Aging – it’s inevitable. However, for the sake of your health, it’s important to know what normal aging feels like and what should be of a concern. We’ve adapted some tips from the Mayo Clinic to help you promote good health no matter what age you are.

Healthy Aging - Brain Health

Brain Health
It’s normal to have lapses in memory such as forgetting names of former acquaintances or when learning a new skill. If you’re forgetting to take medication prescribed by your doctor or having trouble remembering things that happened earlier in the day, it may be good to share these concerns with your doctor. Here are a few other tips to keep your memory sharp:

  • Do a daily crossword puzzle or brain teaser
  • Practice meditation for 10 minutes a day
  • Get together with a friend or loved one to help prevent depression or stress of loneliness, a contributing factor to memory loss
  • Monitor alcohol intake to prevent confusion
Healthy Aging - Hearing and Vision

Hearing and Vision
The good news is that most conditions are treatable, including cataracts, light sensitivity or focus and hearing loss. Hearing aids are more high tech than ever before, even offering the ability to stream music from a phone or computer, and eye surgeries are more effective than ever with minimal recovery time. The key is letting your doctor know any changes you see or hear early enough to receive the proper care. You can also:

  • Schedule annual appointments for both hearing and vision
  • Follow your doctor’s advice about the use of assistive or corrective devices
  • Protect your eyes and ears with sunglasses and hats while outdoors, and use ear plugs if you’ll be exposed to loud noises
Healthy Aging - Teeth

Certain medications can cause dry mouth, which makes your teeth and gums more susceptible to decay or infection. If you’re experiencing any pain in your teeth and gums, or notice excessive swelling or bleeding, it’s time to visit your dentist. Make sure to:

  • Schedule a check-up at your dentist every six months
  • Brush teeth twice daily and floss thoroughly
Healthy Aging - Heart Lungs

Heart and Lungs
Did you know your heart grows throughout life? Over time your heart has to work harder to pump blood because blood vessels and arteries become stiffer. While this is a normal phenomenon with aging, be sure to monitor your blood pressure so it doesn’t become too high and lead to other more serious problems. To maintain a healthy heart, you should also:

  • Try to take a walk or get other moderate physical activity for at least 20 minutes a day
  • Eat a healthy diet and eliminate foods high in saturated fat and sodium
  • Ask your doctor to help you quit smoking, which speeds up the hardening of arteries and increases blood pressure
  • Manage stress
  • Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night
Aging Body Bones Joints Muscles

Bones, Joints and Muscles
You may already be feeling the strain of age on bones, joints and muscles – it’s more difficult to walk up or down stairs, you have more frequent muscle pain or sitting for long periods of time becomes uncomfortable. As you age, bones shrink and lose density and muscles lose strength and flexibility. Both of these can lead to balance risks that can lead to falling, so it’s important to let your doctor know if you’re having trouble in your daily life. To take care of your bones, joints and muscles:

  • Get enough calcium: adults 50+ should be getting 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium a day, and if you feel like you aren’t getting enough through your diet you should ask your doctor about supplements
  • Monitor vitamin D intake: adults 50+ should intake the recommended 600-800 IU a day of vitamin D
Aging Body Bladder

Bladder, Urinary Tract and Digestive System
It’s not uncommon to experience loss of bladder control or constipation as you age, but that can be heightened by conditions like diabetes, menopause for women or enlarged prostate for men. You’re not alone if you’re experiencing bladder control trouble, and speaking with your doctor can help. You can also:

  • Go to the toilet regularly, starting at once an hour and trying to increase time in between gradually – never ignore the urge to use the restroom • Avoid foods that irritate your bladder, such as caffeine, acidic items, alcohol and carbonated drinks
  • Make sure you’re eating enough fiber, eliminate high fat products
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Do Kegel exercises
Aging Body Skin

It’s normal for skin to produce less oil as you age, making it appear drier. With a decrease in skin elasticity, you may notice more wrinkles and perhaps even bruise more easily. If you notice a change in any moles or other parts of your skin, contact your doctor. In general, promote healthy skin by:

  • Taking warm, not hot, baths and showers
  • Use mild soap that won’t irritate skin
  • Wear sunscreen daily on your face, and apply on other parts of the body if you will be outside for longer than 10 minutes

While we can’t stop aging from happening, we can take steps to minimize age-related issues through careful prevention and leading a healthy lifestyle. Keep open communication with your doctor about changes you’re experiencing, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

What steps are you taking to ensure healthy aging?

By Blair Klayko