When I was young and I heard about a person turning one hundred, it was a wow factor. Now, the estimated number of centenarians living in the United States is as high as 72,000. American seniors, in the main, have a longevity longer than their ancestors ever did. Statistics suggest that seniors can expect to live another 19 to 20 years after retirement. For the seniors who live to an average of 85, this means managing at least one chronic condition to remain healthy and enjoy life.
Arthritis—51 percent of seniors experience the pain of arthritis and this in turn can lead to people being more sedentary. Being inactive can actually increase the pain of arthritis and lead to other chronic conditions. It is therefore important to develop an exercise plan with a healthcare professional that is right for you. Along with other treatments, a personalized exercise plan can help maintain a good quality of life and a life that is worth living.
Heart disease-—The leading killer of adults in the US, according to Heart Foundation Statistics, 125,000 people over the age of 65 die of a heart attack each year. Again an emphasis is put on exercise for maintaining heart health, just 20 minutes a day of exercise can lessen the risk of a heart attack. Healthy eating is the key factor in maintaining heart heath and most people are surprised at how little time it takes to prepare healthy meals. 100’s of healthy meals can be prepared in less than 20 minutes and it can take longer than that to get a fast food meal that severally increases most people’s risk of a heart attack. For recipes that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less that cost no more than $3 to prepare, visit www.hearthealthyonline.com.
Diabetes—Approximately 20 percent of people aged 65 years or older have diabetes, and just about half of those people don’t even know that they have it! Another 20 percent of people over the age of 65 have impaired glucose tolerance. As age increases, the sense of taste and smell may diminish. Food may lose some of its appeal at older age and cold and sweet taste buds are often all that we have left. This can lead to people preferring to eat a dessert rather than a healthy meal. As a result, many seniors are nutritionally compromised.
Eating tips for seniors-
- Eat 5-6 small meals per day.
- Choose fruit instead of fruit juice. Juice tends to exacerbate hyperglycemia.
- Eat fresh fruit, or buy fruits canned in their own juices or in water.
- Eat adequate amounts of protein.
- Frozen vegetables can be used as needed, and they keep well.
- Share meals with friends or family whenever possible.
- Eat a variety of foods.
- Try new recipes.
- Make extra and freeze leftovers for
- Use foods with stronger flavors and seasonings if the sense of taste has diminished.
- Focus on using herbs and spices instead
of adding salt.
- Make foods look attractive.
- Increase fiber to treat and prevent constipation.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Keep active; it stimulates the appetite.
Article provided by: Cathy Parkinson,
United Methodist Retirement