General Information on Health Maintenance for Seniors.
A) Health Care Maintenance: 1. PCP Medical Provider for Annual/Periodical visits.
B) Regular dental checkups. Daily brushing and flossing
C) Nutrition guide-lines:
- Plan a balanced Meals which includes one food from each food group- Dairy; Vegetables; Fruits; Grains and Protein, Adequate Hydration.
- Eating nutritious foods in the right amounts can help keep you healthy. Many illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis, can be prevented or controlled with dietary changes and exercise.
- Plenty green leafy vegetables, beans, soy, lentils for protein
- Eat varieties of food, eat bright colored veggies and fruits. Apricots, avocado, Banana, Beans (dried), Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Greens, Honeydew, Milk, Mushrooms, Oranges, Orange juice, Potato, Prunes, Prune juice, Raisins, Spinach, Strawberries, Sweet potato, Tomato, Tomato juice, Winter squash.
- High in calcium -Cheeses and dairy products (low fat if watching cholesterol, but dairy products are best calcium source as they are easily absorbed into the body), milk, legumes, salmon, sardines (with bones), tofu, yogurt, almonds, broccoli, and dark leafy vegetables (kale or collard greens
- Adequate vitamin intake (supplement if needed)
- Less of fried food, less desserts
- Overall, eat in moderation, Avoid large amounts of carbohydrates but OK in moderation. Supplement rice with oats, quinoa.
- Learn to read food labels, as serving size may be small & people can mistake how much calories/fat/ minerals in a single serving has. Maintain appropriate weight, avoid obesity or fragility (malnourishment).
- Eating mindfully helps better digestion. chew and eat slowly helps to break down carbs and fats.
- Adequate fiber consumption improves digestion and bowel function.
- Fluid intake/Hydration-- It is easy to get dehydrated. Make sure you’re drinking about 8 - 10 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Check with your Physician if you have cardiac or renal issues and need fluid restriction. -Replace sugary drinks with water.
- Needs to be adapted to suit an individual's own lifestyle, daily routine and nutritional requirements.
D) Activity / mobility / sleep/ stress:
- Physical: Exercises for improving muscle tone, walking for cardiovascular fitness, balance is important.
- Keep moving a sedentary lifestyle is associated with constipation, Exercise regularly in moderation.
- Do something to keep fit each day something you enjoy that maintains strength, balance and flexibility and promotes cardiovascular health.
- Physical activity helps you stay at a healthy weight, prevent or control illness, sleep better, reduce stress, avoid falls and feel better also
- Mobility / yoga / Exercising (whatever physical exercise you enjoy doing)/ a walk outdoors.
- Stress isn’t inherently bad, but too much for too long is bad for health.
- Focus on properly managing stress by: Setting boundaries, practicing meditation, deep breathing.
- Try relaxation / meditation / soft music / reading or deep breathing as a means of coping.
- Make time for friends and social contacts and fun. Learn the role of positive thinking.
- Energy conservation- Pace yourself, get enough rest, make things simple.
- Sleep problems can affect your quality of life and can contribute to falls, injuries, and other health problems. Limited sleeping, sun-downing are common.
E) Cognition/Vision and Hearing Management:
- Social interaction/ Social activity in local senior centers, community activities and group activities with friends should be done and encouraged, isolation should be avoided. Dementia, is a memory problem significant enough to affect ability to carry out one’s daily tasks.
- By age 50, most people notice changes to their vision, including a gradual decline in the ability to see small print or focus on close objects. Common eye problems that can impair vision include cataracts and glaucoma.
- Hearing loss occurs commonly with aging, often due to exposure to loud noise.
- Hearing is often impaired as we age all efforts to keep hearing sound, news conversation, music should be encouraged to avoid cognitive decrease.
- Puzzles/ games/ Art and crafts keep eye hand coordination well.
- Regular Senior activities, Group periodic socialization, Volunteering, Arts/crafts, Spiritual discussions, group walking, keeping track and watching out for each other are helpful tools.
- Mental Activity (Spiritual Yoga, Meditation, Chanting, Laughter, Memory Educational activities, etc)
F) Preventative Care:
a) Immunization requirements Recommended Immunization 2017:
- Annual Flu Vaccine.
- Pneumonia vaccination 65 years and older or younger with chronic health conditions like Diabetes, Lung disease. types of pneumonia vaccine are recommended at one year apart-check with your physician about how and when to take it.
- Shingles Vaccine at 60 years of age, once a life time.
- T-Dap vaccine booster every 10 years.
b) Safety Tips: Prevention Injuries: Fall /Safety/ cane/Walker support/ Bath Room Design
- Fall prevention by exercising to keep fit, removing clutter from the floor at home, using assistive devices such as cane or walker for stability,
- Personal factors, which include muscle weakness, balance problems, limited vision and certain medications increase risk for falling. Many falls happen when you lose your balance. Exercising regularly and rising slowly after eating, sitting or lying down can help avoid dizziness and loss of balance.
- Environmental factors, which include home hazards such as loose rugs, poor lighting (especially on stairs) and a lack of stair railings or grab bars in the bathroom.
- Consider wearing an alarm device in case you fall and cannot get up on your own.
- Get an eye exam at least once a year. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition that limits your vision.
- Installing secure handrails and bright lights with switches at the top and bottom of stairways.
- Repairing loose or uneven steps, checking stairs for worn or loose carpeting and installing anti-slip treads.
- Always wearing shoes with traction and making sure throw rugs are placed over rug liners with non-skid backing so that you avoid falls throughout the house.
- Installing grab bars for the toilet, bathtub and/or shower, and using non-slip mats or decals on ceramic surfaces both inside and outside the tub.
- Installing nightlights in areas you frequent at night. Also, consider keeping a flashlight near your bed.
- Storing frequently-used items on lower shelves in the kitchen to limit the use of stools or step-ladders. If you must use a step stool, use one with a bar to hold onto.
c) Skin care: As we age, our skin grows thinner; it becomes drier and less elastic. Wrinkles appear, and cuts and bruises take longer to heal. Be sure to protect your skin from the sun. Too much sun and ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer
Tips for not missing dose? Weekly containers AM, Noon, PM Storage specially out of reach children, Cool dark place, Narcotics security. Check medication expiration dates on all prescription and over-the-counter medications – and follow all directions. Review side effects of any new medications with your physician such as causing drowsiness that will increase risk of falls, also impair driving ability. Over the counter supplements – may have interactions with prescription drugs should be consumed after discussing with Primary provider
H) End of Life Issues:
- Advance Directives, Power of Attorney for Health care decisions, specially your directive to your PCP end of Life, Long term care insurance.
- Sustaining measures signed statement (POLST), Burial Insurance, Estate Will. etc.,
- End of Life planning-by completing Advance directives, choose who you want make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so-appoint a trusted family member, let them know your wishes.
- There is California State Form called POLST- Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment- Discuss with your physician about completing this form that needs your physician’s signature & your signature, after making choices.
These are general guidelines and information only, collected and compiled by reading journals & updates. The information listed below are obtained from sources believed to be reliable. HCCC and its affiliates/volunteers indemnifies itself and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided safety suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may require implementation of specific management strategies.
Please discuss with your medical provider and consult with your family for additional guidance