May is Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is “Make Your Mark” and highlights the differences everyone can make – in the lives of older adults, in support of caregivers, and to strengthen communities.
This seems especially fitting given the challenging times we are experiencing. What can each of us do to “Make Our Mark” and protect the health of one another?
Make Your Mark — Take Care of Physical Health
To help keep your immune system healthy all year long, focus on a balanced eating plan, adequate sleep and a bit of physical activity each day.
Aim for variety in your diet when possible. In order to consume vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may support immune health, include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins in your daily eating pattern.
Good hygiene and hand-washing also help prevent the spread of illness. Remember to wash produce before eating or using in recipes. Clean glasses, forks, spoons and other utensils to reduce the spread of bacteria and virus.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 65 years and older require seven to eight hours of sleep daily. While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to illness.
If you’re able to be physically active that can also help to manage stress and keep your immune system healthy. Take a walk outdoors and connect with nature. Or do a few stretches indoors to renew energy levels and calm the tension in your body.
Make Your Mark — Take Care of Mental Health
Finding other activities that you enjoy, such as reading or playing cards, can replace the time spent worrying and help you to relax. This may also be a great time to start a new hobby or to resume one that you haven’t had the time for in a while.
Staying connected with friends and family can help limit feelings of being alone. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Reconnect with someone you have not heard from in some time.
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can cause you to feel anxious and upset. Instead, watch a movie, listen to music, or read a book to give your mind and body a break from the news.
Mom's Meals® can help
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