6 reasons to consider a pet-friendly retirement home
Research has shown that caring for a pet benefits people of all ages, especially seniors. Here are six reasons to consider moving into a retirement home that allows pets.
1. Promotes physical activity. Owning a pet can help you stay active. For example, dogs must be walked several times daily, and cats enjoy frequent playtime.
2. Encourages social interaction. Having a pet encourages you to leave your apartment and socialize.
3. Prevents loneliness. Pets provide valuable companionship and can alleviate isolation and loneliness, especially if your family and friends live far away.
4. Fosters routine. Taking care of a pet requires a structured routine, providing you with a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
5. Improves mental capacity. Mental stimulation is vital for keeping your mind sharp. Caring for a pet can help ward off dementia and improve your cognitive function.
6. Lowers stress. Holding or petting an animal has been proven to lower blood pressure and boost your mood.
If you can’t care for a pet on your own, look for a retirement community that allows family members to bring pets to visit or provides sessions with specially trained therapy animals.
Vitamins and minerals for older adults
As you get older, your nutrition needs change. Your body needs more of certain vitamins and minerals. Here’s a list of some essential nutrients for older adults.
• Calcium is found in dairy, tofu, and dark-green leafy vegetables. Older people at risk of bone loss need calcium in their diets. Men between 51 and 70 need 1,000 milligrams daily, while women over 51 and men over 71 need 1,200 milligrams daily.
• Vitamin B6 helps your body form red blood cells and is found in foods like bananas and potatoes. Men over 51 need 1.7 milligrams, while women of the same age need 1.5 milligrams.
• Vitamin B12 is found in meat and keeps your red blood cells and nerves healthy. Older adults may have trouble absorbing this vitamin from food and require a supplement. Aim for 2.4 micrograms per day.
• Vitamin D helps your body retain and use calcium and phosphorus. Only a few foods, like fish, contain it. Your skin also produces Vitamin D in sunlight. Therefore, a supplement may help you get the recommended amount if you live and work indoors. People between 50 and 70 require 600 international units (IU), while people over 71 require 800 IUs.
• Sodium in high doses can lead to elevated blood pressure, which can result in a heart attack or stroke. Men and women over 51 should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day.
Talk to your doctor before taking supplements, as some may have severe side effects.
Types of medical equipment available at retirement homes
Retirement homes are intended to be enjoyed by people of all abilities. Therefore, they often provide various medical devices to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. Here’s an overview of some medical equipment you’ll generally find.
• Bathroom equipment like grab bars, grip mats, shower chairs, and raised toilets
• Bedroom equipment like adjustable beds and safety rails
• Lift chairs to make it easier for individuals to get in and out
• Wheelchairs and mobility scooters to help residents get around
• Stairlifts and elevators to assist residents going up and down stairs, giving them access to different levels of the facility
If you have concerns about the type of medical equipment at the retirement home you’re considering, speak with them directly about what accommodations they provide.
4 benefits of using technology in retirement homes
Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in retirement homes. Here are four benefits of embracing technology as you age.
1. Connect with loved ones
Nothing can replace in-person interactions, but video chats, texting, and social networking sites like Facebook can keep you connected with your loved ones anywhere in the world. Studies have shown that social connection is crucial to health and longevity.
2. Stay mentally and physically active
Interactive video games like Wii Golf and Wii Bowling are fun and can motivate you to get your body moving. Physical games can improve your strength, balance, and aerobic endurance.
Moreover, you can play various “brain games” on a tablet or smartphone. For example, games like Tetris and Solitaire help with spatial recognition and memory, while logic games like Sudoku and chess improve problem-solving skills.
3. Increase safety
Personal monitoring devices like smart¬watches can track your steps, heart rate, sleep patterns, and stress levels to keep you on top of your health. Some devices provide emergency support like fall detection, which can immediately contact emergency responders or a trusted contact when needed.
4. Improve convenience
Shopping for groceries and other items online or through an app and having them delivered to your apartment is now possible. This is helpful if you have limited mobility or don’t want to risk going out in bad weather.
Learning to use technology can open doors and benefit people of all ages, including seniors.
Parkinson’s disease: Three myths and the truth behind them
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is sometimes met with comments that may or may not be accurate. These statements reveal a general misunderstanding of the condition. But like any disease, Parkinson’s shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are three persistent myths about Parkinson’s disease and the truth behind them.
1. Parkinson’s is linked to aging
Older people aren’t the only ones who can be diagnosed with the disease. About one in five of those affected are diagnosed before age 40. In fact, some people have symptoms like depression or progressive loss of smell for as many as 20 years before getting a diagnosis.
2. Everyone with Parkinson’s has tremors
Although trembling is the symptom most readily associated with Parkinson’s, it only affects about 30 to 65 percent of people with the disease. It’s primarily observed in the hands but can also spread to the legs, lower jaw, and head.
3. Parkinson’s only has to do with movement
About 50 symptoms have been linked to this disease, including depression, progressive loss of smell, and tremors. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s include insomnia, anxiety, constipation, and speech deterioration.
Are you worried that you or someone close to you may have Parkinson’s disease? Make an appointment with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Four common digestive problems in seniors
Getting older sometimes comes with an increase in health issues, or at least an increased risk of developing them. Digestive illnesses and disorders are among the most unpleasant ones. Here are four of the most common.
1. Constipation. Moving food through your body involves a series of rhythmic muscular contractions. With age, these processes can become less efficient, making it difficult for you to pass stool.
2. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. While gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can occur at any age, it’s more common in older adults. GERD may cause a burning sensation, sore throat, coughing, bitter regurgitation, and bad breath.
3. Functional dyspepsia. This chronic condition is quite common in the general population and has no known cause. It’s characterized primarily by pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea and belching.
4. Colorectal cancer. This serious illness affects about five percent of the population. It poses a higher risk in older adults with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Regular screening makes it possible to diagnose the disease early and treat it effectively.
Even if your chances of getting digestive issues to increase with age, you can mitigate the risk with healthy lifestyle habits and a balanced diet. Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about your health.
Four tips for eating well as you get older
Food occupies an essential place in your daily life, regardless of age. As you get older, changes in your body make it more important than ever to get the necessary nutrients. Here are some proven tips to help you ensure your body gets what it needs.
1. Drink regularly
The sensation of thirst diminishes with age. Therefore, keeping yourself well-hydrated at all times is critical. Frequent small sips can help. In addition, consuming soups and fluid-rich foods like cucumber and melon can quench your thirst while aiding digestion.
2. Enjoy your meal in good company
When you eat with friends and loved ones, you consume more and enjoy your food more fully. Social interactions make mealtime more exciting. This sense of pleasure can help you consume more of the nutrients your body needs.
3. Eat at regular times
As much as possible, establish set hours for eating your three daily meals and try to resist any loss of appetite. If your portions are small, have a few healthy snacks between meals.
4. Enhance your meals
Improve the flavor of your food by experimenting with herbs and spices. You’ll give your tastebuds a treat and learn to appreciate new aromas. Be careful with meals that are very fatty, salty, or sweet.
Eating well gives you more energy, reduces your risk of injury, and helps you preserve your autonomy and maintain good general health. To ensure you’re getting the food you need, visit a seniors’ community center, try out a food delivery service or ask your loved ones for help. Do whatever it takes to make your mealtimes simple and enjoyable.
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