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Health Care as a Senior

Getting older shouldn’t prevent you from living a healthy and hearty life, yet health care at this stage can feel a bit overwhelming as your needs start to expand. From increased health screenings to enrolling in Medicare at 65 and staying mentally sharp, be proactive with your health. By creating a personalized health care routine full of the right diet and vitamins, your mind and body can rest easy. Talk to one of our geriatric specialists or your primary care physician to ensure you’re enjoying your more seasoned years to the fullest.

Preventative Health Screenings

  • Blood Pressure Check: Schedule a blood pressure check every two years for lower blood pressure levels, and every six months to a year for higher levels.
  • Colorectal Cancer screening: Colorectal cancer screenings should be completed on a regular basis as a senior. Talk to your doctor about routine screenings for colorectal cancer. 
  • Prostate Cancer: Men should schedule a routine prostate screening every one to two years.
  • Mammogram: Women should schedule a routine mammogram screening every one to two years.
  • Cholesterol Screening: Schedule a cholesterol screening every three to five years for normal cholesterol levels. Schedule a screening more often if you have heart disease, diabetes, or kidney problems.
  • DXA Scan: Men and women over the age of 65 should have a bone density test (DXA scan) every two years.

Tips for Maintaining Your Health

Stay Active

As we age, maintaining an active lifestyle can feel more and more difficult, but it plays an essential role in staying mentally and physically fit. Regular exercise can help your joints stay limber and keep your body agile. Aerobic exercises such as walking, yoga, or swimming are healthy activities that will keep your body feeling fresh. Talk to your primary care provider about exercise routines and alternatives to start leading a more active lifestyle today.

Eat Healthy

To limit health issues starting to arise in older age, it’s important to keep a balanced and nutritional diet. Eating vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables can give your day and mood a boost. Nutrient-dense dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach are filled with cancer fighting vitamins that help your body fight inflammation; while foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as nuts, berries, and fish support brain functions and may reduce symptoms of depression. Drink eight glasses of water and limit alcohol and caffeine consumption to stay on top of your game. Talk to your primary care provider about exercise routines and alternatives to start leading a more active lifestyle today.

Get Your Vitamins

Our vitamin and mineral needs grow as we transition into older age. Vitamin D supplements are a popular mood booster and become even more important for your mental health and immune system as we age. Men and women should both strive for 600 units of vitamin D from fish, eggs, and supplements. Older age and certain medications can also decrease the amount of stomach acid you produce, which may put you at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency and lead to symptoms of depression and fatigue. Vitamin B6 deficiency has been linked to memory loss in seniors; so, take a B-Complex vitamin daily to stay ahead of the game. Talk to your primary care provider to learn more about vitamin and mineral supplements to add to your diet today.

Stay Mentally Sharp

Memory loss is a very normal part of transitioning into older age. Keep your mind sharp by challenging your brain with mental exercises that build and preserve brain connections. Reading, playing bridge, and creating art are all mentally stimulating activities that keep your brain fit. It’s also important to keep your routine information more accessible by designating places in your house for glasses, purses, and keys that can get lost more frequently in older age. As our loved one begin to age and forget things more frequently, dementia and Alzheimer’s start to become concerning. If you sense that your memory or the memory of a loved one is starting to lag at a faster rate, talk to a doctor about testing sooner rather than later.

Keep Your Heart Healthy

People over the age of 65 are more likely to suffer a heart attack, have a stroke, or develop heart disease. But there are steps you can take to keep your heart healthy and happy. Staying active and eating well are essential elements to heart health. Staying hydrated and limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake can also reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health issues. Try and drink eight glasses of water a day and no more than two drinks containing alcohol a day. Atrial fibrillation, a skipped beat or racing heart, becomes more common with age as well. Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke, so talk to your doctor if you think you might be experiencing symptoms. To start living a heartier life, talk to one of our cardiovascular specialists today.

Keep Your Bones Strong

There is a direct relationship between the gradual loss of estrogen after menopause and osteoporosis. If you’re experiencing severe back pain, loss of height, or increased fractures you should talk to your doctor about being at risk of osteoporosis. After the age of 65, men and women should get a bone density test (DXA scan) regardless of whether or not symptoms are present. Medications to slow bone loss and treat pain such as bisphosphonates, estrogen replacement therapy, and calcitonin may help treat osteoporosis.
If chronic joint pain is an issue, and less-invasive treatment doesn’t do the trick, advances in minimally invasive surgical procedures may offer longer-lasting relief—and get you back up on your feet faster. Talk to your doctor or an orthopedic specialist if you’re experiencing chronic joint pain.

Take the Next Step

If you have concerns about your health, there is no better time to talk to your primary care provider. Don’t have one? We can help. Simply use our Find a Doctor tool to connect with a provider.