As we get older, love may start to look a little different. Learn some great ideas to bring sensory touch to an elder living alone. And read how to make small changes in your diet to more nutrient-dense food and beverage choices for breakfast and lunch. Next month, stay tuned for dinner suggestions.
Older black man and woman dancing.
It’s February and love is in the air. Or is it? Since Covid-19 we may still be a little leery of touching others — even just a simple handshake could spread bacteria, germs, or viruses. And hugs, have those been brought back? I can tell you I do miss a good hug!
In a 2016 publication for families and caregivers on “Understanding the Effects of Aging on the Sensory System,” our friends at Oklahoma State Extension have this to say about our sense of touch:
“The skin is the largest organ of the body and has millions of nerve endings. People thrive on stimulation through touch; without it, humans often feel a longing or aching. Touching doesn’t have to involve hugging. Just a simple pat on the shoulder or arm can communicate that someone cares. Those caring for older adults can communicate love through the sense of touch by giving a gentle back rub, rubbing lotions to dry skin or brushing the hair. Offering your arm to help someone who may be a bit unsteady walking helps to satisfy the need for touch. Even a pet that might sit on the lap or rub around the legs can fulfill the need for touch. The sense of touch may be the most important of the senses, yet the most neglected. We can survive without sight, hearing, taste, or smell, but without touch, we are at great risk of mental breakdown.”
For the 14.3% of older adults living alone that the State of Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division reported in its Elders Count Nevada 2021 Report, it may mean thinking outside the box. Here are some ideas:
Although as we get older love may look different, it is still in the air this February. Embrace how love looks now. Try some creative sensory touch today!
Hugs, holding hands and other physical gestures of affection have the potential to ease our minds, make us feel less isolated, and reduce stress and anxiety. The need for constant touches may fade as we grow older but the feelings certain touches invoke do not.
Two ripe bananas, walnut and oats on a round wooden board.
Small changes in our diets to more nutrient-dense food and beverage choices, especially when combined, become a nutrient-dense meal or snack. Nutrient-dense foods are foods that have a high amount of nutrients per calorie, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. These foods can help boost immunity, supporting our overall health and well-being.
Visit DietaryGuidelines.gov for more from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.
Sometimes it only takes a small shift to make a more nutrient-dense choices. By making some simple swaps in your favorite recipes, you can easily boost the nutrient density of your meals and snacks.
The following breakfast example, at 375 calories, shows us how we can make thoughtful choices that meet our food group needs, staying within our personal limits, and, most importantly, that we can enjoy. Give it a try!
BreakfastTotal calories: 375
Chicken burrito bowl
Nutrient-dense foods are not only good for your body, but also for your mind, as they can enhance your mood, energy and cognitive skills. The following lunch example, which comes in at just 715 calories, shows choices that are delicious while helping your body and mind. If you don’t have all the ingredients listed, use these guidelines to create something you will enjoy with the ingredients you do have available. Be creative and explore more choices and combinations!
LunchTotal calories: 715
Healthy Aging Initiative
Join us for an informative and engaging event discussing the health disparities and equity issues marginalized older adult populations face. Our expert speakers will examine Alzheimer's and related dementia, gender responsiveness and care partner violence and explore potential solutions to promote health equity for all. This event is a wonderful opportunity to gain experience from experts in the field and connect with others who are enthusiastic about promoting health equity for older adults.
N. Mazzullo, 2024, Healthy LIVING while aging! (2024-02)
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