As a person gets older, it can become harder for them to stay healthy. Elderly individuals are more susceptible to disease than younger people and can often develop conditions which impede on their ability to enjoy a good quality of life and maintain their independence. If you have a family member who is nearing their twilight years, here are a few things you can do to ensure that they remain healthy during this stage of their life.

Encourage them to stay active

Everyone can benefit from sticking to a consistent exercise routine. However, staying physically active is particularly important for older people. Exercising on a regular basis can help to prevent the development of serious health conditions, such as heart disease and specific types of cancers, and can ease some of the symptoms associated with existing conditions.

If, for example, your elderly relative suffers from hypertension (otherwise known as high blood pressure), adopting a gentle exercise routine could help to lower their blood pressure and thus reduce their chances of experiencing a stroke or a heart attack.

Exercise can also reduce the risk of an older person falling over and injuring themselves, as it improves their muscle strength and their balance.

When helping your elderly family member to pick a form of exercise, consider both their current physical state and their personal preferences. For example, if your relative suffers from arthritis, it might be worth finding a water aerobics class for them to join; this type of physical activity will provide them with a good cardiovascular workout, without placing too much pressure on their painful and inflamed joints. If they enjoy socialising, it may be appropriate to sign them up for ballroom dancing classes or to encourage them to join a local senior walking group.

Monitor their mental health

Depression is a very common issue amongst elderly people. This mental illness can affect not only their enjoyment of daily life but also their physical health; a depressed individual may be less likely to take the medication they need for their ailments, get the right amount of sleep, or eat a healthy diet.

One of the most common reasons for depression in older people is a decline in mobility levels, as this can have a huge impact on their ability to live independently. If, as a result of arthritis or other health problems, an elderly person is longer able to walk down the stairs, use the bathroom or even make a cup of tea without assistance, it's quite possible that they may end up feeling depressed.

If this is the case for your elderly relative, it may be worth purchasing some daily living aids for them, which will make it easier for them to look after themselves. This, in turn, should help to improve their mood. Installing a shower seat and a handrail in the bathroom, for example, will enable them to bathe without assistance, whilst placing a kettle tipper in the kitchen will allow them to make a cup of tea or coffee, without running the risk of spilling hot water on themselves and sustaining a burn. Seemingly small things like this can make all the difference to an older person who is experiencing a loss of mobility and independence.