Aging well: How seniors can live their best lives

As you age, your body becomes more susceptible to injuries and health complications.  Remaining in your best health is important at any age, but for seniors, the tips below can help you cultivate healthy habits and age well.

Stay active

Remaining physically active supports your immune system and gives it a boost which also helps control weight. There are low-impact sports and activities to participate in such as walking, swimming, cycling, and Thai Chi.

Take supplements

Be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re considering taking supplements. They can be very beneficial as they provide additional nutrients to your diets and can help reduce your risk of health complications. They can come in many forms that are best for you whether it is in a pill, powder or liquid. Some dietary supplements that are important for seniors include:

Healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy diet that is rich in fruit and veggies provide a great source of antioxidants. Whole foods, those that remain close to their natural state with no additives, are a good way to maintain clean eating and weight management. These tips, along with limiting alcohol and tobacco consumption will promote a healthy diet and can prevent diseases and cancer development.

Wash your hands frequently

Washing your hands is important for everyone and has been brought to light more due to COVID-19. When washing your hands, be sure to use warm water and soap. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Viruses live on most surfaces for 24 hours, be sure to disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently. Also, use hand sanitizer when unable to use water and soap to wash your hands.

Manage stress

Stressors exist in every part of life. However, over time stress can impact your physical health even more so as you age. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system are results of poorly managing stress and as a senior, it is easier for these to occur. Pinpoint your stressors, taking a break, and using stress relief techniques that can keep you moving and stressful moments more manageable.

Make sure to get plenty of sleep

Maintaining the average eight hours of sleep is important but so are occasional naps. While you sleep, it allows your body to heal and rejuvenate itself. Set your alarm for about 30 to 45 minutes when taking a nap and try to limit them to about once a day in addition to the normal eight hours of sleep.

Annual physicals

No matter what age or stage in life, it is important to stay up to date on physicals, screenings and vaccinations. Be sure to communicate with your primary care provider to make schedule any screenings or physicals you may have missed, especially due to COVID-19.

Challenge your mind

Over time the mind can tend to forget things from time to time. Many seniors worry about dementia or Alzheimer’s, syndromes that occur in the brain with ranges of severity. To help combat them, you can challenge your mind by playing a musical instrument, doing puzzles, playing chess, sudoku or reading.

Speak with your primary care physician today and make sure you are up to date on all of your health screenings to continue living the best life. If you don’t already have a primary care provider, start by visiting the UofL Health – UofL Physicians website or calling the Primary Care Hotline –  502-588-4343 and consider one of our outstanding primary care providers in one of our many convenient locations.

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Elisabeth Volpert DNP, APRN, FNP-C

Dr. Elisabeth Volpert DNP, APRN, FNP-C is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville School of Nursing. For over twelve years she has upheld an established internal medicine practice at the University of Louisville where she provides evidence-based care by independently assessing, diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses. She lectures in The University of Louisville Doctoral Nursing Program. She has presented several primary care case studies at state and national conferences pertaining to value-based care, reimbursement, clinical assessment and laboratory protocols. Elisabeth represents the American Nurses Association on the Resource-Based Relative-Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee and on the RUC’s Practice Expense Subcommittee. Outside of work, Elisabeth enjoys cycling and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

All posts by Elisabeth Volpert DNP, APRN, FNP-C
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