Pursuant to Proclamation No. 470, the first week of October every year is celebrated as Elderly Filipino Week or Linggo ng Katandaang Filipino to maximize the contribution of Senior Citizens to nation building and to promote the well-being of elderly Filipinos in the society.
Senior citizens are people with age of 60 years or older. In the Philippines, the number of older people is increasing rapidly, representing 8.6 % of the total population. And as ageing population grows, the demand for health services also increases as this age group usually suffers from both degenerative and communicable diseases due to the ageing of the body’s immune system. Most leading causes of seniors’ morbidity are infections, visual impairment, difficulty in walking, chewing and hearing, osteoporosis, arthritis and other common health-related problems.
To show our gratitude to our elderly for taking care of us during our younger years, it is now our time to take care of them in their most vulnerable years wherein this is the time they needed us the most. People who practiced good health habits when they were younger opt to become healthy seniors, but it is not yet too late. Good health habits can make a big difference even to seniors who are prone to illness or failed to prioritize their health in the past. Here are some guides to follow to keep up with the health needs of a parent or loved ones who are in their senior years:
1. Eat healthy. The digestive system slows down with age, so consuming high fiber foods like beans, oats, barley, almonds and walnuts helps keep the digestive system clean and healthy, easy bowel movements and aids in flushing cholesterol and harmful carcinogens or cancer causes out of the body. Seniors should also drink plenty of water to stay energized and sharp since they are more prone to dehydration.
2. Have adequate sleep. Having insomnia and frequent waking at night are common among seniors. Ensure that lights are turned off in their room when bed time to stimulate drowsiness and make sure their bedroom is comfortable, cool and quiet.
3. Focus on prevention. Dental visits and other preventive care visits such as health screenings for cholesterol and glucose level, blood pressure, colon cancer, heart problems, diabetes and other diseases is important for elder people for early diagnosis and treatment.
4. Stay physically active. Exercise helps alleviate depression and improves their energy and memory. Motivating them to have short strolls or an exercise program recommended by their physician will help them prevent diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes, improve their mental health, decrease risk of falls, increase social engagement, and improves cognitive function.
5. Prioritize mental health and socialize. Activities such as crossword puzzles, reading, writing and trying out new hobbies helps stimulate their mind and improves mental health. Spending time with their family and loved ones also helps them feel connected especially if they have mobility issues. Frequent visits to them will help them feel more positive, which is the best medicine at any age.
Keeping up with the immediate health care needs of our parents and elderly loved ones may be an overwhelming task. But with their health under control, seniors can do more and stay active, which is important to their overall well-being. They have invested so much time for us when they where younger, now that they are old and gray, it is our time to show them our love and gratitude for their contributions in our lives and community.
NO I Angelica O. Pajulas
1. 10 healthy habits for seniors to keep from https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/healthy-habits-for-seniors
2. Elderly Filipino week from https://www.eaglenews.ph/tag/elderly-filipino-week/