Stylish sixties: Here’s how you can make the most of your golden years | fitness | Hindustan Times
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Stylish sixties: Here’s how you can make the most of your golden years

Whoever said 60s was old. Experts share tips on how senior citizens can enjoy a healthy and happy life.

fitness Updated: Jun 02, 2017 17:35 IST
Sarojini Jose
As long as they are comfortable, and are not advised against doing a particular exercise, senior citizens can choose any mode of working.
As long as they are comfortable, and are not advised against doing a particular exercise, senior citizens can choose any mode of working. (HT Photo)

When a person attains the age of 60 years plus, he or she is considered to be a senior citizen in medical terms. Once a person reaches this stage in life, their physical as well psychological needs change. The last Wednesday in May (May 31 this year) is celebrated as Senior Health & Fitness Day, and experts suggest ways to make this leg of life healthier.

Exercise

Exercising is important for any age group to remain healthy and fit. Senior citizens can indulge in any form of physical exercise like yoga, walking, swimming, etc. which they feel comfortable doing. No matter what kind of activity they prefer, remaining active with a workout routine is important, opine experts. “It is also essential to keep the mind active at this age. Doing mental exercises such as solving puzzles, sudoku and crosswords are essential,” says Dr Paresh Lakdawala, psychiatrist, Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo.

Diet

With age, one becomes more susceptible to chronic health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, vision problems, arthritis, sleep disorders, respiratory disease and cancer. Hence, dietary requirements change as one gets older.

Those diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, should eat foods that are rich in nutrients, but low in calories, processed sugars, and saturated and trans fats. They are also advised to eat less sodium (salt) as cutting it down will help reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

Older people need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health. “Have enough servings of vitamin D-fortified low-fat or fat-free milk or yoghurt each day. Include calcium-rich foods like fortified cereals and fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables and fishes in your diet. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yoghurt are also good sources of potassium. Eat more fibre-rich foods to keep your digestive tract healthy. Fibre helps lower your risk for heart disease, control your weight and prevent type 2 diabetes. Soluble fibre is extremely important for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels,” says Pallavi Srivastava Ramchandani, nutritionist and founder, Q- Slim Fitness Studio, Andheri (W).

She further adds, “Ask your doctor or nutritionist if you should take a vitamin or mineral supplement, such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, or vitamin B-12. These specific vitamins are often poorly absorbed or not consumed enough by older people.”

Symptoms among senior citizens that are a cause for concern:

1. Being aloof, sad and low all the time.

2. Remaining irritable and impulsive continuously.

3. Constantly talking about death, afterlife and focussing on regrets.

4. Severe memory disturbances in the form of forgetting addresses and misplacing money.

5. Talking to oneself, smiling without reason, suspiciousness, etc.

6. Knee pain, as it can be related to arthritis.

7. Sleep disorders such as being unable to fall asleep at night, sleeping constantly during daytime.

8. Unable to control bladder (bedwetting).

A culture of understanding

It is important for those from different generations to understand the changing needs of older people. Losing your temper or treating them as kids is not the correct way to interact with them.

“Many old people experience problems in daily living because of chronic illnesses or health-related disabilities. Those difficulties restrict their ability to perform self-care. Encourage a positive attitude towards change. Focus on how the new ways of doing things will help the older person remain independent,” says Dr Vijaya Baskar, lead of rehabilitation, Nightingales Home Health Care Specialist, Nariman Point.

She further adds, “Some older people may become anxious, depressed, or angry. They may need special attention from family members or caregivers to cope successfully. It is better to educate the relatives or the caregiver to understand the problem rather than adjusting with them.”

A few guidelines for those who take care or older people:

1. Help them with their financial planning.

2. Involve them in daily activities.

3. Keep a watch on their daily dose of medication and food.

4. Take them to their doctors regularly. Make them undergo health check-ups every six months.

5. Encourage them to be involved in senior citizen groups, laughing clubs, yoga and spirituality.

6. Discourage hypochondriasis (abnormal chronic anxiety about one’s health).

With inputs from Dr Hardik Patel, head physiotherapist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital Vashi - A Fortis Network Hospital, Dr Altaf Patel, director of medicine, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Pedder Road, and Prameet Kotak, holistic wellness consultant, Raptfx, Bandra (W).

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