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Nurturing Healthy Aging in Senior Patients

When it comes to physical activity among seniors in Saudi Arabia, the numbers paint a worrisome picture.  Studies reveal that a significant 80% of seniors in the country– those 65 and older – do not engage in regular physical activity.  This concerning trend emphasizes the pressing need to prioritize and promote an active lifestyle among the elderly population.

Here is advice for encouraging healthy lifestyles and the benefits for senior patients.

1. Emphasize the Importance of Physical Activity

Research has identified multiple benefits of fitness for seniors, including:

  • Reducing the risk of serious illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers
  • Controlling depression symptoms
  • Delaying dementia onset
  • Improving overall sense of well-being
  • Preventing falls and injuries
  • Prolonging independence

It is generally advised that older adults, including seniors, engage in at least 2.5 hours or more of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for seniors each week. Physicians can help older patients meet this goal by suggesting accessible activities, such as walks with friends or exercise classes for older adults.

2. Promote Nutritional Wellness

Emphasize the importance of nutrition for seniors. Saudi Dietetic Association notes that older adults’ calorie needs decrease, so thoughtful food selection is essential for healthy aging.

Healthy eating for older adults requires a varied daily diet, incorporating whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh produce.

Encourage older patients to stay hydrated. Dehydration can exacerbate constipation and increase seniors’ risk of dizziness and low blood pressure, which can cause falls.

Many seniors face age-related nutrition barriers such as decreased appetite, problems chewing or digesting, and reduced mobility. Ask questions and find out what help patients need to stay well-fed and avoid malnutrition.

3. Encourage Preventive Care

The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in promoting preventative healthcare and offer screening programs and initiatives to address a wide range of health conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, falls and osteoporosis, and preventive immunizations. Recommended tests vary by age but may include mammograms, colonoscopies, bone density testing, and vision and hearing exams.

4. Address Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being

Mental and emotional health are crucial components of senior safety. According to the World Health Organization, older adults with depression and other mental health challenges have more difficulty functioning and feel worse about their overall well-being. Mental and emotional distress also make it more difficult for elders to care for themselves.

Patients may not disclose mental health struggles, so providers must screen for them and offer resources when appropriate.

5. Foster Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Older patients benefit from hearing that healthy choices still matter. Promote habits such as stress management, smoking cessation, good sleep, and controlled alcohol consumption.

Seniors benefit immensely from resources and tips geared to their age group, particularly in lifestyle-related matters such as stress management. Encourage seniors to engage in creative hobbies, relax to their favourite music.

6. Promote Social Engagement

Social connection improves seniors’ overall well-being and can even help elders live longer. By asking about social activities as part of wellness checks, providers can encourage older patients to build and maintain valuable connections. It also helps to offer specific advice, such as joining a community organization or senior centre, to help elders to feel more confident reaching out.

Promoting Wellness for Seniors

MDBriefCase is committed to helping physicians keep patients of all ages healthy. Browse our patient health management programs and world-class learning programs and get started today.

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