Healthy Eating Habits for Seniors
Self Care: Staying Strong and Independant, Physical Wellness

The Surprising Impact of Healthy Eating Habits on Senior Wellness

Let's talk about something that's truly the cornerstone of wellness: healthy eating habits.

As we age, our bodies go through changes, and it becomes even more crucial to fuel ourselves with the right foods to stay vibrant and energetic. So, let's dive into some nourishing wisdom on how to maintain a healthy diet as we gracefully journey through our golden years. If you want to see more, then get my FREE Senior Starter Guide. Chapter 2 is all about Physical Mobility. 

SIDEBAR:  I have lost 30 pounds at age 70. I did it by getting off the sugar. Was it hard?  Yes, it was awful. Somedays, I wanted to eat my arm! I could not have sugar in the house. Worse were the evenings. After 2 weeks, the yearning died down. I only drank water with fresh lemon (and my coffee). I also realized I had to eat every few hours and I ate small portions. I had all my food planned out ahead of time. If I ate out, I ordered off the child's menu or had a side dish. No more big portions. Never took home food either. Over the holidays, I ate sugar and had to go through the torture of yearning for it for another 2 weeks and then it died down again. So, now I know, it's not worth it to eat sugar. I love what I eat! My dinner is either shrimp or chicken with stir fry vegetables from Costco. My seasoning is Green Goddess. It's so popular now that I can't get it at Trader Joe's because it's out-of-stock so I have to order it off Amazon. 

Here's my suggestions. I prioritized them for you.

Healthy Eating Habits

Prioritize Protein: Protein is the building block of muscle, and as we age, maintaining muscle mass becomes increasingly important. Incorporate lean protein sources into your diet such as fish, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts. These protein powerhouses not only support muscle health but also keep you feeling full and satisfied. But check with your doctor first about too much protien if you have kidney issues. 

Ditch the Sugar: You have GOT TO GET OFF THE  SUGAR! Sugar is addicting and it will take you up to two weeks to stop craving it. Sugary treats may be tempting, but they can wreak havoc on your health, especially as you age. Limit your intake of fresh fruit.

Stay Hydrated: Hydration is key to overall well-being, so don't forget to drink plenty of PLAIN water throughout the day. Dehydration can sneak up on us, especially as we age, so make it a habit to keep a water bottle handy and sip on water regularly. This will also help you loose weight.

Portion Control: As our metabolism slows down with age, it's essential to practice portion control to maintain a healthy weight. Use smaller plates, listen to your body's hunger cues, and avoid oversized portions to keep your calorie intake in check. The trick here is to NOT fast. You get so hungry you will overeat.  The best plan is to eat every 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime. 

Watch Your Sodium: Keep an eye on your sodium intake as excessive salt can contribute to high blood pressure and other health issues. Opt for herbs, spices, and other flavor-enhancing ingredients to season your meals instead of relying on salt. Your taste buds will thank you, and so will your heart.

Read Your Food Labels:  If you cannot pronounce the words then do not buy it. Food manufacturers have over 52 names for sugar.  They want to keep you addicted to it. Your best bet is to stay to the outside of the grocery store, eating only those products with 1 or 2 ingredients. 

Color Your Plate: Imagine your plate as a canvas, and colorful fruits and veggies are your paint. Aim for a rainbow of colors on your plate as each hue brings different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to the table. Think vibrant greens, deep purples, bright oranges, and rich reds. These colorful treasures not only make your meals visually appealing but also pack a powerful punch in terms of nutrition.

Mindful Eating: In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to rush through meals without truly savoring the flavors and textures. Practice mindful eating by paying attention to each bite, chewing slowly, and savoring the taste of your food. Not only does this enhance your dining experience, but it also helps prevent overeating by allowing your body to recognize when it's full.

Healthy Fats: Say hello to good fats! Avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are excellent sources of healthy fats that support heart health and cognitive function. Incorporate these fats into your diet in moderation to keep your brain sharp and your heart happy.

Whole Grains: Swap out refined grains for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread. Whole grains are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and helps keep blood sugar levels stable. Plus, they provide a steady source of energy to keep you going strong throughout the day.

Stay Flexible: Last but not least, remember to stay flexible and open-minded when it comes to your diet. Embrace variety, experiment with new recipes, and don't be afraid to indulge in your favorite treats occasionally. Balance is key, so enjoy your meals guilt-free and savor every bite.

You can't outwork a bad food diet

What I mean by this is that going to the gym to work off that piece of cake is not going to do it. There are not enough hours at the gym to work off sugary foods. 

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of well-being, especially as we age.

Remember, it's never too late to start prioritizing your health and well-being. Your body is your temple, so treat it with love, respect, and nourishing foods that fuel your soul. Here's to a lifetime of vibrant health and happiness!

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self-care
Self Care: Staying Strong and Independant

The Importance of Self-Care: Nurturing Caregivers and Seniors Alike

Caring for a loved one is undoubtedly a noble and fulfilling endeavor, but it can also be emotionally and physically draining for family members who take on this role. Similarly, seniors who find themselves relying on family members for assistance may grapple with feelings of guilt or burden. In both scenarios, prioritizing self-care is not just important; it's essential for maintaining overall well-being. Let's explore some practical self-care strategies tailored for both caregivers and seniors.

For Caregivers

caregivers starter guide

Prioritize Rest:

It's easy for caregivers to neglect their own needs while focusing on their loved ones. However, adequate rest is crucial for preventing burnout. Set aside time each day for relaxation, whether it's through meditation, reading, or simply taking a walk. Carving out these moments of tranquility can replenish your energy reserves and enhance your ability to provide quality care.

Seek Support:

Remember, you're not in this alone. Reach out to friends, family members, or support groups who understand the challenges you're facing. Sharing your experiences with others who can offer empathy and advice can alleviate feelings of isolation and provide valuable emotional support.

Establish Boundaries:

It's important to recognize your limitations and communicate them openly with your loved one and other family members involved in caregiving. Establishing clear boundaries ensures that you can fulfill your caregiving responsibilities without sacrificing your own well-being. Don't hesitate to delegate tasks or ask for help when needed.

Practice Self-Compassion:

Caring for a loved one can evoke a range of emotions, including guilt, frustration, and sadness. It's essential to practice self-compassion and acknowledge that it's okay to experience these feelings. Be gentle with yourself and recognize that you're doing the best you can in a challenging situation.

For Super-Aging Seniors

Super-Ager's Starter Guide

Prioritize Sleep:

Aging bodies often require more rest, so it's essential for seniors to prioritize sleep. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, aiming for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. Create a comfortable sleep environment by ensuring your bedroom is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider relaxation techniques like gentle yoga or listening to calming music before bedtime to promote restful sleep.

Stay Active:

While it's important to rest, staying physically active can also contribute to overall well-being. Engage in activities that you enjoy and that are suitable for your fitness level, whether it's taking a leisurely walk, practicing tai chi, or participating in chair exercises. Regular physical activity can improve mood, energy levels, and overall health.

Cultivate Social Connections:

Maintaining social connections is vital for emotional well-being, especially for seniors who may experience feelings of loneliness or isolation. Make an effort to stay connected with friends, family members, and community groups. Whether it's attending a social event, joining a hobby group, or simply chatting with a neighbor, nurturing these connections can provide a sense of belonging and support.

Embrace Relaxation Techniques:

In addition to physical activity, incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Experiment with mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or gentle stretching to unwind and center yourself. These practices can be particularly beneficial during times of heightened stress or anxiety.

Next Steps

Self-care is not a luxury; it's a necessity for both caregivers and seniors alike. By prioritizing rest, seeking support, establishing boundaries, and practicing self-compassion, caregivers can sustain their well-being while providing care for their loved ones. Similarly, seniors can enhance their quality of life by prioritizing sleep, staying active, cultivating social connections, and embracing relaxation techniques. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; it's an essential component of living a healthy and fulfilling life, both for caregivers and seniors.

The Senior Freedom Club is for both seniors and family members who want to grow together in joy and happiness as memories abound. Come join the excitement!

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aging wellness
Self Care: Staying Strong and Independant

11 Self-Care Rules Super Seniors and Their Family Caregivers Follow

Don’t take chances with age. 

In the Caregiver's Starter Guide, we address this very thing in Chapters 3 and 4 on how family members need to take better care of themselves while they care for another. 

As seniors enter their golden years, the importance of prioritizing self-care becomes increasingly evident for both the seniors and their families. Aging brings about unique challenges and opportunities, and adopting a proactive approach to well-being is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life. 

Seniors:  no matter your age you can start getting healthier. The body is amazing at fixing itself! See Chapter 2 in the Super-Ager's Starter Guide for simple things you can do every day. You'll be amazed. 

Let’s outline 11 essential self-care practices that seniors should embrace to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health.

Excellent Medical Care

Super-agers have a special bond with their physicians. This didn’t happen overnight. This is a trust they built over the years. They have access to their physician when they need them.  In many cases, their family also knows the doctor and considers them a personal friend. What many seniors do not realize is the best medicine is less medicine.  This means seniors and those who care for seniors take on the responsibility of great health. 

Prioritize Physical Health

The foundation of senior self-care lies in prioritizing physical health. Super-agers know that ultimately, they are responsible for their own aging. Regular exercise, tailored to individual abilities, is essential for maintaining mobility, strength, and balance. Activities such as walking, swimming, or gentle yoga contribute to cardiovascular health and can alleviate joint pain. Seniors should also focus on a well-balanced diet, ensuring they receive adequate nutrition to support overall health and prevent chronic illnesses.   

Foster Mental Stimulation

Cognitive health is a cornerstone of well-being, and seniors should engage in activities that foster mental stimulation. Reading, puzzles, and brain games help keep the mind sharp and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Pursuing hobbies and learning new skills, whether it's painting, playing an instrument, or attending educational classes, contributes to mental agility and a sense of fulfillment.     

Establish a Sleep Routine

Quality sleep is often undervalued but plays a crucial role in overall health. Seniors should establish a consistent sleep routine, aiming for seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night. Creating a comfortable sleep environment, avoiding stimulants before bedtime, and practicing relaxation techniques can contribute to improved sleep quality.

Cultivate Social Connections

Nothing is more important than having friends and family to stimulate us. Many families have one member who cares for the senior. This is not enough stimulation for both senior and family members. It is why we see caregivers being told to get help.  It not only gives the caregivers a break, but it also fosters senior growth.

Maintaining social connections is vital for seniors' mental and emotional well-being. Actively participating in social activities, joining clubs, or volunteering not only combats feelings of loneliness but also fosters a sense of purpose and community. Building and maintaining strong social networks can significantly contribute to a positive outlook on life.

Embrace Emotional Well-being

Seniors should prioritize their emotional well-being by acknowledging and expressing their feelings. Engaging in activities that bringjoy, such as spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or practicing mindfulness and meditation, can help manage stress and promote emotional resilience. Seeking professional support when needed is a proactive step towards emotional well-being.

This is also called life balance.  It’s about both seniors and their families taking time to pace themselves, regenerate their energy, and get back to feeling good again. ·        

Regular Health Check-ups

Proactive health management involves regular check-ups and screenings. Seniors should schedule routine visits to their friendly family doctor every 3 months. They can monitor their overall health and catch potential issues early. Addressing health concerns promptly can prevent the development of more significant problems and contribute to a longer, healthier life.

Practice Medication Management

It’s a fact...sorry, but...

Seniors who are not on a lot of medications live longer. Sorry. It’s just the way it is. But aren’t medications good for us?

Look at it this way…seniors who do not take a lot of medications don’t need to.  They stay healthy and therefore do not need the meds. Those who are on over 10 medications have to consult with their doctor on how they can start to get off some of them by doing any of these 11 activities listed here.*

Many seniors manage chronic conditions with medications. Adhering to prescribed medication regimens, understanding potential interactions, and communicating openly with their pharmacist (another personal friend) are critical aspects of self-care. Seniors should take an active role in their medication management, seeking clarification when needed and reporting any side effects promptly.

Financial Wellness

Maintaining financial well-being is crucial for a stress-free retirement. Stress can age us quickly. Family members who care for seniors know this and try to give as little stress as possible to their senior.  They bring in others to help alleviate the stress.

Seniors should review their financial plans regularly, they have sufficient savings to cover healthcare expenses, unexpected costs, and an enjoyable lifestyle. Seeking advice from financial professionals can help optimize financial strategies and provide peace of mind.

Create a Supportive Environment

Creating a supportive living environment is essential for senior self-care. This includes ensuring home safety, making necessary modifications for accessibility, and surrounding oneself with a supportive network. Seniors should assess their living conditions regularly and make adjustments to enhance comfort and independence.

As caregivers, the support can come from phone calls, texts, and emails.  Facetime gives a lot of comfort and support to seniors, even when they cannot get out and about. Growing in popularity is the adult day center, where seniors are coming together, not to be “taken care of” but to socialize with card games, laughter, and lasting friendships.

Continual Learning and Adaptation

Embracing a mindset of continual learning and adaptation is fundamental for thriving in the senior years. As circumstances change, seniors should remain open to new experiences, technologies, and ways of thinking. This flexibility fosters resilience and empowers seniors to navigate the evolving landscape of aging with confidence.

Seniors also have a lot of knowledge to give. They can tutor high school and college students.  We often see super-agers doing this.  We wonder why they “work” but it is never “work to them.  They love sharing with others.

In conclusion, senior self-care is a holistic and proactive approach to maintaining well-being in the golden years. By prioritizing physical, mental, and emotional health, actively engaging with the community, and managing various aspects of life, seniors can enhance their overall quality of life.

This serves as a guide for seniors, but even more importantly for the family caregivers. Starting early is never too late.  As family members watch their seniors age, they can start to evaluate how they themselves want to age.

It is also encouraging to seniors to get this aging thing right so they can be an example to those who come after us. 

*Never just stop taking your medications. You have to always check with your doctor before starting or stopping any lifestyle changes or treatment plans. 

Another article you might like: Healthcare vs Medical Care: Knowing the Difference is Powerful

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learnng to balance
Self Care: Staying Strong and Independant, Life Balance: Time & Energy Management, Senior Healthcare: Exceptional Medical Care

“The Relentless Clock: Unraveling the Mystery of Time Perception”

As we age, does time speed up or slow down?

Do you ever look at what you once found important and maybe realize it’s just not that important anymore?

But what about our day-to-day hurry and scurry lifestyles?

"I can't ever relax. I feel like there is something undone. Is there an explanation for this?"

Many older folks grew up in our society where work was the sum total of their day.

If you lived on a farm, you were carrying the milk bucket to the house by age three.  Never mind if you slopped it right out. You were made to work.

If you grew up in a family that had a chore list, then there was no use relaxing after dinner, as Dad and Mom were calling out your name and you better get to it.

Some of us were taught to be high achievers. We should never stop, relax, and smell the roses.  After all, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop".

Maybe you were one to sit down and read, or play the piano, only to hear your mom yell, "Mary, where are you?  Come help me!"

Oh yes, and now we are victims of the list to list, task to task, and never seem to relax.

Is this normal?

Well, in the old days, or the days when "we didn't work, we didn't eat" it seemed normal.  But now, we work for other pleasures in life.  We seem to have this housing and food thing down so we've moved on to the better things in life.

No, you are not alone.  Americans are still only a generation or two away from the "Great Depression".  We slow down only because we are tired or hurt. Mentally, we know there is so much more to do.

And still, we know it drives us crazy and then we look at those who do relax and wonder, "What's up with that?"  For them, it's not only normal, it's healthy.

How do we fix this?

Some psychologists tell us we are just hard-wired to stay busy and to measure our day, our lives, and our values by how much we do.

And others will tell us we will work ourselves into poor health, troubling relationships, and early death.

Ultimately, it is up to you to change if you want. It starts with the little things.

If you love what you do, if it keeps you going and you enjoy it, then keep doing it.

If, in the back of your mind, relaxing means you feel guilty, then you might consider putting it on your "task list" -  Today at 4 PM I will relax for one hour!

Yes, this is still an accomplishment and you did it!

Do you feel things are never done, no matter how many things you do?  Put a note on your bathroom mirror saying, "What are three things I accomplished today?"  And call out those three things before you go to bed. You'll feel so much better!

Here are some suggestions from folks who have admitted to their inability to relax…

  • "Separate your work time from your playtime. You can do this by time or by place."
  • "I do not look at my phone when I'm on vacation. There is nothing so important that I have to look at.  I totally love where I'm vacationing and take in every minute of it. The person I'm with has my phone and if I'm needed for an emergency, they'll let me know."
  • I separate by place, too.  I have a pool in my backyard but I can't relax in it because there is too much to do around the house.  So, I go to our community pool and relax there.
  • "I relax by time.  I know that on Sunday afternoon my football games are going to get all my attention and I do not care about all the zillion other things I could be doing."
  • "I relax by time and place.  Every morning, I walk by myself, getting in my chance to relax.  Sure, my mind is racing, but it's not on my daily chores but on the beauty nature holds for me as I walk.
  • "I relax because my cats climb into my lap and I have to."
  • "I do tai-chi and it focuses and relaxes me."

So no, you are not alone if you find yourself always busy. Can we temper it?  Sure, if it bothers you and those you love.

If you want a FREE guide to see how you are doing in the “relaxing hub of life”, see page 9 on Self-Care in the Caregiver’s Starter Guide. You’ll really get a feel for the things you’re doing right and the things you might want to improve on. 

Caregiver Starter Guide
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