Not only is September Healthy Aging Month, it’s also home to National Assisted Living Week. While there’s never a bad time to focus on your health and well being, the following tips will help you keep your health top-of-mind during Healthy Aging Month, and every month throughout the year.
You Really Are What You Eat.
As we age, it becomes increasingly important that we assure we’re making healthy choices regarding the foods we eat. A diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and lots and lots of water is a great start.
At McKnight Place, Executive Chef Anthony Lyons, CEC works with a registered dietitian to ensure the meals he cooks up for residents are both delicious and nutritious. “I love using fresh herbs and spices for flavoring rather than using unhealthy fats and salts.” Anthony says.
It’s in between meals that become problematic for many seniors. When it comes to unhealthy eating habits, snacks are one of the biggest culprits. It helps to remember that simple snacks like nuts have an abundance of healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. In an air-tight container or zip baggie, nuts can stay fresh for months, and are easy to stash in a purse, glovebox or jacket pocket for a healthy, satisfying snack. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association recommend eating a handful of nuts every day. Choose unsalted nuts if you’re watching your sodium, and unroasted “raw” nuts for extra antioxidants and vitamins.
The recommended daily fluid intake to keep your body hydrated is 48 to 64 ounces or six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This may sound like a lot, but you don’t need to get all your water from the tap or a water bottle. Foods and beverages that contribute to your daily water intake levels include milk, soup, fruit and vegetable juices, gelatin, apples, watermelon, decaffeinated soft drinks, tea and even cooked broccoli. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol do not contribute to your daily intake. In fact, they actually act as diuretics — contributing to water loss — and should be consumed in moderation.
There’s no underestimating the importance of activity and staying on the move. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults (65+) keep in mind that some activity is far preferable to none, and virtually any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity will provide substantial health benefits. In other words, your health benefits will increase with the more physical activity that you do.
Laura Ritthamel, McKnight Place Executive Director, stressed the importance of activity, while indicating it doesn’t have to feel like work. “Staying active is vital for people of all ages and mobility levels. One of our goals here at McKnight Place is to provide effective, engaging, and, yes, fun ways to stay on the move comfortably and safely. Staying fit might seem daunting. But with the right guidance and support, fitness can be easier and more intuitive than you’d think.”
Many seniors choose walking as a way to stay active. For comparison’s sake, taking a well-paced walk for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week will amount to 150 minutes of “moderate intensity exercise” and 300 minutes a week would place you in the “vigorous” category. Whether you walk or choose another type of exercise, it’s recommended that beginners start slow and work upwards as you feel comfortable. Soon you’ll be well on the path to improved health!
Pay Attention To You
When it comes to healthy aging, perhaps nothing is as important as maintaining a regular schedule of doctor checkups, following doctor recommendations to the letter, and knowing when you need medical assistance. It sounds simple, but keeping an eye on yourself can be challenging. If you have frequent contact with friends and loved ones, enlisting their help can make a big difference, as the more people you have watching out for your well being, the better off you’ll be.
Those fortunate enough to have chosen McKnight Place have a decided advantage when it comes to oversight and support. For McKnight Place residents, receiving the proper amount of attention and care is simply the norm. Health, socialization and safety issues inform considerations throughout the community, and things such as doctor appointments, medication management and physician oversight are built in. This leaves the residents more time to pursue the things they want to pursue, such as socializing with friends, staying active and eating well.
By making a few small changes and keeping an eye on your health, you can make every month Health Aging Month!
We’re here for you.
As a trusted expert in senior living, McKnight Place is here for you and your loved one now more than ever. If you’re concerned about the overall health of your loved one, let’s talk. While we are not currently scheduling tours or allowing visitors to enter the community, we are happy to send you more information or speak with you over the phone.