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The older you get, the more important it is to pay attention to your health. Learn about the health issues you should be keeping track of and our suggestions for ways to take care of yourself.
Even the smallest changes in what you eat and drink can improve your health. Explore our suggestions for the types of food you should be eating
– and what to avoid.
The best exercise is the one you enjoy the most. Learn more about the different types of exercise you should include in your routine to stay strong,
safe and independent.
Staying healthy doesn’t mean only taking care of your body – it also means taking care of your brain. Learn about some of the ways you can keep your brain healthy and your mind sharp.
The older we get, the more important it is for us to actively take care of our bodies. For super adults, it can be tricky to know what you should or shouldn’t be doing to stay healthy. To help, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the issues you should be keeping track of:
- Blood pressure: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64% of men and 69% of women between the ages of 65-74 have high blood pressure. Keep track of your blood pressure by visiting a Higi Health Station near you.
- Cholesterol: As we age, our body can’t get rid of cholesterol as well as it used to. Having too much cholesterol in your blood can cause a heart attack or stroke. Generally, the American Heart Association recommends that adults get their cholesterol tested every 4-6 years. For people over the age of 40, health care providers may adjust that schedule depending on risk factors.
- Bone density: If your doctor has prescribed you a bone density mineral screening, don’t skip it! The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests that you repeat a bone density test as frequently as your doctor recommends. According to the foundation, you’ll need a bone density exam if you’re a:
- Woman age 65 or older
- Man age 70 or older
- A woman who’s gone through menopause and has experience other risk factors
- Your spinal X-ray showed a break or bone loss
- You’ve noticed height loss of one and a half inches or more over the span of a year
- Vision: Aging can cause vision problems, but regular screenings can help make your vision last longer. According to the American Academy of Opthalmology, it’s important to have a complete eye exam with your ophthalmologist every year or two after age 65 to check for age-related eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract and other eye conditions.
- Hearing: Around one in three people age 65-74 have some kind of hearing loss. Having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, to respond to warnings, and to hear doorbells and alarms. It can also make it difficult to enjoy spending time with others. If you’re concerned about your hearing, take this quiz and follow the recommended next steps.
- Skin: No matter your age or skin color, it’s important to wear sunscreen regularly. If you’re not sure what kind of sunscreen to use, check out this helpful guide by the AARP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends checking your skin regularly for any unusual moles, growths, or skin changes.
- Teeth: Our dental health can tell us a lot about our overall health – for example, people with gum disease are 2-3 times more likely to have heart disease. Be sure to visit your dentist at least once a year so that they can examine your teeth, gums, mouth and throat.
- Brain: As we get older, it’s normal for us to be forgetful every now and then. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, if you find yourself experiencing the type of forgetfulness that is disruptive to your daily life, you may want to ask your doctor for cognitive assessment. Check your brain’s health by taking a quick, online memory screening.
Exercise can do wonders for your health. It improves your strength and balance, gives you energy, and can help fight off depression. As you get older, you may feel less excited about exercising – but, at this point, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever for your health. According to HelpGuide, exercise has an added bonus for people over 64 – done properly, it can help you maintain your independence, protect your heart, and reduces your risk for conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
There are four types of exercise you should include in your routine. They are:
- Endurance exercises (like walking, jogging, dancing, or swimming)
- Strength exercises (like lifting weights, push-ups, or sit-ups)
- Balance exercises (like standing on one foot, or walking heel to toe)
- Flexibility exercises (like yoga and stretches)
If you’re chair-bound or have limited mobility, don’t worry! Visit HelpGuide.org to learn more about the types of exercises you can do.
If you’re new to exercising and aren’t sure how to get started, talk with your doctor about your goals and how you can meet them.
As we get older, we often face difficulties with balance, walking, and weakness in our lower bodies. This makes us more likely to fall, which can lead to serious health issues, like broken bones and head injuries.
SeniorLiving recommends these helpful steps to make it less likely to fall:
- Get rid of clutter and move furniture that’s in your way.
- Make sure carpeting is secure, and use double-sided tape so your rugs don’t slip.
- Coil telephone and electrical wires close to the wall
- Keep items of your stairs, and fix loose or uneven steps
- Place a non-slip mat in your shower or bathtub
- Use a night light in your bedroom
As we get older, our relationship with food changes. Our bodies need fewer calories and our digestion slows down. Eating nutritious foods, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, helps us stay energized and healthy. Here are some guidelines for the types of food you should be eating:
- Stay away from processed food (anything that comes in a package)
- Eat the rainbow – the more colorful your plate, the healthier it is. For example, studies have shown that blueberries can reduce your blood pressure and risk of diabetes.
- Go easy on the fat. The American Heart Association recommends using vegetable oils like olive oil and canola oil and avoiding saturated fats like cheese and butter.
- Avoid sodas and soft drinks. Studies show that drinking soda every day can increase your risk of stroke – even if it’s diet soda. Water is best, but if you need a pick-me-up, try coffee, tea or flavored seltzers.
- Get your calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium is essential to keeping our bones strong and healthy, and vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium. According to the National Institutes of health, you should be aiming for around 1000 mg of calcium every day, and 600 IU of Vitamin D.
Staying healthy isn’t limited to taking care of your body — it also means taking care of your mind. Fortunately, the majority of things you do that are good for your body, like exercising and eating well, are also good for your brain. No matter your age, there are many things you can do to keep your mind sharp and reduce your risk of diseases like dementia or depression. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends these brain boosting activities:
- Get lots of exercise. Regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body.
- Take a class. Keep your brain active by taking online, at a local community college, or community center.
- Take care of your heart. Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes — negatively impact your cognitive health.
- Wear a helmet. Brain injuries resulting from blows to the head can result in dementia.
- Get some rest. Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.
- Challenge yourself. Doing something new – like a crossword puzzle or building a piece of furniture – has both long and short term benefits for the brain.
- Connect with others. If you can, find social activities that are meaningful to you – whether volunteering, gardening, or spending time with loved ones.