Home Health 7 Health Tips for Elderly People

7 Health Tips for Elderly People

Do you relish the thought of growing old or do you dread the changes that come with it? Gray hair, wrinkles, poor eyesight, and physical weakness are common to aging but with a healthy lifestyle, regular check-ups, and proper maintenance, getting older won’t necessarily equate to sickness or poor quality of life.

People from the age of 65 and above comprise the elderly population, which is projected to rise to 98.2 million in the year 2060 in the United States. From this data, 19.7 million will likely live at the ripe age of 85 or older.

The average life expectancy among the elderly rose to 78.8 years in 2014 compared to 74 years during the 1990s.  What this means for you is if you consciously take good care of yourself at 65, then you can reach that life expectancy. You might even blow your birthday cake on your 90th birthday.

Simple Steps to Staying Healthy While Aging

There is no way to stop the body from aging and certain factors beyond your control might impact your health. Still, you hold the key to how long you can enjoy life by taking some simple steps.

  • Cut down on vices and excesses like smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating foods that can accelerate the decline of your health.
  • Maintain an ideal weight for your body type since both weight loss and weight increase can lead to serious health issues.
  • Get enough physical exercise so that your body remains active.
  • Get enough sleep and rest as well to give your body’s cells a chance to rejuvenate to strengthen your immune system.
  • Do mentally stimulating activities like reading books, doing arts and crafts, or listening to music to keep your mind sharper.
  • Avoid stressors around you and keep a positive outlook on life.
  • Visit your health care provider for regular check-ups, screenings, guidance, recommendations, and preventive care.

Common Problem Areas in Older People’s Health

The health risks are higher in old age as chronic and life-threatening conditions become more prevalent. Some common risks to aging, therefore, shouldn’t be overlooked because that’s when the body’s deterioration begins.

SKIN. It’s normal for old people to develop wrinkles, sagging skin, spots, and blemishes as the skin loses its elasticity and luster with age. You can, however, slow down the appearance of skin problems with proper skincare. 

Protect your skin from damage with regular application of sunscreen, moisturizers, or lotion. If you notice unusual or irritating spots, tags, and pigmentation, then consider a visit to the dermatologist to check for skin cancer.

TEETH. Tooth decay and cavities occur at any age, hence you need to consistently follow proper dental hygiene to avoid tooth loss. A minor oral problem in older people, however, might develop as gum disease that can affect chewing, swallowing, or talking. Don’t ignore this and get a dental check-up as soon as possible.

 If you’re taking maintenance or prescription medications, you might be prone to dry mouth, cracked lips, soreness, or oral sensitivity. These discomforts can be alleviated with regular dental visits.

BONES. As with the teeth, the protection that covers the bones eventually thins out due to aging.  The bones become fragile and brittle, while the joints become susceptible to inflammation. Osteoporosis and arthritis are commonly associated with old age but you can reduce these risks by eating foods rich in calcium and doing regular exercises to boost strength and endurance.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. Older people experience constipation more frequently than younger people because of factors like lack of fiber in the diet, long periods of inactivity, and medication. If you suffer from persistent constipation coupled with bloating, gas, and cramps, however, it’s best to have this checked as it might be a symptom of diverticular disease of the colon that comes with weakened intestinal walls due to aging.

NERVOUS SYSTEM. Reflexes, memory, and senses like hearing, seeing, and tasting are no longer sharp in old age because the brain takes a longer time to react to stimulants or to process brain activity.  Ten percent of people above 65-year-old are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia and this is a pressing concern among caregivers and health workers in the United States. Reduce your risks with physical activity, a balanced diet, and regular brain workouts.

HEART. The walls around the heart thicken as fat deposits build up over the years and it causes the heart to slightly enlarge among older people. This is partly the reason you experience shortness of breath after going up the stairs, for example.

An enlarged heart with clogged arteries forces the heart to work double-time in pumping blood in the system. Diet change, weight loss, and medication will help ease cardiovascular issues but you will also need to regularly monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels to catch any signs of heart disease.

Healthy aging is possible if you set your mind and will to commit to it. There are people who do live to be in their ‘70s, ‘80s, or ‘90s, while still sharp as a tack or strong as a horse.