Healthy Habits for 60 and Beyond

Today, I am happy to bring you a guest article from Susan Ashby.  Susan joined the Superior Senior Care team in July of 2014 as Community Relations Manager. With more than 27 years of experience in geriatric health, Susan brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to Superior Senior Care and plays an integral part in connecting consumers and communities with resources for independent living.

Enjoy!

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Your 60s are a transitional time for most people. Most of us retire from our jobs sometime in our 60s. When we reach 60, we start to really seriously consider how we want to spend the rest of our lives. For some people, the idea of lots of leisure time sounds fabulous. Finally, the time to spend on the things that give us the most pleasure. Instead of trying to do it all during our weekends and vacations, we can spend our days as we want. We have visions of reading books, traveling, and pursuing hobbies and long-time interests.

For some, we are the main childcare support for our grandchildren. For others, we are primary senior home caregivers of our elderly parents. The honest truth is that their needs will only increase over time and they may eventually require professional senior home care. For most of us it is probably a combination of all the above.

One thing is sure, besides being as prepared financially as possible, it is the time to reevaluate our state of health and take action if necessary. So, these are some suggestions to take you to retirement and beyond in as healthy a lifestyle as possible.

  1. See your doctor.  Have a complete checkup including vision and hearing. Follow up with an annual checkup from now on. Have you had your immunizations against pneumonia and shingles? Have you kept up with mammograms or colon cancer screenings? What is your current state of health? Are there things to work on like elevated blood pressure or cholesterol? Are you prediabetic? These are some of the typical concerns as we reach sixty and older, and most can be resolved with simple lifestyle changes or medication. See your dentist also. The point is to address any issues early before they become serious or cause worse problems. Be proactive about your health.
  2. Quit smoking. If you have been a lifetime smoker, you probably think it is too late. That’s not true. It is never too late. Today there are all sorts of programs to help you quit. There is medication as well that makes the withdrawal easier. Some people have had success using artificial cigarettes and gradually tapering down the amount of nicotine they receive. Whatever works for you, keep trying. It is the most important gift you can give yourself.
  3. Exercise. If exercise is not part of your daily routine, start with walking. Invest in a good pair of shoes designed for walking. If at first you can only make it to the end of the driveway and back, it still is an accomplishment. Then, each day, try to improve on your distance. If it is difficult to get motivated, pick a spot that interests you. Try the beach,  botanical garden, or the mall. Join a group of walkers so you have support to help meet your goals. Add some flexibility exercises like yoga or Tai Chi and add movements that help improve balance to prevent falls.
  4. Diet.  Take an honest look at your current diet. Keep track of everything you eat for two weeks. Compare your diet to the recommended My Plate foods. Make the changes you need by gradually switching bad habits into good healthy habits. Eliminate fast food stops and learn to cook.  If you are a junk food addict, don’t even bring those foods into your house. Have individual-size servings of fruits and vegetables washed and ready to eat in the refrigerator so, instead of grabbing a cookie or that bag of chips, you can grab a bunch of sweet grapes or assorted fresh vegetables. Make sure you stay hydrated also. Unless you have a medical condition that requires you to limit fluids, drink plenty of water every day.
  5. Socialize.  We need people in our lives. Take care of your friendships and sustain them. One of the main difficulties for the elderly are loneliness and depression. Part of the reason for many is the isolation. Call your friends regularly. Meet for coffee or lunch. Join a group that interests you like book clubs at the library or take advantage of the classes and activities offered at the senior center or the Y.
  6. Sleep. You should get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Many people find that, as they age, it is more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try some tricks like relaxing before bedtime. Don’t watch the news if you find it stressful. Try to keep to a schedule and go to bed at about the same time each night. Stick to a bedtime ritual of getting ready for bed so your brain recognizes the pattern.  Some find that aromatherapy helps them to relax and sleep. Lavender is often used to induce sleep. Some find a warm drink like hot chocolate or chamomile tea before bed is helpful. Meditation has been helpful in treating sleeplessness. If you’ve tried these with no luck, it is time to talk to your doctor. He or she will need to eliminate any possible physical reasons like sleep apnea first, but he may suggest a sleep aid for you.
  7. Volunteer. Choose a place to volunteer that meets your skills and interests. Read to preschoolers, deliver meals with Meals on Wheels, or build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Helping others gives you a sense of purpose and self-worth.
  8. Learn something new.  Keep your brain stimulated by learning. There are courses you can take on the computer or in the community. Learn a second language. Take classes to become a Master Gardener. Take classes at the tech school on welding or carpentry. Learn how to play poker or shoot pool. Keep learning.

Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health will assure that you will be prepared to enjoy this later time of your life.

 About Fitness for Health:

Do you have an older loved one who could use assistance to improve balance, maintain weight management or better bone and joint health?  We can help.

Fitness for Health is proud to provide a revolutionary, 12-week Bone and Joint Health Program for adults and seniors that capitalizes on weight-bearing, fitness activities.  This groundbreaking program helps to improve posture and increase bone density, strength and balance while counteracting the effects of osteoporosis, osteopenia and aging.

The Bone and Joint Health Program elicits results faster and more effectively than traditional exercise (fitness for seniors) or pharmaceuticals through two state-of-the-art fitness technologies:

  • bioDensity™ – Weight-bearing exercises are the key to stimulating bone growth, and the greater the weight applied, the better the results. The osteogenic loading that patients receive is multiples of bodyweight, and beyond what is typically seen in exercise.  Research has shown, bone density gains that averaged 7% in the hip and 7.7% in the spine over one year using bioDensity (Jaquish, 2013). These results are multiples of what the current interventions can do for bone density.
  • Power Plate™ – Power Plate is a whole body vibration platform that allows for reflexive engagement of the neuromuscular system at rapid and repeatable oscillation. This intervention has been clinically shown to increase balance and stability in both healthy and aging-frail populations.

When used once a week, research has shown the bioDensity system alone has significantly increased bone mass density, stability and functional movement with multiple ages, health conditions and for both genders.

Learn more about how we can help you create a customized fitness for seniors program that counteracts the signs of aging while helping to maintain weight management and increase bone and joint health.