Young or old, it’s important to take care of yourself and prevent illness. But if you’re a senior, (age 65 or older}, something as simple as a common cold or the flu can progress and lead to complications. This includes secondary infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, an ear infection, or a sinus infection. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or asthma, a respiratory illness can make things worse. Because of this, seniors need to make healthy choices to strengthen their immune systems and reduce the likelihood of illness.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Along with physical activity, eating nutritious food in the correct amounts can help keep you healthy. Many conditions and illnesses including high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis, can be controlled or even prevented with dietary changes and exercise.
Stay Physically Active
Physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight, control or prevent illness, reduce stress, promote better sleep, avoid falls, alleviate depression, and improve energy levels. A fitness plan approved by a physician doesn’t have to be strenuous. Engaging in even low-impact exercises can help to maintain strength, flexibility, and balance and promote heart health.
Focus on Prevention
There are many steps seniors can take to prevent healthcare issues including keeping up to date with preventative care screenings for cancer, cholesterol levels, heart problems, and more. Seniors also need to get vaccinations that can help prevent things like Covid-19, flu, and pneumonia. Protecting your skin from the sun can help prevent skin cancers. It’s also important to prevent injuries from falls by keeping walkways and paths clear in our homes.
Smoking is deadly, it kills by causing strokes, cancer, and heart failure. Smoking can also lead to excessive wrinkling by damaging skin elasticity as well as erectile dysfunction in men due to atherosclerosis. Quitting smoking is a critical step towards improving your health and combatting aging. There are many resources to help you quit.
Learn to Manage Stress
Stress increases the level of cortisol in your body. Too much cortisol can upset different functions in your body including dampening your immune system. To reduce stress you can try relaxation through meditation or mindfulness techniques or by increasing physical activity. Getting plenty of rest is also very important to reducing stress levels and boosting immunity.
Get Regular Check-ups
In addition to regular physical examinations, getting regular hearing, vision, and dental checkups is important to maintaining good health for seniors. Hearing loss occurs commonly with aging, often due to excessive noise exposure, and may be severe enough to warrant a hearing aid. Most people begin to notice changes in their vision by age 50 that may necessitate wearing glasses. Glaucoma and cataracts are common eye problems that can impair vision. Your teeth and gums can last a lifetime if you properly care for them with regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups. With many of these concerns getting treatment early may prevent long-term complications.
Take Your Medications as Prescribed
It is vital to take all of your medications as directed by your healthcare provider. As it is common to have medications prescribed by multiple healthcare professionals, it’s also important to regularly review all of your medications. Consider possible drug interactions and note any new symptoms like allergic reactions, loss of appetite, drowsiness, or others that may have occurred after taking a new medication.
Visits with family and friends can help seniors feel connected, especially if they have mobility issues. Time spent with other people can greatly improve emotional wellbeing and diminish stress caused by loneliness. It’s important for seniors to make time for friends and social contacts and having fun.
Good health habits can make a difference even to seniors who are prone to illness, managing chronic conditions or haven’t made their health a priority in the past. You can’t prevent all illnesses, but taking a proactive approach to healthy living can strengthen your immune system, reduce stress, promote better sleep, prevent injury, alleviate depression, and improve energy levels.
If you’re a senior that’s interested in getting help with healthy aging, contact the caring professionals at River Bend Medical Associates for an appointment today. Our team is committed to delivering compassionate health care for seniors and families. As part of your medical team, we are here to provide you with the best care in all aspects of your health care needs. For more information on our medical practice, or to make an appointment contact River Bend Medical Associates, or call 916-392-4000.