Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

How Does Aging Affect Your Dad's Immunities?

By Amy Felman

As you age, your immune system slows down. While immunities are still there, they're there in smaller numbers. The system works at a slower pace. It increases the risk of developing serious symptoms when you get a virus like a cold or flu.

Cells don't recover as quickly. It leads to slower healing. Cells that are defective or have mutations, such as cancer cells, are not as quickly identified by the body's immune system.

Seniors are also more likely to have inflammation. While inflammation is helpful for preventing infection, they can also cause problems if not balanced. Excessive inflammation can damage organs, which is why seniors have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

What Steps Can Be Taken to Boost Immune System Function?

One of the first things your dad should do is improve his diet. He should choose healthy foods that naturally boost immunities. Foods rich in antioxidants like berries, leafy green vegetables, and bell peppers. Garlic, ginger, and citrus fruits are also beneficial.

Make sure your dad's diet is limiting foods that are poor nutritional choices. He should avoid packaged foods that are high in sodium, fat, sugar, and preservatives. He needs to focus food choices on lean meats and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

If your dad smokes or drinks alcohol, he needs to change his habits. He needs to stop smoking. He should cut alcohol consumption to one drink a day at the most.

Exercise is another way to boost immune function. Experts recommend 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise. Your dad needs to find exercises he enjoys doing. If he's not enthusiastic, he's unlikely to stick with an exercise program. Mixing up activities is also helpful in making sure your dad sticks with his exercise routine. He can walk one day, ride a bike the next, and take a yoga or martial arts class on another.

Discuss Daily Activities of Living

Talk to your dad and other close family members to see if there are things that your dad seems to find difficult. It may be time to look into elder care services. Your dad remains independent in his own house, but he has the help he needs. Caregivers can help him cook healthy meals, make sure he's exercising daily, and schedule appointments with his doctor.

With a proper diet, plenty of exercise, and vaccinations to prevent against the flu, shingles, and pneumonia, your dad's immune system will be stronger. Get started today. One call to an elder care agency is all it takes to get started.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Wexford, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 364-4663.