How Seniors Can Improve Their Health This Spring
Published on May 14, 2021
Spring is a time of renewal and transformation. After the confusion and isolation of the past year, many seniors will be happy to see that there is a light at the end of the long tunnel known as COVID-19. More and more seniors are getting their first and second vaccinations and as the weather warms up over the coming weeks, they can look forward to safely spending more time outdoors and with family members.
Seniors living in retirement communities in Ontario can take advantage of some fun springtime activities that will help improve their mental and physical health.
Keep reading for some excellent springtime renewal tips and activities for seniors.
Eat Fresh and Seasonal Foods to Get an Energy Boost
There’s no better way to brighten your senior loved one’s spirits than to bring them a gift basket full of healthy, delicious, and fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables that they can enjoy in the springtime. Farmers’ markets across Ontario are resuming operations this year following strict COVID-19 protocols, so it might be a nice idea to support local businesses in the process.
Studies have shown that eating fresh seasonal meals can help improve immune health, manage blood sugar, provide skin nourishment, and promotes good dental health. Fresh, organic foods that are locally sourced are also more nutrient and vitamin-dense, which means you get more health benefits from eating them.
As people age, their dietary needs can evolve. Seniors need to be especially mindful of their dietary requirements as many of them can have mild or serious health conditions that require them to eat healthy foods, reduce the sugar and sodium intake, and stay away from certain foods.
Seniors may also need to also increase their fiber and protein intake by eating more nutritious seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains.
Proper hydration is also incredibly important for seniors as the weather warms up. Seniors should drink about 1.7 liters of water per day (that’s about 7 to 8 cups of water) to maintain complete hydration.
Whether you live with your loved one, have hired a live-in caregiver, or they live in a retirement community, making sure they’re hydrated at all times can be tricky. Here are some tips for preventing dehydration in seniors.
Monitor water drinking habits. Tracking how much water your loved one drinks throughout the day using an app or by simply tallying each cup is a great way to ensure they’re drinking the daily recommended amount of water to stay healthy.
Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol intake. Caffeine and alcohol can both dehydrate seniors and cause them to feel unwell. Plus, caffeine and alcohol can interact poorly with certain medications.
Promote good health by offering healthy and hydrating foods and beverages they enjoy. Snacking on watermelon, grapes, and cucumbers, as well as drinking milk, sugar-free natural fruit juices, and organic bone broth are all great ways to stay hydrated while consuming essential vitamins and nutrients.
Understand what’s causing their dehydration. It’s not always a matter of not drinking enough water. Dehydration and dry mouth can sometimes be a side effect of certain medications, so try to offset it by encouraging them to drink more water while on that medication.
Use Breathing Techniques for Fresh Air
Certain low impact exercises like meditation, tai chi, and yoga can have an incredible calming effect on the mind and body, which is especially crucial during these challenging times. These exercises can teach seniors how to breathe fully and more effectively so that they can get the maximum benefits out of each breath.
Here are some breathing exercises seniors can learn to ease their anxieties and take in all the nutrients from fresh air.
Also known as deep breathing, diaphragmatic breathing incorporates active use of the diaphragm to help control the breath and de-stress the body and the mind by focusing solely on the breath. During this process, the diaphragm contracts and expands as the breath moves in and out of the body.
In yoga, diaphragmatic breathing is commonly practiced while lying on the ground in corpse pose. Lie down on your back, gently placing both hands on your belly or one hand on your belly and one hand over your heart. Slowly breathe in and out from your diaphragm. If you can see the hand on your belly moving up and down, you’re doing it right. Close your eyes and concentrate only on your breathing. Imagine your breath flowing smoothly through your body. Do this for about 5 to 10 minutes.
This is also known as “relaxing breath”. This breathing exercise involves breathing in for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and releasing the breath for eight seconds. By concentrating solely on the breath, you can reduce stress levels and increase your lung capacity with regular practice.
Get Some Exercise with Indoor Gardening
Outdoor activities for seniors will unfortunately continue to be restricted until more people in Ontario are vaccinated. The good news is that we’re well on our way to getting there soon. In the meantime, there are some indoor activities to help keep seniors active. One of the more popular ones is indoor gardening. V!VA Retirement Communities provide an indoor Horticultural Room for year-round gardening, and as the weather improves, V!VA’s outdoor Victory Gardens are a lovely space to enjoy the flowers or care for the vegetation and herbs in the raised planters.
Senior Living at V!VA Retirement Communities in Ontario
V!VA Retirement Communities is dedicated to helping seniors uphold healthy and active lifestyles, even during the pandemic lockdowns. Our goal is to ensure that every one of our Community Members enjoys a high quality of life. We promote healthy independent lifestyles by offering a variety of programs to keep our Community Members engaged and active. We also provide healthy meals and snacks prepared by Red Seal certified chefs. Contact us today to learn more.