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Elderly Health: The Complete Guide to Aging Well

According to the CDC, 22% of people over 65 are in poor health in the U.S. 8.5% of people 65 and older also smoke. 

41.9% of men between the ages of 65-74 are obese while 45.9% of women in this category are obese. 

66.7% of men ages 65-74 suffer from hypertension while 74.3% of women in this group suffer from this condition too. The leading causes of death for people over 65 are heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease. 

While getting older is linked to more health issues, there are ways to age while maintaining good health. Keep reading to learn more about elderly health and how to stay proactive about it. 

Stay Proactive About Your Medications 

The older you get the more prescription medications you might need to take. Certain medications might have side effects on their own or when combined with other medications. You must keep your healthcare provider informed about what you’re taking and what symptoms you might be experiencing. 

Keep a list of medications and any supplements you’re taking and take it with you to every appointment. Your doctor might need to adjust your dosage based on how you’re feeling. Staying proactive about this will help you lead a healthier life. 

Adjust to Change

While this isn’t directly tied to physical health, the way you adjust to change can have an impact on your overall health. Life will come with many ups and downs as you get older, learning to deal with the stress of it can help you live longer. 

Learning to flow with the changes that come will be better for you in the long run. Don’t resist the inevitable because it’ll happen whether you like it or not. Whether it’s losing a loved one or changes to your body, learning to accept these changes with ease is the best thing you can do. 

Eat a Well Balanced Diet

Everyone needs to eat healthy and well-balanced meals. This helps you maintain a good weight, provides you with the necessary nutrients, and helps to prevent chronic illness. 

The older you get the more important it is to incorporate more whole foods into your diet. Things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats are important in helping to reduce your risk of disease. 

Make sure you’re also adding fiber to your diet. As you age, digestive system issues like constipation may arise.

Eating more fiber can help you avoid these troublesome issues. Beans, broccoli, and apples are all foods high in fiber. 

Choose the Best Health Insurance 

With the rising number of health issues that can occur as you age, it’s important to have a great healthcare plan to keep you protected. Once you turn 65 you’ll be able to enroll in Medicare which provides you with coverage for your healthcare needs. 

Choosing a Medicare plan might sound overwhelming but there are great resources available to help you navigate the system and make the best decision for your health. 

There are other services available to older adults so it’s good to stay informed in case you might need them. Transportation services, nutrition programs, and resources for family caregivers are just a few of the services available. 

Practice Gratitude 

Practicing gratitude is one way to age well. The older you get the more challenges you’ll face. It’s easy to see the glass half empty when you’re struggling with something in your life but being grateful will be better for your heart and your body. 

Waking up each day and saying thanks for the things you do have, the people in your life, and the wisdom you gain each day can make a drastic difference in how your day goes. It can make a difference in how the events in your life unfold too. 

Maintain an Exercise Routine 

Physical fitness is an important part of a healthy life for people of all ages. It can help you stay at a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease. It can also help you destress. 

These are all important things you should strive for as you get older and your risk for illness increases. You should strive for 30 minutes of exercise each day. 

You can break up your daily increase into shorter intervals if you want so long as you get your heart pumping and break a sweat when exercising. Exercise will also keep your muscles and bones healthy. 

See Your Doctor Regularly 

As you get older it’s more important than ever before to see your doctor regularly. Getting your blood pressure monitored will help to catch any problems early on. 

Your doctor should also send you to get other preventative examinations that can catch early signs of issues that can become serious if left untreated. You should get blood work to check your cholesterol levels during your yearly checkup as well. 

During a physical exam and with some blood tests your doctor can rule out any serious illness or can help you regulate any illnesses you already have. During the visit, you’ll find out if you need to start a new medication regime or if changes in dosage are necessary.  

Take Care of Your Mental Health 

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health as you age. To age well and stay healthy, you should feel free to express how you’re feeling. 

There are mental health services available to older adults who need them. A trained professional can guide you through any difficulties you might be having and help you find healthy ways to cope. 

Other ways of taking care of your mental health include doing activities that bring you peace. You can try doing some yoga which can help reduce stress and increase flexibility. 

Maintain an Active Social Life 

As you age, you might start losing friends and loved ones. Your children grow up and move out on their own, you might have lost a spouse or close friend to illness. 

These experiences can lead to loneliness. This is why it’s important to maintain a connection to friends and family. If you live alone you can try volunteering your time or joining a club for older adults. 

Many older adults like to adopt a pet. Pets can provide companionship and providing care for another living being can give you a new sense of meaning as you get older. 

Stay Proactive About Preventing Falls 

Seniors are at a higher risk of falling and breaking a bone. A broken bone when you’re an elder does not heal as quickly as it did when you were younger. Make sure you’re doing things to help you stay strong and prevent falls. 

Eat foods high in calcium and vitamin D to maintain good bone health. Milk, fatty fish, and eggs are good sources of these nutrients. 

Exercise and yoga are known to improve balance and can decrease your chance of falling. Get your yearly eye exam to make sure you’re seeing clearly or if you might need new glasses. When you can see well you’re less likely to fall. 

Try to Have a Positive Mindset 

You might be telling yourself that age is just a number the older you get. There is some truth in that saying. Your mindset has a huge influence on your health and how you live your life from day to day. 

Maintaining a positive attitude can drastically change how you feel. While this isn’t meant to minimize any pain or suffering you’ve gone through, doing your best to see everything you experience in a positive light can help you be a healthier person. 

Take the Necessary Supplements

While it’s best to get all the nutrients and vitamins you need from a healthy and balanced diet, there are certain nutrients you might need to get from supplements when you get older. 

Vitamin B6 helps your body maintain a healthy count of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 isn’t as easily absorbed from food by older adults so taking it in the form of a supplement is something you might want to consider. 

You might not be getting enough calcium from your food to maintain strong bones so this might be a supplement you’ll need to start taking. Make sure to ask your doctor before taking any new supplements as some are known to interact negatively with certain medications. 

Start a New Hobby

The older you get the more free time you might find yourself with. Instead of staying home, you might consider starting a new hobby. This can help keep you healthy by keeping your mind at work and allowing you to interact with other people. 

A new hobby is a great way to challenge yourself and find new meaning. Your never too old to learn something new and staying inquisitive about the world around you will keep you healthy and improve your quality of life. 

Maintain a Good Sleep Schedule 

Sleep is vital for living a healthy life at any age. It’s especially important the older you get because it can help prevent depression, lower inflammation, and keep your immune system strong. 

Adults over 65 should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. The inability to get a good night’s sleep might increase as you age but trying to go to bed and wake up at the same time can help you maintain a good sleep schedule.

Try not to nap too much during the day and turn off all electronics an hour before bed. 

Do Activities That Keep Your Mind Active 

Exercise for your mind is just as important as exercise for your body. Keeping your mind active can prevent memory problems that tend to occur in older age. 

Some activities that can help keep your brain working are doing crossword puzzles or learning a new sport. Doing something creative is another way to maintain a sharp mind. Painting or embroidery are great ways to continue to use your brain as you age. 

Quit Any Bad Habits 

Aging well also means quitting any bad habits that can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health. Smoking or excessive drinking can cause a host of illnesses that can shorten your life. 

While everyone loves a good slice of pizza or burger, try minimizing these kinds of food to rare occasions. Eating the same way you ate in your 20s doesn’t work when you’re older. 

Travel More Often

After dedicating an entire lifetime to your career and raising a family, you’ve reached the age where you can retire. You’ll probably be looking forward to having more free time in retirement. 

With this free time, you’ll be able to travel to all the places you never had the time to before. Traveling is a way to stay healthy because it allows you to continue to grow and learn even at an older age. 

New experiences in new cities can provide meaning as you learn more about yourself and the things you love to do. 

Spend More Time in Nature 

Spending more time in nature has many great health benefits. It can provide the vitamin D that your body needs naturally, from the sun. Spending time in nature is also a great way to unwind and de-stress. 

Spending too much time indoors can lead to depression but you can lower your risk of developing this mental health condition by spending some time outdoors each day. 

Follow These Tips to Maintain Good Elderly Health 

Aging can bring a lot of scary changes but the key to elderly health is simple. The tips listed in this guide can help to maintain good health and lead a fulfilling life as you age. 

Did you find this article informative? Make sure to check out some of the other health blogs on our site to learn more.

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