Senior Health: Successful Aging

  • Medical Author:
    Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH

    Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

View Senior Exercise for Successful Aging Slideshow Pictures

How can social issues affect the life and health of seniors?

Social issues can have a significant impact on life and both physical and mental health of seniors. Some of the major contributors to social and psychological problems for seniors are as follows:

  • Loneliness from losing a spouse and friends
  • Inability to independently manage regular activities of living
  • Difficulty coping and accepting physical changes of aging
  • Frustration with ongoing medical problems and increasing number of medications
  • Social isolation as adult children are engaged in their own lives
  • Feeling inadequate from inability to continue to work
  • Boredom from retirement and lack of routine activities
  • Financial stresses from the loss of regular income

These factors can have a negative impact on overall health of an older individual. Addressing these psychosocial problems is an integral component of seniors' complex medical care.

What are lifestyle changes seniors can make to lead a healthy life as they age?

A balanced diet and participation in regular exercise are paramount in maintaining a healthy life for people of all ages. Routine exercise and healthy diet in seniors can have an even more noticeable impact in their general well-being.

Many diseases in seniors may be prevented or at least slowed down as a result of a healthy lifestyle. Osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressures, diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, depression, and certain cancers are some of the common conditions that can be positively modified in seniors through diet, exercise, and other simple lifestyle changes.

In addition to diet and exercise, other important life style modifications to lead a healthier life in seniors include:

  • Limiting alcohol intake to one drink daily
  • Smoking cessation
  • Using skin moisturizers and sun protection
  • Brushing and flossing teeth once or twice a day
  • Staying proactive in own healthcare and participating in decision making
  • Going to the primary care doctor routinely
  • Reviewing list of medications with their doctor(s) often
  • Following recommended instructions for health screening, preventive tests, and vaccinations
  • Visiting a dentist annually or biannually
  • Following up with eye doctor and foot doctor, especially for people with diabetes
  • Being aware of potential medication side effects anddrug interactions including over-the-counter drugs, herbals, and alternative medicine
  • Adhering to routine sleep schedule and using good sleep hygiene
  • Engaging in routine and scheduled social activities
  • Taking vacations
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/1/2014
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