Health in the elderly is highly dependent on lifestyle. With proper nutrition, regular physical activity, and maintaining a good attitude, this stage can be one of the most rewarding and interesting in existence.
The health in old age is an issue that deserves a full treatment. Aging usually brings with it organic and psychological problems that present differently in each individual. These problems are not always sufficiently understood or properly addressed.
There is a general idea that old age is disease and decrepitude. This does not necessarily have to be the case. Although it is clear that skills are lost over the years, and there is a greater risk of suffering from different pathologies, health in the elderly does not have to be a serious problem.
One of the decisive factors for maintaining relatively good health in old age, and maintaining a good quality of life, are care and habits. These are a tool to moderate the effects of the passage of time and generate greater well-being.
The three basic health care in the elderly
The first thing to say is that an elderly person should have regular medical checkups, which does not mean reducing their life to this. On the other hand, health care for the elderly covers three main fronts:
- Physical state
- Psychosocial dimension
Food, as it happens throughout life, is a fundamental factor. Eating healthily and in a balanced way is one of the key aspects in old age. Likewise, it is crucial to maintain physical activity routines, since they are essential to be functional.
The psychosocial dimension largely regulates the adoption and maintenance of care at this stage. Ideally, the older person implements self-care habits, but this is only possible if they have enough motivation and self-confidence to do so.
Nutrition in the elderly
People reach an advanced age with eating habits that we must eventually change. The signs that this is necessary are three:
- The intestine shows changes, expressed in frequent episodes of constipation or diarrhea
- The body begins to accumulate fat
- You lose muscle mass or weight
It is not that there is a special diet for the elderly, but that during the elderly it is essential to eat as healthily as we should eat at any stage of life. The only restriction is that there is some disease that conditions the diet.
Prevention of falls
Falls are a frequent accident in the elderly and one of the factors that most cause deterioration and dependence. That is why it is essential to prevent them. One of the key measures to do this is to counteract the loss of muscle mass through frequent physical activity, especially lifting weights.
In addition to this, it is convenient to adapt the environment to the needs of the elderly person. This includes installing switches near the bed and preventing them from passing through dark spaces. Also remove objects from the floor, fix rugs and facilitate access to personal objects. It is important that the older person wears appropriate footwear.
The older person’s skin is drier, more fragile, and less elastic. The indicated thing, in general terms, is to maintain good hygiene, preferably using a neutral soap for personal cleaning. Wearing sunscreen and avoiding long exposures to the sun is another basic recommendation. Likewise, it is convenient to wear cotton clothing and drink two liters of water a day.
The skin of older people with limited mobility should be given close attention. It is important to help them change positions frequently, every two to three hours at the most. It is also crucial that the skin all over the body is kept moisturized.
Emotional and cognitive health in the elderly
The older person must usually make adjustments to their role in life and in society. To do this, you must propose achievable objectives and goals, according to your tastes, interests and needs. Inactivity and isolation easily lead to incubation of depressive states.
It is important to maintain an active social life. At this stage, it may be necessary to learn to ask for and receive help, without feeling that this puts us in an inferior condition. In the same way, participating in activities to help others is usually very healthy.
There are more than 100 forms of dementia that can occur in the elderly. The best way to prevent them is by maintaining regular physical activity, as well as constant intellectual activity. It is not advisable to consume tobacco or alcohol. Finding a way to live in a pleasant way is the main antidote to health problems in old age.