Maintaining an activity-filled lifestyle can help older adults enjoy more happy years with fewer trips to the doctor. Chronic illness plays a key role in the quality of life, and it accounts for 86 percent of healthcare expenditures among older adults. Here are some tips for staving off these diseases and living well:
Don’t underestimate the importance of a proper diet. As people age, the risk for a number of illnesses increases. Proper nutrition can stave off a number of ailments, increase energy and even improve mood. A well-planned diet can reduce the risk of a number of diseases, including:
This isn’t new, but it remains one of the best pieces of advice for adults who crave good health. Exercise doesn't have to be that intensive to provide benefits. There are many safe, low-impact activities for seniors. Certain exercises build coordination and muscle and decrease the risk of falls. Also, it’s never too late to start. Exercise can:
Overall, Americans underrate sleep. Sure, it keeps us from being overly tired at the end of the day. But it also has profound effects on our health. Multiple studies link the lack of sleep to heart problems, strokes, obesity, clogged arteries and high blood pressure. It also increases inflammation in the body. Older adults with poor sleep can also experience additional issues, such as:
Falls can take a drastic toll on older adults, causing bone fractures that can result in long hospital stays and hip implants. But falls don’t have to be an inevitable part of aging. Make sure your daily environment is safe from fall-related hazards. Some things to consider:
Stress makes us more prone to illnesses such as influenza and pneumonia, which are particularly dangerous to older Americans. Joining a group or club provides seniors with built-in social activities. Picking up a new hobby can also be beneficial, and certain exercises and activities can help people manage stress. Some gentle, low-impact activities include:
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, around 81 percent of seniors take prescription medication.
More than 177,000 emergency room visits by older adults (starting at age 65) occur annually because of adverse drug reactions.
More than 40 percent of people over age 65 take five to nine medications every day and 14-18 prescriptions per year.
A 2012 American Geriatric Society list of inappropriate medications for older adults says that at least 48 medications may lead to an adverse reaction.
There are a number of drugs and medical devices that can cause problems for seniors. While not all patients experience problems, it is important to be informed and be aware of possible complications.