Even a seemingly minor illness can have severe consequences for your aging loved one’s wellbeing, which is why you should look for ways to boost his or her immune system. As a start, minimizing the levels of germs and bacteria in the home can prevent common infections and various illnesses. Below are some of the reasons seniors tend to get sick easily and how your parent can prevent each one.
1. Stomach Problems
Seniors often have issues with poor digestion. As people age, their digestive systems don’t function as well, and the gut’s microbiota can get out of balance. Since senior men are at higher risk for issues like colon cancer, they tend to get sick easily because their colons fail to protect them from harmful germs. To maintain balance in the gut, your loved one should take daily vitamins and probiotics and eat healthy foods that support a robust digestive environment.
Older adults often have difficulty controlling their stress levels. The increased production of stress hormones such as cortisol can dampen immune function and cause elderly people to catch common colds and other illnesses. Your loved one should develop stress management strategies, such as taking up yoga, staying socially active, and practicing meditation. De-stressing the body can lower the production of adrenaline and other stress hormones that can make elderly people more likely to get sick.
An in-home caregiver can be a wonderful source of information about lifestyle habits that can lower stress in aging adults. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elderly home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
3. Failure to Wash Hands
Every time your loved one comes inside the house, handles food, goes to the restroom, or does any activity that can spread germs quickly, he or she should wash his or her hands. Failing to wash the hands frequently could allow bacteria to spread and lead to illness. You should keep antibacterial soap near every sink and post reminders for your loved one to use soap when washing his or her hands.
Poor bone health and limited mobility can raise the risk of accidents and illnesses in the senior years. An active lifestyle can boost immune function and reduce the odds of getting sick. Inactivity can lower the number of T cells in the body, decreasing the immune system’s ability to fight infections. Encourage your parent to exercise three or four days per week to boost his or her immune function and lower the risk of mobility problems and cognitive impairment.
If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Green Valley, AZ, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.
5. Poor Sleep Quality
Older adults living with insomnia and chronic conditions that impact their sleep quality tend to get sick easily. Without adequate rest, the body cannot release cytokines, which are proteins that fight against harmful infections. To enhance your loved one’s sleeping habits, encourage him or her to avoid naps during the day and avoid heavy eating before bedtime. It can also help to remove distractions that keep your parent from getting a good night’s rest, such as the bright light and sounds from the television.
6. Neurological Disorders
Aging adults living with dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease can experience symptoms such as irritability, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. Over time, these issues can lead to physical health problems and recurring sickness. Seniors should look for ways to stave off these conditions and speak with their primary care physicians about developing a care plan to address the disorders effectively.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Green Valley Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Call us today at 520-625-2050 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.