by: Jim Vogel
Taking control of your health isn’t always easy. There are many factors to consider, including past health history and what your needs will be in the future. As a senior, it’s important to think about what will help you feel strong and vital, and for many people that means remaining active, sticking to a healthy diet, and preventing falls to avoid injury. However, every person’s journey is different, and when thinking about your health, remember that it’s not just the physical aspects that are important. Your mental health is a crucial component in staying well as you get older.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep your body and mind in great shape. Seeing a doctor for regular checkups is a fairly easy one, but you can also make some changes to the way you cope with stress and anxiety, remain social with friends and family, take up a hobby or two, and find a healthy routine that works for you. Once you get into the habit of exercising every day or eating a specific diet, it will be easy to maintain. If you live in a senior-oriented community, this should be easy since you always have friends nearby.
Here are a few things to think about where your overall health is concerned.
Schedule Regular Exams
Seeing a doctor on a regular basis can help you stay healthy simply because you’ll be able to discuss preventative options as well as any concerns you may have, which will allow you to address them right away. If you have Medicare, be sure to schedule your annual wellness visit to talk about your cognitive health, diet and exercise routine, and potential health issues according to your age, weight, and lifestyle. These visits are crucial in preventing major health problems, and they can help you stay on top of your wellness all year long.
Focus on What You Eat
The foods we eat can play a big role in the way we feel, both physically and mentally. In fact, research has shown that there is a bond between our gut health and mental health, especially in terms of how it affects our moods. So, the more you can do to maintain microbiome — the area in your gut where good bacteria lives, which affects everything from your metabolism to the way you sleep — the better. Consider taking a probiotic, and add fermented foods like sauerkraut to your diet. Talk to the dietary coordinator in your facility’s dining room to ask about adding gut-healthy foods.
Remaining social is a great way for seniors to protect their mental health. From keeping up with friends and family to participating in your community’s planned events, there are many ways you can maintain an active social life and prevent depression, social anxiety, and possibly even cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can talk to your doctor and community activities manager to help you get an idea of what you can do and what’s available.
Don’t Overlook the Details
Sometimes, the details are the most important elements in a given situation, and for seniors, it’s important not to overlook these small components. For some, daily tasks such as taking a shower or chopping vegetables can become hazardous before they even realize there’s an issue, so think about how you might prevent accidents and injuries. Preventing falls and other incidents by adding lighting around the house and utilizing technology can help you stay healthy and safe. If you are already in assisted or independent living, many of these details have already been taken care of for you.
Taking control of your overall wellbeing can be a bit tricky at times. However, by keeping in touch with your loved ones and making regular appointments to see your doctor, you can keep your mental and physical health in check no matter what else is going on in your life.