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5 Things Seniors Can Do to Help Save the Planet

Your loved one may have raised you to not be wasteful and shown you how to be resourceful. Still, there are several new habits he or she can adopt to help save the planet. If your loved one chooses to age in place, you can help him or her with several eco-friendly activities.

Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional home care Harrisburg seniors can trust and rely on.

Here are five ways seniors can reduce their carbon footprint.

1. Recycle

Your loved one’s town probably has weekly pickups of post-consumer items for recycling. Allocate separate storage bins in your loved one’s home where he or she can deposit:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles
  • Plastic containers
  • Newspapers, magazines, and paper waste

Your loved one may feel gratified knowing his or her diligence is keeping trash out of landfills and saving trees from destruction. If you bring used aluminum and glass bottles to a supermarket recycling center, take your loved one with you. He or she can pocket the money dispensed from the collecting machine.

2. Conserve Electricity

Upon vacating a room, your loved one should turn off the lights, and he or she should also unplug appliances when they are not being used. When idle devices remain connected to outlets, they continue drawing power.

Your loved one should habitually unplug the television, toaster, coffee maker, microwave, portable vacuum, washer, and dryer and consider disconnecting his or her cell phone charger as well.

You can make this task easier for your loved one by connecting several appliances to a power strip. For example, in the kitchen, you can plug a toaster, coffee maker, and microwave into a single power strip. One flip of the switch will shut off all three appliances simultaneously.

3. Make Donations to Environmental Charities

Eartheasy has identified charities that use donor funds efficiently. Organizations that maintain high rankings with nonprofit watchdogs such as Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Watch include the following:

  • Environmental Working Group
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Ocean Conservancy
  • Rainforest Alliance

Cleveland Clinic reports that giving to charities has five health benefits. Making contributions enhances mental and physical health by:

  • Boosting happiness
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Alleviating depression
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing stress

When your loved one writes a check or makes an online donation, he or she activates brain regions linked to pleasure. Feel-good hormones such as dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin flood the nervous system. 

Your loved one can also buy a supply of checks printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks. Post-consumer fiber saves trees, and biodegradable inks reduce the production of toxic solvents.

4. Choose Organic Foods

When your loved one buys and eats organic food, he or she helps the planet in several ways. Organic farming eliminates the use of poisonous chemicals and protects soil, water, and wildlife from contamination. Crop rotation keeps harmful insects at bay. Organic cultivation conserves water and prevents soil erosion.

Eating organic foods supports good health. Lowered exposure to harmful chemicals makes seniors less vulnerable to disease. Organic farming also yields more nutritious produce. This was the finding of a 2016 meta-analysis of over 200 studies, published in the British Journal of Nutrition

Organic dairy contains twice the omega-3 fatty acids of conventional milk products. Omega-3 fatty acids boost cardiovascular health, neurological function, and immune strength. Organic vegetables and fruits have 50 percent higher levels of antioxidants, protecting against cellular damage.

Government pesticide testing reveals that certain foods have high levels of chemical residues. The Environmental Working Group advises buying these 20 foods in organic form:  apples, bell peppers, blueberries, celery, cherry tomatoes, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, kale, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, snap peas, soy, spinach, strawberries, and summer squash. 

Also, try to buy organic dairy, eggs, and meats. Your loved one should avoid exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides. As a family caregiver, you need to prepare healthy, organic meals for your aging loved one.

If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Harrisburg Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

5. Save Water

To save on water, seniors should take shorter showers. Just one minute of running the water sends three to five gallons down the drain. When washing their hands, they can stop the water stream while lathering up. 

When brushing their teeth, seniors should turn off the tap until rinsing, and they should also turn off faucets securely so they don’t drip. Before using a dishwasher and washing machine, they can wait until the appliances are full.

Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Harrisburg, PA, respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities. If you need a professional respite or live-in caregiver for your aging loved one, call us at (717) 540-4663 today.