The holidays are an exciting time, filled with visits from friends and family and fun holiday meals, and this can mean we’re disrupted from our regular schedules. For seniors, disruption, even in a positive way, can be stressful, so it’s important to make your health a priority throughout the holiday season. We’ve put together a few tips that make it easy to stay healthy.
Stay hydrated. When your schedule is off, it’s easy to forget to drink water regularly, and you can become dehydrated. Adults over age 65 are at the highest risk of dehydration, especially when they are on prescription medications. Dehydration can cause fatigue, weakness, muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness, confusion, or nausea. Make it a priority to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
Get some exercise. Walking is a healthy exercise for most seniors. In addition to giving you exercise, a long walk after a large holiday meal can aid digestion and turn carbohydrates into energy more efficiently. Make walks more special by bringing along a family member or two for some relaxing outdoor scenery and good conversation. If you have limited mobility, ask your doctor for exercise ideas that will work for you.
Cut back on added salt and fat. Most holiday meals are homemade, so they tend to have less salt than processed foods, but well-meaning hosts have plenty of salt and butter available at the table. Most of the time, the food is delicious as-is and we really don’t need to add to it, but the habit of sprinkling and spreading is automatic. Instead of reaching for the salt or extra butter, taste the food first. You’ll end up adding less sodium and fat to your meal overall.
Balance your meal. With all the tempting, delicious bread and biscuits served at a holiday meal, it’s tempting to load up on excess carbohydrates. Instead of filling up on bread, balance the selections on your plate. Choose mostly vegetables when you can and fill the rest of your plate with lean meats, fresh fruits, and whole grains when possible. Enjoy those biscuits and muffins but make them just a small portion of your overall meal.
Eat early. Have that large meal in the afternoon and choose lighter snacks in the evening. A large, hearty meal needs time to digest and can make it difficult to get to sleep. Fortunately, many families have already adjusted their holidays so that a large meal is served in the afternoon.
Prioritize rest. Good sleep is crucial to good health, and for a variety of reasons, it can become difficult for seniors to fall asleep and stay asleep all night long. This can be especially difficult when our regular routines are disrupted, so during the holiday season, it’s important to get a good night’s rest. Try to keep to a normal bedtime, and during the day, get plenty of exercise so you’re tired at bedtime.
Keep germs at bay. Holiday get-togethers are a fun way to re-connect with family, but they also mean that a lot of people are together in one place, and that can mean the spread of germs that can cause unwanted illnesses. Wash your hands regularly and insist that the kids in your family do the same to help keep everyone healthy throughout the holidays.
Our team at Ashbridge wishes you and your family health and happiness throughout the holiday season. And when it’s time to consider the transition to assisted senior living, contact us at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living. Our dedicated senior care professionals are ready to answer all your questions about our helpful amenities and engaging in daily activities. Ashbridge Manor emphasizes wellness and a friendly, welcoming sense of community. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information.