Although the winter season brings fun and festivities, it may also bring nasty germs and bacteria with it. Fortunately, there are preventative steps we can take to ward off illness – which is especially important for seniors who become more vulnerable as they age. Caregivers who use home care software and a reliable home care system, such as ClearCare, can easily track important medical information that will also help keep seniors healthy. Here are a few additional tips for steering clear of sickness this winter.
1. Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of produce. A balanced diet has the power to prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders and certain forms of cancer. Unfortunately, most of us are not eating as well as we should. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 25 percent of children and adults consume the recommended portions of vegetables – which should ideally make up half of our plate. Families that take advantage of a home care system, such as provided by ClearCare, must remember to instruct caregivers to have a variety of fruits and veggies in every meal plan. Caregivers can set specific daily tasks that include nutrition guidelines in their home care software.
2. Get plenty of rest. Sleep deprivation may cause sluggish production of natural killer cells – a type of white blood cell that can destroy certain microbes and cancer cells. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that catching a cold is more likely if you sleep less than seven hours a night. Caregivers can set regular bedtime schedules using ClearCare’s home care system, ensuring seniors get the rest they need.
3. Protect yourself with vaccinations. Vaccines are not just for kids; they benefit adults just as much. Seniors should check with their doctor first, but there are at least 10 vaccine-preventable diseases that adults can protect themselves against. For a complete list of recommended vaccines, visit the CDC’s website. Natural remedies are also good during the winter months, such as Zinc and Vitamin C. Seniors should share all their medical details with their caregiver, who can then enter the information into ClearCare’s web-based home care software for safekeeping and easy access.
4. Use common sense. It may seem obvious, but simple acts like washing your hands and using hand sanitizer regularly go a long way in protecting yourself against illness. Get into the habit of sneezing into your sleeve instead of your hands, and encourage others in your home to do the same. If a family member or friend is ill, keep your distance until they have completely recovered.
5. Get out and get active. Engaging in moderate exercise five days a week can increase the circulation of immune-boosting natural killer cells in your body – even when you are at rest. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight – another key element of avoiding illness and disease. Families that work with a reputable home care agency – specifically one that offers ClearCare’s home care system and home care software – should make sure that exercise is a part of their loved one’s daily routine.
While winter might force most of us to wear hats and big bulky coats, it should not force us to burrow under the covers with a crummy cold or flu. With a healthy diet, regular exercise routine, and good lifestyle habits, all of us – including seniors – have an excellent chance of staying healthy this winter.
ClearCare’s home care system and home care software can also provide much needed relief for family caregivers who need a break this holiday season. For tips on surviving the festive furor soon to come, check out our post on Reducing Holiday Stress for Seniors.