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Healthy Aging Tips for Women
On average, women may live longer than men, but they’re also at higher risk than men for many common health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and obesity.
At Grand Oaks, we want every senior woman to stay healthy and happy as they age. There are several health challenges unique to aging women, and that’s why it’s important to make your health a priority!
Consider these healthy aging tips for women.
Visit your doctor regularly.
Even if you feel good, keep up with regular check-ups and visits. Be open and honest with your doctor, addressing any changes or new issues you’re experiencing.
Eat your rainbow.
As you get older, your body loses muscle mass and bone density and burns fewer calories. Your body needs high-nutrient foods to stay healthy. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, and heart-healthy proteins. Don’t forget about sources of calcium and vitamin D, like dairy, to keep your bones strong. Women ages 50 and older are twice as likely than men to break a bone because of brittle bone disease.
Take all medications, vitamins, and supplements as directed.
Talk to your doctor frequently about your medications, letting them know if you’re experiencing any side effects or problems. Avoid making medication errors by using timers or medication monitoring apps.
Reduce your risk of falls and fractures.
Falls are not a normal part of the aging process. By safeguarding your home, getting your eyes checked yearly, using mobility aids, and more, you can reduce your risk of injuries related to falls. Check out more tips here.
Use sunscreen daily.
Baking in the sun may have been a fun pastime in your youth, but too much exposure can lead to sunburn, wrinkles, and skin cancer in your golden years. Before you go out, be sure to wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing to block the rays. Defy skin cancer with these smart sun tips.
Move your body.
Moderate exercise, or about 2.5 hours each week of movement, improves not only your physical but mental health too. For senior women, it’s also key to managing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. You don’t need a fancy gym to get a good workout—give one of these social distancing-approved fitness ideas a try.
Exercise your brain, too.
Did you know studies show that participating in brain games and low-impact exercises like walking or yoga can reduce your risk of cognitive deterioration and improve your mental health? As you age, give your brain a workout with these brain fitness techniques.
If you smoke, now’s the time to quit.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve lived while smoking. You can quit at any time and add years to your life, breathe easier, and save money. Above all, you’ll lower your risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke, and lung disease, increase your blood circulation, improve your sense of taste and smell, and set a healthy example for your children and grandchildren. Need help quitting? Learn about Sibley Memorial Hospital’s Freedom from Smoking program.
Every woman, no matter her age, needs beauty rest. Poor sleeping habits and sleep environments can do a number on all aspects of your life. Plus, many seniors experience changes in their sleep patterns with age, including getting tired earlier, waking up earlier, waking up in the middle of the night, or having insomnia. For a good night’s rest, consider these tips.
Don’t be shy about mental health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 20 percent of people ages 55 and older experience some time of mental health issue, including anxiety, depression, and more. Even more so, senior women, especially those with a chronic illness, disability, or are lonely or socially isolated, are at a higher risk for depression. Talk to your doctor if you feel overwhelmed, sad, worried, nervous, feel detached from your surroundings, have trouble sleeping, or experience any other signs of mental health issues.
Drink in moderation.
Older women are more sensitive than men to the effects of alcohol. Drinking too much can lead to some types of cancer, worsen many health conditions like osteoporosis and memory loss, make some medical problems hard for doctors to diagnose, and cause forgetfulness or cognitive issues. It can also lead to cognitive impairments, resulting in car accidents, fails, and injuries, and more.
As seniors age, they risk becoming isolated for many reasons: the death of a spouse or friend (common as there is a larger population of women ages 65 and older widowed than men), loss of mobility, or inability to live independently. It’s important to socialize to stay emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy. Social interaction improves brain health, reduces stress and blood pressure, lowers the risk of depression, and slows the decline in health. Whether you live in an assisted living community or at home, talk to others, engage in activities, and participate in volunteer opportunities.
Get screened and vaccinated.
Certain screening tests and vaccinations can help to diagnose and prevent health complications later in life. See the list below for those tests right for senior women.
Prioritize your health at any age.
Good health knows no age limit. If you’re 65 and older, talk to your doctor about who will make healthcare decisions for you if you’re no longer able to do so. Additionally, ask your doctor if and when you need to be tested for or should consider treatment options for any of the following health concerns:
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Bone density
- Colorectal cancer
- Dental exams
- Depression and mental health
- Lung cancer
- Mammograms and breast exams
- Medical devices
- Memory loss
- Routine pap exams
- Skin checks
- Vitamin D levels, which can increase muscle strength and prevent falls