What We Know
The immune system keeps those nasty germs and foreign elements out of our bodies. If they do sneak into our systems, the immune system tries to remove those nasty elements from our bodies. Our immune system is made up of a complex network of cells, tissues and organs. Combined they unite together to defend the body against infection.
As we age, our immune system weakens and needs to work harder to protect our bodies from the germs and bacteria of the outside world. “The medical community is still trying to determine exactly how and why immunity decreases with age,” says Kira Rubtsova, PhD of National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado.
What researchers do know is that most older adults:
- Don’t always respond well to vaccines (There are exceptions, like shingles and flu vaccine. Always ask your physician for advice)
- Are more likely to get sick
- Recover from injuries, infections and illness more slowly
Our Natural Defense
The immune system is our natural defense against those invaders that would make us sick. These include, bacteria, viruses, parasites and even fungi. These marauders are everywhere. In our homes, places of work and recreation, schools and where we shop, just to name a few. When our system is healthy, it protects us by surrounding these foreign bodies, erecting a protective barrier keeping it away from our internal systems until it can finally eradicate the troubling substance or by rendering it harmless. The immune system’s intricacies are quite amazing.
Like the rest of our body, we need to maintain our immune system to keep it in tip-top shape. What are some of the things that will weaken our immunity?
- Unhealthy eating
- Being sedentary
- Not getting enough sleep
- Chronic stress
Of course, our genetics play a significant role in our overall health. Even so, our active participation in assisting our immunity in staying at its “fighting weight” goes a long way.
Can Good Quality Home Care Help?
You may be reading and thinking, “How will home care help me improve my immunity?” Well, let’s start by reviewing a few items that will help build and maintain a healthy immunity:
- Healthy diet
- Getting a good amount of sleep
- Good relationships
- Proper hygiene
- Reducing Stress
A good home care company will address each of these items. They will ensure that their client is doing all they can to stay healthy and comfortable. As we age, especially into the golden years, we may need assistance with everyday tasks including those that keep our immune system healthy.
Exercise: A regular exercise routine does much more than shape our body, it fortifies the immune system with proper circulation and promotes better sleep. It doesn’t take too much exercise to see improvements either. A simple 20 – 30 minute walk each day is sometimes all you need. Ask your physician for a recommended dose of exercise and get to work!
Healthy Diet: Eating is essential to life, so this makes sense. As computer data engineers say, “Junk in, junk out” to describe the quality of information or as health food enthusiast will say, “You are what you eat.” It’s important to eat a diet high in nutrients and low in sugars to keep your immunity in top performance.
Sleep: A cell phone needs to recharge in order to work, a computer at times needs to be rebooted in order to work properly and humans need to sleep in order to keep healthy. We also need a certain amount of sleep depending on our stage of life in order to maintain a strong immune system. The National Sleep Association recommends 7 to 8 hours of sleep for adults 65 and older.
Hygiene: One of the ways to keep the nasty things in our environment from affecting us is by physically removing them from our person. Simply washing them away, like washing our hands, prevents us from getting sick and keeps our immune system rested and ready to fight when its really needed.
Don’t Underestimate These Factors
Relationships: There’s an old Irish saying, “May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.” Humans are social creatures and thrive when we are in community. Friendships bring happiness and joy to our lives and chases away loneliness that can bring us down and chip away at the health of our immunity.
Stress: How many times have you heard, “stress kills?” Stress slowly chips away at your overall health and makes your immune system work harder and harder until it finally gives in to illness. There is a saying that stress is like sitting in a rocking chair… It gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere. We must reduce unnecessary stress, as much as we can, in order to remain healthy.
Yes, It Can Help
A good home care company with quality and experienced caregivers can assist you or a loved one with all these activities. The goal is keeping you as healthy and independent for as long as possible. They will:
- Keep you company, engage in conversation and if your lucky, they may make you laugh!
- Prepare nutritious snacks and meals to your liking.
- Assist with bathing, light housekeeping, laundry and other hygiene needs.
- Remove the stress that comes paired with the worry of aging and caring for yourself. You can be confident in knowing that someone is there to assist when needed and with that stress gone, you can live and sleep well.
Be sure to check reviews and ask for professional reviews before you commit to a particular agency. It’s important for you to know their track record and how professionals like fiduciaries, lawyers and care managers speak of them.
If you are in need of home care for yourself or a loved one, and you expect only the best care, see the links below for more information. Call to learn more about our Santa Maria home care services and to schedule a free assessment.