Senior Health and Fitness
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times – you need to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Some experts put that number even higher, up to as many as 13 glasses of water – or three liters – a day!
So, you may be wondering – as I often do – why is drinking water so important? Water makes up more than half of your body weight. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is essential for good health.
I know, I know. Drinking that much water can be a real pain. But not doing so can be deadly.
Dehydration is one of the most frequent causes of seniors going to the hospital. There are many reasons for this. First, as we get older, our thirst for water changes. A person’s sense of thirst becomes less acute as we age. So seniors may simply not be drinking as much as they used to.
Second, many medications can cause dehydration. And as our bodies age, we are less able to conserve fluids, making it more important to drink even more.
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
If you’ve ever snuggled up with a warm bundle of fur on a rainy Saturday afternoon, you know the joy of owning a pet! But studies have shown that pet ownership goes beyond providing companionship – it can actually extend your life!
Studies have found that:
- Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression.
- People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations.
- Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
- Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
- Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors.
So, how does owning a pet manage to accomplish all these great feats? Here are just a few reasons pet ownership enhances one’s life
I know how hard it is for people of our generation to talk about depression; however, I’m here today to tell you that life is too short to suffer with a condition that is treatable.
Depression is not a natural part of aging. One of the major causes of depression among the elderly is a diminished quality of life. Increased illness, loneliness after losing a spouse and a loss of purpose after retiring all contribute to depression. Exacerbating this problem is that, with the increase in physical illness, doctors spend little time with mental health. In a recent study, more than half the patients whose survey responses suggested they were depressed never spoke with their doctors at all about their emotional state. Additionally, medications prescribed for physical ailments can actually cause or worsen depression. If you’re suffering from depression, ask your doctor if any of your medications have a side effect of depression and see if there are alternatives that don’t cause or worsen depression.
Sex is one area of senior health that is rarely discussed. Many people simply assume that once you reach a certain age, both the desire for sexual contact and engaging in sexual behavior simply stops. This isn’t the case.
A recent University of Chicago study found that three-quarters of respondents age 57 to 64, and more than a quarter between ages 75 to 85, had engaged in sexual behavior in the last year.
While our desire for physical intimacy may lessen over time, most humans still have the need for romance, connection and touch. The reasons for declining physical intimacy can be emotional and/or physical. From changing hormone levels to a variety of medical conditions (heart disease, arthritis, etc.) to an aging body that may make one feel less desirable, many seniors simply give up on the idea.
But even though one’s interest in sex may decline, touch is a very basic human need, and essential for the well-being of all individuals. A touch can convey compassion, reassurance, safety or care – which are crucial in a loving relationship. Here are some tips to incorporate touch into your daily activities with your spouse or partner.