Taking Care of Yourself As You Go Through the Years

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As we all get older, it’s inevitable for our bodies to go through changes, including whitening hair, skin wrinkles, decreased vision, and weakened muscles. In addition to physical changes, some older people also find their mental health or memories challenged. All of us have to care for ourselves at every age, but the changes that come with aging mean we all must be a bit more vigilant. Here are some suggestions to help you survive your senior years:

Take Care of Your Physical Health

The changes of aging mean you need to make healthy food choices now, more than ever. Plan your meals to include many fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Your body needs eight to ten glasses of water each day. In addition to choosing nutritious food and staying hydrated, continue practicing good dental health.

Stay Physically Fit and Active

Aging can bring arthritis and less vitality, but you can still participate in regular fitness activities at any age. Keeping your body active remains important for your health in your later years. Many health insurance companies offer free or low-cost memberships to gyms, or you can join a group of friends walking in the local mall or senior center. If you can’t find anything that appeals to you, there are senior aerobics and wheelchair exercise tapes online that you can do at home.

Keep Connected to Friends and family

The emotional connections we make with other people are essential to our emotional and mental health. The sense of belonging that comes with friendship is vital to keeping your life filled with joy. The support of friends and family will be critical when you – or they – have a crisis. In addition to enjoying time with your friends, spending time and effort on behalf of others will divert your attention away from any difficulties in your life.

Be Alert for Signs of Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is present in 10% of people older than 65. In addition, according to ASPE, there has been an increase in the need for healthcare workers who are dedicated to caring for people with Alzheimer’s Disease. This increase began in 2011 with the signing of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). As you age, you – and a spouse or close friend observing you – can be alert for early signs of the disease, including memory loss, difficulty solving problems, or completing routine tasks.

Tour Local Nursing Homes Before You Need One

However, it may be a good idea to visit nearby nursing homes to observe them for cleanliness and staffing ratios and to understand how the residents are cared for. You should assess whether the places you see meet the staffing levels recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2017 and 2018. When you find a good place, share that place’s name with someone you trust because, according to the Payroll-Based Journal, approximately 75% of nursing homes don’t maintain staffing at that level.

Visit Your Doctor and Dentist

Since aging will bring you more health challenges, you must visit your doctor and dentist regularly. Your doctor may ask you to see them at specific intervals to monitor your medications or chronic conditions. Statistics show over 8% of people older than 18 avoid doctor visits because they can’t afford the visit costs. However, you deserve the best chance for a healthy life, so you should prioritize doctor visits to maintain oversight of your health status.

As you become aware of the changes aging brings, you can use some of these guidelines to stay as healthy as possible. Life in your older years will be different, but it can offer unique joys to provide you with a happy, fulfilling life. By caring for your health as well as you can, you’ll unlock the key to your best possible experience.

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