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How Seniors And Their Caregivers Can Ensure They Stay Healthy And Sharp In Their Golden Years

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Health

On reaching the age of 65, the risk of developing dementia doubles after every 5 years, reports the American Academy of Family Physicians, reports the American Academy of Family Physicians. This has proven to be a problem that negatively affects the elderly in South Africa. They are increasingly becoming fraud victims, due to their decreased cognitive functions. Thankfully, a healthy diet and increased physical activity can protect the elderly from such incidences. How so?

The right diet, exercises and proper care from caregivers are instrumental in maintaining a sharp mind, a healthy body and a good physique, and in boosting athletic performance, all of which can serve as protection from fraudsters and thieves.

Fitness In Relation To Senior Health

Every person seeks to enjoy the fruits of their retirement. Reported lifestyle and age-related diseases in South Africa such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases hinder this. The country, however, has shown a positive trend in increased fitness practices that will help curb such problems. Physical fitness also improves cognitive function, prevents falls and helps one live longer. Avoiding settling into a sedentary lifestyle, however, especially with less income, may prove challenging, particularly considering hefty gym fees. Thankfully, the South African government offers financial assistance for senior adults to help with their care and well-being. Furthermore, making a tight fitness budget work is very much doable, provided one makes savvy dietary and fitness choices.  

Physical Fitness

South Africa’s fitness training industry has been reported to have the highest income in the world, generating over $900 million annually. This means that the industry is fairly distributed, and facilities are easier to access countrywide. Fitness coaches are important as seniors begin their physical fitness journey. This is because certain high impact exercises past the age of 50 can be dangerous. Muscle mass and bone density decreases as people age, thus physical activities carried out in later years should not be strenuous.

Caregivers should encourage older people to start slowly and build their resistance while increasing the intensity of the training. Working out does not necessarily need to involve going to the gym. A walk around the park or a session of water aerobics is a great way to kickstart a fitness routine. Always have someone accompany the elderly person in case of injury or emergency, or to simply make it interesting. Changes in mood and personality, sexual drive, skin, vision, and cognitive functions, as well as improved physical flexibility are usually noticeable in the first two months of a changed routine.

Brain Training

Fitness for elderly people has to be well balanced and carefully thought out by their caregivers and doctors. For them to have peak cognitive function and be well aware of their surroundings, brain function stimulation is necessary. Caregivers can schedule activities that stimulate brain function, such as games, crafts, learning new languages and brain teasers. These activities improve certain things, such as the listening, attention, hand-eye coordination, and short and long-term memory capacities of seniors. It's important, however, to avoid a boring routine by occasionally switching up one activity for another on different days of the week. Additionally, caregivers should make a point of engaging different people in the activities from time to time. When it comes to diet, certain foods have been scientifically proven to boost brain power by increasing concentration and helping with memory. Foods that should be incorporated into meals for the elderly include blueberries, turmeric, coffee, fatty fish, pumpkin seeds, oranges, nuts and eggs.

Immediate reports to the doctor should be made when elderly persons start to show symptoms like the inability to make simple decisions, inability to recognise frequently used routes or family members, inability to control biological bodily functions, or sudden changes in mood and personality. It may seem like part of the ageing process, but these symptoms more often than not point towards more serious underlying problems. The improvement of the ageing process is very possible through exercising and eating right. The two combined with proper sleep habits can help senior adults to live longer, more fulfilling lives.

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