Seniors and boomers can take responsibility for their health by direct involvement in preventive practices. Individuals, their families, and society as a whole all pay for non-participation in maintaining health.
Data Can Help Seniors With Preventive Health
Many older adults are aware that medical professionals collect data regularly to assess risk, make a diagnosis, and prescribe and monitor medications. Speaking at a Caregiver Conference on February 21, 2010, at the Christ Community Church, The Woodlands in Texas, neurologist Dr. John Rossi suggested that people participate in the data collection by monitoring their blood pressure, sugar levels, and other measures.
When seniors become proactive in these matters, their treatment improves considerably by being more data-driven. Medication is only one tool in the process of seeking a cure for a problem. Pills only help if both patient and doctor work together to make needed changes. The most effective cures involve changes in lifestyles.
Daily Eating Habits Affect Overall Health of Older Adults
In the past times before the 1900s people were more involved in their own medications, meals, and general lifestyle management. Dr. Rossi stressed the need to get more involved in vital matters of a senior individual’s own body. He suggests improving a senior’s nutrition can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.
Prevention of or dealing with obesity can be approached with changes in lifestyle, although older adults often suffer from habits started twenty years ago or more. This is not to say seniors shouldn’t enjoy food. Just look at ingredients even if it means carrying a small magnifying glass when going shopping. A rule of thumb is to only buy items with 5 grams of fat or less per serving.
This neurologist encouraged hydration but cautioned to “avoid net sum negative drinks” like caffeine, alcohol, and salty items which cause one to hold water, thus causing swelling, shortness of breath, then more medications.
Dr. Rossi also encouraged eating oatmeal due to its low glycemic index, as well as some soy milk since they act like cat litter in reducing cholesterol via absorption. He spoke of the advantages of habits like stopping for tea and a light snack in the afternoon as a positive cultural phenomenon found especially in Europe. Roughage was recommended with three favorites being yogurt, oatmeal, and prunes.
In addition to portion control, avoiding excessive fat, salt, sugar, and white foods can be helpful for maintenance of healthy seniors. Although the body requires some sugar, blasts of sugar found in many foods act as a shock to the body. Grazing provides adequate energy without the great stress on the system found in a big meal. This doctor warned specifically about fast food, saying the truth about its negative effects will come out just like it did with tobacco.
Habits of Daily Living Which Can Maintain Health of Seniors
The following are more tips for healthy living among older people:
- Avoid inflammation by flossing and any other available ways.
- Attend to sleep issues by getting enough sleep daily, taking naps when possible, and seeing a medical professional about snoring since oxygen levels are of primary importance. Getting up early can prevent early morning deaths while sleeping.
- Care for the brain by being physically and mentally active. Elderly people who participate in their lives find their other prevention measures more effective.
- Don’t let TV occupy too much of the day – as excess passive watching is a great contributor toward dementia.
There are ways to use lifestyle habits to increase and maintain wellness in older adults. The big challenge for Baby Boomers will be to be active in their own retirement, maintaining interests and actively participating in life. Neurologist Dr. John Rossi says it would help for older people to do what the best doctors do for themselves and their loved ones by working on daily lifestyle habits. As people age, there are a number of small adjustments including diet and other habits which can enhance health and aid in prevention.
Disclaimer: All information contained in this article is for general education purposes only, and should not in any way take the place of adequate medical care by a health services provider, possibly starting with a primary care physician. See a physician for specific advice. This article in no way represents John Rossi, M.D., Ph.D. either personally or medically.