Caring for an elderly friend or relative usually means being especially vigilant about health-related concerns. Yearly checkups, flu shots, and proper nutrition are usually our prime concerns. Surprisingly, there are four simple, but extremely important aspects to eldercare that many overlook.
Seniors and Dental Visits
Many who care for aging parents are shocked to find that their family member’s oral health has deteriorated. While most elderly people visit the doctor regularly, the dentist lags far behind when it comes to routine visits and care.
Equally surprising for caregivers is the amazing bounce in health the elderly experience when their teeth and gums are properly treated and their dental health restored. Many report a new lease on life.
Gum health is directly related to cardiac health. Infections wear down the elderly and gums are often an overlooked hiding place for such threats to overall health and vigor. Teeth should be cleaned every 6 months and gums carefully examined. Regimens for improved gum health should be strictly adhered to.
Exercise Aging Muscles
While it might seem counter intuitive to suggest that an elderly relative who awakens to aches and pains every morning get out and get moving, nothing could be more true. At your aging friend or relative’s next doctor visit, discuss what appropriate exercises might be beneficial and safe for them to participate in.
Swimming and pool-based exercise are often the perfect solution for the elderly seeking to maintain health through exercise. The water relieves pressure on joints while also providing gentle resistance; the perfect conditioning environment for joints and muscles feeling their age.
The Benefits of Friendship for the Aging
As we age, we often find ourselves staying close to home or even becoming housebound. When the elderly cannot leave their homes, they often feel isolated from their life and friends they once enjoyed. This isolation is damaging to physical and mental health.
Encourage family members and friends to visit, run errands with, and call their elderly loved ones. Introduce them to the Internet and the many new ways to connect socially such as video teleconferencing and chatting.
The elderly have spent a lifetime gaining knowledge and wisdom. Help them find ways to share their valuable talents with others. Older friends and relatives have a lot to share and can mentor grandchildren and much younger friends.
A nimble mind is the product of mental exercising. Consider some of these great ways to get your elderly friend’s brain moving:
- Play games such as Scrabble or checkers.
- Play Sudoku.
- Do crossword puzzles together.
- Read mysteries and try to solve them.
Listening to or reading good books is a great way to keep the mind alert. Books on tape are great for those having difficulty with their vision.
Don’t let the elderly get bored with life. Help them maintain a vigorous mind and healthy body and help them stay connected and engaged.