Healthy Living at 65 and Beyond
With special thanks to our good friend Sheila Olson of Fit Sheila, for writing this exclusive article for our Grand family and readers!
Retirement is here, and that introduces freedom you couldn’t enjoy in your 40s and 50s. But stepping away from the workplace may put you at a greater risk of declining health as you lose a part of your social network and activities that stimulate the mind. And if you’re one of the many retirees who choose to follow a strict diet of rest and relaxation, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. Here are a few tips to stay healthy while enjoying your retirement.
Keep in touch with your doctors
Your healthcare team is comprised of many individuals. First and foremost is your primary care provider. Make a point to schedule a visit with your doctor each year, which will give you an opportunity to receive much-needed exams, screenings, and immunizations.
If you don’t already, you should see your dentist at least twice each year for a cleaning and checkup of your teeth and gums. However, more than just looking for discoloration or decay, your dentist can help you maintain an oral care routine. This is more important than you might think, given that a quarter of all people age 65 and older no longer have their natural teeth. Your oral health can influence everything from digestion to depression, which means that taking care of your teeth is just as important as taking care of your body.
Your vision is also an important aspect of your overall wellness. After all, if you have trouble seeing, you may be unable to drive, enjoy your favorite television shows, or be fully engaged during birthday parties, holidays, and other pleasurable events. Furthermore, poor vision can lead to eyestrain, which can trigger headaches. Visit your optometrist annually and alert them of any changes or eye injuries. Keep in mind that if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you are likely already paying for dental and vision coverage, so you may as well use it.
Health at home
No article or advice column about taking control of your health would be complete without mentioning the importance of exercise. As a senior, exercise is essential, and its benefits go far beyond maintaining a healthy weight. Seniors who regularly exercise are less likely to experience an accident or injury. If the weather isn’t cooperative, there are many gentle indoor exercises you can do indoors, including walking, swimming in a fitness center, and even playing interactive games.
The primary risk of injuries to seniors is due to fall-related incidents, according to United Press International. Exercise can help you increase your strength, balance, and bone density so that you are more able to stay upright. In addition, exercise improves heart strength and may reduce your risk of other issues, such as diabetes and stroke. One of the most intriguing and beneficial side effects of exercise is that it can help you avoid social isolation, which is a major cause of depression and loneliness in the elderly. Taking a fitness class even just once per week can give you a broader network of peers and people to talk to when you need a listening ear.
You can further improve your health by modifying your home so it’s safer. This can include removing obstacles on the floor, installing grab bars, and adding non-slip flooring. You should also be paying attention to how you eat and taking steps to avoid malnutrition, which can surprisingly cause weight gain, hair loss, and difficulty healing from cuts and bruises. If you’re a drinker, cutting down on your alcohol consumption can reduce your risk of dying of cancer while improving your emotional state.
Managing your health in your senior years is not difficult. You have a network of healthcare professionals — including your primary care physician, dentist, and eye doctor — who can help you improve and maintain your health. But they can’t do it alone; it is up to you to exercise, eat right, and prioritize your mental well-being. You’ll feel better for it and will get to enjoy your retirement without limitations.
About The Grand Healthcare System
The Grand Healthcare System is a network of high profile, state-of-the-art facilities designed for advanced rehabilitation and nursing. Deeply ingrained in their local communities, each facility brings all-inclusive healthcare closer to home.
We know surroundings influence wellbeing, so our residences offer the familiar ambiance of home. Niceties like soft linens and elegant furnishings lift spirits, while lovely grounds and community integration brighten outlooks. From a short visit to an extended stay, The Grand delivers wellness through a wealth of experience.