Maintaining Health In Later Life
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of physical wellbeing.
Not only does good nutrition, proper hydration and regular movement help you build your body’s strength and resilience, but research proves it’s vital for your mental health too.
As we get older, we may need to find new ways to keep fit and healthy as our bodies change.
In this helpful guide, we’ll share some ideas on how to boost your physical wellbeing every day.
Here’s a summary of the main physical wellbeing points we’ll cover in this article
- Physical wellbeing involves good nutrition, hydration, and exercise
- Get a balance of foods to fuel your body and maintain variation in your diet
- Good hydration is vital as dehydration can lead to health problems
- It’s easier than you think to get moving – but remember to mix it up with different types of physical activities
Taking a holistic approach to physical wellbeing
Keeping yourself well is all about balance and making positive choices that nourish the body and the mind.
But remember, every person is different, so you have to find what works best for you.
The basic advice is to eat nutritious meals, keep your fluid levels up and move as much as possible.
At Advinia Health Care, we care for Residents of different ages and levels of mobility every day, so our approach is person-centred.
Our person-centred approach to physical wellbeing includes:
- Every day our kitchen teams prepare a range of home-cooked dishes to keep our menus flexible, so Residents can choose what they’d like to eat.
- We serve refreshments throughout the day to help Residents to keep hydrated – that way they don’t have to worry about planning regular drinks.
- Care Colleagues are always looking out for opportunities to help each Resident to move more, taking into consideration their personal needs and interests.
Exercise and wellbeing
It’s true that people who exercise regularly are found to have lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups, and staying active can help slow cognitive decline.
However, you don’t have to hit the gym to reap the benefits – you just need to find moments to gently push yourself a little further than usual throughout your daily life.
Nutrition: The Foundation Of Physical Wellbeing
Our bodies need a balanced and varied diet to function well.
When we consume food, we absorb its nutrients, which helps the body take care of many different jobs.
Good nutrition supports the body’s ability to heal, as well as boosting our energy levels and the function of our immune systems.
The NHS has produced their Eatwell Guide to show you the proportion of your plate that should be dedicated to different food groups.
Get the right balance, and you’ll notice the impact on your physical wellbeing.
Enjoy eating well
We all have favourite meals that provide fuel for the body and make us feel good.
You can still eat the things you enjoy and make healthy choices to keep the balance.
At Advinia Care Homes, we have a dedicated team of chefs working on meal plans every week.
They try to incorporate as much fresh produce, healthy grains, protein, and fibre into the menu as possible.
By providing a good variety and choice on the menu, Residents get to try different dishes, cuisines, and healthy food combinations.
Residents at The Priory enjoyed a foodie adventure last year when they took a culinary tour around the world.
Here are some of the things we do to promote healthy eating that you could try:
- Cook with seasonal ingredients – our Chef teams use seasonal produce to create nutritious dishes.
- Consume water-rich foods – you can boost your nutrition and hydration at the same time by eating dishes made from ingredients with a high water content.
- Start growing your own produce – some of our Care Homes have dedicated areas of their gardens to grow vegetables, fruit, and herbs to use in the kitchen.
In Newcarron Care Home in Falkirk, Scotland, the Home’s beetroot crop even won them a prize!
Hydration: Are you keeping up?
The human body consists of 60% water, so it’s no mystery why hydration is so vitally important.
Every organ, cell and bit of body tissue uses water to function, so you need to keep your levels topped up.
This is especially important for older people because dehydration can cause all sorts of problems.
From UTIs to dizziness, kidney problems to low mood, a lack of water in the body can be dangerous.
Age UK has some excellent guidance for carers looking for advice on how to increase hydration.
It’s all about paying attention and keeping track of what you drink.
Building a hydration habit
For us, it’s all about establishing good habits that everyone in our Care Homes benefits from.
We ensure that Residents are given refreshments throughout the day, at every mealtime and at regular intervals.
Good hydration doesn’t only mean drinking water. Tea, coffee, squash and many other beverages qualify too.
However, you need to pay attention to the sugar content of what you’re drinking.
What types of drinks are suitable?
Of course, you can’t go wrong with plain water. It is the healthiest, most obvious choice for hydration.
Hot drinks and flavoured beverages that have sugar content should only make up a small part of your daily intake.
We serve water-rich foods on Care Home menus to pack more water into Residents’ diets.
Over at Gorton Parks last year, the team ended up doing a fun hydration activity after their local Tesco donated some delicious drinks.
Once again, try to mix things up by varying your drinks and making sure you sip regularly.
If you use a smartphone, there are some recommended apps to help you track your water intake. Or you could just use a notebook and pen.
Let’s get moving
We’ve covered what you eat and drink, so now it’s time to talk about exercise and physical wellbeing.
The NHS has identified physical activity as one of their ‘5 Steps For Mental Wellbeing’.
At Advinia Care Homes, ‘Be Active’ is one of the core tenants of our wellbeing programme.
Our Activities Co-ordinators look after scheduling structured movement sessions every week, but these are just one part of the mobility puzzle.
All our Care Colleagues are trained to find ways to get Residents moving more during daily life and provide the support they need where possible.
The great news is that you can have a lot of fun and improve your physical wellbeing when you start being more mindful about movement.
Physical Exercise Sessions
It doesn’t matter what fitness level you are currently at, there will be an exercise session suitable for you.
There are plenty of classes designed to be inclusive and provide seated exercise options.
Head over to Age UK, where you’ll find a convenient guide to the exercise and physical activity classes available in your area.
From pilates and yoga to Zumba and Tai Chi, you’ll be amazed by what’s on offer.
Staying active in later life
In Advinia Care Homes, we love to provide a mix of exercise classes for Residents.
We work with Active Care Coaching, an organisation that provides courses for our Activity Co-ordinators in how to lead exercise sessions.
Our Activity Co-ordinators complete the Level 2 Seated Exercise Leader course, which also provides them with training and monthly resources to keep their sessions fresh.
Residents get to enjoy seated exercise sessions with themes and games, as well as plenty of other fun-filled options.
Indoor games include bowling, hula hoops, parachute games and skittles, to name but a few.
We also play giant games like snakes and ladders, Jenga and Connect 4, indoor and outdoor, when the weather permits.
Walking to fitness
Walking is one of the easiest ways to start getting fit – it’s free and easy to get started.
Even a short stroll will help get your heart rate up, and the fresh air will clear your head.
Residents at Advinia Care Homes often enjoy walking around our gardens and grounds, and our Care Colleagues will always be there to support them if they need it.
Follow their lead and take a pleasant stroll in your local neighbourhood, changing up the routes, so you don’t get bored.
If you are experiencing loneliness, join a walking group where you’ll get the double benefit of exercise and companionship.
The British Heart Foundation has some links to help you get started here.
Taking it step by step
Our Activity Co-ordinators like to set fun walking challenges to encourage Residents to do as much as possible.
Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore last year, Stonedale Lodge took part in a Walk This May tournament and had a great time.
Walking also ended up being a big part of the ‘Advinia In Bloom’ contest in 2021, as Residents pottered around in their Home gardens.
The competition created a sense of purpose and the extra steps were an added benefit.
Movement does not have to be a chore
There are so many fun ways to get moving – it’s just a case of finding them.
One of the most popular in Advinia Care Homes is dancing.
You’ll often find our Colleagues and the Residents having a dance, both at parties and when the moment takes them.
Hit play on your favourite music and let the rhythm inspire you.
Exercise is good for the soul
We have lots of parties throughout the year, and Residents always enjoy the combination of dancing and great tunes.
There’s often karaoke involved, as you’ll see at this Mill View bash in 2021.
What’s lovely is that there’s so much joy involved, so it’s good for the soul, not just physical wellbeing.
There are plenty of events across the year to be inspired by.
During the Tokyo Olympics, many Homes put on their own Games with all sorts of different events.
We find that getting Residents involved in competitions is always popular – and often host sports days for them.
Residents also enjoy darts tournaments, bowling and all sorts of games throughout the year.
Mix it up
Remember, if you want to keep things fresh, you need to mix it up.
Don’t rely on just one movement activity to maintain your physical wellbeing – try a few.
Every day in Advinia Care Homes, we find ways to get Residents moving.
Some of them like to get involved in the daily running of the Home to keep up their fitness levels.
Activity for daily life
Residents still like to continue doing domestic tasks such as cleaning, laundry, sorting, laying tables and washing up.
These things are part of their everyday routines and give them a sense of belonging in our Care Homes.
When you’ve been active and running your own home for most of your life, you have a routine that keeps you moving.
We never deny Residents the chance to keep up with those jobs if it helps them with confidence, self-esteem and independence.
Residents like Jackson at Elderslie even want to get involved with painting and decorating!
You’d be amazed how much doing those daily household chores contributes to your physical wellbeing.
A good mix of daily chores, walking and structured exercise will help to keep you fit and well.
Your body and your mind will thank you for it.