The body and mind undergo significant changes as we age. These changes are evident on the outside in the form of wrinkles and gray hair. What’s not as apparent, however, is how the years have an effect on the things you can’t see, such as our hearts, bones, and brain. An aging body needs special attention in order to maintain the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and other systems that make us living breathing beings. Here are four things you can’t ignore if you want to maintain your health and enjoy your golden years.
A crucial component to maintaining health is through regular doctor visits to keep tabs on your health and quickly address any age–related issues that crop up. As a senior, you’re eligible for Medicare and all the benefits it provides. If your health is pretty solid, you may be fine sticking with Original Medicare (parts A and B). But if you foresee needing extra coverage related to dental health, eye exams and additional prescription coverage, a Medicare Advantage plan might be a better fit. Plus, Advantage plans like those offered by Humana give you access to more than 13,000 SilverSneakers centers around the country, which means your insurance will cover a gym membership. Since your needs can change from year to year, don’t think you’re indefinitely beholden to this year’s choice. As long as you keep up with enrollment periods and what’s available, you should be able to find the right fit.
Exercise is crucial throughout life, but perhaps more so as we age. We must maintain an active lifestyle in order to stay healthy, happy, and independent. It’s a common misconception that older people can’t start exercising because we need to rest or because it won’t do us any good. Nothing could be further from the truth. Exercise can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and obesity. And according to Elder Options of Texas, you can maintain a fitness routine even if you have a limited range of motion.
If you find you don’t have the energy to exercise, look at your schedule and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Insomnia is common in seniors, and even 30 fewer minutes of shut-eye each night can up your energy levels. You can also talk to your doctor about the possibility of adding an energy-boosting supplement to your day.
If you’ve never felt the effects of isolation, consider yourself lucky. Seniors are at a greater risk of depression from loneliness than other age groups thanks to factors such as lack of transportation, a dwindling network of peers, and mobility issues. However, social engagement provides benefits that can not only stave off depression but also slow memory loss and improve overall quality of life. Living assistance service Visiting Angels offers more information on the benefits of senior socialization.
Whether you realize it, you have an almost unlimited number of opportunities to socialize each day. Your local senior center, for example, is a place for like-minded individuals to gather together for socialization, fitness, and fun. U.S. News & World Report asserts that senior centers offer opportunities for learning, which can also keep the mind active and sharp.
Just as your body changes with time, so do your nutritional needs. Unfortunately, due to loss of smell, dental issues, and digestive problems, we often forgo many nutritious and delicious foods. A healthy diet gives you an added layer of protection against disease, and foods such as kale, berries, and carrots deliver a powerful dose of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
When cooking becomes difficult, check with your local senior services provider for information on organizations such as Meals on Wheels that can deliver prepared foods when you need them the most. Grocery delivery is another viable solution if you enjoy cooking your own meals but have trouble getting yourself to the store.
Paying attention to your physical, emotional, and nutritional needs is the most effective ways to keep yourself healthy regardless of age. Failure to nurture any one of these conditions can have a negative impact on the others. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about exercise, nutritional supplements, or if you are experiencing signs of depression.