How Seniors Can Manage 7 Common Health Problems
Getting old doesn’t have to mean getting sick. Most health problems that seniors face are preventable or at least manageable through lifestyle changes. Here are seven common health issues that seniors face and the actions you can take to fight them.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is extremely common among older adults. Lower back pain can be caused by a number of conditions. On top of the discomfort, lower back pain limits seniors’ range of motion and mobility to make everyday tasks harder and increase fall risk.
Stress and depression worsen chronic pain, so managing mental health should be a top priority if you have low back pain. Exercise and massage alleviate pain and improve mental health, making them great ways to manage lower back pain.
Staying active is good for arthritis too. The Arthritis Foundation explains that exercise strengthens the muscles that support your joints and improves range of motion. Exercise also alleviates the side effects of living with arthritis, such as poor sleep and extra weight.
Supplements also help with arthritis.
Natural anti-inflammatories like:
- and fish oil
can reduce inflammation.
- and collagen
promote healthy bones and cartilage.
Supplements vary in quality and strength, so make sure you do some research before you buy.
Balance problems dramatically increase your risk of falling as an older adult. Every senior should do exercises focusing on balance and stability. Yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and targeted balance exercises are some ways to improve balance. Poor balance can be a sign of other health conditions, so always talk to your doctor if you’re having problems with your balance.
It’s not fun to talk about, but depression is surprisingly common in older adults. Getting older can be a difficult time, especially when close friends and family pass away or chronic health conditions keep you at home. However, as Dr. Susan W. Lehmann points out in an interview with US News, “Depression is never considered a normal part of aging.”
The best thing you can do to keep depression at bay is to maintain a strong system of social support. Exercise, sleep, and moderating alcohol use are also key. Learn about some natural ways of beating depression and getting rid of the blues
Tooth decay and gum disease are not only uncomfortable, but your oral health also affects heart and lung health, worsens diabetes, and contributes to digestive problems. Seniors who are depressed are at an increased risk of dental problems.
A healthy mouth starts at home, but seniors should also see their dentist for regular preventive care and address dental problems as soon as they appear. Keep in mind, however, that dental care isn’t covered by Original Medicare. Instead, you’ll need to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan that offers dental care. In addition to dental coverage, you’ll also receive additional benefits, including vision care. Of course, it’s important to do some research to find a plan that comfortably fits your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
High Blood Pressure
Genetics play a role in high blood pressure, but it’s not the only factor. If you’re overweight, a smoker, inactive, have a high-stress lifestyle, or follow an unhealthy diet, you’re increasing your risk of high blood pressure and all the health problems it can cause.
If you’re a smoker, try to quit! You should also get more physical activity and improve your diet, swapping red meat for chicken and fish and upping your vegetable intake.
Think loneliness isn’t a health concern? Think again. Loneliness and social isolation are linked to health issues, from drinking problems to heart problems. As you get older, make a point to get out and socialize with friends and neighbors. Find a hobby, take a class, join a walking group, or do other activities that enable you to make meaningful connections with others.
Odds are, you’re not going to feel as good at 70 as you did at 30. But that doesn’t mean you can’t feel great and live a fun, fulfilling life! Enjoy activities like talking walks in nature that will help keep you healthy, invigorate and can help you make new friends. Rather than accepting health problems in your later years, take an active role in protecting your well-being with a healthy lifestyle.