THE immune system is designed to provide sufficient protection against invading viruses and other “bad” things that can contribute to various illnesses. However, it tends to get weaker with age, which can be especially problematic if your senior loved one has underlying infection or chronic health conditions he or she is trying to manage.
Most seniors in our midst are always complaining of this or that sickness. This or that health complication.
Below, are some of the top reasons seniors or elders often have issues with a weak immune system.
1) Reduced Ability to Identify “Foreign Invaders”
Over time, the immune system becomes less capable of clearly identifying bacteria, viruses, and other toxic or foreign substances (antigens) in the body, the body defence system can’t easily fight against them or they will wrongly fight their own body cells. This increases an older adult’s risk of developing autoimmune disorders because the body considers things like joints and skin foreign and start fighting them. This is the more reason than not why many complicated diseases or disorders develop in old age. Some disorders of this nature likely to occur in seniors with weak immune systems include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Celiac disease
- Type 1 diabetes
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to them and help them.
2) Less Responsive T Cells
T (T lymphocyte) cells are specialized white blood cells that help the immune system respond by fighting foreign invasions, germs or toxic substances effectively. They also remember other antigens they’ve encountered before, which allows the immune system to kick into high gear if those same “bad” substances return. However, T cells gradually become less responsive in older adults, which contributes to a weaker immune system.
3) Less Effective Antibodies
Antibodies are proteins that help the immune system fight infections effectively. Over time, they’re not able to attach to the things that cause infections as well as they once did, which is part of the reason seniors are more susceptible to the flu virus and respiratory infections like pneumonia.
4) Poor Diet Habits
Seniors with poor diet habits may be making their immune systems progressively weaker. Taking things like Sugary snacks, products containing gluten, cold water, cold foods, processed foods, and refined oils are among the foods considered especially bad for the immune system. Older adults should also be mindful of their consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Foods that tend to be better for an aging immune system include:
- Citrus fruits
- Garlic, ginger, and turmeric, cinnamon, honey, olive oil etc
- Green, leafy veggies
- Skinless poultry and fish
5) Lack of Sufficient Exercise
Leading a generally sedentary lifestyle can make an older adult’s immune system weaker and increase the release of stress hormones associated with a higher risk of illness. A study involving over a thousand adults published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine determined that regular exercise has the opposite effect. Fortunately, there are many ways seniors can stay physically active, some of which include:
- Regular walking and jogging
- Low-impact aerobics
- Swimming, water walking, and other water-based activities
6) Poor Sleep Habits and Other Contributing Factors
A lack of high-quality sleep can also be a reason for weak immune systems in seniors. Additionally, older adults often have difficulty with sleep because of age-related changes with the body’s natural sleep-wake patterns. The National Sleep Foundation reports that sleep disturbances can also occur in the elderly because of issues with medication and chronic conditions. Seniors are advised to strive for 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep each night. Other factors that could affect an older adult’s immune system include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Excess weight
- The use of tobacco-containing products and alcohol consumption.
THINGS ELDERS OR ADULTS MUST DO TO BOOST THEIR IMMUNE SYSTEM
There are Things or Activities Older Adults Can Do for an Instant Health Boost To Help Them Stay A Good Healthy Life.
When seniors are feeling lethargic, there are plenty of things they can do to boost energy levels and overall health. Here are some tips seniors can implement the next time they need an instant health boost.
- Drink Water
Dehydration has a significant impact on energy levels. Approximately 2 percent dehydration can lead to a 30 percent drop in activity levels. To combat sluggishness, seniors should try drinking a big glass of water. By maintaining a properly hydrated body, seniors may feel healthier, more active, and fully awake.
- Get 30 Minutes of Exercises
When seniors exercise, they shouldn’t try to work out to the point of exhaustion. Instead, they should perform brisk activities that get their heart rate up and boost production of dopamine. Seniors can try taking a walk in the park, as a few minutes of sun can provide their daily dose of vitamin D. They could also attend exercise classes at the local senior center, which range from water aerobics to chair yoga, they can also take to dancing in church, local clubs etc. A bit of exercise can get the blood pumping, increase energy levels, keep endocrine system active and boost mood.
- Cut Down on Caffeine
For seniors, drinking too much coffee can interrupt the sleep schedule and lead to dehydration for it affects the liver functions. To avoid the less desirable side effects of coffee, black tea, coke etc seniors should stick to consuming one cup a day in the morning or nothing at all.
- Eat a Protein-Filled Snack, vitamins and minerals in fruits and veggies, natural oils of in nuts and seeds etc.
Seniors who want to achieve their long-term health goals should eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. However, if they need an immediate energy boost, they should find a protein-filled snack. Pumpkin seeds are a good choice, as they contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Almonds are also an ideal choice because they’re filled with potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E.
Seniors should reduce or resist the urge to eat excessive carbohydrates when they’re in the mood for a snack, as carbs can trigger the body’s production of serotonin, which can cause drowsiness, glucose intolerance etc.
- Meditate and reading books
When seniors feel stressed or anxious, they should try reading good books and taking time to meditate on many good things in life. Spend time to think positively of many things in life. This practice, which promotes deep breathing, mindfulness, and living in the moment, can help seniors stay calm and healthy.
- Praying and Sleeping At Right
When seniors aren’t feeling well during the day, it’s often because they’re not getting enough sleep at night. To enhance sleep habits, seniors should develop a healthy nighttime routine and preceded by prayer. They should try to go to sleep at the same time every night and stop using electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime. If sleeping disorders persist, seniors should contact their doctor or take to garlic and honey tea
- Increase Good Social
Good Social Contacts By Having Friends, Sons, Daughters ToTalk to is a healthy issue.
Health isn’t just a physical concern. It also has social and emotional and mental components. When seniors need an emotional boost, they should call a friend or family member and talk. A few minutes of heartfelt conversation can boost a senior’s mood for the rest of the day. Please maintain good talking contacts with seniors, parents, uncles etc.
- Exercise the Mind
To stay sharp, seniors should exercise their minds as well as their bodies. Reading a nonfiction book, doing the daily crossword puzzle, read the bible or playing a game of nsolo, draught etc can help seniors enhance their brain power. Seniors are sure to feel energized after successfully completing their task and the brain is kept healthily active.
GOOD HEALTHY EXERCISES FOR ELDERS
Some Good Reasons Exercise Is Essential for elders.
Seniors who remain active can stave off age-related health issues and increase their ability to perform daily activities. Exercising can boost the mental, emotional, and physical health of aging adults on a long-term basis. Here are some of the reasons exercise is important for adults in their golden years.
- Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
A large percentage of seniors develop diabetes, and there is no cure for this disease. However, diabetes can be prevented. Exercise is a crucial way to minimize the risk of developing diabetes in the senior years. When your elderly loved one exercises, he or she can lose weight and maintain healthy blood sugar levels and blood circulation, which could reduce the risk of diabetes.
- Keeps the Heart Healthy
One of the biggest causes of deaths for seniors is heart disease. By exercising on a regular basis, your loved one can keep his or her blood pressure low, maintain a good blood flow, bad cholesterol free blood, which can prevent strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular issues.
- Alleviates Anxiety
Depression is common among aging adults due to inactivity, isolation, loneliness and the loss of a spouse or close friends. When seniors exercise, their bodies produce more endorphins, which are natural stress killers. Exercising regularly can also lead to a better quality of sleep, which could alleviate anxiety and enhance your loved one’s mood.
- Staves off Memory Loss
The hormones that protect and repair a senior’s brain cells may decrease with age. A decreased flow of blood to the brain is also common among seniors, and it can impair the memory and negatively affect cognitive skills. However, exercise is a good way to keep the brain active and stimulated, which could stave off memory loss and slow cognitive decline.
- Promotes Bone Health
Aging may cause your loved one’s body to reabsorb phosphate and calcium from the bones instead of keeping the minerals in the bones, which could lead to weakened muscles and an increased risk of balance and flexibility issues. Exercising is a great way to build bone density and mass, which could lead to stronger muscles and reduce the risk of joint pain and stiffness.
- Boosts the Immune System
The more physical activity your loved one does, the more bacteria, viruses, fungi etc he or she can flush out of the lungs and airways. Exercising can cause positive changes to the white blood cells in your loved one’s body, making it easier to fight off diseases. Getting regular exercise can also enhance the function of T cells in the body, which could prevent the immune system from weakening.
- Increases Longevity
Exercise provides seniors with many psychological and physical benefits. Seniors may feel encouraged, motivated, and eager to meet tomorrow’s challenges after exercising. When aging adults exercise, they can boost their mood, enhance their quality of life, and increase their longevity.
From exercising regularly to making healthy lifestyle choices, seniors may need help while aging in place.