If you have cancer, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for feeling your best and improving your chances of treatment success. Senior cancer patients can benefit from a wide range of healthy habits, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and socialization. These healthy habits will help you manage treatment side effects and reduce painful cancer symptoms—and help you feel a little better every day! Here are some great ways to live healthy with a cancer diagnosis.
Seek Out Support
A good support network is vital to your overall health and wellness during treatment and beyond. Cancer patients with a good support network report better quality of life than those without. The people around you can provide all kinds of valuable assistance, including emotional support to help you cope with stress and practical support to reduce the burden of your daily living tasks. Socialization can also keep the mind sharp!
If you live alone, consider moving into an independent living community to be closer to others. Living in a community environment will eliminate isolation and reduce your risk of suffering from loneliness. Plus, downsizing into a new place is a great way to relieve yourself from clutter and constant household chores. Consider touring different independent living communities to find a facility that will fit your care needs, lifestyle requirements, and budget. According to A Place for Mom, independent living communities in Minneapolis typically average between $1,500 and $9,550 per month.
Exercise Regularly to Stay Healthy
One of the benefits of moving into independent living is access to recreation and exercise activities. Regular physical activity is essential for seniors. Loss of muscle mass is a common problem for cancer patients. It contributes to a decline in mobility and an increased risk of injury. Fortunately, exercise can help you stay mobile and independent by keeping your muscles strong and flexible. Getting moving daily will also help you reduce fatigue, a common side effect of cancer treatment.
Cancer.Net recommends participating in a range of exercise types including stretching, balance training, strength workouts, aerobic activity, and breathing exercises to improve endurance and lung capacity. You can engage in these effective exercises no matter your individual needs or limitations. For example, Medicare.org suggests a variety of senior-friendly options for working out indoors, such as swimming at a community pool, following at-home workout videos, or walking around a public indoor space like a mall or museum.
Healthy eating will help you cope with cancer side effects. Try to focus your diet around nutrient-dense foods that pack a lot of vitamins and minerals into small servings, like avocados, salmon, and oats. This is especially important if cancer has affected your appetite—maintaining a healthy body weight will help you avoid fatigue and weakness. Cleveland Clinic also recommends convenient foods like yogurt, fresh fruit, whole grain cereals, and eggs for cancer patients who don’t have a lot of energy to cook or go grocery shopping.
Find Healthy Ways to Control Stress
Battling cancer causes a lot of stress on the body and mind. Unfortunately, chronic stress can contribute to inflammation and may even worsen cancer symptoms. Learn a few relaxation exercises so you can keep your stress under control. For example, deep breathing techniques are a great place to start since you can practice these anywhere. You may also want to try yoga, meditation, and making time for enjoyable hobbies.
Take Advantage of Medicare
If financial stress is taking a toll on your mental health, review your Medicare coverage and ensure you’re taking advantage of all of the benefits available to you. Medicare generally covers most cancer treatments and management services, including hospital stays and outpatient services like chemotherapy and surgery. However, you will still have to cover deductibles and copayments. Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans can help you avoid these out-of-pocket costs. They also provide access to additional health services and prescription medications.
Healthy living is vital to your overall wellbeing and quality of life during your senior years. Cancer patients have a lot to gain from taking care of your body and mind both during and after cancer treatment. Healthy living will help you stay in control of your diagnosis and speed recovery.
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About Today’s Guest Blogger
Karen Weeks is a senior lifestyle blogger who believes nothing is off-limits to seniors. After retirement, she struggled to find a new sense of purpose which lead her to learn a new skill and took a computer course. She created Elderwellness.net – a resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well.