Living out your retirement should be a time of relaxation and making memories doing things you’re passionate about with loved ones. Unfortunately, age is a risk factor for many health conditions.
Our risk for heart disease, cognitive decline, arthritis, mental health conditions, or diabetes can increase as we age.
But it’s important to remember that age doesn’t guarantee these things will happen. You can reduce the risk of many conditions or diseases by caring for your body. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are 2 practical ways you can care for your body.
7 Common Health Concerns in Seniors
Age isn’t necessarily a guarantee that you’ll develop health conditions, but it can play into your risk of developing them or increase the chance of complications.
Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis, particularly common in older adults. It can affect a senior’s knees, hands, hips, and spine. It is a leading cause of physical disability because of how it can affect your body. Symptoms of osteoarthritis can range from mild discomfort and stiffness to chronic and severe joint pain.
Coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes are much more common in adults over 65 than younger adults. A buildup of fatty acids on the artery walls over many years can lead to heart problems in your senior years. Also, chronic high blood pressure caused by other conditions like diabetes can affect the heart’s health.
Cognitive decline isn’t a single condition. It includes dementia and its related conditions or subjective cognitive decline, which can lead to dementia. There is no known cure or prevention for dementia because we still don’t know much about it. But research indicates that maintaining physical activity and a healthy diet can help reduce the risk.
Balance Issues & Loss of Muscle
Sarcopenia is the clinical term for the gradual loss of muscle strength, function, and mass. It’s considered to be an age-related condition. This is a significant reason the CDC recommends seniors include at least 2 days of muscle-strengthening exercises throughout the week.
Troubles with balance are also common among older adults. Causes can range from medication to inner ear problems and underlying health problems. Along with the strengthening exercises mentioned above, the CDC also recommends including activities that improve balance.
Influenza & Pneumonia
The average person may not think much about getting the flu. But as you age, your immune system can weaken. Contracting the flu with a weakened immune system can lead to other complications like developing pneumonia.
People of all ages can develop type 2 diabetes. Family history of the disease, being overweight, and a sedentary lifestyle all increase your risk along with getting older. One problem with developing type 2 diabetes as an older adult is the symptoms—losing weight, frequent urination, blurry vision, and skin infections—can sometimes be written off as just aging.
Mental Health Issues
More than 1 in 5 adults over 60 have a mental or neurological disorder. Chronic pain, reduced mobility, ongoing health problems that require long-term care, and experiencing the loss of loved ones all contribute to a senior’s increased risk of developing a mental health issue like depression or anxiety.
Another important note about depression is that it’s linked to a risk factor for dementia. So, this is one risk factor that can be preventable.
Tips for Healthy Aging
There isn’t a magic solution for living out your retirement in perfect health. But there are a few things to consider about lifestyle that can lower your risk of developing common conditions or diseases.
A well-balanced diet is integral to good health, especially as we age. The focus should be on nutrient-rich foods versus processed food. A good diet should include lots of fruit, vegetables, and lean protein.
Being a part of a senior living community can make healthy eating easier because of amenities like chef-prepared meals and flexible meal plans.
Physical activity needs and abilities can change, especially as you get older. Certain health conditions may make some activity difficult. But it’s important to stay active. The CDC has laid out some guidelines on the recommended activity levels for seniors:
- At least 150 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.
- 2 days should include muscle-strengthening activity.
- Balance-improving activities should be included throughout the week.
Find a Supportive Community
Finding a supportive community that can help you achieve your desired activity levels and diet while living life how you want to is an important step in the right direction.
If you’re considering retiring in the Farragut area, give us a call at The Villages of Farragut to book a community tour. Come see how our thriving community can help you live out your retirement happily and healthily.