Seniors must take precautions to ensure that they remain healthy in old age. Colds and flus have a much greater impact on seniors than they do on younger people because their immune system isn’t what it once was.
In fact, Harvard Medical School found that aging reduces the immune system’s response.
But there are ways seniors can boost their immune system to stay healthy and strong. These ten tips are being used by seniors across the world to reduce sickness, stay healthy and live a happier, healthier life.
1. Exercise to Boost Immune System Performance
Exercise can help boost a person’s immune system. When you exercise, you’ll boost your health and stave off infections. Regular exercise will:
- Increase or help maintain muscle mass
- Promote circulation
- Boost heart health
- Boost immune system
2. Sleep More at Night
Sleep is essential for your body to repair and stay healthy. When you sleep, your immune system is naturally boosted. Sleep also helps the body respond better to:
Another benefit of sleep is that it’s shown to boost the body’s response to the flu vaccine.
How many hours should you sleep per night? Sleep Foundation recommends that older adults, those 65 or older, should sleep 7 to 8 hours per night. If you aren’t getting enough sleep because of chronic snoring, you may have sleep apnea. If this sounds like you we highly recommend that you consult your doctor for available treatments.
3. Vaccines Help Save Lives
Vaccinations help save lives. And even if you’re against vaccines for children, know that flu vaccines are effective for 25% of all older adults. This doesn’t sound like a large percentage, but since the majority of flu-related deaths consist of seniors, it makes sense to get vaccinated.
Seniors that opt to get the flu vaccine will boost their immune system response to the flu and reduce their risk of:
4. Eat and Maintain a Healthy Diet
Nutrient-rich diets are essential to a healthy immune system. If your diet consists of bad-for-you foods, then you’re not doing everything you can for your immune system. The immune system responds well to nutrient-rich foods.
There’s also the factor that seniors eat less.
Variety is also lacking in seniors. Seniors should be maintaining a diet that is healthy, offering richness in:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Your diet should be low in sugar, high in vegetables and fruits and also rich in antioxidants. Berries, as well as leafy greens like kale, are a great option when trying to add antioxidants into your diet.
5. Reduce Stress in Your Life
Stress is bad for you. When you’re stressed, your body goes through a lot of changes. Hormone levels get out of control, the body is put under immense pressure – everything is functioning in a stressful environment.
There’s also the stress of:
- Social stress
When the body is stressed, the immune system suffers. There are a lot of ways to alleviate stress, such as:
Work on reducing your stress if you want to boost your immune system.
6. Add Superfoods into the Mix
Superfoods should be an integral part of your diet, and they’re so important that I’ve included them under their own section. Superfoods are known to provide you with:
- Cognitive enhancement
- An immune system boost
There are studies linking many superfoods to helping fight cancer and even helping with Alzheimer’s disease.
Superfoods include (and there are many):
- Goji berries
- Sweet potatoes
7. Wash Your Hands Often
Your hands come in contact with germs frequently. You touch a door knob or flush a toilet, and your hands are covered in germs. Recently, I went to a restaurant, opened and closed the bathroom door, and I got the flu.
The main issue: I didn’t wash my hands.
Washing your hands often as a senior will scrub germs away.
8. Make Sure You Drink Enough Water
Water is the essence of life. You can’t live without water – not for long. And when you’re dehydrated, even just slightly, your entire body is negatively impacted. Seniors are even at greater risk of being dehydrated because they don’t sense thirst as quickly as younger people do.
Seniors need to drink 8 to 9, 8-ounce glasses of water daily to stay hydrated.
When you stay properly hydrated, you’ll be able to:
- Enjoy more energy
- Pass food easier
- Reduce the risk of colds
- Reduce the risk of flu
Mucous members are kept moist when enough water is consumed. Moist mucous membranes will reduce the risk of catching the flu or getting a cold.
9. Keep a Positive Outlook and Stay Motivated
A lot of older people tend to die when they stop working. Yes, there are a lot of sayings that relate to this occurrence, but there is some truth to it after all. You must stay positive if you hope to have a healthy immune system.
And this isn’t just hyperbole.
Studies show that a happy person that has a good outlook on life will enjoy increased endorphin production. These endorphins make a person feel food. A person who stays happy and motivated will also be able to:
- Meet challenges with greater ease
- Maintain the will to fight off illness
You can also get this same endorphin boost through activities that you love and enjoy. Hobbies are a great way to stay positive and motivated, and you’ll also be able to make new friends and stay occupied.
10. Herbal Supplements and Multivitamins Help
Discuss your immune system with your doctor to better understand what you can do to boost your immune system. There are a lot of vitamins and supplements that can be used to supplement your diet and ensure that you’re getting the nutrients and minerals you need.
A few of the vitamins and supplements that may help are:
- Vitamin C
Sit down and discuss your needs with a doctor or nutritionist. You’ll find that these professionals are the best qualified to come up with a supplement plan to boost your immune system.
Allie has worked in care facilities for the last 15 years providing mobility and health care to seniors of all skill levels. She is passionate about senior advocacy and is and loves to spend her free time in the outdoors.