If you find it difficult to get your loved one to take care of his health, you are not alone. While 82% of men in a 2019 Cleveland Clinic survey report trying to stay healthy and live longer for those who rely on them, only 50% engage in preventive care. So, in honor of Men’s Health Month in June, here are three steps toward preventive care in older men.
Eat more plants.
The rule to eat your fruits and vegetables isn’t just for our kids and grandkids. A diet rich in plant-based foods is key to overall physical health and wellbeing, including bone health. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. A diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D promotes bone health as you age.
Incorporating healthy foods into your diet doesn’t have to leave behind flavor, though. At McKnight Place, Executive Chef Anthony Lyons, CEC works with a registered dietitian to ensure residents’ meals are both delicious and nutritious.
“I love using fresh herbs and spices for flavoring rather than using unhealthy fats and salts,” Anthony says. “My passion is creating something that both surprises and delights residents.”
McKnight Place residents can choose from a variety of flavorful, well-balanced and nutrient-rich meals like pan-seared halibut with asparagus, shrimp scampi with spinach pasta and garlic toast and salmon strawberry salad with lemon poppy seed dressing.
Exercise your body – and your brain.
We often hear about how important regular physical activity is for maintaining a healthy weight, but exercise can do so much more for your overall physical and mental health. According to the CDC, just 30 minutes a day of physical activity (as abilities and conditions allow) can strengthen muscles and bones, improve sleep, and decrease anxiety.
For ideas on how to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine, talk to your doctor.
McKnight Place staff works with residents to customize exercises based on ability and need. “We take a client-centered approach,” explains Restorative Therapist Mary Swenson, COTA/L. “We tailor the exercises for each resident to make sure they are fun, meaningful, engaging, and fulfilling.”
Experts agree: Exercising your brain can be just as important to overall health in older adults as physical exercise. Mental stimulation can take many forms from puzzles and book clubs to free college courses. McKnight Place residents can participate in community activities like current-event discussions, games and trivia, and art and music classes.
Go to the doctor.
There really aren’t two ways about this one. While diet and exercise are key to preventive care, particularly in older adults, even the healthiest man should visit his primary care physician at least once per year. And yet, according to Men’s Health Network adviser Armin Brott, more than 7 million American men haven’t seen a doctor in over 10 years.
Aside from the standard physical exam, the annual check-up is when important screenings happen for bone health, blood pressure, and prostate and heart health. That’s also when your loved one can get his regular vaccines and boosters for influenza, pneumonia, and tetanus.
Still not convinced? Remind him that if he is eating a diet rich in plant-based proteins, fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly, the annual check-up is his chance to prove to his doctor that he really is “fit as a fiddle”.
We’re here for you.
As a trusted expert in senior living, we’re here for you and your loved one now more than ever. If you have questions about how to get your loved one to take care of his health, 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.
Call us to help you answer questions or just to listen at 314-993-3333 (Assisted Living & Memory Care) or 314-993-2221 (Extended Care).