We all face challenges as we age. Sometimes they look small at first glance, but issues like insomnia, loneliness, and physical changes can make every day a struggle. But you can fight back against many of the most common age-related hindrances. Here are four examples.
There are many reasons seniors have trouble sleeping. For one, the brain changes, and getting restorative sleep can be more difficult. Other common issues include chronic back pain and anxiety. While there is very little you can do about neurological changes, you can combat stress and discomfort.
For back pain, start by changing your mattress. Sleeping on the wrong type of surface can make it that much more difficult to get comfortable and enjoy a restful night of sleep. Before making a purchase, be sure to evaluate your sleeping style as this will help narrow your choices. Most people are either back sleepers, stomach sleepers, side sleepers, or a combination of each, and certain brands are tailor-made for specific sleep styles. For instance, Purple is ideal for side sleepers with lower back pain. While others, like the Helix, provide all-over support for all sleeper types who need more back support.
Loneliness and isolation are prevalent concerns, with more than a quarter of those aged 65 and older living alone. While having quiet time for self-reflection is healthy at any age, Bay Alarm Medical points out that spending too much time alone increases a senior’s risk of depression, mental health problems, and high blood pressure.
Get ahead of this health hazard by doing things like attending weekly church service, joining a senior center, and visiting your local fitness center. Most exercise facilities have classes and programs tailored to active seniors. Not only will you have an opportunity to socialize, but you will also improve your physical health.
You may notice that food doesn’t taste the same as it did in your 20s and 30s. That’s because as we age, our taste buds begin to die off and don’t regenerate as well as they used to. Bon Appetit asserts that we lose our sense of smell a little bit each year as well. This combination, coupled with a limited income and potentially diminished ability to cook big meals, can leave deficiencies where vitamins, minerals, and calories are concerned.
The next time you cook your favorite dish, try over-seasoning it a bit. This can boost the flavors enough to compensate for your waning ability to taste. Avoid adding salt as much as possible, but look to various herbs like rosemary, thyme, cilantro, coriander, and dill to liven your meals.
Another way to encourage better nutritional intake is to supplement with meal-replacement shakes. It’s a chance to boost your protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all in one fell swoop. If you find the labels and nutritional information on the complicated side, touch base with your doctor for direction.
And if transportation and finances are your biggest barriers, consider reaching out to organizations such as Meals On Wheels to provide nutritious foods.
Once you hit 40, the proteins inside of your eye start to change, and not for the better. They can come together, which causes cataracts, a condition that can leave you with cloudy vision. Cataracts can also cause double vision, light sensitivity, and night blindness.
The National Eye Institute explains that people who smoke, take steroids, and consume an excess of alcohol are more prone to cataracts than the general population. The Institute also suggests wearing sunglasses and eating more fruits and vegetables to protect yourself from cataracts. Perhaps most importantly, ask your optometrist for a full eye exam every 24 months.
You can’t stop the aging process, but you can do things now to offset some of its more annoying side-effects. Keep in mind, however, that your doctor is the best source of information on how to take care of yourself. Before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, talk to your provider to ensure that you are making the right changes at the right time.