How Do You Promote a Healthy Lifestyle in the Elderly?

Medically Reviewed on 3/17/2022

13 tips for a healthy lifestyle in the elderly

How do you promote a healthy lifestyle in the elderly
Here are thirteen tips for promoting a healthy lifestyle in the elderly to better improve your quality of life as you age.

The body and mind change with age, but this should not necessarily affect the quality of life.

Here are thirteen tips for promoting a healthy lifestyle in the elderly:

  1. Diet: The digestion process often gets weaker with age. Many elderly individuals suffer from constipation, hard stools, painful bowel movements, and flatulence. To reduce the risk, avoid frequent takeout meals. Try having dinners at least three hours before bedtime and foods rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and probiotics. Make sure you have adequate water during the day.
  2. Physical activity: Though age-related joint pains and stability issues often limit your activity, some physical activity is better than none. So, keep moving as and when you can. Try to complete at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity, such as walks, jogs, swimming, and sports (badminton and tennis). This should be accompanied by weight-bearing exercises at least two times a week. You can do Pilates and yoga to improve your flexibility, muscle strength, and coordination.
  3. Routine screening: Get your teeth, sugar levels, blood pressure, and eyes checked. A high prevalence of lifestyle diseases is common for the elderly. Even if you have no history, active screening yearly or semi-annual blood checks help detect diseases early and prevent complications.
  4. Visit the doctor: It is important to schedule regular visits with your doctor even if you do not feel sick. The doctor will check the feet, coordination, weight, and general health. If you are on regular medications, the doctor may tweak your doses or schedule to make the medications more effective for your condition.
  5. Health apps: Health apps are a wonderful way to track your health parameters. There are apps to track your medications (e.g., Medisafe) that send you daily pill reminders, exercise at home, record your blood pressure, practice relaxation, and read better. Discuss with your family and doctor about the apps best suited for your case.
  6. Sleep: Eight hours of undisturbed sleep is a must for all elderly. Poor sleep can cause irritability, high blood pressure, stress, and an uncontrolled spike in blood sugar. Try having a light dinner. Chamomile tea, warm milk, and almonds are often helpful as sleep aids. If you still have problems with sleep, the doctor may prescribe medications for the same.
  7. Vaccinations: Vaccinations against seasonal flu, COVID-19, pneumonia, and shingles are crucial in the elderly. The elderly should get vaccinated according to their schedule and recommendation. Medicare covers the costs of various vaccines for the elderly. Contact your insurance provider for more details.
  8. Assistive devices: Be it canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and glasses, many seniors require one type of assistive device or the other. These help with mobility and disability issues. Consult the healthcare professionals first to determine the best device for your condition, as well as how to use and manage it. Additionally, check with your health insurance over the expenses of mobility aids.
  9. Abstain from alcohol and cigarettes: It is important to stop smoking as you age. Smoking can affect your eyes, lung, heart, and intestines. Try to keep your alcohol intake at a permissible level (one drink per day) and avoid bingeing. Some medications may interact with alcohol and result in unpleasant adverse events.
  10. Socialize: Loneliness is often a common complaint with the elderly. Keeping in touch with other seniors is beneficial for your mental and emotional health. Catch up with friends and family as often as possible. Go on walks with your family, cook them a delicious dinner, and spend quality time with the grandkids doing the things that you both love.
  11. Hobbies: Seniors are never too old to discover hobbies and even rediscover old ones. Picking up a hobby is an excellent way to meet new friends, whether old or young, that share the same interests as you. Try knitting, quilting, gardening, yoga centers, learning a new language, painting, papercrafts, or simply traveling.
  12. Work on your mental health: Solving crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or riddles,  and playing chess helps keep Alzheimer’s, depression, and dementia away.
  13. Pet therapy: Nothing bring happiness and love like a pet. Dogs and cats can keep an elderly’s brain busy and stimulated, along with unconditional love. However, if you don’t think you can fulfill this responsibility, it is best not to commit to this anyway.

How does the body change with age?

Most individuals get less active when they age and experience muscle and bone loss. This results in poor posture, weakened muscles, and joint pains followed by a variety of other health problems. Poor memory is another problem associated with aging.

Over time, if you eat and drink without inhibitions, it will reflect in your weight and waist circumference. Extra weight leads to obesity, which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, liver disorders, and certain cancers. It is, therefore, important to follow a healthy lifestyle.

How do I avail elderly care for myself?

If you cannot or do not wish to depend on your family, you may avail professional homes for the elderly. Many government-and private-funded facilities are available based on your comorbidities, health conditions, and economic situation. The U.S. Government provides elderly care through its Medicare and Medicaid programs.

  • Medicare is a federal health insurance program for Americans aged 65 years and above. It fully covers most surgeries, medications, and vaccinations.
  • Medicare does not include coverage for long-term nursing care, assisted living facilities, or custodial care. These facilities may be available with private insurance, or you may use your savings to avail of these.
  • Most people who need long-term care or those who belong to the low-income category can access Medicaid. It is a government and state health insurance program for different groups, including the elderly and disabled.
  • State Medicaid programs additionally provide for those who need nursing home care, long-term care, or home health care. You can discuss your choices with your doctor and decide.


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