A body’s immune system is designed to protect itself against viruses, diseases, and infections but with age, your immune system weakens and becomes less efficient. The CoVid-19 pandemic emphasizes the importance of protecting yourself and those you love. Get started to boost Seniors’ immune systems by incorporating a few of the following tips.
Handwashing may be automatic to you, but a number of people are not washing their hands as often as is necessary. Washing hands thoroughly and frequently kills germs before they have a chance to spread disease. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water. Remember the most important times to wash your hands are:
- Before and after preparing food
- Before and after eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is ill or if in contact with bodily fluids
- Before, during and after you are giving cares
- After using the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After touching an animal or any animal-related items (food, treats, toys)
- After touching garbage
- Before and after touching your face or mouth
A wholesome diet is a simple choice for a healthy lifestyle as immune systems benefit from proper nutrition. Well-balanced diets increase cognitive functions and decrease risks of being diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and vitamin insufficiency.
A variety of foods are known to boost immune systems, especially in Seniors whose diets are more sensitive. Citrus fruits increase vitamin C levels and the production of white blood cells. Ginger decreases inflammation, relieves arthritis, and reduces nausea. Spinach and other leafy greens are brimming with carotene and antioxidants. Yogurt provides probiotics and live cultures to fight diseases and provide a source of vitamin D. Vitamin E is found in high protein foods such as eggs, almonds, and peanut butter. Check the kitchen cupboards and stock them with nutritious choices.
As we age it is especially important to be active both mentally and physically. Staying active not only reduces stress and improves health functions but also strengthens immune systems. Exercise performed routinely is a pathway to remaining strong and independent with the added benefit of feeling a sense of accomplishment. An hour every day is the usual recommendation and is possible when broken into shorter time periods. Walk for ten minutes at a time or choose a workout video such as chair yoga to break up your routine.
Care for Mental Health
Social isolation damages not just one’s mental health but also one’s immune system. Depression and anxiety deplete immune system health when not addressed. Mental conditions, when not treated, lead to inflammation upsurges and increase vulnerability to diseases and viruses. Isolation becomes inevitable, escalating feelings of worthlessness. The most common illnesses related to depression and anxiety are stroke, heart disease, infections, and autoimmune diseases. Loss of energy due to depression triggers less activity and subsequently poor sleep, opening the door for additional health risks. All these factors have a dramatic impact on the immune system.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a natural immune system booster. Every immune system needs time to rest and recharge to react appropriately to potential infection and inflammation. Studies prove sleep disorders are linked to many chronic diseases and conditions… type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. When sleep-deprived, bodies produce more stress hormones to stay awake and alert which suppresses immune systems.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Hydration is important. Drink plenty of water to allow the immune system to function at its highest level. Water eases the absorption of various nutrients in the body to work alongside a healthy diet and provide increased immune protection. The Mayo Clinic suggests drinking at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water every day to boost immune systems.
Bridge to Better Living is always here to help. A pandemic may be a time of uncertainty, but we are dedicated to providing healthy outcomes. Bridge to Better Living’s no cost to client service is all about YOU and the Senior you love. Speak to one of our expert Transition Consultants about making a move to a new Retirement Living Community. Contact Bridge to Better Living today.