Repeat something enough, and it becomes a habit, and when it comes to habits, there’s no age limit. Your senior family member might still pick up a habit or two, even in their twilight years. However, not all habits are good, and some of them are even unhealthy enough that they might shorten their remaining years in the world.
Of course, we don’t want this to happen, so if you see that your loved one is picking up a bad habit, especially an unhealthy one, you might need to intervene. But, what unhealthy habits are we talking about here? Here are some of them.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
You might think being a night owl is cool and all, but when it comes to health, it’s not the most optimal way of life, especially for seniors.
Older adults are already low on energy, unlike their younger years, but if you couple it with irregular sleep, their energy levels might worsen. Lack of sleep can also affect their cognitive abilities, giving them poorer memory.
Too little sleep can also compromise someone’s immunity. Seniors already have poor immune systems due to age, but if you pair it with a lack of sleep, it might worsen.
Eating Late at Night
When it comes to poor diet choices, all ages, from children to seniors, can have some questionable food choices from time to time. It’s pretty common in seniors due to their attitude. This is prevalent at night, as many seniors eat very late or before bedtime. That said, eating right before bedtime can conjure a few troubles—heartburn.
After eating, your stomach starts producing stomach acids afterward. If you lie down, the stomach acid might surge up your esophagus, giving you heartburn. Thus, it’s best to stop your loved one from eating late at night.
Respiratory problems and other various related conditions commonly pop up in older adults. This is especially true if your loved one was an avid smoker during their past years—nothing we can do about it but cope with their illnesses now. We can’t change the past, after all. However, if your loved one is still smoking, it might cause many more problems.
If your loved one already has respiratory problems, smoking can exacerbate their illnesses. Not only that, but it could also render the treatment ineffective, which is something you don’t want. That said, it’s better to stop them from smoking, no matter how much they protest.
We know it’s hard to quit smoking, but it’s certainly possible with strong encouragement, support, and professional help.
Not Being Physically Active
As seniors, their bodies aren’t as strong as they like them to be. Our bodies will soon catch up to our age, and we’ll slowly motor down through the years. However, that isn’t an excuse to stop being physically active, especially for seniors. Even though they aren’t as agile and strong as before, exercising regularly is still a recommended habit, even during their senior years. They can even pair their strength training with Whey protein to have some more muscle mass.
Seniors can still retain some of their agility and strength and can also look and feel young. With a strong body, their immune system will be improved, and not to mention, this might get them out of their shells fully.
In short, being old doesn’t mean that you have to adapt to a sedentary lifestyle. There is more to life than just sitting and staring at nothing.
A lot of seniors are withdrawn from their loved ones. This is due to various problems and factors in their lives. However, instead of letting them be isolated, you can encourage them to socialize and interact with the rest of the family.
Letting them be alone can do a lot of harm to their mental health. This might even make them depressed, exacerbating and creating new health problems along the way. Not only that, but they could also create some self-destructive habits due to their mental health not being in the right place.
Yes, we know that forcing someone out of their shell is hard but who said that you have to force it? They can eventually get out of the house and socialize with the right amount of encouragement and good social support from family and friends. You could also pair it with the help of professionals who are adept at dealing with senior mental health.
Dealing with seniors’ way of life can be pretty hard, especially if the said person is pretty stubborn, which is a common trait among older adults. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up on them. Continue giving them love and support, and ensure they know you’re there to help. By identifying these self-destructive habits, you can then continue to help them along with your family, friends, and professionals.