The pandemic brought about many changes to everybody’s lives. Suddenly, everyone needs to wear masks, obey quarantine protocols, and stay at least six feet apart from each other.
This new normal has everyone rethinking their way of life. Everybody is in constant fear and anxiety for their health, especially the older adults ages 60 and above.
With aging and other underlying medical conditions, seniors face the most significant risk in this vicious battle against COVID-19.
Their declining health and immune system make them more prone to contract the disease and develop aggravated symptoms.
This is why most seniors are under strict orders to stay at home and practice social distancing.
However, you should also implement healthy regimens to keep your overall health in its best shape.
So, here are some tips to stay healthy—physically and mentally—despite social distancing and quarantine practices.
Being stressed out with all that has been happening can lead you down the road of unhealthy stress eating. It gives you an excuse to binge processed junk foods, wine, greasy meals, and chips.
Under stress, your body seeks out self-soothing techniques, including the consumption of unhealthy foods. It will help soothe your nerves for a little while, but it can have a detrimental effect on your physical health in the long run.
As a senior, you should be conscious of what you put into your mouth and stomach. Quarantine or not, it is still essential to keep your body in its optimal health.
Here are some smart ways on how to keep a healthy and balanced diet.
- Add diversity to your daily meals. Fill it with fruits, veggies, and lean meat.
- Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- Strengthen your bones by consuming (moderately) milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Help your digestive tract by eating fiber-rich foods like cereals, brown rice, and vegetables.
- Fill your body with foods rich in antioxidants such as pecans, raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry
If you are living with a relative at home, you can make a list of healthy grocery items and let them be the ones to shop for it. You can also subscribe to nutritious packed meals and have them delivered at your doorstep.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
One of the best tips to stay healthy is to drink seven to eight cups of water every day. Older adults need at least 1.7 liters of water in 24 hours to prevent dehydration.
With the pandemic still at large, dehydration might be at the very least of your concern. However, studies revealed that dehydration is much more common in seniors compared to the younger generation.
This is because of several reasons
- Aging decreases the body’s ability to sense thirst.
- A senior’s metabolism becomes slower and can only consume small portions of food. Thus, reducing the amount of water you get from solid foods.
- Medications and some medical conditions can increase an elderly’s urge to urinate.
- Decreased kidney function
So, even if you spend the whole day indoors, you should still ensure that you consume at least eight cups of water daily.
You can also mix it up a little by adding a bit of lime or lemon in your drink. Milk is also a great way to hydrate yourself and fill the body with much-needed calcium and protein.
You do not have to go to the gym for physical activity to count as an exercise. You can do it while practicing social distancing and even while being cooped up inside your home.
For some areas with lifted quarantine protocols, you can take a walk around your block while following strict physical distancing.
If you do not want to risk it, there are also plenty of workouts to be done at home. This includes:
- Walking around your yard
- Jogging in place
- Enrolling in online Zumba classes
- Yoga and meditation
- Following senior workouts on YouTube
- Hobbies that get you moving such as gardening and cooking
- Playing with grandkids or pets
You can allow 10 to 20 minutes of your morning time for these workouts. Just make sure to pace yourself and start slowly. Do only low-impact exercises so as not to overexert yourself.
Better yet, consult your doctor first (through telemedicine) before committing to an exercise routine.
Stay Connected With Loved Ones
The pandemic does not only affect your physical health but also your mental aspect. Staying indoors for a couple of months, without human interactions, can seriously affect your mental health.
In fact, seniors are more likely to be influenced by feelings of loneliness, anxiousness, and depression this quarantine.
To avoid succumbing to the effects of isolation, use technology as a means to communicate with your loved ones. You can do regular video chats with your grandkids through Skype, Zoom, and Messenger.
You can have daily online chitchats with your friends, Zumba groups, and the spiritual community. Having someone to talk to every day can get you out of your own headspace, which is good for your mental health.
Moreover, you can utilize technology to stimulate your mind while being in quarantine. Such examples include:
- Online crosswords and puzzles
- Watching documentaries
- Enrolling in online classes for seniors
Just make sure to limit your screen time daily to an hour or two. After spending some time in front of the computer, let your eyes rest by doing other things like reading a book or writing in a journal.
Generating positivity might seem like an impossible and insensitive feat to do in this time of crisis. However, having a positive outlook on life helps your mind keep the peace and calm that it needs.
It might be one of the most underrated tips to stay healthy, but positivity can have a significant impact on your health and to the people surrounding you.
By staying indoors, you are helping to limit and reduce the spread of the disease. Obeying the protocols and keeping your distance in public helps lessen the number of infected cases in your community.