Written by Jason Lewis
Advancements in medical science and technology have steadily increased the average life expectancy in the United States, which today stands at 78.6 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, increased life expectancy has made it all the more important for seniors to take control of their physical and mental health if they expect to maintain an acceptable quality of life during their later years.
Staying healthy in body and mind requires a combination of physical activity, mental engagement, strategic and intelligent use of technology, and having the foresight to make prevention and early intervention priorities in your health regimen.
Be sure to see your doctor on a regular basis, especially if you suspect that something might be wrong. Early intervention is key to the successful resolution of many health problems, so don’t be afraid to share any concerns and symptoms with your healthcare provider. Your doctor needs to be fully apprised of any and all medications and supplements you’re taking to identify whether they’re working against each other and causing problems.
Seniors also need to be tested for bone density and osteoporosis to help prevent falls and other related problems. Regular doctor appointments are also a chance for seniors to discuss any environmental problems they may be having at home, such as mobility issues, weakness, dizziness, and anything else that could compromise your safety.
Staying physically active is important for your overall well-being; it gives you energy and helps keep muscles and joints strong and flexible. Exercise makes you feel positive and motivated to stay active. If certain forms of movement are a problem, you can still get exercise without a full-body workout — consider doing chair yoga or chair calisthenics if your mobility is limited.
Join in a senior exercise class or go swimming at your local fitness center with friends. Whatever you do, the key is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Nutrition and a balanced diet are also vital factors in staying healthy and happy in your senior years. Avoid empty calories and get plenty of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean meats, which will help you avoid illness, control cholesterol, and keep your energy levels up.
Approximately 90 percent of seniors prefer aging in place, according to the American Association of Retired Persons, and technology has made that possible for many older Americans thanks to medical alert devices, home monitoring systems, and other developments that allow loved ones to keep tabs on older relatives. If you’re looking for the best medical alert system for your situation, or if you’re an elderly relative helping a relative maintain their independence, read up on senior home security, including response times, pricing, and purchase options.
Seniors may be retired, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be affected by stress and anxiety. The uncertainty of one’s living situation or constant worry about in-home safety and mobility problems can produce debilitating stress symptoms. Exercise can go a long way toward reducing stress, but there are other ways to alleviate stress if regular exercise isn’t an option. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and careful stretching can also help you feel more relaxed.
Seniors need restful, restorative sleep every night as much as they ever have. If you're having problems getting to sleep, consult with your doctor about overcoming insomnia and other problems associated with sleep deprivation. Try sticking to a regular bedtime routine and include soothing activities that help you feel sleepy, like reading or taking a warm bath before bed.
You can take control of your health and well-being even if you’re not as mobile or limber as you once were. Staying active and engaged are important from a physical and mental standpoint and the key to maintaining a positive outlook and healthy quality of life as you grow older.
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Disclaimer: The information does not express the opinions of Origin or its employees and is not endorsed by Origin.
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