Diet, vitamins, exercise and pre-emptive safety measures; here’s how to live a happier, healthier, longer life in your own home.
Ageing is a natural part of life, and no matter how long we try and ward it off, it comes for us all. However, the mental and physical decline we often associate with old age is very much more under our control. Getting older doesn’t have to come hand-in-hand with poor health. According to Age UK there are currently 11.4 million people aged 65+ in the UK, a figure set to pass the 20 million mark by 2030. People are living longer, so staying mentally and physically healthy is more important than ever.
- 9 good ways to stay healthy in old age
- Password Protected
- Why is A Healthy Lifestyle so Important, Especially in Old Age?
- What Changes Occur As We Get Older?
- You Are What You Eat
- Stay as Active as Possible
- The Senior’s Guide to Staying Healthy Year-Round
- 1. Get active
- 2. Take supplements as necessary
- 3. Eat a healthy diet
- 4. Wash your hands frequently
- 5. Learn how to manage stress
- 6. Get plenty of rest
- 7. Take steps to prevent infections
- 8. Schedule annual physicals
- 9. Avoid contact with people who are sick
- The takeaway
- Ten Tips for Healthy Aging
- 1. Live an active life
- 2. Eat healthy foods
- 3. Maintain your brain
- 4. Cultivate your relationships
- 5. Get enough sleep
- 6. Reduce stress
- 7. Practice prevention
- 8. Take charge of your health
- 9. Make community connections
- 10. Complete your Advance Directive
- How to Maintain Healthy Lifestyle during Old Age
- Regular health checkups
- Regular eyesight, hearing and dental checkups
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Stay physically active
- Sound sleep
- Quit smoking
- 10 Healthy Habits for Seniors to Keep
- 10 Healthy Habits for Seniors
- 7 Steps to Healthy Aging, Happy Aging
- Keys to Aging Well
- Developing Simple Yet Healthy Habits
- Safety Tips for Seniors Who Live Alone
- Seniors’ Best Tips for Healthy Living
- How a Caregiver Can Help with an Older Adult’s Healthy Lifestyle
- Healthy Living Tips for Seniors
- 7 Essentials for Seniors to Stay Happy & Healthy as They Age
- Similar articles
9 good ways to stay healthy in old age
1. Mediterranean diet
The latest estimates suggest that 1.3 million people over 65 suffer from malnutrition, and over 60% of both older men and women suffer with abnormal blood pressure, which is something your diet has a real impact on. Senior obesity is a real problem too, costing the NHS over £5 billion annually. Medical Daily are one of many who recommend a Mediterranean diet in older age, rich in whole grains and nuts, heart-healthy fish, olive oil and vibrant fresh veg. A diet like this has been proven to help you live a longer and healthier life, even if it doesn’t always come with the Mediterranean sunshine.
2. Vitamin supplements and hydration
It’s common for older people to have specific micronutrient deficiencies. Key culprits are:
- Folate deficiency
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Protein Calcium
In an ideal world, we’d get all the nutrients we need from our diet, but this can sometimes be challenging. For the elderly, when these nutrients are more vital than ever for maintaining heart, bone and general health, taking a vitamin supplement is often a wise solution. In addition, with water making up over 75% of our body mass, keeping hydrated is very important. De-hydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, confusion and loss of appetite. Everyone’s needs are different, so talk to your GP about the vitamin supplements that are right for you.
3. Stay active
Exercise can feel like the last thing you want to do, especially if you’re starting to feel the aches and pains of older age settling in. Make time for it though, because it really does make a huge difference to your health. So much so, that a recent study found that only 30 minutes exercise a day reduces symptoms of arthritis by 47%, anxiety by 48%, dementia and Alzheimer’s by 50% and diabetes by 58%. You don’t have to make big dramatic changes if you live a sedentary lifestyle. Simply walking to the shops instead of driving, cleaning the house, spending an hour gardening or walking can make all the difference. The key is to avoid spending all day sitting.
4. Regular check-ups
If you’re anything like me, getting check-ups falls to the back of the priority list unless there’s something concrete actually wrong. When you get older, though, having regular check-ups is critical to ensuring everything is running as it should be, and catching any problems long before they have a chance to take hold.
5. Elder-proof your home
It’s the seven ages of man, I know, but it is true to say that we get clumsier as we age, and less able to bounce back after a fall. In fact, around a third of all people over 65 fall each year, and falls are the single largest cause of emergency hospital admissions amongst the elderly. Studies have found that a falls prevention strategy could reduce this number by up to 30%, so play your part and tidy loose wires, loose bits of carpet, broken railings – anything that could trip you up or catch you unawares later. It’s also worth regularly checking your fire and carbon monoxide alarms.
6. Get enough sleep
You’ve likely heard this one your whole life, but it’s only more important as you get older. Not getting a solid 8 hours or more can lead to depression, inattention, clumsiness, memory problems and the like. Getting enough sleep is an easy way to keep healthy in old age.
7. Train your brain
Whether it’s Sudoku or crosswords, brain-training games or puzzles, keeping your brain sharp plays a critical part in helping ward off memory loss as you get older. Although brain training games and the like aren’t a guaranteed panacea to memory loss,something nearly 35% of adults over 85 suffer with, they’re certainly worth doing.
8. Stay sociable
Being socially active is one of the most important things older people can do to keep healthy, both mentally and physically. Being part of a community and doing things you love helps you find meaning and joy in your life, avoid loneliness and re-energise. Make it a habit to reach out to someone you know every day, whether that means popping to the shops with your neighbour, having a coffee with an old friend or volunteering as part of a local group.
9. Make Provisions
It might be a long way away yet, but wondering what will happen to us when we pass, and to those we leave behind, can be a real worry. Avoid the unnecessary stress by taking the appropriate precautions now: write your will, sort out any paperwork, generally get your important affairs in order. It might be tempting to put this off, but burying one’s head in the sand won’t stop the indomitable beat of time. It’s worth doing, if only so you never need worry about it again. It’s too true that ‘time and tide wait for no man’, but ageing doesn’t have to be synonymous with decline. Keep your golden years golden by following these 9 tips, and maintain your mental and physical health.
Why is A Healthy Lifestyle so Important, Especially in Old Age?
Today, people, in general, have a longer life expectancy. Moreover, according to research analysis led by Mini Jacob, who completed the study during her doctorate, the correlation between a healthy lifestyle and minimal years of disability is undeniable.
Jacob and her colleagues examined data collected over 25 years. The participants were people aged 65 or above and were neither institutionalized nor wheelchair dependent when the study began.
The participants were spread across 4 counties. The analysis showed that those who had the healthiest lifestyles had longer lives and also experienced fewer years of being ill compared to their unhealthy counterparts.
Doesn’t that inspire you to focus on a healthier lifestyle? The good news is that it is never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle.
According to Dr. Margaret Moore, who is an advisor for the Healthy Aging Program for the Center for Disease Surveillance and Prevention (CDC), there are a variety of ways to improve your health through a healthy diet, exercise and more, even well into old age.
What Changes Occur As We Get Older?
Even at a younger age, a lack of physical activity and regular exercise, as well as a poor diet can contribute toward high blood pressure, heart disease and heart attacks, a lack of sexual activity, and a poor health-related quality of life.
Therefore, for us to really appreciate the value of a healthy lifestyle as older adults, it is important that we acknowledge the changes that occur within us as we age. When you are aware of the changes, then they will not surprise you.
These life changes are both physical and emotional. Emotionally, we struggle with the loss of loved ones, our careers, and our independence. Physically, our bodies are not as vibrant as when we were younger.
Despite these changes, a quality and fulfilling life is still within our reach. In this article, we look at the ways to live our life during our hay days by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
You Are What You Eat
Now more than ever it is important to have healthy eating habits. However, as your age progresses some changes happen, such as a slower metabolism as well as changes in your sense of smell and taste which can affect your appetite.
You may have a hard time shopping for food and preparing it. In this case, you could reach out to a family member or your health provider. The good news is that there are programs in many communities that provide healthy food to older people.
If you are able to make your own food, it’s key that your diet is high in fiber, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein (meat). These foods will keep you energetic while also aiding your slow digestion.
Be sure to hydrate even when you do not feel thirsty, water keeps your energy levels up while also making your skin smooth and looking young. It is important to make your food taste and look good to encourage your appetite.
Another fun thing is to eat with friends, family, or a neighbor. This way, you get to keep in touch with them and you are more encouraged to eat despite your reduced appetite.
Another benefit of eating right is that you get to maintain a healthy weight, which then decreases your risk of certain types of arthritis and diabetes. Avoid smoking—cigarettes are seriously harmful to your body.
They predispose you to lung cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and bronchitis. The chemicals in cigarettes also damage the skin making you look older than you actually are.
Stay as Active as Possible
A study conducted in Sweden found exercise to be the number one contributor to long life. It adds more years to your life. If you have not been exercising before, it is never too late to start.
Dr. Camel Dyer a geriatrician in Houston said that she has seen patients start the physical exercise in their 70s and reap great benefits.
Exercise has many benefits, including:
The Senior’s Guide to Staying Healthy Year-Round
No matter your age, it’s important to take care of your body and prevent illness.
But if you’re 65 or older, something as simple as the flu or a common cold can progress and lead to complications. This includes secondary infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, an ear infection, or a sinus infection. If you have a chronic condition such as asthma or diabetes, a respiratory illness can make these worse.
Because of this, it’s important to make healthy choices to strengthen your immune system and reduce the likelihood of illness.
Follow these nine tips to stay healthy year-round.
1. Get active
Physical activity is an immune system booster. The more you move, the more your body is able to fight inflammation and infections.
The activity you partake in doesn’t have to be strenuous. Low impact exercises are effective, too.
You might consider biking, walking, swimming, or low impact aerobics. If you’re able to, engage in moderate intensity exercise for about 20 to 30 minutes a day to reach the recommended total of 150 minutes a week. Also, strengthen your muscles by lifting weights or doing yoga.
Modify your exercise routine to find what feels best for you.
2. Take supplements as necessary
Some supplements help support a healthy immune system. Before taking a supplement, always ask your doctor if it’s safe, especially if you’re taking a prescription medication. Some supplements they may recommend include calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B6, or vitamin B12.
Take supplements or multivitamins as instructed to boost your immune system.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats also give your immune system a boost and protect against harmful viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage and keep your body healthy.
You should also limit your consumption of sugary and fatty foods, which can trigger inflammation in the body and lower your immune system.
In addition, limit your intake of alcohol. Ask your doctor about safe amounts of alcohol to drink per day or week.
4. Wash your hands frequently
Washing your hands on a regular basis is another excellent way to stay healthy year-round. Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. It’s possible to become ill if you touch a virus-covered surface and contaminate your hands, and then touch your face.
Wash your hands with warm soapy water often, and for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your nose, face, and mouth with your hands.
You can also protect yourself by using antibacterial hand sanitizer when you’re unable to wash your hands. Also, disinfect surfaces around your home and workstation frequently.
5. Learn how to manage stress
Chronic stress increases your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can disrupt different functions in your body, including your immune system.
To reduce stress, increase physical activity, get plenty of sleep, set reasonable expectations for yourself, and explore relaxing, enjoyable activities.
6. Get plenty of rest
Not only can sleep reduce your stress level, but sleep is how your body repairs itself. For this reason, getting an adequate amount of sleep can result in a stronger immune system, making it easier for your body to fight off viruses.
Sleep is also important as you get older because it can improve memory and concentration. Aim for at least seven and a half to nine hours of sleep per night.
If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor to find the underlying cause. Causes of insomnia can include inactivity during the day and too much caffeine. Or it can be a sign of a medical condition like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.
7. Take steps to prevent infections
Getting annual vaccinations is another way to stay healthy throughout the year. If you’re age 65 and older, talk to your doctor about getting a high-dose or adjuvant flu vaccine.
Flu season is between October and May in the United States. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective, and it reduces the risk of the flu by 40 to 60 percent when the vaccine strains match the circulating strains.
The flu virus changes each year, so you should get the vaccine yearly. You can also talk to your doctor about getting pneumococcal vaccines to protect against pneumonia and meningitis.
8. Schedule annual physicals
Scheduling a yearly checkup can also keep you healthy. Always speak with your doctor if you have concerns about your health.
Conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can go undetected. Regular physical examinations will enable your doctor to diagnose any problems early. Getting early treatment may prevent long-term complications.
Also, if you have any cold or flu symptoms, see your doctor immediately. The flu virus can lead to complications in adults over the age of 65. The immune system weakens with age, making it harder to fight off the virus.
If you see a doctor within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms, they can prescribe an antiviral to reduce the severity and length of symptoms.
9. Avoid contact with people who are sick
Another way to protect yourself year-round is to avoid being close to people who are sick. This is easier said than done. But if there’s a flu outbreak in your area, limit contact with people who aren’t feeling well and avoid crowded areas until conditions improve.
If you must go out, protect yourself by wearing a face mask. If you’re caring for someone with the flu, wear a face mask and gloves, and wash your hands frequently.
The flu and other viruses can be dangerous as you become older. You can’t prevent all illnesses, but taking a proactive approach can strengthen your immune system.
A strong immune system can keep you healthier and make you less susceptible to illnesses throughout the year.
Ten Tips for Healthy Aging
1. Live an active life
Regular exercise is one of the greatest keys to physical and mental wellbeing. Living an active life will help you stay fit enough to maintain your independence to go where you want to and perform your own activities. Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from many common chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and arthritis, to name a few.
Tips: The key is to stay active, so do something you will enjoy. If you are not the type of person who will stick to a regular gym routine, go on a walk or ride your bike every day instead. Try to incorporate aerobic, balance, and musclestrengthening activities into your routine. Think about what works best for you, consult your doctor, and get moving!
2. Eat healthy foods
The majority of adults in the US consume more than double the recommended daily allowance of sodium, which can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular disease; most of this high sodium intake comes from pre-packaged foods and restaurants.
Tips: Eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Avoid sweet, salty, and highly processed foods. Keep in mind that each person has different dietary needs – follow your doctor’s suggestions regarding dietary restrictions
3. Maintain your brain
One in eight older adults (aged 65+) in the United States has Alzheimer’s disease, and some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging. Studies have shown that a lifestyle that includes cognitive stimulation through active learning slows cognitive decline.
Tips: Never stop learning and challenging your mind! Take dance lessons, learn a new language, attend lectures at a local university, learn to play a musical instrument, or read a book.
4. Cultivate your relationships
Twenty-eight percent of older adults live alone, and living alone is the strongest risk factor for loneliness. Common life changes in older adulthood, such as retirement, health issues, or the loss of a spouse, may lead to social isolation.
Tips: Maintain communication with your family and friends, especially after a significant loss or life change. Schedule regular time to meet with friends and family – over coffee, during a weekly shared meal, or around a common interest. Reach out to friends who might be isolated or feel lonely.
5. Get enough sleep
Humans can go longer without food than without sleep. Older adults need just as much sleep as younger adults – seven to nine hours per night – but often get much less. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems.
Tips: Develop a regular schedule with a bedtime routine. Keep your bedroom dark and noise-free— avoid watching television or surfing the internet while in bed. Stay away from caffeine late in the day.
6. Reduce stress
As we age, our stressors change and so does our ability to deal with stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. In fact, it is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress.
Tips: We cannot entirely avoid stressful situations but we can learn better techniques to cope with stress. Take care of yourself when you are stressed by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods. Talk to a loved one or counselor about your stress, and try some relaxation techniques, such as circular breathing, yoga, or meditation. Remember to always keep things in perspective – try to accept and adapt to the things you cannot control.
7. Practice prevention
Many accidents, illnesses, and common geriatric health care conditions, such as falls, chronic illness, depression, and frailty, are preventable.
Tips: To prevent illness, get a yearly flu vaccine and wash your hands after using the restroom and before handling food. To prevent a fall, complete a home safety checklist, use assistive devices, wear appropriate footwear, get your vision checked, take vitamin D and calcium, and get some form of exercises into your routine.
8. Take charge of your health
Most of our health is not controlled by the health care system but by our own actions, our environment, our genes, and social factors. In addition, physicians are not perfect; medical errors do happen. The more patients participate in their own health care, the more satisfied they tend to be with the care they receive.
Tips: Think about the ways that your health can improve by changing your lifestyle, and make those changes. You are your own best advocate. Contact your primary care practitioner for an annual physical or whenever you have a concern about your health, and go to those appointments prepared. Bring a list of your current prescription and non-prescription medications, including herbal supplements; keep a list of your health concerns; and, most importantly, ask questions!
9. Make community connections
Older adults who engage in meaningful community activities like volunteer work report feeling healthier and less depressed. Tips: Join a planning committee, volunteer, take a trip with friends, play cards at your local senior center, or join a book club. Remember that participating in activities should be fun, not stressful!
10. Complete your Advance Directive
The Patient Self-Determination Act gives you the right to participate in your own health care decisions, but you may not always be in a position to make a decision for yourself. You can outline your health preferences and appoint somebody to make a decision in your place when you are unable to by completing your Advance Directive.
Tips: Take the time to understand all of the components of an Advance Directive. Stop by your local care management office or resource center to learn more and fill one out. Keep a copy of your Advance Directive and share one with your health care agent, close relatives, primary care provider, and the hospital where you are likely to receive care in an emergency. Some states and organizations allow you to upload your Advance Directive into an online database.
The Aging Resource Center offers free assistance to anyone wanting to fill out a New Hampshire or Vermont Advance Directive. Contact us for an appointment.
How to Maintain Healthy Lifestyle during Old Age
Longevity could only be a boon if there is an added factor called health. As life exhibit progressive changes in accordance with time, modifications in lifestyle is necessary so as to lead a healthier, happier life. People who follow good health habits in their younger age tend to stay relatively more robust irrespective of their age. But it is never too late for a healthy lifestyle. Following good health habits can help elderly people to find ease in lifestyle. It could even prevent serious health issues.
In a research, it was analyzed that one could add extra five to eight years to their lifespan, by following a healthy lifestyle. Accepting the changes is the first part in acquiring stable health. With aging, there will be variations in blood pressure, heart conditions, and lesser immunity towards illness. These changes can affect both physically and emotionally. Leading a healthier life can boost both the physical and mental state. Healthy eating and regular physical activities are the primary solutions for good health at any age. But with more refined tips and a little more care, older adults can improve their living, leading a healthier lifestyle.
Through this article, let us discuss some valuable tips that could help seniors in achieving a healthier life and to live longer without struggles.
Regular health checkups
Health screenings play an essential role when it comes to old age. Screening should be done for a broad spectrum of diseases and health conditions such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, etc. Regular checkups can reduce the risk of severe illness and could improve health with proper medications and diet.
Regular eyesight, hearing and dental checkups
Older adults should have an eye test and get their prescription reviewed every year, as well as have their eyes screened for health issues such as glaucoma. Having the right pair of glasses can significantly diminish the prospect of falls. Hearing loss occurs commonly with aging, often due to exposure to loud noise. So hearing checkups should be done in a regular interval of time. Visiting the dentist once every six months could exclude the risk of cavities.
Maintaining healthy weight
Obesity and overweight can raise the risk of heart diseases, cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure. Hence it is imperative to manage a healthy weight, and this should be in accordance with the body mass index (BMI). Diet and exercise have a vital role in having a healthy weight. Individual medications should also be considered to balance the lifestyle.
Stay physically active
Even with conventional medications and better health, some people at their old age doesn’t convey much. It is always required to be active, and being active encompasses both mental activeness and physical activeness. Morning/Evening walks and exercise classes can aid in physical activeness. Mental activities could be hastened by having talking sessions with other people, including family members, younger people and people of the same age.
Insomnia and frequent waking in the night are typical among older adults. There is nothing wrong with a nap in the midday to catch up on some snooze, but it’s vital to ensure the room is a calm, quiet and comfortable place for them to get as much sleep as they need. Afternoon naps could help seniors in being active, but frequent naps could result in tiredness.
Smoking is harmful, and for older adults, the consequence is higher. Being old, it is troublesome to regulate the performance of the lungs, and with a constant obsession with smoking, the risk is double. It is always required to keep the lungs protected and hence smoking should be avoided.
10 Healthy Habits for Seniors to Keep
Last Updated: September 26, 2018
Keeping up with the immediate health care needs of our parents and senior loved ones can become an overwhelming task. To help you navigate senior health, A Place for Mom has put together a list of 10 healthy habits for seniors to keep.
Learn more about how to help maintain your parent’s health.
10 Healthy Habits for Seniors
Dental check-ups, medications, physicals – the list of a senior’s health needs go on. Not to mention, a caregiver’s health may suffer in the midst of putting a senior’s health first. How can you make yourself more aware of a senior’s health requirements, especially a senior with chronic illnesses or other serious health issues?
People who had good healthy habits when they were younger tend to become healthy seniors, but it is never too late. Good health habits can make a difference even to seniors who are prone to illness or have not made their health a priority in the past.
Consider these 10 tips for keeping up with the health needs of a parent or senior loved one:
1. Eat healthy.
The digestive system slows down with age, so high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains are as important as ever. Because seniors are prone to dehydration, they should drink plenty of water to stay energized and sharp.
2. Focus on prevention.
Preventative care visits, including health screenings for cholesterol levels, colon cancer, heart problems and more, qualify for Medicare coverage. Seniors also need to get vaccinations that can help prevent influenza and pneumonia.
3. Get information on medication management.
Ask about and review the senior’s medications with their physician on a regular basis. Consider possible drug interactions and take note of any new symptoms (allergic reactions, drowsiness, loss of appetite and others) the senior shows after changing or starting medications.
4. Get some sleep.
Frequent waking and insomnia in the night are common among seniors. Turn the lights down in the evening to spur drowsiness and make sure the senior’s bedroom is comfortable, cool and quiet.
5. Remember mental health.
The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation recommends that seniors do crossword puzzles, read and write and try new hobbies to stimulate their minds and engage with the world around them. Activities like these can ward off a decline in mental health.
6. Screen for vision changes.
Seniors who wear glasses should have their prescription checked every year for changes and have their eyes screened for health issues. Having the right pair of glasses can reduce a senior’s chance of falling.
Time spent with family and grandchildren help seniors feel connected, especially if they have mobility issues. Those visits can also make seniors feel more upbeat, which is the best medicine at any age.
8. Stay physically active.
Exercise not only alleviates depression but improves energy and memory. An exercise program approved by a physician, long walks or short strolls can keep seniors healthier longer.
With their health under control, seniors can do more and stay active, which is important to their overall well-being. Happy, healthy seniors can still present a lot of care challenges, but they can also contribute more to their health, which can give caregivers a little less to worry about.
9. Take advantage of free physicals.
During the first 12 months on Medicare, seniors are offered free physicals. After that first year, they receive free annual wellness visits.
10. Visit the dentist every six months.
Our risk for cavities goes up with age. Plus, many mouth infections can be linked to serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. So seniors should see the dentist regularly.
What other healthy habits do you recommend seniors use to stay fit? Share your suggestions with us in the comments below.
- The Surprising Way Getting Outdoors Improves Your Brain Health
- Ways to Get More Vitamin D to Boost Your Health
- Why Seniors and Their Caregivers Need Flu Shots
7 Steps to Healthy Aging, Happy Aging
Getting older involves change, both negative and positive, but you can enjoy aging if you understand what’s going on with your body and take steps to maintain your health.
Many different things happen to your body as you age. Your skin, bones, and even brain may start to behave differently. Don’t let the changes that come with old age catch you by surprise.
Here are some of the common ones:
- Your bones. Bones can become thinner and more brittle in old age, especially in women, sometimes resulting in the fragile bone condition called osteoporosis. Thinning bones and decreasing bone mass can put you at risk for falls that can easily result in broken bones. Be sure to talk with your physician about what you can do to prevent osteoporosis and falls.
- Your heart. While a healthy diet and regular exercise can keep your heart healthy, it may become slightly enlarged, your heart rate may lower, and the walls of the heart may thicken.
- Your brain and nervous system. Getting older can cause changes in your reflexes and even your senses. While dementia is not a normal consequence of old age, it is common for people to experience some slight forgetfulness as they get older. Cells in the brain and nerves can be damaged by the formation of plaques and tangles, abnormalities that could eventually lead to dementia.
- Your digestive system. As you age, your digestive tract becomes more firm and rigid, and doesn’t contract as often. This change can lead to problems such as constipation, stomach pain, and feelings of nausea; a better diet can help.
- Your senses. You may notice that your vision and hearing aren’t quite as sharp as they once were. You may start to lose your sense of taste — flavors may not seem as distinct to you. Your senses of smell and touch may also weaken. Your body is taking longer to react and needs more to stimulate it.
- Your teeth. The tough enamel that protects your teeth from decay can start to wear away over the years, leaving you susceptible to cavities. Gum disease is also a concern for older adults. Good dental hygiene can protect your teeth and gums. Dry mouth, which is a common side effect of many medications that seniors take, may also be a problem.
- Your skin. With old age, your skin loses its elasticity and may start to sag and wrinkle. However, the more you protected your skin from sun damage and smoking when you were younger, the better your skin will look as you get older. Start protecting your skin now to prevent further damage, as well as skin cancer.
- Your sex life. After menopause, when menstruation stops, many women experience physical changes like a loss of vaginal lubrication. Men may experience erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, both problems can be easily treated.
Many bodily changes are a natural part of aging, but they don’t have to slow you down. What’s more, there’s a lot you can do to protect your body and keep it as healthy as possible.
Keys to Aging Well
While maintaining your physical health is important to healthy aging, it’s also key to value the experience and maturity you gain with advancing years. Practicing healthy habits throughout your life is ideal, but it’s never too late reap the benefits of taking good care of yourself, even as you get older.
Here are some healthy aging tips that are good advice at any stage of life:
- Stay physically active with regular exercise.
- Stay socially active with friends and family and within your community.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet — dump the junk food in favor of fiber-rich, low-fat, and low-cholesterol eating.
- Don’t neglect yourself: Regular check-ups with your doctor, dentist, and optometrist are even more important now.
- Take all medications as directed by your doctor.
- Limit alcohol consumption and cut out smoking.
- Get the sleep that your body needs.
Finally, taking care of your physical self is vital, but it’s important that you tend to your emotional health as well. Reap the rewards of your long life, and enjoy each and every day. Now is the time to savor good health and happiness.
While seniors who live in an assisted-living facility and require long-term care routinely participate in group programs that encourage an active lifestyle, those living at home have to be proactive. According to the CDC, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. today is poor heart health which leads to more serious heart disease.
This is a problem that cuts across the demographic and is not specific to older adults. But as we age, we become more and more susceptible to conditions that come about as a result of poor lifestyle choices. That is why every senior needs to pay close attention to their day-to-day living conditions.
Even if you require long-term care or in-home care, there are healthy habits that you can develop; habits mixed with a little more health care and physical activity that do not require a lot of time nor cause a lot of strain yet offer a great deal of benefits to those who participate.
Walking, for example, is a wonderful lifestyle choice for seniors. Just taking a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood every day combined with a heart-healthy diet can greatly improve your heart’s health and keep conditions such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes at bay.
Developing Simple Yet Healthy Habits
While there are lots of options such as joining a gym or a workout group to keep fit, healthy and social, those seniors who live alone may not have as many opportunities to do so. That, however, does not mean that you cannot develop some simple habits that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle bit by bit every day.
Following are some simple health habits you can start adapting to ensure that you get better as you move deeper into your twilight years:
Get Regular Checkups
This gives you a chance to keep tabs on your physical and emotional health. A trusted physician will also give you advice on the kind of activities you should regularly undertake to regulate or correct any medical conditions that might be developing.
They will also identify and determine what it is you are most at risk of developing and show you how you can either slow it down, treat it, or avoid it all together
Besides, having a regular checkup is a good way to determine where you are at the moment and starting from there as far as healthy living is concerned (just to make sure you do not take on activities that are too rigorous for your current health).
Invest in A Few Health Monitoring Devices
There is a Tractica report that says the number of people relying on technology to monitor their health at home will rise to about 78.5 million come 2020. This is a sharp rise from 14.3 million three years ago (2014). That steep increase shows you just how far technology has come and how beneficial it is to those who can make good use of it.
There are many devices that you can invest in to make your day-to-day life that much easier. Good examples include:
- Withings Pulse Ox: This is a wearable device that gives seniors more control over their own health. It monitors the users’ heart rate, sleep quality, and blood oxygen levels.
- AT&T’s EverThere Emergency Response System: This is a first from AT&T. It is a device that has a call button seniors can press to alert nearby care centers of any emergencies such as falls. It comes fully loaded with an internal GPS for easy location as well as voice command in case the wearer cannot press the emergency button.
- Metria Wearable Sensor: Created by Avery Dennison, this discreet device is a comfortable way for your medical providers to monitor your health. With the ability to stick directly to your body using a skin-friendly adhesive, it collects important medical data such as your heart rate, amount of sleep you get and your blood pressure. Your caregivers can then examine this data to determine the best way forward.
There are many other devices in the market depending on your particular needs.
Practice Convenient Exercising
A big deterrence to exercising is the fact that it can be rather inconvenient. Most seniors immediately get discouraged once they start thinking about changing into their workout clothes, going to the gym, warming up, working out then getting back home to shower and make dinner. It all seems so tedious. Why not, then, take the inconvenience out of your exercising?
As an older adult, you can easily buy a treadmill and place it in front of the TV. This will allow you to get some exercise in while you watch your favorite shows. You don’t even have to make these sessions intensive. Maybe just walk on the treadmill for 30 to 40 minutes every day.
Over time, that routine will greatly improve your physical and even emotional health—all while not missing a single episode of your favorite TV show. What’s more, combining this with a heart-healthy diet is better still. There is a whole list of other things you can do to stay healthy as a senior:
- Quit smoking
- Eat well
- Stay up to date on all your immunizations and health screenings
- Manage your stress by relaxing more, such as a yoga break
- Stay close to friends and family
- Keep your skin healthy and well hydrated
Apart from your health, there are other things that you need to take care of as you age. One of the other most important aspects of your well-being is your safety. Unless you feel safe and secure in your own environment, everything you do to keep yourself healthy will be undermined by the fact that you will be constantly stressed and agitated by your lack of security.
Safety Tips for Seniors Who Live Alone
There is more to staying safe and healthy than just hiring the best home security firms on the market. There are social aspects of the entire process that do more for your mental, emotional and physical health than having an electric fence will ever do. Things like:
Building A Close Circle of Family and Friends
One of the biggest risks to a senior’s mortality rate is isolation. There is a 2012 study that was published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,’ which shows that isolation has a marked impact on the mortality rate of people above 52 years of age. The study showed that isolation increased the mortality rate of isolated seniors and that it also contributed to:
- Poor health
- Cognitive decline
This study shows that maintaining a healthy social life is a great way for seniors to not only stay safe, but active and healthy in a community where they feel accepted, appreciated, and loved. It is also a great way for seniors to develop a sturdy support system that can come in handy should anything go wrong.
Have A Disaster Kit Handy
Disaster often strikes at the least convenient of times. Everyone, especially seniors with special needs, should develop a ‘disaster kit’ that can help them deal or whether any disasters that may come their way.
The best disaster preparedness kits can be used in the event of:
- Natural disasters
- Freezing weather
- Power outages and so on
The kit should include essential survival supplies such as:
- Medical supplies
- Bottled water
- Dried foods
- Matches and so on
Your disaster kit will make life much easier before first responders arrive. Besides, having one will give you the much-needed peace of mind knowing that should anything happen, you can help yourself and survive while you figure things out.
Keep Your Emergency Contacts at Hand
As a senior, especially if you are living alone, you need to have a list of emergency contacts nearby (preferably programmed into your phone—both cell and home phone). This list should include your most reliable family members, your local emergency response professionals such as doctors, firemen and ambulances.
You could also include a few friends who can help get you help when you need it. Think of anyone you would call for help when disaster strikes and put them on the list. If you are going to include individuals on that list, it is best to inform them of the decision and why they are on your list. This way, should that call ever come, they will know what it is about and what to do.
Keep Your Home Secure
It is always a good idea to have a comprehensive home security system installed. This will help you keep your home secure and give you peace of mind. Think of alarm systems, cameras, and a fully operational home security response team should the alarm go off.
Not only is this a good way to keep your personal belongings as well as property secure, but the response team can also be part of your emergency contacts should disaster strike. When it comes to your personal health and safety, it is all about proactivity.
It is your personal duty to keep yourself secure and healthy. These are just some ideas that will help get you started on the right path. Think of other things that are directly relevant to your personal situation and add them to the list of home and health tips in 2018.
Cliff learned firsthand what it means to reverse expectations about aging and later life. When he moved in with his nephew’s family, they expected him to stay in the house most of the time, read books, watch TV, build puzzles, and be around to let the cat in and out. He was as surprised by their expectations as they were to hear that he planned to keep playing golf every week, meeting with his poker group, and dating women from his senior center community. He told them he’d find a way to get to all of these activities, even though he can no longer drive due to his eyesight.
Cliff’s desire to do the things he loves is inspiring at any age. The best healthy living tip for seniors is to stay connected to the activities you love. If you’re feeling resistance because of your own or someone else’s expectations, it’s important to explore that resistance. Ultimately, it’s important to make sure that your passions and your commitment to a healthy, active, connected lifestyle come out on top. Here’s how:
- Practice acceptance and pro-active self-care
- Prioritize socialization over isolation
- Stay on top of healthy lifestyle practices
- Stay active
- Do what you love
Seniors’ Best Tips for Healthy Living
It’s a great idea for caregivers to work with their aging loved ones to find the best healthy living practices suited to the individuals. In many cases, caregivers and older adults can all adopt routines for a healthy lifestyle and feel empowered by self-care together. Here is a closer look at some healthy living tips for seniors.
Practice Acceptance and Pro-Active Self-Care
We go through changes, big and small, throughout our lives. Our later years represent a continuation of those changes, but it’s important that we develop critical and thoughtful awareness of this phase in life. In that way, we can embrace the challenges and the opportunities. We can reach out for the help and the resources to improve our quality of life.
The more an aging adult can accept the particular challenges they now face, the more they’ll be able to recognize the real opportunities before them too. And the better they’ll be able to say “yes” to the services and resources designed specifically to empower aging adults.
Prioritize Socialization over Isolation
One of the biggest challenges seniors face is isolation—whether they live alone or they live in a community but feel out of touch with their experiences and life changes. And isolation can influence physical, mental, and emotional complications. While the best approaches to socialization and community-building will depend on the individual, we have some diverse suggestions for how to get more involved:
- Use a well-rounded approach to combat isolation.
- Find local social groups that are interest-based and interactive.
- Encourage healthy relationship building and evolution.
- Explore virtual senior centers and social media opportunities.
- Check out social day programs in your community.
- Know that there are friendly, welcoming hotlines available for older adults who are lonely or in crisis.
Stay on Top of Healthy Lifestyle Practices
Your body evolves and transforms throughout your life and so should your routines for healthy living. Now is a great time to review an aging loved one’s diet plan, exercise habits, posture and balance, and mental acuity. We suggest this review not so you can determine what’s wrong—rather, so you can identify areas of life that could benefit from a refreshing approach. Here are some helpful ways to encourage healthy habits in different areas of life:
- Consider a new approach to senior nutrition and meal preparation.
- Incorporate more brain foods for memory and mental health.
- Try some exercises for healthy cognition and memory.
- Find creative ways to expand the senses.
- Help an older adult practice exercises designed specifically for balance.
- Be mindful of difficult challenges such as depression.
If you or a loved one has fallen out of practice with an active lifestyle, it can feel extra challenging to get involved again. But the good news is that there are plenty of fun ways to do so, and that makes the transition much more enjoyable. A lot of retired adults find themselves with more free time than they’ve known throughout their lives, and exciting physical activity is a great way to fill that time. And it helps to fulfill all of these five healthy living tips at once! Here are some active opportunities all over the map:
- Experiment with movement and music together for fitness.
- Let swimming and water aerobics open the door for low-impact exercise.
- Practice chair yoga for mindfulness and gentle movement.
- Help an older adult get involved with group fitness classes.
- Discover how to adapt fitness routines for particular limitations.
- Learn how to practice tai chi.
Do What You Love
Cliff is leading the way by committing to the personal and community activities that he loves. We all have favorite pastimes as well as those opportunities we’ve always hoped to get involved in at some point. It’s true that we may face new and unique challenges later in life, but that doesn’t mean we’ve reached a dead end—not by a long shot. This is a perfect time to revive old passions and kickstart new ones too. Help your aging loved one to get in touch with what they really love to do, and help them to get involved with those interests. Here are some ideas that we’re excited about:
- Practice telling and writing your life story.
- Find local gardening opportunities for fresh food and flowers, and make it a cooperative experience with a caregiver and senior working together.
- Take a class and learn a new instrument.
- Try video games for a mental workout!
- Get extra creative with arts and crafts.
How a Caregiver Can Help with an Older Adult’s Healthy Lifestyle
The trick to healthy living later in life is being willing to open up to the nuances of the challenges and opportunities before you. If you’re a caregiver of an aging loved one, you can fill an important role by encouraging them to accept the changes they experience and to look for the solutions and strategies that will help them to lead a bright and thriving life. For our aging loved ones—indeed, for all of us—saying “yes” to the things we love to do is one of the best forms of self-care.
Institute on Aging is committed to helping older adults and caregivers with healthy living tips every day. It starts with our home care and support services and extends to broad programs and resources for our diverse community. Get in touch with us today for more information.
Achieving and maintaining good health is a lifelong journey. Some aspects of wellness stay the same throughout our lives (eating vegetables, exercising regularly), while others are introduced as we age (particular health screenings, preventing falls). But no matter what your age, chances are there are some things you could change in your life to improve your body and mind. If you’re in your sunset years, check out the healthy living tips for seniors below. Our helpful hints and words of wisdom can get you into tip-top shape.
Healthy Living Tips for Seniors
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Your diet should include plenty of vegetables and fruits as well as whole grains, low-fat dairy, seafood, lean meats, eggs, beans, and nuts. It should be rich in fiber, low in fat, and nutrient dense.
- Limit your intake of refined grains. These include white bread, white rice, and pasta. Simply switch these out for whole-grain versions for improved health.
- Limit indulgences. Although you don’t have to cut them out completely, avoid indulgences and guilty pleasures like alcohol, soda, sweets, fast food, and junk food.
- Stay active. Do something every day to stay fit, whether that’s a dance class, a walk after dinner, or some simple stretches.
- Strengthen your heart. Get your heart rate up a few times a week to keep your heart healthy. Ideally, you will perform aerobic exercise at least 150 minutes a week (spread throughout the week).
- Build your strength. Strength training is critical for seniors, because our muscles and bones weaken as we age. Try to strength train at least two days a week.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Learn what a healthy weight range is for your height by talking to your doctor or using a BMI calculator/chart. Then, reach that range and stay within it by eating right and exercising.
- Stretch. Flexibility is increasingly important as we age, and it can prevent dangerous accidents. Do a bit of stretching every day to keep your muscles loose and elastic.
- Visit your doctor regularly. Especially if you have specific health concerns, schedule regular appointments with your general physician, dentist, optometrist, audiologist, etc. Their personalized, professional advice is essential, making this one of our most important healthy living tips for seniors.
- Prevent falls. Falls are much more dangerous as we age, so prevent them by carefully preparing your home. Remove loose carpets and rugs, keep the floors clear and clutter-free, wear supportive shoes with good traction, and keep your hallways and stairs well lit.
- Stay up to date on immunizations and health screenings. As we age, we are urged to undergo more immunizations and health screenings: mammograms, prostate exams, flu shots, etc. Consult with your doctor for more information.
- Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen every day, and be sure to cover your head when you’re in the sun.
- Don’t smoke. Although you may be tempted to say it’s too late, you never know how long you will live. Smoking can cause cancer, strokes, heart failure, and more. If you smoke, do your best to quit.
- Stay connected to friends and family. Keeping in touch with friends and family and socializing regularly is good for your mental health. Plus, it’s fun! Visit your local senior center, volunteer in your community, attend an event, or join a club if you’re having trouble making new friends.
- Manage your stress. To eliminate stress, try engaging in meditation or yoga. Exercise is great as well and will release endorphins. Everyone has their own personal way of relaxing, whether that’s sewing, playing bridge, or going for walks, so find yours and use it to reduce your stress levels.
- Be optimistic. Try to have a positive outlook on life, embracing changes and confronting challenges with courage. Some people find that spirituality is beneficial to this goal.
Use these healthy living tips for seniors to strengthen your body, improve your happiness, and possibly even extend your life. Tackling them all at once can be overwhelming, so we recommend taking it (like all things in life) one step at a time.
Looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville. Our warm and inviting community makes it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. To learn more about our amenities and services, please give us a call at 901-854-6590 or contact us online.
7 Essentials for Seniors to Stay Happy & Healthy as They Age
Jason Lewis September 7, 2018 Wellness Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook
This post was most recently updated on September 13th, 2018
When it comes to healthy aging, research shows that a busy brain and an active lifestyle are important for overall wellness and a happier, more fulfilled life. But for seniors who live alone or far from family, staying socially engaged, mentally stimulated and physically active can be a challenge. Besides a host of health problems, from broken bones and falls to digestive and circulatory issues, seniors are at risk for memory and mood disorders. According the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 6.5 million elderly Americans suffer from depression.
Keeping your brain busy and body active are keys to good health into old age. Whether you’re a caregiver, family member, friend, neighbor or senior, keep these tips in mind to not only help a loved (or yourself!) to stay well – but to thrive – throughout the golden years.
1. Keep moving!
A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association revealed that just one 60-minute dance class a week significantly improved feelings and symptoms of depression in nursing home residents. Walking, swimming and chair exercises (a great option if mobility is a problem) are easy-to-do activities that can keep you feeling good and thinking clearly. Taking an exercise class at a nearby gym or senior center combines exercise with social interaction and makes it easier to stay active for seniors who thrive on contact with others.
2. Spend time with family.
Spending time with family can be a problem if you’re separated from loved ones by distance or when busy lives make it hard for everyone to get together. Fortunately, technology has made it easy to stay in touch. Apps such as FaceTime and Skype put you in touch with family whenever you like, allowing for face-to-face contact and some valuable personal time. For example, grandchildren can show you their artwork rather than describing it over the phone. Social media is another convenient way to stay involved with loved ones.
3. Play brain games.
Games may seem like a trivial pursuit when it comes to staying mentally active, but jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, Soduki and word games keep you thinking and learning. Consider starting a bridge or bunco club with friends so you can catch up on everyone’s lives and share problems while you play. Reading is also an excellent way to stay mentally sharp and pursue intellectual interests. If you prefer to discuss what you’ve read, consider joining a book club and share your thoughts and ideas with others. Staying mentally and socially active makes you less vulnerable to dementia and general mental decline.
4. Become a volunteer.
Donating your time to others who need help is a personally rewarding way to stay engaged and physically active. And there are many ways you can help local charities by donating your time or personal resources. Bear in mind that a lack of mobility needn’t be a barrier to contributing your time. Many organizations need help stuffing envelopes, or you can volunteer by reading to children in a local hospital.
5. Adopt a furry friend
Seniors often thrive on companionship with a dog or cat. Animals are a warm and furry source of unconditional love and support, and it can be personally rewarding to care for a pet. Older adults typically are less depressed and experience less anxiety when they have a dog, cat, fish or other pet to take care of. Think of it as animal therapy.
6. Get quality sleep.
Sleep is a building block of good health no matter your age. It’s rejuvenating, bolsters the immune system, aids cellular health and helps keep you mentally sharp throughout the day. Set up an environment that’s conducive to restful sleep: your bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool, and your mattress should provide proper support to allow you to get quality sleep. If you suffer from back pain, the type and age of your mattress is critical. Foam or memory foam mattresses tend to be the best option, as they help with lumbar support, pressure relief and body contouring. And don’t forget mattress maintenance: foam mattresses can last up to 10 years if you’re diligent about rotating them and keeping them clean.
7. Take dietary supplements.
As we age, it becomes harder for the body to gain many of the benefits derived from healthful foods. Vitamin supplements can help you get the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and phytonutrients your body needs. Supplements can be especially beneficial for seniors whose appetites are not what they used to be (which commonly happens with age). People generally have less need for energy intake as they grow older, due in part to a less-active physical lifestyle. However, eating less means potentially missing out on nutrients necessary to maintain good health.
Probiotics, calcium and vitamin D supplements are especially important for seniors. The central nervous system requires vitamins B2, B6, B12 and C to help for the metabolic processing of dopamine and noradrenaline. The immune system may also be impacted, which leaves seniors dangerously vulnerable to infection and viruses.
Jason is passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free. He created StrongWell to share his tips on senior fitness.
Jason is passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free. He created StrongWell to share his tips on senior fitness.
4 of the Most Common Stomach Woes (and 4 Natural Ways to Solve Them!)
June 20, 2018
Try This Tea-Drinking Ritual to Relieve Stress
March 13, 2017
Bikram Yoga: It’s Getting Hot in Here
August 13, 2012