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Strengthen Senior Immune Systems with These 6 Things

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on January 16, 2015

As we age, our immune systems become less capable of fighting off bugs, meaning the elderly are more prone to catching colds or the flu. However, that doesn’t mean your senior loved one has to come down with something. Here are six things that can help the elderly boost immunity from Phoenix in-home care provider, Home Care Assistance.

1. Zinc

Zinc is an immune system booster that also fights infection. Studies show ingesting zinc actually helps reduce the number of days a person has the cold. Zinc can be taken as supplement or found in foods like beans, turkey, oysters, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C, which is primarily found in citrus fruit, is a cold season staple. However, taking it regularly throughout the year will fortify a senior’s immune system for when cold and flu season hits. Although leafy greens and citrus are full of vitamin C, the best way to get a good does is through a supplement.

3. Medicinal mushrooms

Mushrooms such at maitake and shiitake have been shown to improve immune functions and help boost the immune system. Although uncommon in the states, medicinal mushrooms and medicines made from extracts are often prescribed in Asia for patients recovering from cancer treatments.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics such as yogurt have been shown to reduce respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. It’s suspected that probiotics reduce the body’s response to germs, meaning colds last fewer days and cold symptoms are less severe. Check the yogurt section at the local store for a wide array of yummy probiotic smoothies.

5. Sunlight

Some studies suggest catching a cold is actually linked to a Vitamin D deficiency, a possible explanation for why cold and flu season is during the shortest sunlight days of the year. Since getting enough sunlight during the winter is nearly impossible, pick up a supplement for your loved one and encourage them to eat more fatty fish like salmon, trout, and tuna, as well as certain mushrooms, and fortified milk.

6. Herbs

Echinacea, sage, ginger, and ginseng are all well-known immunity boosters that fight viruses. Any of these herbs can be taken in tea or supplemental form. Find a tea with one or more of these herbs present that your senior loved one likes and serve them a cup each evening a few hours before bed. If ginger isn’t too potent for your loved one’s taste buds, put a few small pieces of raw ginger in with the tea.

Help keep your loved one healthy this winter by ensuring they following a healthy diet, get enough physical activity, and a good night’s sleep. If you need assistance with his or her care, let Home Care Assistance of Phoenix help. Our caregivers are available 24/7 and trained in our proprietary Balanced Care Method which focuses on a healthy diet, physical and mental healthy, and retaining a sense of purpose. Call (602) 388-1085 to speak with a Care Manager about the services available near you.