Healthy Life Tips For Seniors

Happy older couple

Generally, studies have shown that people are living longer these days and there seems to be a direct correlation between a healthy lifestyle and minimal years of disability. In those studies, it was determined that people with healthy lifestyles lived longer and also experienced fewer years of being ill compared to those not adopting healthy lifestyles. This should be enough reason to inspire people to adopt a healthy lifestyle because it’s never too late to start doing something good.

There are many ways to improve one’s health through a healthy diet and exercise — even well into old age. In fact, lack of physical activity and regular exercise coupled with poor diet can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and heart attacks, lack of sexual activity, and a poor health-related quality of life.

In order to truly appreciate the value of a healthy lifestyle as older adults, it’s important to acknowledge the physical and emotional changes that occur within us as we age. Having such awareness of the changes reduces the surprise effect. On the emotional level, we struggle with the loss of loved ones, careers, and independence. On the physical level, our bodies are less vibrant as they were when we were younger.

These changes notwithstanding, we can still live a quality and fulfilling life. Below are some important ways to live your life during your older years by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Diet Is Very Important

It is a very important for seniors to practice healthy eating habits. But as you advance in age, some noticeable changes will occur, including slower metabolism and changes in your sense of smell and taste which can ultimately affect your appetite.

Shopping for appropriate food and preparing it will not be a walk in the park, either. If this occurs, it’s advisable to reach out to family members or your health provider for assistance. There are also community programmes that provide healthy food to seniors.

If you are able to prepare your own food, it’s important that your diet is rich in fibre, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein (meat) which keep you energetic and aid your slow digestion.

Making your food taste and look good also encourages your appetite. Always stay hydrated — even when you do not feel thirsty — as water keeps your energy levels up and makes your skin smooth and looking young. If possible, eat with friends, family, or neighbours; this allows you to keep in touch with them and be more encouraged to eat despite your reduced appetite.

Eating right also helps you to maintain a healthy weight, which decreases your risk of certain types of arthritis and diabetes. Avoid smoking cigarettes since they are seriously harmful to your body and predispose you to lung cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and bronchitis. The chemicals in cigarettes also damage the skin, causing you to look older than you really are.

Stay Active!

Studies have found that exercise is a top contributor to living longer as it adds more years to your life. If you have not been exercising before, don’t be too hard on yourself because it is never too late to start. Just start!

The benefits of exercise are numerous and rewarding:

  • Prevents memory loss (dementia)
  • Produces eel-good hormones (endorphins)
  • Helps to reduce chronic pain
  • Increases muscle mass from weight training and improves metabolism
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Improves flexibility, balance, and good posture
  • Boosts the immune system

Practicing yoga also relieves discomfort caused by arthritis and fibromyalgia. So before you enroll in any exercise programme, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. Start out small and build up slowly over time. Do something you enjoy to keep you motivated, such as cycling, golfing, walking a pet, gardening, or swimming.

Exercise with a friend or a family member or join a class; that way, you keep each other motivated. Yoga is also a great form of exercise. Muscles stiffen and shorten when we do not exercise, but stretching improves that. So try stretching for at least five minutes daily and you will notice the difference.

Exercise The Brain!

Keep your brain active by feeding your creativity, especially now that you are retired and no longer challenged by your career. While physical exercise helps keep your brain alert, other activities like word games, crossword puzzles, learning a new language, and learning a new skill can keep your brain strong.

Stay Positive And Stay Connected

There are many difficult challenges that come with getting older, such as losing loved ones, your independence, and your health. Despite all these things, you must remain strong and try to navigate through these challenges. Below are some few tips you can follow:

  • Accept the thingsthat have changed in your life, even though this will be difficult. However, accepting and letting go of things out of your control reduces your stress levels.
  • Remind yourself of the things that you are still grateful for, such as the family and friends.
  • Reach out to other people who may be experiencing similar issues as yours. Join a support group or volunteer in the community to help you focus less on your own hardships. Socialize with people and spend time with at least one person daily. Physical interactions ward off depression and are much better than texts or emails. Make new friends. Although your older friend may have moved away or died, you can still make new ones and share memories with them.
  • Acknowledge how you feel, especially after the loss. Don’t bury your emotions; facing them is the only healthy way to work through them. Talk to a friend, family member, or professional. Keeping a journal can also be helpful.
  • Maintain a sense of purpose. Retirement does not mean your life is without purpose. You still have a lot to contribute to the world. Now is a great time to write your memoirs, reflect on your life experiences and the lessons you learned from them. You now have more time to spend time with your family members. Take up a new hobby or focus on an old one. Travel and see your city or your country or learn a new language, sport or musical instrument. Visit the museum, go to a concert, or a play. These activities will help you maintain your sense of joy.
  • Sleep comfortably. Many adults suffer from sleep problems as they get older, including waking up often during the night, insomnia, and daytime sleepiness. Low quality sleep is caused by poor sleeping habits, but you can use the following tips to improve that:
  • Keep Artificial Light To A Minimum. Artificial light suppresses the production of hormones responsible for causing sleepiness called melatonin. Switch off the television and computer an hour before you sleep and use low-watt bulbs.
  • Improve Bedtime Rituals. Take a warm relaxing bath or listen to slow music before your bedtime.
  • Create A Space That Is Conducive To Sleeping. Invest in a comfortable mattress and ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool.
  • Exercise Regularly. Especially a few hours before bedtime promotes better sleep.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

There are several precautionary measures you can take to improve the quality of your life, including:

Seeing your health professional on a regular basis and following their recommendations on screening and preventive measures. These may include yearly flu shot, screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, checking blood pressure, etc.

Paying attention to your body and alerting your healthcare provider immediately if something feels off. For instance, if you feel dizzy or unsteady, it’s important to follow up on this with your doctor to avoid a fall. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls were listed as the first cause of death-related injury among seniors.

Keeping your home safe by making sure that all rooms are well lit, moving furniture that can be an obstruction, ensuring that electrical and gas appliances are safe and up-to-date, looking out for wiring that’s loose or rugs or carpets that can cause a fall. Also ensure that your home is properly insulated.

At Vision Express, we do our best to ensure that we not only give you the information you need as it relates to your eyes, but our expert and dedicated team also goes above and beyond to ensure that you see the world clearly. Part of our job is to also provide answers to the many questions you have about your eyes.

Question: I have been told I have a cataract. What happens now?

Answer: If you have been told that you have a cataract, there is no need to be overly concerned as you are not alone. Each year, millions of people worldwide have cataract surgery. Thanks to advanced surgical procedures and technology, cataract surgery is not only one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures, but also one of the safest and most successful surgical procedures that you can have. At Visio Express, cataract surgery is performed on an out-patient basis and usually only requires a few hours of your time from beginning to end.

Cataract procedure can be performed under local anesthetic. At Vision Express Surgery Centre, the team on the day of surgery comprises the Ophthalmologist, the Ophthalmic Surgery Nurse, the Anaesthetist and the Pre- and Post-Surgery Caregiver.

Question: What happens on Surgery Day?

Answer: When you arrive at VE Medical Centre in Rodney Bay, and change into a surgery gown, the nurse will begin by placing eye drops in your eyes to dilate your pupil and numb and anesthetize the surface of your eye. Several sets of eye drops may be administered for Cataract Surgery. The use of eye drop anesthesia is sufficient for most cataract patients so that they feel just about nothing and experience little, if any, discomfort at all.

During your Cataract Surgery, you will be aware of the surgeon, the staff and the operating room surroundings, but will not be able to see images or the surgery being performed. Expect to see team members in scrub uniforms and surgical gowns, and wearing masks to protect the sterile area. During the surgery, you should not experience pain and minimal, if any, discomfort.

The procedure involves a very small cut being made in the eye, the cloudy cataract lens is removed and the new IOL inserted. The VE Medical team also use the phaco-emulsifaction equipment to remove the lens and clean out the lens cavity. The cut to remove the lens made by the Surgery Team at Vision Express is very small and normally requires no stitches. Your surgeon will complete the surgery by placing some antibiotic drops and possibly some anti-inflammatory drops in your eye to prevent infection and swelling.

The surgery takes less than an hour. After the surgery, you will rest for a while and then go home. The surgeon will normally ask you to wear an eye patch for a couple of days and you will need to use eye drops to reduce any possibility of infection. You will return for a post-surgery visit 24 hours after the surgery and then a week later for a final post-surgery check-up.

Here’s a review from Linda Hastilow, following her Cataract Surgery performed in January 2016 at VE Medical: “I had a cataract operation yesterday, and must praise the surgeon Dr. Alejandro and the staff. Their attention to detail with care and comfort was superb. The impressive part is the operating room, so well-equipped with hi-tech equipment and highly-trained staff. From what was a very nervous patient, not anymore — now full of confidence.”

Question: Which Intraocular lens is right for me?

Answer: There are several choices of IOLs to insert during Surgery — Monofocal IOLs can be just distance, and you use glasses for reading. This is the choice most cataract patients make. They are comfortable to have back clear distance vision and are happy to have a pair of glasses for reading or there are now different types of Multifocal IOLs. A multifocal lens can be used for distance, intermediate and reading. Or a newer form of multifocal IOL called an accommodating multifocal which works in the same way as the natural lens in your eye by contracting to see to read.

Recently given FDA approval as a multifocal IOL and achieving good results is a new IOL called Technis Symfony, which has brought in a more advanced design in multifocal IOLS. Each multifocal IOL has advantages and disadvantages in terms of the best uncorrected vision it produces at near, intermediate and far distances, as well as the likelihood and degree of vision disturbances such as halos and night glare that might occur after surgery.

When you come for your pre-cataract surgery appointment, your Ophthalmologist at Vision Express will discuss the options and make the best suggestion. Full measurements will be taken to get the correct IOL for you.

Question: I think my vision is getting cloudy from a cataract. What do I do?

Answer: Step one is to go for a full eye examination with the Optometrist who will tell you the cause of your cloudy vision. If it is a cataract, then relief is at hand because cataract surgery can restore your vision. The Ophthalmologist will do a full pre-cataract surgery examination and you will need to go for some routine medical checkups to confirm you are okay for surgery. Then just plan the surgery day and let the excellent surgery team at VE Medical in Karlione Court, Rodney Bay, take care of the rest.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Cataract Surgery and Pre-Surgery

Question: What will happen at the pre-surgery?

Answer: At your appointment with Dr. Garcia, we will do a full assessment of your eye health and complete a lens calculation. We will also check your lens prescription and order this accordingly. The date of your procedure will also be confirmed.

Question: Will my GP require any forms to be signed?

Answer: Yes. At the pre-surgery appointment, we will give you forms for your GP to complete in order to confirm your general health is well enough for surgery.

Question: Will you check my blood pressure at the pre-appointment?

Answer: Certainly. This is a vital part of your health screening. We will also give you an overview of ‘do’s and ‘don’ts’ so you are in the best possible health for your surgery.

Question: What time will my surgery take place?

Answer: We only perform day surgery. Your appointment will either be in the morning or the afternoon.

Question: Will I need someone to take me home?

Answer: Yes. You will not be able drive and highly recommend you have a friend or loved one to assist.

Question: What about my partner/friend? Will they need to wait throughout the surgery?

Answer: No. We will call and text them half an hour before the surgery finishes or whenever is convenient to them.

Question: Will I need to come back?

Answer: Yes. We have a post-surgery appointment to check your progress and to confirm your eye health is in excellent condition.

Question: Does the cost cover the pre-surgery as well?

Answer: Yes. The price is inclusive of the pre-surgery, surgeon fees, lens implant and the post-surgery appointment.

Question: How much deposit do I need to put down?

Answer: We normally ask for a 25% deposit at the pre-surgery appointment and the balance on the day of the appointment if paying in full. Discuss your payment options with the team at Vision Express.

BUT Cataract Surgery is covered by medical insurance. If you don’t have medical insurance coverage, then Vision Express can arrange an interest-free payment plan with your Credit Union, or a two-year Vision Express “Vision Plan” with FastCash.

For more information, come into any of our for Vision Express locations today!