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Cancer Prevention Tips for the Elderly

If your senior loved one wants to reduce his or her risk of cancer, making healthier lifestyle choices is the perfect place to start. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly care in Toronto, recommends a few steps that can help your loved one stave off the various forms of this serious disease.

Increase Antioxidant Intake

When molecules are oxidized, the number of electrons can grow or shrink. This leaves the molecule with an odd number of electrons, making it unstable and opening the door to added cell damage and diseases like cancer. Antioxidants are nutrients that repair these damaged molecules, also referred to as free radicals. While your loved one’s body does make some antioxidants on its own, he or she can get more by taking supplements or by eating foods such as carrots, pumpkin, fruits, and leafy green vegetables.

Stop Smoking

Smoking causes cancer by damaging cells in the body, especially those lining the lungs. Even if your loved one has smoked for several decades, quitting by age 54 can reduce those odds by 66 percent, according to researchers at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. If your loved one quits smoking, make sure he or she has support from friends, family, and Toronto respite caregivers and takes up new hobbies to stay occupied during the times he or she would otherwise be smoking. 

Properly Apply Sunscreen

According to the Canadian Cancer Statistics report from 2014, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada. However, it is also the most preventable. Your loved one can reduce his or her risk by learning how to properly apply SPF protection. This includes applying sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside, frequently reapplying it throughout the day, taking the time to ensure all exposed parts of the body are covered, and choosing broad spectrum coverage.

Eat Less Meat

Studies by the National Cancer Institute have shown a higher risk of cancer in people who eat meat, with red meat especially increasing instances of colon and rectal cancer. By focusing your loved one’s diet around vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and the occasional dish of lean meat and fish, he or she can maintain a healthy diet and lower the risk of certain cancers.

There’s no time like the present to start encouraging your loved one to adopt healthier habits that reduce cancer risk. If your loved one needs help managing these changes, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to help with a variety of tasks, and we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia home care Toronto seniors and their families can rely on. For more information and to request a free consultation, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (416) 488-8777 today.