Aging causes many changes in the human body. Some things occur due to genetics or lifestyle choices, but others are simply a part of nature. Even healthy, active people need to be mindful of their medical care when they get older.
You can’t control everything, but there are things you can do to lower medical risks and protect yourself from common health concerns. Starting as early as possible will give you the best chance of remaining healthy and mobile for years.
Whether you are just entering your golden years or have been there for a while, it’s never too late to improve your wellness. Find out what you can do now to take control of your health.
Eat a Nutritious Senior-Friendly Diet Every Day
A nutritious diet is important at any age, but seniors face more health risks that diet can make better or worse. Older adults should eat high-fiber foods like wholegrain breads, nuts, seeds, and beans. Fried foods are not recommended. Instead, look for dishes that are grilled, boiled, or broiled for maximum benefit.
Also, monitor your fluid intake. Vitamin D-fortified low-fat milk or non-dairy almond, rice, or soy drinks with vitamin D and calcium added are good choices for bone health.
Elderly people tend to not feel thirsty as often as younger people, but still need to drink water to stay hydrated. Talk to your doctor about the right amount and type of fluids to drink if you have bladder problems.
Make sure your diet meets your individual health needs, like allergies or diabetes. If you are a resident in an assisted living community, most facilities will provide special menu items for seniors with dietary restrictions. Having a professional who prepares food for you helps when it comes to healthy eating.
Make Exercise a Normal Part of Your Week
Physical activity helps keep the body in good shape. It also has mental health benefits. People who exercise tend to feel better and are less likely to experience aches and pains. Regular exercise keeps the body limber and strong, which helps to maintain mobility as we age.
Remember to stick with a workout that is safe for you based on your ability level. Seniors who have trouble with balance or strength can still exercise. However, they should stick with exercises that won’t put them at risk for a fall or injury. Seated chair exercises are a good choice.
Seniors should also look for low-impact activities that won’t put too must stress on the joints. Good choices include Pilates, Yoga, swimming, walking, and cycling. Your doctor can recommend exercises that are ideal based on your mobility and health status.
Residents in assisted living usually have access to an event calendar that includes group workouts and fitness classes. These are great opportunities to stay fit and socialize.
All seniors should consult a doctor before making any significant changes to their exercise routine.
Keep Your Weight Where Your Doctor Says It Should Be
Pay close attention to your weight. Your doctor can recommend an ideal weight range based on your build, height, and age. Weight gain is common among older populations who may become more sedentary due to health problems or limited mobility.
Obesity in seniors raises the risk of several serious health conditions including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Weight loss is also a concern. A noticeable drop in weight can indicate an underlying health problem. Seniors should schedule a doctor’s appointment right away if they notice an unexplained change in their weight. Catching problems earlier increases the chances of a better outcome.
Be Proactive About Socializing and Building Friendships
Did you know that our social lives have an impact on our health and wellbeing? Social isolation has been linked to health conditions. Those with poor social relationships were 32% more likely to have a stroke and 29% more likely to develop heart disease.
Loneliness also increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Mental health has a direct impact on quality of life and can also have a physical effect. If you or someone you love is isolated or showing signs of depression, seek professional assistance right away.
One of the biggest benefits of living in a retirement community are the social gatherings. Residents are always close to a group of peers and others who they interact with every day. Staff can monitor health and provide more interactions to prevent isolation.
Most facilities host weekly and monthly events, parties, and groups. Residents can join in to meet new people and extend their social circle in a safe, comfortable environment.
Schedule All Recommended Health Screenings and Check-ups
Regular health screenings and check-up appointments are essential to taking control of your health. Catching health problems sooner will give your doctor a better chance at finding a treatment option that works.
If you aren’t sure where to start, begin with a basic check-up with your general practitioner. While at the appointment, talk to your doctor about your health risks and which screenings you need to schedule. They can also suggest how often you should schedule each screening.
Remember to also check in with your dentist and eye doctor. Most adults should have an exam every two to three years but may need to do so sooner if they have health concerns.
Stay Mentally Active with Brain Games and Activities
Your physical and mental health are connected. Keep your brain active with thinking games and activities. Staying sharp with these kinds of exercises helps improve memory and overall mental health. They also reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Seniors can use brain games to monitor their health. If you struggle with activities that were not a problem before, seek medical advice. The signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can start as subtle difficulties with familiar tasks.
Mental activities can be lots of fun. Find something that you enjoy that will keep your brain working. Good choices for seniors include:
- Word puzzles
- Memory games
- Trivia games
Choose a Living Situation That’s Safe for You
A big part of taking control of your health and wellness is knowing when you need more support. Even a healthy adult will notice physical changes as they age. Those changes can make it harder to do the things that a person has to do to stay healthy each day.
An assisted living community is a great alternative that puts you in control of your health. These facilities are designed to be safe and accessible for seniors of all ages and mobility levels.
If you have questions about assisted living, let us know. Visit Vista Living Senior Care to find out how we can help you stay in control of your health.