A strong immune system
The definition of the immune system is the cells and tissues in the body that make it possible to protect itself against infection.
It is a secret behind a good health. A good and healthy system guarantees protection against various foreign bodies such as bacteria, toxins, viruses, cancer cells and infected fluids from other individuals. As our body ages, the immune system weakens, making our elderly loved ones more prone to infections, causing them to fall sick easily.
Old age and immunity
The past few decades have witnessed an increase in life span coupled with a decrease in birth rates. This has led to an increase in the geriatric population, with an expected increase of 22% of the world population.
Old age brings along several ailments and disabilities, owing to poor functioning of the immune system. A poor immunity increases the chances of contracting infections and paves way for the development of chronic illnesses such as cancer and other types of inflammatory diseases.
Studies have demonstrated that vaccines are not very much effective in reducing illness amongst the elderly population. However, the vaccines have been somewhat successful in preventing deaths amongst the elderly population due to flu and pneumonia.
Signs that immune system is not working well
As a person ages, the immune system does not work properly, causing the following changes:
• Elderly loved ones are at an increased risk of falling prey to infections and getting sick more often.
• They may develop autoimmune disorder; as the poor working immune system may mistakenly attack the healthy body cells.
• The risk of cancer also increases, as the ability of the immune system to detect cancer cells decreases significantly.
Immunity boosters for our elderly
It is a proven fact that as one age, the immune systems weaken, and becomes incapable of warding off infections. As a result of this, our seniors end up suffering from flu and other diseases. However, taking steps to strengthen the immune system will help our elderly loved ones lead a healthy life.
• Take vaccination once you cross 50 years
After the age of 50 years, our elderly loved one is more susceptible to flu and other infections owing to their poor immunity. However, this can be prevented, if they are vaccinated against various infectious diseases.
• Lead a healthy lifestyle
A healthy and active lifestyle helps your immune system to work well even during old age. Staying physically active by exercising regularly prevents many problems. From preventing heart diseases to the improvement of bone health, exercise has innumerable benefits. Exercising regularly has shown to have a powerful impact in boosting the immune system by improving the circulatory health. Therefore, you should make all possible efforts to exercise regularly and maintain good physical health.
• Eat a nutritious and healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet that is rich in micro as well as macronutrients will ensure a proper working of the immune system. Furthermore, eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C and E are extremely helpful in protection against infections of various kinds.
• Keep stress at bay
Stress is one of the major culprits that cause the immune system to work improperly. Research has revealed that seniors, who are stressed, are more likely to suffer from various illnesses such as heart diseases, hives, and stomach problems as well. Practicing techniques that would help reduce stress, can really work wonders on improving the immunity of our elderly loved ones.
• Get proper sleep
Disturbed sleep is yet another factor that significantly lowers the immunity of our elderly loved ones. Getting proper sleep and rest helps restore the vitality of immune systems and also assists the body in warding off the infections and inflammatory agents. A proper sleep has shown to improve the efficacy of flu vaccine.
• Maintain good personal hygiene
Maintaining good personal hygiene is the key to keep our immune system working upright. One of the best ways to keep germs at bay and prevent infections is to wash hands frequently with soap and water. This kind of practice helps diseases from spreading and it also strengthens our immune system.
• Herbal supplements and multivitamins to your rescue
For our elderly loved ones, you can even consider giving them herbal supplements and multivitamins to keep their immune system working properly. Most of the times, the diet of our elderly is deficient in essential nutrients, which fails to fulfill the requirements of our body, decreasing the efficiency of our immune system. Giving them multivitamins and herbal supplements fulfills the body’s requirement of vitamins and minerals, thus helping the immune system to work properly.
• Positive attitude
Research has shown a strong link between keeping a positive attitude and a strong immune system. Having a positive attitude boosts the production of endorphins that makes humans feel good. Our seniors should, therefore, be encouraged to practice those activities that make them feel happy and participate in activities that keep their mood positive.
• Drink more water
Drinking more water keeps the mucous membranes moist, which in turn helps in preventing our seniors from bouts of flu and cold. However, our seniors feel less thirsty than the younger generation. Therefore, seniors loved ones should be encouraged to drink at least 8 – 10 glasses of water each day, to prevent infections.
The immune system is an interactive network of organs, cells, and proteins that protect the body from viruses and bacteria or any foreign substances. When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice it. It’s when the performance of our immune system is compromised that we face illness.
Following the above tips will keep your immune system healthy and happy.
About the Author
Tena Scallan is a passionate healthcare professional, business owner and published author with over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She now has answers to your caregiving questions with expert advice for family caregivers.
Tena has dedicated her life’s work to working in hospitals, running her own in-home caregiving agency and providing coaching and guidance for family caregivers.
Tena firmly believes that both home and lifestyle can be preserved by in-home compassionate caregiving in the face of aging or illness. Check out her site at: http://www.theultimatecaregivingexpert.com