Healthy living advice for all stages

In honor of National Nurses Week, we asked several nurses throughout the region to share some of their best, practical everyday advice

Nurses nationwide are being recognized for the important role they play in health care during National Nurses Week, which continues through May 12 — the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

We asked several nurses throughout the region to share some of their best healthy living advice throughout different life stages.

INFANTS

What should parents do to ensure a safe sleep environment for their infants?

Source: Lisa Jasin, MS, RN, NNP-BC, RNC-NIC — Neonatal Nurse Practitioner The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton

The safest place for a baby to sleep is on their back, alone in their bed with a firm mattress. Babies do not need stuffed animals in their bed. Babies do not need bumpers tied to crib rails to protect them. Babies do not roll soon after birth and will not bang their heads against crib side. A baby does not need a thick blanket. Babies should be dressed in a sleeper and use a light blanket for sleep on their back, alone in their bed.

TODDLERS/CHILDREN

How can parents help a toddler, or young child develop good eating and sleeping habits?

Source: Linda Duplechian, BSN, RN, CPEN, Education Specialist/Community Nurse Liaison The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton

Here are some ways that I found useful to help develop good eating habits for the toddler and young child; there are many ways that the experts advise us to encourage good eating habits early in our children’s lives. As a mom, nurse and grandmother, I have found the following useful:

• Keep meal times consistent and family oriented. I know we are all busy when our kids are young, but it is so important to have some sort of routine around meals.

• As soon as the children are able, allow them to help choose and prepare meals. It becomes a fun way to enforce good habits.

• Offer healthy snacks instead of high calorie processed food. These can be prepared ahead of time so it is easy and quick. Pinterest and the multitude of books on healthy eating have some great ideas.

• Use exercise for more family time. Turn off the TV after dinner and go for a walk, bike ride, swim, or just get out into the backyard. A great game of hide and seek was always very popular in our household and the tradition continues with the grandkids. Children learn what they see from their parent’s behavior, so take the time to just play and set healthy examples.

TEENAGERS

What advice can you give to the parents of teenagers regarding bullying in the schools and the emotions of teenagers?

Source: Donovan Small, RN, Child/Adolescent Unit at Kettering Behavioral Hospital

There is much we can do to safeguard and equip victims of bullying.

• Be an example. The best way to combat this in your child or loved one’s life is to be a force for good. Practice the golden rule.

• Be a good listener. Victims of bullying may be slow to admit or address the issue, regardless of the severity.

• Be invested. The straggler with little assistance is much easier prey for a bully than the child or adolescent with a strong support system.

• Be pro-active, not reactive. The bully can’t be very effective if he or she doesn’t get the reaction they’re looking for. Having achievable plans and coping skills in place before the bully ever becomes a problem can mitigate the harmful effects.

ADULTS

What is some of your best advice for adults to follow to achieve a healthy lifestyle?

Source: Brenda Young, DNP RN CNP, Clinical Assistant Professor and Associate Director, Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Wright State University

Professional nurses organize their interventions using models of care. Using the Tidal Model, www.tidal.com,we’d like to encourage the adult to move toward health knowing that each person has their own health journey, their own pathway to health. Find out what works for you, find your own voice to take charge of losing that weight, quitting smoking, or getting control of your asthma or diabetes. Find out what really controls you – Caffeine? Carbohydrates? Snacking in the evening? Also check out these publications for men and women over 50: www.ahrq.gov/ppip/women50.htm, and www.ahrq.gov/ppip/men50.htm

MIDDLE-AGED ADULTS

How can the middle-aged person remain healthy and in good shape?

Source: Brenda Bodenmiller, RN-BC, Manager, Cardiopulmonary Rehab, Wellness Center and Premier HeartWorks at Miami Valley Hospital

Today many middle-age adults are working longer, delaying retirement because of the uncertainty of being able to afford not working. That means practicing good health habits are more important than ever. I also suggest prevention when it comes to staying healthy. Here are suggestions for staying healthy.

• Eat a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Stay hydrated. As we age, we tend to eat out more regularly — pay attention to portion sizes and cut entrées in half or share.

• Keep your mind active if you are not in the work force; complete puzzles and volunteer.

• Keep your body active and include physical activity in your daily routine by exercising every day. Also make sure you include strength or resistance training such as exercise bands. Also include flexibility and “balance” activities to assist with fall prevention.

• Get regular checkups and preventive screenings for things like cardiac disease, prostate problems and breast cancer.

• Practice safety habits.

• Don’t smoke or use tobacco.

• Monitor stress, use relaxation techniques, and humor, laughter and hugs are important.

• Sleep — get a full eight hours of sleep every night.

How can the middle-aged person and the elderly keep their minds sharp?

Source: Peggy Mann, RN, Nurse Manager of Grandview Medical Center’s Senior Behavioral Care Unit

To help keep your brain healthy and sharp, eat a healthy diet. Challenge your brain with a variety of new experiences such as walking backwards. Stimulate the senses — the more senses you use in learning something, the more of your brain will be involved in retaining the memory. Reduce stress levels through activities such as yoga. Participating in intellectually challenging leisure-time activities such as reading or taking classes appear to improve the middle-age mind. Pursuing a hobby, learning a new craft, or volunteering for a project at work that involves a new skill you don’t use, can also function the same way to improve the mind.

LATE ADULTHOOD

How can elderly patients compensate for and manage the limitations of aging?

Source: Mary Westfall, RN, BSN, CCRN, B-C ICU Good Samaritan Hospital

The growing elderly population remains strong and vital as they enter their golden years. Identifying community resources for the aging to maintain autonomy is essential as this population wishes to remain self sufficient even with restrictions due to illness or mobility. The process begins with assessment of abilities and identifying the goals the elder person wishes to attain. It is important to allow the person the opportunity to make their own contacts and to encourage them to involve others. Some of the resources include transportation options such as wheelchair accessible public transportation for those that are no longer driving. Communication options such as volume controls on home and cell phones, voice-to-text phones, and advanced hearing aids may assist in the hearing impaired. Numerous devices are available to assist with activities of daily living such as grippers, specialized utensils, shower and tub support rails and clothing aides.

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