9 Wellness Tips for Older Adults
Happy Wellderly Day! This day celebrates the health of older adults by promoting wellness habits that will help you prevent illness, boost wellness and longevity, and increase your overall quality of life. The following tips will help you feel your best as you enjoy the privilege of growing older.
Staying active is one of the most important ways for older adults to stay mobile and maintain good health. Even if you can’t handle strenuous exercise, a quick ten-minute walk through your neighborhood a few times a week will help you keep your muscles and joints strong and your heart healthy. Active hobbies such as yoga, gardening, or swimming are other great and effective ways to get more movement into your day. However, remember to always consult your doctor before beginning any new workout regimen.
Water is vital to a healthy body at any age. However, hydration is even more important for older adults for keeping organs healthy, digestion regular, and joints lubricated. If you struggle to drink adequate water each day, try carrying a refillable bottle with you throughout your day or adding citrus fruit to your water for taste.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands regularly is vital to stay healthy year-round – not just during flu season. Be sure to always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds, and try to avoid touching your face as much as possible. Keeping an antibacterial hand sanitizer on you when you’reout in public and unable to wash your hands is also effective in keeping germs at bay and warding off illness.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Older adults are at an increased risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. To promote heart health, fill your plate with dishes featuring foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and oily fish like salmon and tuna, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your portion size under control, using less salt in your meals, and planning meals in advance to avoid bad decisions or impulse snacking are other simple ways to maintain a healthy diet.
Boost bone health
Bone loss occurs as we age, so keeping your bones strong is especially important for older adults to prevent osteoporosis and painful fractures. Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D (or ask your doctor about taking supplements), practice good posture, and try gentle stretching and balance exercises to improve mobility and prevent falls. It’s also important to make sure your home is safe and free from trip hazards or install safety bars in places where falls are more likely, such as your bathroom.
Getting enough sleep can be difficult for older adults for a variety of reasons – stress, chronic pain, and various conditions can all inhibit your ability to get a good night’s rest. However, sleep is essential for health: it boosts your immune system, improves memory and focus, and reduces stress. Ideally, older adults should get seven to nine hours of rest per night – if you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may need to drink less caffeine or talk to your doctor about potential underlying causes.
Exercise your brain
Staying mentally active and learning new skills may help older adults prevent cognitive issues and improve memory. Keep your mind sharp by engaging in stimulating brain games such as crossword puzzles, reading often, journaling, painting, or trying other creative hobbies.
Keep up with wellness checks
Staying up-to-date with preventive care and wellness visits, such as yearly physicals, bloodwork, and health screenings for high cholesterol, cancers, and heart problems, is important for early treatment of serious health issues as well as to prevent them. According to the American Cancer Society, women over age 45 should have yearly mammograms and men over age 50 regularly test for prostate cancer. Older adults are also more susceptible to contagious illnesses, so keeping up with annual vaccinations, such as those for the flu and pneumonia, is also imperative to maintain good health.
Dress for health
You may not think what you wear has an effect on your health, but it does! Remember to wear always sun protection when outdoors (such as a hat and sunglasses – and of course sunscreen!) and to dress in warm layers in the winter. Always wear the proper footwear for the weather to prevent falls on slippery surfaces.