(3 minute read)
As the holidays come around, each year we feel a little different. Some years the bustle is exciting and energizing, while other years it’s a slog from Halloween to New Years. But whether merry or stressful or both, the holidays are always a time when diet, exercise, and sleep habits get compromised, from kids all the way up to grandma and grandpa. These holiday health tips have unique benefits for seniors, and can pay off for the whole family, too.
- Watch Your Diet, Especially Salt and Carbs
For seniors and others with chronic conditions, foods heavy in simple carbohydrates or salt represent some of the biggest risks for both weight gain and other health issues. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that seniors consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium each day to minimize risk of high blood pressure and other chronic conditions. It also encourages seniors to eat high-fiber diets including carbs that are whole grain and minimally processed. This might mean baked potatoes instead of mashed, or broccoli over green bean casserole.
- Get Active and Make Memories
Physical activity isn’t just essential to maintain a healthy weight and body—it’s also been shown to help increase the size of the brain and improve memory, too. As you and your family and loved ones celebrate the holiday season, there are plenty of new and old ways to get active. Most major video game systems have options for motion controls and group games that get everyone up doing activities, like dancing or virtual sports like bowling and golf. All this from the comfort of the living room! If your family isn’t as high tech or game-focused, there’s always going for a walk, performing a play or puppet show, or getting out and playing in the snow.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting regular sleep during the holidays can be a challenge, with going to friends’ parties, travel to spend time with distant loved ones, babysitting grandkids, wrapping presents, and preparing for any houseguests all in the mix. If you know sticking to your normal sleep schedule has been difficult in years past, try to plan and get some tasks done early to spare you any all-night sessions of anxiety in the weeks before Thanksgiving or Christmas. This could be everything from cleaning out your guest rooms to wrapping the gifts you got on clearance in July—every minute you save now is a minute you can press “snooze” when the time is right.
- Drink Lots of Water
Dehydration is a common reason that senior citizens get hospitalized, and travel makes it even easier to forget to drink as much water as you should. It’s been commonly found in studies that with age, we lose some of our awareness of thirst and hunger. If you can’t get excited about drinking just water, remember that other liquids like juice, apple cider, lemonade, and hot or iced tea can also all be sources of hydration, though each may also contain sugar.
It’s been a long time rule to drink eight glasses of water a day, but today experts say it’s not one-size-fits-all. How much water you need is based on your weight, and could also be impacted by the effects of certain medications. If you’ve lost 2% or more of your weight, it means you are probably mildly dehydrated.
- Make Time for You
Stress is another big health risk associated with the holidays. For seniors, this effect can be compounded. It’s not just the normal hustle and bustle of the holidays. There’s also the fact that loved ones may have passed away since last year, or that new concerns about diet and/or mobility have changed what the holidays mean. It’s essential for seniors, often the patriarch or matriarch of a family, to take time away from their role and de-stress. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and find yourself alone too much during the holidays, see if you can find organizations hosting events for the community, or get out and volunteer.
As you try to manage stress, diet, exercise, and sleep during the holidays, don’t let your finances be a barrier to that balance. Did you know you can sell all or a portion of a life insurance policy, even term insurance? With a life settlement, a senior gets more cash from selling their life insurance than they would if they surrendered their policy back to the insurance company. While not everyone will qualify, for those who do, this option can provide both short and long-term financial security. Contact me to learn more about if a life settlement could be right for you or a loved one or visit our simple calculator to see if a policy might qualify.
Case Study: Kitty, now 88 years young, lost her husband several years ago to a heart attack. Kitty has lived independently since. Recently Kitty has fallen and her family is fearful for her safety. Her oldest daughter suggested in home care rather than assisted living. Kitty was concerned about the cost so she sold her life insurance policy and used the proceeds to pay off the medical bills and pay for the in home daily care.
Life Settlement Advisors