive improvement as well.
Advice from the CDC
The CDC recommends that adults over the age of 65 should exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes a week. Older adults should also reserve two days out of the week for activities that strengthen muscles.
It’s important to note that any physical activity is beneficial for your health, so don’t be afraid to start small. Another study by the CDC found that yard work and walking provided significant health benefits, despite not being strenuous activities.
Advice from Harvard Medical School
A recent Harvard study placed 17 participants 55 and older in an aerobic dance class for 20 weeks. They met twice a week for an hour, while another 17 participants did not exercise and were used as a comparison.
Those who exercised were able to reconfigure nerve connections in the brain and their ability to learn and retain new information had improved when compared with those that didn’t exercise.
The Harvard study shows that a consistent exercise plan for seniors can have a positive effect on their cognitive performance as people age, even potentially reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The right nutrition goes hand in hand with physical activity. The healthier we eat, the more energy we’ll have to move, and the better you or your loved one will feel.
As we age and our metabolism slows down, healthy eating becomes more important to our personal care. We need to stay on top of what we or our loved one consumes.
Advice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
The USDA has a variety of resources to make sure you or your loved one are getting adequate nutrition. By eating and hydrating well as we age, we can maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
For ages 60 and up, the USDA recommends:
- Eating seafood, dairy, beans, peas, and lentils to maintain muscle mass
- Adding fruits and vegetables to meals
- Including B12-rich foods such as fortified cereals and protein in our diet
- Choosing food with little to no added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium
- Drinking water often
- Learning what and how much you need to eat by using the MyPlate Plan
If you have trouble incorporating these recommendations into your diet, your in-home care provider can help. Having someone to support you with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up after meals makes eating nutritious foods easier.
Maintaining good hygiene is a key component of personal care. Often, one of the first signs that an aging loved one needs in-home care is when they are no longer able to take care of their personal hygiene without reminders or support.
Advice from the CDC
The CDC has six categories of personal hygiene which we’ll briefly cover here. You can use the information below as a checklist to keep you or your loved one on top of hygiene.
Wash Your Hands
We all learned this during Covid, but it’s really important to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Sing the ABC’s twice and that’s about how long you need to wash.
Clean Your Nails
Infections can arise when nails aren’t properly cared for. Trimming nails often and scrubbing under them with soap and water every time you wash your hands will help keep them clean and germ-free.
Wash Your Face
Keeping your face clean helps prevent respiratory diseases. Make sure you wash your face regularly and only touch it with clean hands.
Cover Coughs and Sneezes
Covering your mouth and washing your hands after every cough or sneeze can prevent illnesses both in public and at home.
Wash Your Feet
To avoid common problems like Athlete’s Foot, wash your feet every day and dry them completely. Also, check your feet regularly for any cuts or sores and bandage them as needed.
Wash Your Hair
If you don’t wash your hair often, then dirt and sweat can build up on your scalp, increasing the risk of infections. Wash your hair regularly and use an exfoliator on the scalp.
Personal Care Assistance
Maintaining personal hygiene, a healthy diet and regular exercise are really important parts of staying healthy as you age, but it can be difficult to do on your own if you have limited mobility or memory loss.
Having an in-home caregiver who can help with personal hygiene, nutrition and exercise can make life easier for both you and your loved one. At Golden Care, our caregivers can provide help with getting dressed, grooming, hygiene, eating, and tasks that come up throughout the day – all in the comfort and familiarity of home.
Contact Golden Care today to get more on bringing in a trusted caregiver to support your loved one.