Health Tips For Women Over 60
Women over the age of 60 are frequently pressured to “age gracefully”, but the true key to aging well is to monitor your health and take steps to prevent and/or health manage conditions that can develop later in life.
If you are a woman over the age of 60, you may be at higher risk for chronic conditions such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart disease
Older women are at a higher risk for developing multiple health problems, including issues with cognitive function. These conditions can make it challenging to carry out everyday activities such as cooking, bathing, dressing, and walking.
But there are ways that you can take action to manage your health so that you can make the best of your golden years.
Experts at the American Geriatric Society’s Health in Aging Foundation recommend the following tips for women 60 and over:
- See Your Doctor Regularly
It is essential to have annual checkups, especially later in life, as our bodies change. Use a calendar or agenda to help keep track of your appointments. One of the best ways to support senior health is to have regular checkups with your healthcare provider.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
Adults over the age of 50 benefit from foods that are nutrient-dense and low-calorie. Your physician can recommend a diet based on your personal nutritional needs. In addition, you can use tools such as Choose My Plate for Older Adults created by the USDA, which can help you evaluate your current diet and get tips for improving your dietary choices.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic, recommends that women over the age of 50 should focus on three specific types of nutrients to help combat the effects of aging. Some of the best vitamins for senior women to include in their diet are:
Experts recommends eating foods such as dark, leafy greens and calcium-fortified orange juice. Although dairy products are high in calcium, some women become more lactose intolerant as they age. The recommended daily calcium intake for women over 50 is 1,200 milligrams.
A lack of protein and exercise can accelerate the process known as sarcopenia, which is a natural decrease of muscle mass in older adults. Experts recommend at least 63 grams of protein daily for women over 50.
Although meat is rich in protein, it can also be high in fat and harder to digest. Some alternative plant-based protein sources include beans, seeds, quinoa, eggs, soy, and low-fat dairy products.
- Vitamin B-12
As we get older, we absorb fewer nutrients from our food, and one specific nutrient that women over 50 should be wary of is vitamin B-12. This vitamin is essential for the production of red blood cells and brain function.
For women over the age of 50, a daily intake of 2.4 micrograms is recommended, but you should consult your doctor to see if you may also require supplements.
Some foods that can help to boost your B-12 include eggs, dairy, and lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish. In addition, whole-grain foods such as cereal are also rich in vitamin B-12.
Please view our article on Senior Nutrition Tips for more information.
- Take Medications, Supplements, and Vitamins as Directed By Your Physician
Make sure that your physician is aware of all of the prescription medications, supplements, and herbs you are taking. Then, they can make sure that your regimen is safe and can address any adverse side effects.
- Monitor Your Health
- Get screened for colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer
- Get checked for diabetes at least once every three years if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or if diabetes runs in your family
- Monitor your blood cholesterol levels
- Keep tabs on your blood pressure
- Have your bone health evaluated for osteoporosis
- Pay attention to your mood – Depression can play a significant role in your health
- Keep up with your dental appointments
- Get screened for STD’s
- Stay up to date on your vaccinations
- Take Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements to Reduce Risk of Falls and Fractures
Calcium and vitamin D can help to strengthen bones, in addition, to exercise such as low-impact activities like walking and jogging. Lifting weights can also help to build muscle mass, increase blood flow and maintain balance.
- Use Sunscreen Daily
Aging skin is more susceptible to sun damage, including the development of skin cancer. Using sunscreen daily and wearing accessories such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses can help protect you from harmful UV rays.
- Stop Smoking
There’s no question that smoking has adverse effects on our health. You can ask your healthcare provider for tips or even medications to help you quit smoking. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW or view this handy guide provided by the CDC:
A Practical Guide to Help Your Patients Quit Using Tobacco
- Watch Your Alcohol Consumption
The recommended daily limit for women over 50 is up to 3 drinks a day or seven drinks in a week. However, you may have to limit yourself to even less or abstain from alcohol entirely if you have a health condition or are taking medications that cannot be combined with alcohol.
- Stay Active
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. It improves circulation, tones muscles, boosts your metabolism, and can even present conditions such as dementia. If you would like to learn about exercises you can do at home, click here.
- Keep your Mind Stimulated
Keeping your mind occupied with new challenges or learning new skills or hobbies is crucial for supporting brain health and cognitive function later on in life. Activities such as puzzles, drawing or painting, reading, and group activities such as book clubs can help to keep your brain active.
Please note: The information in this article is provided as an educational resource and should not be used as a substitute for professional expertise, diagnosis, and treatment regarding a specific medical condition. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding dietary or lifestyle changes, or doing any physical exercises. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by grief or depression, contact a mental health professional.
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