7 Harmful Practices Seniors Need to Guard Against

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As people age, healthy lifestyle choices become more important. However, long-standing unhealthy habits can be difficult to break for many seniors. Here are some unhealthy habits older adults should avoid so they can look forward to their golden years with better health and more energy.

1. Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle can raise the risk of obesity, depression, joint pain, and decreased mobility, and lack of physical activity can cause unstable blood sugar levels, which can raise the risk of renal disease in diabetics. Increasing aerobic exercise promotes cardiovascular health, maintains stable blood glucose levels, enhances mood, promotes restorative sleep, and lowers cholesterol.

If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Montgomery respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

2. Excessive Alcohol Consumption

While your senior loved one’s physician may say a glass of red wine with dinner can enhance cardiovascular function, drinking too much alcohol raises the risk of health problems. For example, excessive alcohol consumption raises the risk of high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, certain cancers, and liver disease.

3. Cigarette Smoking

Smoking impairs lung function and blood circulation and raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Aging adults can still benefit from quitting even if they’ve been smoking for years. If your loved one is unable to quit smoking, the doctor can recommend effective treatment options.

4. Social Isolation

Social isolation may cause loneliness and depression in certain seniors, and it can also lead to sleeping problems, appetite changes, and anxiety. Visiting a local senior center, spending time with family and friends, and volunteering can prevent social isolation and enhance your loved one’s outlook on his or her future.

5. Poor Sleep Habits

Many older adults have difficulty sleeping at night, and they may not fall asleep until morning, which causes them to sleep until late afternoon. Also, older adults may take naps during the day, which can further prevent drowsiness at night. Talk to the doctor about recommending a good sleep hygiene routine. The doctor may suggest that your loved one should go to bed at the same time every night, take a warm bath a couple of hours before retiring, and avoid using electronics before bedtime.

6. Eating Unhealthy Foods

Taste perception can change as people age, and your loved one may prefer foods high in sugar, salt, and fat. Eating unhealthy foods can increase the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol and raise blood glucose levels. A poor diet can also lead to obesity and nutritional deficiencies. Make sure your loved one consumes a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, grains, and legumes.

A professional caregiver with training in nutrition and healthy lifestyle practices can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement as your loved one adopts new healthy habits. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust Montgomery in-home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

7. Taking Too Much Medication

Overuse of both non-prescription and prescription medications can lead to blood pressure abnormalities, blood glucose spikes, vision impairment, constipation, dizziness, and—in some cases—addiction. If your loved one takes more medication than necessary, make an appointment with the physician. If your loved one has developed health problems or an addiction, medical intervention is necessary.

A professional caregiver can provide additional support for your efforts to help your aging loved one adopt a healthier lifestyle. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (334) 593-3988 today.

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