While most seniors are happy, content and positive, others need assistance in helping them adjust to life's changes as they get older. It’s not uncommon for people of all ages to experience bouts of sadness but among seniors, depression can be a debilitating and life-threatening condition. Clinical depression is a disorder that affects mood, feelings, behavior and potentially physical health and is diagnosed when sadness is persistent or begins to affect a person’s ability to function normally.
Stay connected-and we don’t just mean online! Research has shown that maintaining social engagement with people contributes to longer and healthier lives. A study conducted by Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research showed survival rates among socially active long-term care residents were greater than they were for those who were not.
You can build your social network of friends and family by setting a goal of getting out of the house regularly.
Here are a few ideas I share with seniors about how they can make that happen:
The benefits of walking are well known, especially when it comes to seniors. Because of this, NewBridge on the Charles makes it easy for residents to include walking as a part of their daily routine. Thanks to some smart designing, walking at NewBridge is much more than putting one foot in front of the other.
As a staff geriatrician for Hebrew SeniorLife, I often tell my patients: “You’ve got to work on lowering your cholesterol number.” High cholesterol levels are widespread because we absorb cholesterol from certain foods we eat. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, cholesterol is broken down into LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). While LDL can cause plaque buildup on artery walls, HDL helps reduce plaque. LDL can lead to cardiovascular problems and put you at risk for stroke and heart disease.
Food for our residents is more important than ever. Not only does it need to be nutritious, it needs to be tasty and appealing to the eye. Sal Filetti, Director of Food and Beverage at NewBridge on the Charles, took on the challenge of developing and implementing a “food philosophy” which will guide his department in meeting the needs and desires of NewBridge residents. I recently sat down with him for a quick Q and A on what this means:
While many retirement communities only provide regular exercise classes and fitness equipment, the Vitalize360 program at Orchard Cove goes further by providing individualized fitness programs for its residents.
As you age, it’s not uncommon for chronic health issues to appear. While any type of chronic illness can be upsetting and feel daunting—it doesn’t need to be. Diseases such as Type II diabetes are manageable at any age. As physician-in-chief at Hebrew SeniorLife, I counsel our residents and patients all the time on some of the best ways to control their diabetes.