Coronavirus or Covid-19 has left the world in a tizzy. What used to be news about the danger in some distant land, now seems to lurk somewhere in our neighbourhoods. There is no cure, so precaution and prevention are of utmost importance. It is been said the elderly and people with chronic conditions are more at risk. Grandparents and the elderly at home now need to be looked after more than ever. The fear of the Covid-19 spreading in communities is palpable. Frantic searches on the internet, lapping up any information coming one’s way, are leaving families and the older generation feeling nervous and anxious. How do we protect our elders, our grandparents? What do we do to improve their immune system? What are the immunity boosters for senior citizens that they should increase the intake of? Questions are there, answers abounding. So which ones should be relied on?
5 Immunity boosters for senior citizens to stay safe and healthy:
Old age is another childhood. But children can still be explained and literally forced to adhere to the set guidelines prepared by their parents. This isn’t applicable to grandparents, I mean the elderly at home. Their mindset is fixed, they don’t like any disruption in their daily routine. They are stubborn, and at times difficult (in comparison to our little ones). So everything that we need to do for them needs to be done subtly and if I may say- manipulatively.
1. A nutrient-rich diet
Elders and grandparents at home, one must have noticed, usually eat very little. So it is important to give them a healthy diet rich in nutrients. Let their meals have a variety. Vitamins C and E, zinc, and beta-carotene are essential for good health. Incorporate fruits and vegetables rich in these along with lean proteins and whole grains. While you incorporate immune-boosting foods into their diets, keep in mind, that it should be light on their digestive system.
2. Multivitamins and supplements
To help boost the immune system to fight infections, adding multivitamins, probiotics and herbal supplements to the diet of grandparents can be a good move. There are many immunity boosters for senior citizens already available in the market. Give it to them in the form of maybe probiotic drinks, curds, tea or a health drink. But do consult their doctors before starting them on anything. Include organic food products in their diet, right from a variety of cereals such as millets to rainbow fruits and veggies should be included in their diet.
Most of the grandparents give up on physical activity and remain homebound or confined to their rooms. So this can be the best time to show them some love, involve your little ones too, and let them do some stretching and breathing exercises at home. But whatever you make them do, keep in mind their health conditions too. No physical exertion, please. Be mindful.
4. Keep them hydrated
Elders and grandparents tend to give up on liquids, especially their water intake. One reason is they feel less thirst probably because of limited physical activity. And another, something I have practically faced in my house, they are afraid of frequent visits to the washroom. But keeping the body hydrated is one of the most essential immunity boosters. Be it water, soup, sherbets, nimbu pani (lemonade), lassi, chhaach (buttermilk), whatever they enjoy, let them have it, to keep them hydrated.
5. Love, care and understanding – It’s time to bond with the grandparents
For most of us, there is a lockdown of sorts. Since you are probably working from home, and now that you have time at hand, spend it qualitatively with your loved ones- your elders, your grandparents. Happiness is believed to boost one’s immunity to sickness and diseases. Elders generally feel neglected and lonely. Now is the time to make them feel more loved and cared for. Show them how much they matter. Draw them out of their lonely shells. Play family games, let the little ones engage more with their grandparents. It is also a good idea to let the young ones at home teach the grandparents what they have learned about the coronavirus at school: how to wash hands, for how long to wash, precautions to take and the like. Grandchildren are very dear to grandparents, so the elderly lot will definitely listen to the little ones at home.
Please note: Be sure to not invite guests over and socially isolate your family. The times are rough and friends, relatives do understand the meaning of love. We must all encourage each other to stay indoors and out of each other’s physical reach as much as possible. Gently explain this to the elderly at home.
What are you doing for your elders and grandparents in these trying times? Got an interesting tip? If so, do share with our readers and let us show our elders how much their well-being means to us. Let’s keep up the spirit. Stay safe.
by Tasneem Dhinojwala