Recently I was contacted by another trainer, Jason Lewis, who is the primary care giver to his elderly mother. He asked if he could write a guest article for our blog. As my family recently went through something very similar with our father, I felt that health tips for seniors was a great topic and is a subject that is often overlooked. It is important to keep your health and fitness level in check as you age. So thank you to Jason for his contribution.
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer and caregiver to his elderly mom. He enjoys sharing his fitness knowledge on his website. Strongwell.org
5 Areas of Health Seniors Aren’t Paying Attention To (But Should!)
Eating right and exercising are the foundations of good health, but of course, they’re not everything in terms of staying fit as you age. As we get older, we’re more susceptible to a wide range of health issues. To prevent them, we have to take a proactive approach. If you’re over 60 and you’re not paying attention to these five health concerns, make today the day you start. Here are some great health tips for seniors.
Dry, thin, or blotchy skin isn’t inevitable. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends these measures to prevent skin damage in your 60s and beyond:
- Take gentler baths. Replace fragrant body washes with gentle cleansers, loofahs with soft washcloths, and hot water with warm.
- Prevent sun damage. Sun exposure contributes to thinning skin and age spots. Wear long clothing and hats, and use sunscreen on unprotected skin.
- Humidify and moisturize. Prevent dryness by keeping indoor humidity between 45 to 60 percent and applying fragrance-free moisturizer to the skin.
- Screen for cancer. Regular self-exams and dermatologist screenings for skin cancer should start in your 50s.
Your mouth is the gateway to your body. When your oral health is poor, your whole body suffers. Poor dental health is linked to heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and even depression. In addition to brushing and flossing every day, take these steps to protect your smile:
- Get dental coverage. Original Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, which often makes regular dental checkups unaffordable for many seniors. Neglecting preventive dental care leads to more serious and costly problems, so look into a Medicare Advantage plan or another option for dental coverage.
- Practice good denture care. Oral-B recommends cleaning dentures daily with a soft-bristled brush and water and soaking dentures in denture cleaner when you take them out overnight.
As the immune system weakens with age, digestive health changes. These changes lead to uncomfortable problems such as constipation and diverticulitis. Improving gut health prevents digestive problems, and the benefits go beyond the bathroom: A healthy gut microbiome also improves your moods. Here’s where to start:
- Eat probiotic foods. Foods with live, active cultures, like yogurt and kefir, introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut microbiome.
- Take probiotics supplements. Most people don’t eat enough fermented foods to have a significant impact on gut health. Supplements are a way to get probiotics daily.
- Think twice before taking antibiotics. Antibiotics upset the microbial balance in your gut. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations, but try to avoid requesting antibiotics if they’re not necessary.
One in three cases of dementia is preventable, according to a 2017 report. Preventing cognitive decline doesn’t require extreme measures, just healthy lifestyle choices:
- Stop smoking. Quitting reduces your risk of dementia even if you quit late in life.
- Stay physically active. An active lifestyle improves your focus and memory in the day-to-day and protects against cognitive decline long-term.
- Manage diabetes. Diabetics who experience a serious hypoglycemic event double their risk of developing dementia. If you have diabetes, effectively managing your blood sugar should be a top priority.
One more thing you can do to stave off cognitive decline is to enjoy a vibrant social life. Although making and maintaining friendships gets harder as you get older, it’s one of the best things you can do for your well-being. Supportive social relationships benefit every aspect of your health, from your mental wellness to your odds of surviving cancer. If you could benefit from more social connection, try these strategies:
- Feeling purposeless in retirement? Volunteering for a cause you believe in gives your days meaning and is an excellent way to meet like-minded friends.
- Get involved in a faith community. You don’t have to be strongly religious to benefit from the social community found at a church, mosque, or temple. Many churches also have transportation so seniors who can’t drive are able to attend.
- Become more tech-savvy. Whether you get active on social media or play games online, technology is a great tool for staying social. Just be wary of online scams targeting seniors.
Getting older comes with no shortage of health concerns. Instead of accepting defeat, step up to the challenge of staying fit as you age! When you’re proactive about your health, your senior years are truly golden.
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