The following tips for fasting for the elderly are expected to be useful for the elderly who do not have complaints of illness and are still able to carry out fasting. (Photo: stevepb / Pixabay)
Jakarta, CNN Indonesia – Fasting during Ramadan is one of the obligations as well as a test for a Muslim around the world. Various studies have shown that fasting can bring a variety of health benefits.
However, there are groups who get relief not to run this fourth pillar of Islam, one of which is elderly or elderly . Remember, parents usually have comorbidities that can be risky to their health if they force themselves to fast.
According to nutritionists quoted from KhaleejTimes, fasting can cause low blood glucose levels, which causes reduced concentration and increased fatigue, and this can affect the health of the elderly. But the benefits of fasting are far greater. If fasting is done properly, it can improve the overall health of the digestive system and metabolism.
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Should the elderly fast?
|Elderly who do not have complaints of illness and still feel capable of being allowed to practice fasting. (Photo: CNN Indonesia / Andry Novelino)|
Elderly who do not have complaints of illness and still feel capable of being allowed to practice fasting. Even some sources say, elderly who fast by continuing to consume a healthy menu can increase life expectancy higher.
However, another case with the elderly who have a very thin body accompanied by a history of chronic illness is certainly advised not to fast.
Therefore, the elderly with problems of diabetes, hypertension, thyroid or other degenerative diseases must naturally consult their doctors regarding their health condition before fasting. With the control and supervision of a doctor, the elderly may be able to fast safely without endangering their safety.
Constraints faced by the elderly when fasting
Dehydration is one of the most serious problems faced by the elderly. In addition, they may complain of headaches more often, especially during the first days of fasting. This is natural because of decreased body blood sugar levels. These symptoms go away when the body has adapted to fasting.
This is the importance of consulting a doctor related to personal health with fasting. Must carefully distinguish between headaches due to illness or due to fasting.
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Tips for safe fasting for the elderly
Elderly who do not have barriers to health problems or diseases which means of course can run fasting safely. There are things that must be known by the elderly so that the worship performed does not endanger health while getting blessings from Allah SWT.
Here are 8 tips for the elderly to be able to run fasting smoothly and safely, quoted from various sources.
1. Don’t miss the meal
|Eating healthy with a healthy menu is an important source of energy for fasting throughout the day. ( Photo: rise-a-mui / Pixabay)|
Sahur is important for anyone who is fasting, especially the elderly. By dawn, energy will be sufficient so that the body can withstand fasting for a long period of time.
Eat enough suhoor to get an energy source to keep the boxes and nerves active. Dates can also be an additional source of energy that is ideal to eat at dawn because they contain sugar, fiber, carbohydrates, potassium, and magnesium which are very good.
2. Drink plenty of water
|So that the elderly do not become dehydrated during fasting, drink plenty of water when it is open and dawn, and avoid caffeinated drinks. (Photo: AFP PHOTO / GEORGES GOBET)|
Dehydration is one of the most serious problems experienced by the elderly due to lack of drinking during fasting.
Prepare yourself for fasting by drinking lots of water, both at dawn and during breaking the fast. Do not let the elderly only drink when thirsty, because thirst is a signal that the body is dehydrated.
In order to prevent severe dehydration, try to avoid drinking drinks that contain caffeine to ensure the body gets the best source of hydration.
But be careful and don’t over-drink one drink at a time. Drinking large amounts at a time can dissolve the body’s electrolytes which cause water poisoning.
3. Tips for fasting for the elderly is enough sleep
|Tips for safe running fasting for the elderly is to make sure you get enough sleep about 7-8 hours every night. (Photo: Unsplash / Pixabay)|
Fasting people usually complain of lack of sleep because their nighttime sleep is interrupted by suhoor activity. Then, tarawih activities and gathering during Ramadan nights can take a break.
Referring to the Sleep Foundation , doctors and scientists call lack of sleep can affect hormone levels and the body’s ability to regulate and metabolize glucose. That means if you don’t get enough sleep the risk is higher for weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
Even though the hours of sleep change during Ramadan fasting, make sure the elderly 65 years and over have adequate sleep duration of 7-8 hours every night. For the elderly, compensating for lack of sleep at night with a nap is normal.
4. Expand vegetables, fruits, and protein
|Fasting tips for the elderly is to eat healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits and other foods that are high in fiber (Photo: ImagesBG / Pixabay)|
In the Diabetes Care report in 2010, doctors from various institutions suggested that breaking the fast should reduce carbohydrate and fat intake.
Eating foods high in carbohydrates and fats, especially when breaking should be avoided because it slows down the work of digestion and absorption.
Conversely, consumption of complex carbohydrates and vegetable fiber at dawn to increase energy, maintain satiety, improve intestinal function, and blood fat levels during Ramadan.
In addition, the elderly need to fulfill their daily intake of vitamins, minerals and salt by eating lots of vegetables and fruits. Vegetables, fruit, and protein can prevent constipation.
The elderly can try a variety of dawn menus with a bowl of warm oatmeal added with bananas, avocados, dates, nuts, eggs. Or it could be a bowl of vegetable soup with a piece of whole wheat bread, dates, and a glass of milk or fruit smoothies .
5. Stay active
|To keep your body fit while fasting, do a leisurely walk around the house so that blood circulation is smooth and muscles are not tense (Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP)|
Physical activity does not have to do strenuous exercise. Walking after breaking the fast can help activate blood circulation and relax the muscles of the elderly.
If you usually exercise in the morning, there’s no harm in switching to the evening after or before breaking the fast. Don’t force yourself to do strenuous physical activity during the day because it will only speed up dehydration.
Walking is still considered an exercise that is safe for the elderly during the month of Ramadan, as long as the body is not exhausted and dehydrated. Based on the Diabetes Care report, even people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes are encouraged to do moderate exercise to maintain muscle mass.
6. Do not overeat
|Tips aman dan sehat bagi lansia yang berpuasa adalah makan secukupnya agar perut tak begah dan menimbulkan gangguan pencernaan (Foto: Pixabay/PublicDomainPictures)|
As long as the body weight is in the normal category, avoid overeating and being full at dawn and breaking the fast. The stomach will feel more comfortable and the quality of sleep will be better if you keep eating within normal portion limits during Ramadan.
Eating less can also prevent a surge in blood sugar levels after breaking the fast. Conversely, if overeating, can certainly cause constipation, heartburn, or other digestive disorders, especially at night.
Eat mindfully and stop before you are completely full. Because the body needs about 20 minutes to give a full signal. So don’t overdo it while eating iftar.
7. Routinely check blood sugar
|Elderly people who have diabetes and are still fasting should be diligent in controlling their blood sugar levels regularly (Photo: Pixabay / stevepb)|
Citing ScienceDirect , in healthy people, blood glucose levels are automatically controlled by the body. After eating, the body will release insulin to maintain glucose levels in the normal range.
However, in people with diabetes, automatic control of blood glucose levels does not work normally. After eating, the elderly who have diabetes will often experience an increase in blood glucose levels and last a long time. This is certainly dangerous and can lead to serious complications.
During fasting, blood sugar is taken from food consumed at dawn and by liver glycogen. Changes can vary depending on the quality and quantity of food, physical activity and exercise, and changes in body weight.
Therefore, it is important to check blood sugar regularly during fasting and after breaking or dawn. The check can be done independently (self-monitored) which is useful for ensuring the elderly’s blood levels are in a healthy range.
8. Know your limits
|If the elderly in the middle of their fast complain about pain, it is better to postpone and get treatment as soon as possible. (Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP)|
The elderly need to realize that at this golden age physically they become more tired and prone to disease. If in the middle of his fast complaining of pain, it is better to postpone and get treatment as soon as possible.
For the elderly who cannot fast due to illness, but there is hope that they will recover and become able to fast, can replace fasting on another day. This corresponds with Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 185 Allah says, “And whoever is ill or on a journey, it must be replaced on the other days with a number of [day is not Lent / fast] the same.”
Meanwhile, if the elderly cannot fast and there is no hope of recovery or fasting, they must pay fidyah or feed one poor person per day.
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Those are 8 fasting tips for the elderly that can be applied in order to carry out this worship smoothly and safely. The key is to take advantage of the moment of Ramadan by focusing on worship and increasing good practices, while maintaining health by adopting a healthy lifestyle.