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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Family Health Includes Caring for Seniors: The four key pillars of senior wellness are presented by Tempe's Anita Rangaswami

Aug 01, 2012 02:46PM ● By Anita Rangaswami

People tend to emphasize economic abundance as a key measure of life’s quality and work diligently all their lives towards gaining financial freedom, but what about being happy, healthy and in good spirits through every phase of life until it’s time to call it quits? That goal may have been easier to attain when life expectancy was shorter, but for the baby boomers that are part of the “sandwich generation” in which they not only take care of their children and grandchildren, but also their parents, taking care of seniors at home may become a daunting task.

The communities of seniors spread across the nation that have devoted their lives to caring for their children deserve to be loved and cared for as a family member, despite the challenge that poses. Proper nutrition, a healthy, active lifestyle, help in managing finances and mental/emotional support are the four key pillars of senior wellness. Here are some ways to make the process more manageable.

Encourage seniors to walk for 20 minutes every day, as recommended by the National Institute on Aging. If walking is difficult due to aches and pains, have them walk around the perimeter of a pool during the early morning or late evening hours in waist-deep water (with supervision).

Help seniors maintain a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean protein that foods like salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout and tuna provide. Lentils and dhal (Indian cuisine) are also a good source of protein.

Give seniors whole grains like oats, barley, millet, whole wheat and brown or basmati rice. Canola, vegetable, cottonseed, soybean and olive oils are good. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats.

Guide seniors with their investment decisions and taxes and help them feel secure about their finances.

Above all, be gentle and patient regarding their needs. Show genuine loving kindness and compassion in everything that you do, regardless of the outcome or the recognition of your efforts. With adequate physical conditioning, mental fortitude and a spiritual attitude, our seniors will be well poised to take on the challenges that appear in the autumn of life.

Anita Rangaswami is an AAPNA registered ayurvedic practitioner, Yoga Alliance registered yoga and meditation instructor and Chopra Center certified instructor. She is the founder of Prana Gyana Holistic Health and Wellness Center, in Tempe. Contact her at 480-598-9961 or

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