Staying Healthy As You Grow Older

You can expect some physical changes as you age, such as dry skin and wrinkles, changes in your vision and hearing, and changes in your strength and energy. You can also develop health problems. Some health problems can happen after years of unhealthy habits, such as smoking or eating a poor diet. Taking care of your health now can keep some problems from developing or getting worse. You may even feel healthier than you did when you were younger.

There are some changes you may not like about getting older, but some things change for the better. It can be a time for doing things you’ve never had time to do before. When you are older, you may find that you don’t feel stressed, anxious, or angry as often as when you were younger. There’s a good chance you are more comfortable with who you are. You may find that these later years are your best years.

What can I do to stay healthy as I get older?

Here are some suggestions to help you stay healthy as you get older:

  • Eat a healthy diet. It may help to eat 3 or 4 small, healthy, low-fat, high-fiber meals a day.
  • If you want to drink alcohol, ask your healthcare provider how much is safe for you to drink.
  • Stay fit with the right kind of exercise for you. Adding even small amounts of exercise to your daily or weekly routine can be very helpful and fun.
  • Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Take medicines prescribed by your healthcare provider according to your provider’s instructions. If you have problems caused by your medicines, your healthcare provider may be able to change your medicine or the dosage.
  • Have a health checkup, including your teeth, vision, and hearing, as often as recommended by your healthcare provider. Take advantage of any special health screening tests offered in your community.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you have symptoms that bother you. Don’t wait for your next scheduled checkup. If you have concerns about anxiety, depression, mental focus, or memory, don’t assume that these kinds of changes are a normal part of aging.
  • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your healthcare provider if there are other shots you need to stay healthy, such as a pneumococcal shot or the shingles shot.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to quit smoking.
  • Try to stay out of the sun during the times of most intense rays, usually 10 AM to 4 PM. When you are in the sun, use sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or greater. Put more on as often as directed by the label. This can help prevent skin damage. It also helps to wear a hat.
  • To prevent falls that may break a bone:
    • If your healthcare provider has advised you to use a walker or cane, always use it when you walk.
    • Remove hazards in your home, such as slippery floors, worn rugs and stair treads, furniture in the way, poor lighting, and electric cords that trail across the floor.
  • To keep your mind sharp and keep you in contact with other people, you can:
    • Learn to play a musical instrument or to speak a foreign language.
    • Play word games or do crossword puzzles.
    • Start a new hobby, such as crafts, painting, or bird-watching.
    • Volunteer to help others. This can give new purpose and meaning to your life.
    • Get active in your community or place of worship.

You can get information on services for older adults in your area from:

  • Eldercare Locator
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-05-28
Last reviewed: 2014-05-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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