As always, consult with your healthcare professional before any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
How Your Immune System Changes As You Age
Changes to your immune system will not occur overnight, but your immune system will slowly begin to decline somewhere around your mid-50s. These changes can affect everyone differently, but some of the most common changes include:
- Reduced production of melatonin, making deep and restful sleep more challenging
- Weakened immunity, making you more susceptible to cold and flu
- Fewer immune fighting cells, which also results in slower healing times for seemingly minor cuts and abrasions
- Increased risk for hereditary and chronic disease
- Unhealthy habits are also likely to catch up with you as you age—smoking, excessive drinking, unhealthy eating habits, etc.
The immune system is something everyone relies on every second of the day and not taking care of it can pose a substantial risk. Boosting your immune system should be at the top of your priority list as you age, so let’s check out how we can do this.
Easy Ways to Boost Your Immunity
While there really isn’t anything you can do to change the fact that your immunity will begin to deteriorate as you age, you can take a proactive approach to drastically slow the deterioration process. Regardless of your age, there are healthy habits that you can incorporate into your daily life that will boost your immunity. Many senior care facilities in Pittsburgh work some of these immunity boosting tips into your daily and weekly routine. There is also a substantial amount that you can do on your own. A few tips include:
- Maintain your regular healthcare checkups, and follow all prescribed treatment plans
- Inquire about the proper vaccines for your current level of health
- Increase the amount of antioxidants in your daily diet
- Switch to a vitamin formulated for 55+
- Exercise on a regular basis
These factors have a direct correlation to boosting your immune system. Following these simple tips can help increase the effectiveness of your immune system, but there is one factor above all that plays a pivotal role in aiding your immunity.
Improving Sleep As You Age
Sleep plays a vital role in your health and immunity. When you sleep, your body has the time to repair some of the damage that has occurred. As you age, your body will begin to produce less of the hormone (melatonin) that helps regulate your sleep. Not only that, but as you age your sometimes stiff and tired muscles and joints may make finding a comfortable position to sleep more difficult. This is why many senior living facilities have adjustable beds, and other bed accessories, easily available to their residents. Some tips for a better night’s sleep include:
- Limit caffeine consumption in the afternoon
- Consider taking a melatonin supplement
- Invest in an adjustable bed for your home or your apartment in an assisted living facility
- Invest in sleeping aids, such as a night mask, heated mattress pad, body pillow, or other specialty pillows
- Make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, uncluttered, and at a comfortable temperature
- Try a relaxing lavender oil plug-in room diffuser
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget the importance of your emotional and social well-being. The likelihood of depression increases as we age, and depression can increase your risk for a multitude of health concerns. There are many non-profit senior care facilities in the Pittsburgh area that offer activities, socialization, and other senior services.
If you feel like you aren’t able to do enough to keep your immune system in top shape, schedule a tour of one of the beautiful senior care communities from Concordia Lutheran Ministries. Our caregivers put their faith into everything they do, helping seniors make the most out of each and every day. We offer an environment that is designed with your health and comfort in mind. Take a tour of a Concordia location near you today. You can also call our administrative headquarters at 1-888-352-1571 or message us through the Contact form on our website.