Baby boomers, those 65+, accounted for more than 20 per cent of the population. This age group grew at a faster rate than the population under age 45, and it’s clear that Australia is an aging population. Happily, aging is different now than it was for our parents and grandparents. Today, there are more people living longer than at any other time in history.
This generation, associated with social change such as the anti-war movements in the 1960s, can now subscribe to another important cause, staying healthy, and they can become activists in promoting healthful behaviors and trying their best to remain active and healthy for the rest of our lives.
Here are 10 easy health tips for seniors to help baby boomers live longer and thrive:
- Quit smoking. Take this critical step to improve your health and combat ageing. Smoking kills by causing cancer, strokes and heart failure. Smoking leads to erectile dysfunction in men due to atherosclerosis and to excessive wrinkling by attacking skin elasticity. Many resources are available to help you quit.
- Keep active. Do something to keep fit each day: something you enjoy that maintains strength, balance and flexibility and promotes cardiovascular health. Physical activity helps you stay at a healthy weight, prevent or control illness, sleep better, reduce stress, avoid falls and look and feel better as well.
- Eat well. Combined with physical activity, eating nutritious foods in the right amounts can help keep you healthy. Many illnesses – such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis – can be prevented or controlled with dietary changes and exercise. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements can help women prevent osteoporosis.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Get to your healthy weight and stay there by eating right and keeping active. Replace sugary drinks with water, which is also calorie free!
- Minimise the risk of falls. We become vulnerable to falls as we age. Some of the common remedies for minimising the risk of falls include: removing loose carpet or throw rugs, keep pathways clear of electrical cords and clutter, and use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms. People who walk barefoot fall more frequently, so wear shoes with good support to reduce the risk of falling.
- Stay up-to-date on immunizations and other health screenings. By age 50, women should begin mammography screening for breast cancer. Men can be checked for prostate cancer. Many preventive screenings are available. By scheduling an annual wellness visit you can discuss with your GP which preventative screenings and vaccinations are due.
- Minimise the risk of skin cancer. As we age, our skin grows thinner; it becomes drier and less elastic. Wrinkles appear, and cuts and bruises take longer to heal. Be sure to protect your skin from the sun. Too much sun and ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer.
- Get regular dental, vision and hearing checkups. Your teeth and gums will last a lifetime if you care for them properly that means daily brushing and flossing and getting regular dental checkups. By age 50, most people notice changes to their vision, including a gradual decline in the ability to see small print or focus on close objects. Common eye problems that can impair vision include cataracts and glaucoma. Hearing loss occurs commonly with aging, often due to exposure to loud noise.
- Manage stress. Try exercise or relaxation techniques; perhaps meditation or yoga as a means of coping. Make time for friends and social contacts and fun. Successful coping can affect our health and how we feel. Learn the role of positive thinking.
- Fan the flame. When it comes to sexual intimacy and aging, age is no reason to limit your sexual enjoyment. Learn about physical changes that come with aging and get suggestions to help you adjust to them, if necessary.