Healthy aging is one of the key things that doctors aim for when working with senior citizens. Ideally, this process should start very early on in life by setting up good habits and avoiding bad ones. Things like diet, exercise, and healthy amounts of sleep are some of the good habits that we can form as children that will help us out for the rest of our lives. Other things, like avoiding tobacco, not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and staying away from drugs, are bad habits that if avoided early in life, will become routines when we are older.
One dietary habit that researchers are finding has a much more important effect than originally believed is that healthy amounts of dietary fiber are tied to a healthier aging process. Most people already are aware of the fact that fiber is an essential part of good bowel health, but a surprise benefit is that it can actually help to stave off diseases and disabilities. This recent study also looked at other factors, such as carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, sugar intake, and glycemic load, but of all of these things, it was found that dietary fiber intake had the biggest impact going into our senior years. The researchers were encouraged by this finding as it was the first major one of its kind, and they have suggested that a deeper look into the data that they have discovered is warranted.
Of course, if you current have a loved one with a disability, increasing fiber intake is not going to be enough to help them out. Things like in-home care, family caregivers, and modifications to their home may be necessary in order to help them get through their days with more ease. It’s certainly not ever easy to see a loved one go through something like this, but there are things that you can do to help make their lives more comfortable and less stressful. Spend some time seeing what senior care options are available in your area. If there is a reputable in-home care service near you, you may want to look into seeing whether or not their help will benefit your loved one and others in your family by relieving the burden of care. Most of the better services out there do offer free consultations, so this could be a good first step toward getting your loved one the help and care that they deserve.
In the meantime, taking steps to help your older loved ones that are still healthy stay healthy are encouraged. If there are issues with their diet, it is always better to fix them before it is too late. Many seniors have poor nutrition because unhealthy foods are often easier to prepare, so helping them with meal preparation, or having a professional caregiver assist here, can be an easy step to take toward ensuring healthy aging. Also, remember that it’s not too late to make changes in your own and your children’s diet and routines to improve your health as you age, too.