The kidneys are responsible for a host of functions within the human body. They filter waste products, help maintain the pH balance in your blood (which must remain between 7.35 and 7.45 for survival), eliminate excess fluids, and play a part in managing blood pressure and the production of red blood cells. It’s safe to say that the kidneys play a vital role in the processes of the body.
Age and the Kidneys
It is common for age to bring about change in the structure and function of the kidneys. Whether through years of use or poor choices when it comes to lifestyle, about two-thirds of the population find themselves with declining kidney function after the age of 35. Problems that accrue because of the waning kidneys include a build-up of waste products, electrolyte and fluid imbalance, high blood pressure, anemia and brittle bones. Some of these can in turn lead to an increased risk in falls as well as dehydration. Approximately 20 million adults in the U.S. are thought to have chronic kidney disease which affects about 39.4 percent of Americans over the age of 60.
How to Help your Parent
Diet and exercise play an important role in taking care of one’s kidneys. This can help with both blood pressure and electrolyte imbalances. Make sure your loved one’s diet is low in salt. You can help bring flavor to their meals with the use of fresh herbs such as basal, rosemary, thyme and cilantro. Consider adapting the Plate Plan into your parent’s lifestyle. With this plan, lunch and dinner consists of half of a 9-inch plate holding vegetables while one-quarter contains a high-quality protein and the other quarter, whole grains. A serving of fruit and low-fat dairy is also allowed at each meal. Before making dietary changes, consult with your parent’s physician. Depending on the type of damage the kidneys have sustained, they may need to limit their protein, potassium and phosphorus levels which are found in a variety of foods.
Exercise will help with both weight management and blood pressure. Find something that your parent loves to do and help them implement that activity into their daily schedule. The local senior community center often offers a wealth of exercise classes geared for seniors.
Help your parent stop smoking. Smoking increases the chance of developing kidney disease and it is also responsible, in part, for two diseases that may lead to kidney disease: diabetes and high blood pressure. For those needing help quitting this highly addictive habit, Smokefree 60+ is a government sponsored website that offers online support as well as tips and tools for seniors.
Home Care Provider
If your loved one needs assistance with the everyday activities of living, consider obtaining the services of a home care provider. These professionals have cared for countless seniors facing a multitude of challenges. They can prepare doctor-recommended meals, accompany your parent on walks and provide the companionship so important to one going through the effects of aging.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Jackson, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.
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