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8 Health Tips for Seniors
It’s more important than ever for seniors to practice healthy habits. Seniors become more prone to illnesses as they age, and keeping a healthy body and immune system can help to prevent falls and potential life-threatening illnesses.
Here’s a list of ways seniors can keep their bodies strong and healthy as they continue to age.
Get Regular Health Screenings
Did you know that only 8% of Americans over 35 received all of their recommended clinical and preventative screenings? Many people skip their daily recommended screenings for reasons such as money or time.1
However, health screenings can help doctors catch health conditions before they develop into a life-changing problem that could affect a person’s quality of life. A doctor can give a person preventative measures to assist with any conditions they may be prone to, such as cancer or heart problems.
This is especially true for seniors, many of whom are at risk for hearing loss, vision changes, cancer, and bone conditions. Preventative screenings can help seniors ensure their body stays healthy as they continue to stay active and enjoy retirement.
Some exams seniors over 65 should annually receive include:2
- Eye exams
- Hearing tests
- Cancer screenings
- Blood pressure checks
- Bone density checks
- Vaccination check-ups
- Prescription updates
Food affects our bodies in many ways, from our heart health to how we feel each day. Eating a balanced diet can help prevent high blood sugar and cholesterol, which can put a person at risk for conditions such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease, and hypertension.
One reason why many seniors do not eat enough healthy foods is they often experience a decline in their appetite.3 Some physical changes to the digestive system and the health of their teeth can influence people to eat less food as they age. This can cause seniors to not get enough of the daily recommended vitamins and minerals.
However, it’s important to encourage seniors to continue to eat a diet that meets their nutritional needs. Some ways people will achieve this is by eating on a schedule or making food that looks visually appealing to their loved one.
Seniors can incorporate a few habits into their day to eat healthier as they age. Some ways seniors can eat healthier include:
- Fill half of the plate with fruits and vegetables
- Cook at home more often
- Use whole foods as ingredients when possible
- Reduce sugar consumption by avoiding sugary drinks and desserts
- Eat enough protein each day
- Avoid excess sodium
Take Care of Eyesight
As seniors age, their sight may not be what it once was. Many seniors find that their eyesight has changed and will need to keep up with their eyeglass prescriptions.
Another health tip for seniors includes caring for the eyes and protecting them. Proper eye care can prevent vision changes and health conditions such as pinkeye.
Some ways to protect the eyes include:4
- Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses can protect the eyes from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. These rays can harm the eyes and cause potential side effects such as vision loss.
- Don’t wear expired makeup. Expired makeup can cause harmful bacteria to get into the eyes and cause infections. Makeup should have an expiration date on the label when it is no longer good.
- Properly clean contacts. Seniors should properly clean and handle contacts to prevent dirt, oil, and other substances harmful to the eyes from getting on their contacts.
- Get regular eye exams. Regular eye exams allow the eye doctor to update a senior’s prescription and check for any eye diseases they might be at risk for.
- Avoid smoking. The smoke from a cigarette can get into the eyes and cause damage. Smoke exposure also increases the chances of eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Physical activity can keep seniors strong and healthy as they age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36 million Americans fall each year, making physical activity a great way to keep your body strong.5
While people over 65 may not be able to move like they once did, low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, biking, tai chi, dance, and horseback riding can help someone stay active. Low-impact exercises are also great for those who might struggle with mobility issues from arthritis or other joint problems.
Many health professionals recommend people exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Some people will make a habit of getting exercise at a certain time of the day, such as in the morning or evening. Seniors should find a way to get active during the day to keep their bones and muscles strong.
Stress can come from many sources, from strained relationships to financial instability to traumatic events. Many seniors may feel stressed as they enter retirement from the challenges that come with older age. Some stressors seniors commonly have include:
- Financial uncertainty
- The death of close friends and loved ones
- Loss of purpose
- Difficulty coping with a new diagnosis
- Mobility issues
- Caretaking demands of a loved one
Stress can impact a senior’s quality of life not just mentally but also physically. According to the AARP, people who experience stress are more susceptible to heart disease, weight gain, depression, ulcers, and stomach problems.6
An important health tip for seniors is to find a way to deal with and manage stress. Some ways seniors can learn to relieve stress include:7
- Daily meditation
- Spend time on hobbies
- Talk to a trusted family member or friend
- Practice good time management skills
Get Enough Sleep
Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep at night, but many seniors struggle with insomnia, sleep apnea, and sleep disorders. Sleep problems cause many seniors to experience sleep deprivation, which can cause them to feel sluggish and tired during the day.
One reason why sleep is important is this is the time when the body repairs itself. Adequate sleep helps the body heal wounds as well as boosts the immune system to protect a person from illnesses.
Additionally, sleep is known to promote learning and memory during the REM (rapid-eye movement) stage. The brain consolidates our thoughts during sleep and turns them into memories that we can remember during the day. Furthermore, sleep impacts our declarative memory, which controls our knowledge of facts and events.8
As seniors age, it’s important to ensure that they get enough sleep each night. Some ways seniors can get better sleep at night include:9
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time
- Sleep in a quiet, comfortable environment
- Don’t eat or drink caffeine before bedtime
- Exercise daily
- Relax before bedtime
- Avoid “blue light” exposure from using a TV, cell phone, or laptop close to bedtime
Did you know that 40% of seniors regularly experience loneliness?10 Loneliness can lower a senior’s self-esteem and put them at risk for many harmful habits and physical conditions, including:
- The common cold
- Coronary bypass mortality
It’s an important health tip for seniors over 65 to socialize with their family and friends. Many seniors may feel isolated because their kids have grown up and they might live alone in their homes. Seniors need to live an enriched life where they frequently spend time with their family and friends to feel connected.
Here are a few ways to prevent senior loneliness:11
- Frequent phone calls. When seniors talk to their family and friends consistently, they feel more included as they catch up on the news.
- Hobbies. Seniors should consider participating in a hobby, such as a fitness or gardening club. This is a great way for seniors to meet others in the community who share their interests.
- Letters. There are many letter programs available to seniors where they can write to volunteers. Some letter programs will also link two seniors together to talk to one another.
- Adopt a pet. For seniors who are willing and able, pets make great company and give a sense of companionship.
Hearing checks are another way to stay healthy after 65. According to The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 25% of adults ages 65 and older and 50% of adults ages 75 and over experience disabled hearing loss.12
However, hearing damage is permanent and cannot be fixed. Many seniors struggle with hearing problems and will need hearing aids to continue to listen to the world around them.
Regular hearing checks can help seniors know if they have any permanent hearing damage. Additionally, doctors can identify potential hearing risks a senior may have as they age.
Protecting the ears can help keep a senior’s hearing intact as you get older. Some ways seniors can protect their hearing include:13
- Reduce exposure to loud noises
- Wear proper ear coverings when handling loud equipment
- Keep the volume natural when listening to music
- Get frequent hearing exams
- Avoid smoking
- Controlling blood sugar levels
Stay Healthy As You Age
Here at Saber Healthcare, we understand the importance of staying healthy in your older age. Our nursing home and rehabilitation programs help the seniors we serve meet their health and wellness needs while giving them the opportunity to continue to pursue their goals.
Saber Healthcare is an organization that provides services to more than 115 buildings across the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Delaware, and Florida. To learn more about our company and services, contact us.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Borksy et. all. “Few Americans Receive All High-Priority, Appropriate Clinical Preventive Services.” June 2018. Project HOPE, Health Affairs. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1248
- “6 Essential Health Screenings for Older Adults.” Saber Healthcare Group. 20 November 2021. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/health-screenings-for-seniors
- Pilgrim AL, Robinson SM, Sayer AA, Roberts HC. An overview of appetite decline in older people. Nurs Older People. 2015 Jun;27(5):29-35. doi: 10.7748/nop.27.5.29.e697. PMID: 26018489; PMCID: PMC4589891. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4589891/
- “How to Keep Your Vision Healthy.” Saber Healthcare Group. Published 5 July 2022. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-to-keep-your-vision-healthy
- “Keep on Your Feet—Preventing Older Adult Falls.” S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 16 December 2020. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/older-adult-falls/index.html#:~:text=One%20out%20of%20four%20older,particularly%20among%20the%20aging%20population.&text=About%2036%20million%20falls%20are,in%20more%20than%2032%2C000%20deaths.
- “Why Older Adults Are Stressed (And What to Do About It).” The Kendal Corporation, The Admiral. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://admiral.kendal.org/2019/01/17/why-older-adults-are-stressed-and-what-to-do-about-it/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CStressors%20that%20tend%20to%20affect,Retirement
- “10 Ways You Can Relieve Stress Today.” Saber Healthcare Group. 4 June 2022. Accessed 22 June 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-to-relieve-stress
- “7 Reasons Why Getting Enough Sleep is Important.” Saber Healthcare Group. 16 August 2021. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/why-sleep-is-important
- “Tired? 6 Ways to Get More Rest at Night.” Saber Healthcare Group. 22 November 2022. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/get-better-sleep
- “One is the Loneliest Number: Combating Senior Isolation.” Stonegate Senior Living. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://stonegatesl.com/one-is-the-loneliest-number-combating-senior-isolation/#:~:text=More%20than%2040%20percent%20of,death%2C%20the%20UCSF%20researchers%20find.
- “5 Ways To Help Seniors Feel Less Lonely.” Saber Healthcare Group. 28 January 2022. Accessed 22 July 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-to-help-seniors-feel-less-lonely
- “Quick Statistics About Hearing.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. 22 July 2022. Link: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing
- “6 Ways to Protect Your Hearing as You Age.” Saber Healthcare Group. 20 July 2022. Accessed 25 July 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/protect-your-hearing-as-you-age