In this modern day and age, it’s rather frowned upon to be tired or unproductive. This is in contrast to medieval times when feeling that way was actually viewed as a positive thing. Back then, it meant that you had reached your limit for the day and it was time for a rest! However, with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, people needed to work longer and harder, every day of the week. Fast forward to today, and America is considered by many studies to be one of the most overworked nations in the world.
There is a difference between being tired and having low energy. Sleeping can address tiredness, but only by changing daily habits can a person address low levels of energy. If you know or work with a senior that is listless, appears tired all the time and/or has no energy to complete activities of daily living, it’s probably time to assess their diet and other elements of daily life.
3 key things that tend to cause energy loss in seniors:
The opposite of each of these items is exactly what can improve energy:
The benefits of an active brain: Whenever we learn something new, neural pathways are created in the brain. Simply working on crossword puzzles, or playing a game of bridge with friends can keep mental activity bubbling along.
A healthy diet: Older people need about five servings of fiber, (they may call it “roughage”) every day. That means fruits and vegetables! High fiber cereals are another good source but avoid sweetened cereals loaded with sugar. That will result in quick energy and then a quick crash.
Between the ages of 20 and 70, humans lose 30% of their muscle mass. This can be offset by regular exercise such as walking. Light weight training will increase muscle mass and flexibility.
At the end of the day, go to bed! A regular sleep schedule helps people of any age fall asleep and stay asleep. The deep sleep that comes from staying in bed all night is the level needed to restore energy.
If you see that a senior is embarrassed to admit that his or her energy level is lower than it used to be, provide reassurance that this is a normal part of the cycle of life. Following the easy suggestions mentioned above will increase daily energy levels by keeping their minds active, their bodies moving and their lives happy.
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