People in America today can expect to live longer than they ever have before, so old age is inevitable for most. If you make it to 65, data from the Center for Disease Control suggests that, on average, you can live for another 19.3 years. Anyone who reaches this age and beyond can expect to spend considerable time and energy in managing chronic medical conditions to stay healthy and maintain a good quality of life.
The easiest way to make sure you maintain that quality of life and good health is to do the usual things people associate with healthy living. Which means eating right, exercising, and staying active in a way that engages you mentally.
1. Mental Decline
One of the biggest concerns for seniors are the dangers of mental decline, such as memory loss, confusion, and cognitive difficulties. Modern research has found that a lot of the issues that lead to dementia and other degenerative diseases can be kept at bay by regular physical and mental activity. So little things like keeping up your social life and engaging in good conversation, reading, playing games like Scrabble, Sudoku or crosswords, starting a new hobby, or learning a language, are a great inoculation against all but the worst of these kinds of diseases.
It is thought that nearly 500,000 American seniors suffer from arthritis of some form or another. Osteoarthritis is a progressive joint disease that mostly affects cartilage around joints and the knees, hips, wrists, hands, and ankles are the most common parts of the body to be affected. However, it can affect any part of the body that moves. It can range from a twinge in the knees in the morning to a seriously debilitating disease that can contort limbs and even result in using a wheelchair or mobility scooter.
Arthritis is very common and can affect pretty much everyone. One easy way to reduce your chances of developing serious arthritis is to lose weight. Losing 11 pounds has been shown to reduce the chances of developing arthritis by 50%.
3. Heart Disease
Heart disease – or cardiovascular disease – is the leading cause of death in American seniors according to the Center for Disease Control. A third of all men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 have CVD and that number increases as you pass 60 and above. Avoiding the disease or, in some cases just arming yourself against it, involves keeping a healthy weight through regular daily exercise, avoiding eating processed high fat and high sugar foods, and getting a good night’s rest.
According to the CDC, cancer is the second leading cause of premature death among men and women over the age of 65, with 410,760 deaths in 2017. The easiest way to help ward against cancer is to stay as healthy as possible and avoid the triggers that can cause specific cancers – like smoking and drinking alcohol. Other than that, getting regular screenings can help catch any cancers that may develop hereditarily in seniors of 65 and above. A grim fact of life is that sometimes you can’t prevent cancer from growing, especially in old age, but early detection is the best way to maintain your quality of life.
The common thread here is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying as active as possible, both physically and mentally. Health concerns are completely normal but the best way to fight them is to take a proactive approach to make sure you live as long and as well as possible.