Looking for the secret to healthy aging? Well, the truth is that there is no secret at all. If you want to look and feel your best during your golden years, you have to be willing to put in some effort. That doesn’t mean you have to overhaul all of your habits and routines in order to preserve your health and happiness.
If you are a senior who is looking to improve your quality of life, you just have to focus on the habits that make the most difference to your body and mind. So, if you’re ready to change for the better, here are some simple changes you can make:
Supplement Your Nutrition
Did you know that more than 40% of Americans don’t get the nutrients their bodies need to thrive? Sometimes, a healthy diet isn’t enough to keep your body healthy, which is why seniors should consider the benefits of multivitamins to supplement their health and wellness. The beauty of taking multivitamins is that you get more than enough of the nutrients, vitamins and key minerals your body needs with a single daily dose. So you don’t have to worry too much if you stray from your healthy diet or miss a meal. Those essentials can help boost your energy levels, improve your gut health and ultimately, lead to a happier, healthier you!
Get Your Annual Flu Vaccine
There’s no gentle way to put this: Flu can be deadliest for seniors. In fact, the CDC reports that up to 90% of all flu deaths each season occur among adults who are 65 or older. This means that getting a flu shot is even more critical for seniors and is the most simple way to avoid debilitating flu complications, like dehydration and chronic chest pain. In addition to getting a flu shot each year, seniors should also make an effort to keep other important vaccinations updated as well, like those for pneumonia, tetanus and shingles. There may be other vaccinations that can benefit you, so be sure to ask your doctor for recommendations.
Meal Prep Your Breakfasts
Breakfast can be a topic of debate for many people. Some people skip it in order to lose weight, while others believe skipping breakfast can be bad for your health. While seniors may be surprised to know that both can be correct, they should also know that missing out on breakfast can increase the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If making breakfast feels like a chore, consider meal prepping healthy options, like overnight oats, to keep on hand in your kitchen. Meal prepping also helps you eat cleaner, healthier foods throughout your day. Just try to start with a healthy breakfast each day.
Put an End to Your Bad Habits
You likely already know the dangers of smoking. Smoking cigarettes can shorten your life by putting you at an increased risk for multiple forms of cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other chronic conditions. If you currently smoke, think about asking your healthcare provider for tips on quitting for good. Also know that there are some seemingly harmless everyday habits that can also be downright deadly. For instance, watching too much television or staring at screens too long can impact your ability to get quality sleep, which can lead to some severe consequences for your health. So, try to cut these bad habits out of your routine, to prevent serious health issues.
Upgrade Features in Your Home
Are you thinking about aging in place in your current home? You may be thinking about it without knowing that “aging in place” is a phrase that refers to seniors staying in their homes, and out of nursing homes, longer. This can be a good option for many seniors, but you have to start planning now. Consider whether you will need to make modifications to your home to prevent falls and make life more manageable. It’s best to start making those changes, like slip-proof floors and handrails, as soon as possible. Also think about whether your current neighborhood will allow you to easily access essential resources, even if you are impacted by a disability or mobility issues in the future.
Manage Your Healthcare Costs
A smaller home can mean less to manage and also free up more income for other expenses, like rising healthcare costs. Although Medicare will help you manage the costs of healthcare as you age, lowering your expenses during retirement is a smart move to ensure you can comfortably cover any out-of-pocket costs for things like prescriptions and co-pays. You may encounter higher costs for your healthcare as you age, or your expenses could stay relatively even. Either way, planning ahead for potential health costs can give you peace of mind and make accessing care less stressful.
Nurture Your Social Connections
It’s common sense that things like smoking and missing out on sleep can impact senior health. What comes as a shock for many older adults, though, is that loneliness can be dangerous, too. With more friends passing away and family members moving, it’s common for seniors to feel alone and isolated. These feelings can have severe effects on mental health, with an increased risk for depression, but can also negatively impact physical health as well. So, if you want to live a healthier life, find ways to stay connected to other people. Schedule more visits with loved ones, or get involved with local senior centers.
There is no fountain of youth or single secret that will keep you healthy with age. For seniors, staying healthy does involve some work, but you can minimize your effort by incorporating simple, effective habits into your everyday routine. Whether it’s making your breakfast ahead of time or simply making more time for the people you love, small steps can make a big impact on your physical and mental health. So, don’t be afraid to start small to stay healthy!