There’s a lot to enjoy about the fall season, from the colorful leaves scattered across the ground to the advent of fun holidays like Halloween. But with this fun comes a new wave of illnesses and health risks to combat, and these risks are even more dangerous to a senior due to their weakened immune system.
So how can you protect yourself or the senior in your life this fall? Well, we’re glad you asked. It’s time to give you our 6 essential senior health tips for this fall!
But enough talk, right? Let’s dive right into the thick of it!
1. The New Season of Crops and Cooking
The first thing you can do to stay healthy in the fall is to eat healthily, and with the influx of fruit and vegetable crops that reach harvesting time in the fall, you’ve got tons of options. Kale is packed to the brim with vitamins and helps lower cholesterol, sweet potatoes help give your immune system a boost, and apples help with heart health!
Even the iconic vegetable of fall, the pumpkin, has lots of vitamins (and the seeds have a lot of magnesium, which helps keep your blood sugar levels solid and promotes bone health). Drinking lots of water never hurt either, as the hydration flushes harmful germs out of your body (which is vital in flu season).
Fall can also mean gathering with your loved ones for massive feasts (Thanksgiving, anyone?). Because of the high volume of people, make sure all your food gets cooked well enough to kill off all harmful bacteria. Also, you should keep your food in separate containers to eliminate any chance of them contaminating one another.
2. Senior Health Tips Come With Tests
Another important step to take is testing all the security devices in your home or residence to make sure the batteries are still functioning. Even if your detectors do work, swap out the batteries to keep the charge fresh.
This is also a good time to take your car (if you have one) to a mechanic to make sure it doesn’t fail you when the weather gets colder.
3. Guard Your Mental Health Too
Recent studies have shown that loneliness is linked to exacerbating several health problems for seniors (from Alzheimer’s to heart disease). To counter this, try incorporating social technology like FaceTime or Skype into the senior’s life so that they have an easy way to have contact with their loved ones on a more personal level than a phone call or letter.
Another option you have is seeing if you can move the senior to CDPAP (Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program). This lets them receive care from the comfort of their own home (or your home) while also circumventing some of the medical restrictions a normal visiting caregiver would have.
This way, you can ease the senior’s mental health by not placing them in a foreign environment without any people they know. Plus, you would get paid to help offset the cost of having another person live in your home. Finding ways to get seniors outside rather than cooped up inside all day is also shown to help mental health.
Bonus methods you can try to improve mental health include finding an activity to do outside the house and getting the proper amount of rest every night.
4. Update Your Medicine
Autumn coming around means flu season comes too, so making sure you’re up to date on all of your shots and vaccines will help keep you or the senior in your life from contracting any nasty illnesses. It’s also a great idea to sort through your medicine cabinet in the fall and remove any old antibiotics or prescriptions you aren’t using.
This removes the temptation to use the antibiotics when you don’t feel well, as unrestricted use of these drugs will help the harmful bacteria in your body build an immunity to them. Stock the cabinet back up with hand sanitizer and tissues to help counter flu season even more.
5. Keep Cold Out of Your House
As the weather gets colder, so does the risk of your living space plummeting to unsafe temperatures. Make sure to call your heating company and have them check for any problems with your heating system.
You can also take steps to keep the temperature consistent in your house by patching up any cracks or gaps in your walls or doors (as well as loose windows). If you can’t fix them, move a large object (like a table or chair) in front of these gaps to help stop the influx of cold air. Stocking up on cold-weather gear like coats (or even snow-shovels and salt if you live in an area that gets early snow often) is also a great idea.
6. Make Sure You Can Move Around
Finally, making sure your mobility in and around your house is as unrestrictive as possible is key to preventing any terrible slips or falls. Add in railings or safe steps to ensure you or the senior in your life can navigate comfortably.
Getting someone to keep leaves out of the driveway or sidewalk is also a good idea. This is because when the leaves get slick with rain, they can prove a very slippery hazard to unsuspecting passerby. These leaves can also clog up the gutters in your house, which can lead to flooding.
It’s also worth noting that your nights will get longer as the season goes on. Make sure your house is lit well and get your vision tested. Moving your outside activities to earlier times so you don’t have to travel in the dark helps too.
Enjoying the Fall
So there you have it! Now that you know the top 6 essential senior health tips for fall you’re ready to get out there and enjoy the season without worrying about your health or the health of someone you love!
If you want to learn more about senior healthcare or want to start applying for CDPAP, give us a shout and let us know what we can do for you!