Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, but especially for older people who may have a higher risk of developing chronic disease or medical conditions. As we age and habits form over the years, it can seem difficult to make alterations to the way of life we may be used to. But here at Abraham Family Medicine, we believe that it’s never too late to start making better choices and living your best life. So in honor of Healthy Aging Month this September, our healthcare providers have dropped by to provide a few tips for how patients can take care of themselves to help age gracefully.
Take Care of Your Bones
Our bones naturally become thinner and more brittle as we age, putting us at risk for falls that can easily result in broken bones. Osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones are unable to absorb nutrients like calcium for strength, becomes far more common as well. Women are especially vulnerable to this due to changes that occur in the body after menopause. Vitamin D and muscle-strengthening exercises can help you avoid potential injury by making you less likely to fall.
Take Care of Your Heart
Heart disease is the most common cause of death annually in the US. As we age, our risk of developing heart disease only increases. That’s why it’s so important to maintain a healthy, heart-friendly diet and remain physically active to help reduce the risk. Try taking a daily walk and eating beans and other foods that are high in fiber that can be good for both digestive and heart health. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding junk food, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercising for at least 150 minutes every week.
Take Care of Your Mind
Much like the body, the mind requires extra care and maintenance for older patients. Aging can cause changes in our memories, cognitive abilities, reflexes, and even our senses. Slight forgetfulness, as well as more severe cases of dementia, becomes more and more common. But there are a number of ways to work out your mind in order to help keep it sharp as the years go on. It’s important to stay social later in life. Take a class, learn a new skill that challenges your brain, volunteer your time, see old friends and family; socializing helps. Occupying your mind with puzzles and other games can also be very beneficial. Physical exercise can also help retain cognitive function as we age. Making lists and creating a daily routine can assist with organization.
Take Care of Your Skin
It’s only natural for skin to begin to sag and wrinkle over time. However, years of exposure to the Sun’s UV rays can lead to sun damage, or even skin cancer. It’s more essential than ever to protect yourself with sunscreen, avoid overexposure to the Sun, and make regular appointments with a dermatologist.
While they can certainly be beneficial for patients trying to maintain a clean bill of health, these lifestyle alterations are just a small part of staying healthy as we age. In addition to making these changes, it’s important to regularly check in with the healthcare providers at Abraham Family Medicine for check-ups and diagnostic testing to confirm that you are every bit as healthy as you feel and to help prevent minor ailments from potentially becoming more serious. We work with a number of older patients with a variety of ailments ranging from dementia to melanoma. Our providers can also recommend specialists for conditions that cannot be treated at our office. For more information or to schedule your appointment, please contact Abraham Family Medicine today. Our office is located in Snellville, not far from Grayson.