Today there are more than 50 million Americans that are aged 65 and older. And the National Council on Aging found that 80% have at least one chronic condition, such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease. Many of them also deal with physical inactivity, oral health concerns, and behavioral health issues due to their bodies deteriorating with age.
However, just because elderly people are naturally more susceptible to injuries and diseases, it doesn’t mean you can’t live a healthy life. In fact, here are some steps you can take to be more proactive when it comes to your overall wellbeing.
With age, muscle and bone mass tends to decline, resulting in a decrease in physical function and strength. This is why, in a previous post here on Trendy Damsels, we discussed how elderly people are at a greater risk of contracting illnesses and having falls or accidents.
So to improve your physical (and cognitive) function, you should try to exercise at least three times a week. Your focus should be on “multi-component,” as per the World Health Organization. These are exercises that promote balance, coordination, and strengthening muscles, like walking and low-impact aerobics. You can try yoga or lifting light weights if you feel you’re up to it.
Apart from staying active, you also have to eat right if you want to stay healthy. This will boost your immune system and protect you from illnesses. Make sure to follow the “rainbow” method of eating fruits and vegetables, so you can get all the essential vitamins and minerals you need. For example, eating red includes tomatoes and apples (vitamin C), while eating oranges involves carrots and squash (vitamin A).
Avoid red meat too, as your body’s metabolism is a lot slower now that you’re older, making you full easily.
Finally, limit your sugar and sodium intake, and drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.
Scheduling annual visits to the clinic:
Annual visits to your doctor prove to be more beneficial as you grow older. These visits to the clinic can help detect certain health issues early on, which makes them easy to treat and prevent any further complications. However, annual visits are expensive, with a single visit sometimes costing more than $190.
Fortunately, if you’re enrolled in Medicare, you can skip the fees and take advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) feature. Check your local options and find a Medicare package that offers Part B, which the AWV is offered in. If you live in Texas, Kelsey Care Advantage outlines how the “Essential Select” feature covers Part B plus Part D or prescription medicine fees. Meanwhile, in Florida, Wellcare states how Medicare that includes services like telehealth visits and in-home support, could prove beneficial during the pandemic.
Although the AMV is not a head-to-toe physical, it still provides a thorough health risk assessment. This will let you and your doctor create a personalized prevention plan (where you might be recommended a change in diet or exercise) that will help prevent chronic conditions from surfacing.
Keeping in touch:
Maintaining high-quality relationships can do a lot for your well-being — both mentally and physically. In fact, a study by the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center showed that seniors who socialize are less likely to develop cognitive decline, unhealthy habits, and feelings of isolation and loneliness. This results in a lower risk of contracting illnesses, ranging from common colds to heart disease.
Take walks around your neighborhood and strike up a conversation with your neighbors. Spend time with your children and grandchildren if you get the chance. You can also take free classes at the local senior center or church, too, as well as participate in bingo and book clubs if there are any in your neighborhood. Just remember to follow all the basic health protocols whenever you step outdoors!
Following the tips above will help you improve your overall well-being well beyond the age of 65, but only if you make them routine. You just have to remember that everyone is different; so don’t compare yourself to the next person. Listen to your body, and continue doing what feels best for your personal well-being.