Self Care for Successful Aging

What does it mean to age successfully?

Aging successfully means finding ways to cope with impending illnesses, losses, and other challenges, by getting help and by marshaling one’s own resilience and internal resources. One step towards this accomplishment is anticipating age-related problems and taking proactive measures to tackle these challenges such as remaining active, staying social, and managing your health and wellness. Continue reading below to see Patricia Jacobson’s, APNP FNP top self care tips for successful aging.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Your diet should consist of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Do your best to avoid sugars, saturated fats, and oils.

Maintain Calcium and Vitamin D Levels

Calcium is needed for our heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly and for blood to clot. Inadequate calcium significantly contributes to the development of osteoporosis. The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, calcium absorption is insufficient and the body will begin taking calcium from the bones, weakening them. Aim for 1,200 – 1,500 mg of Calcium and 800IU of vitamin D every day.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days is sufficient to maintain your weight and can help protect against other age related issues such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Optimize your Sleep

As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age. In fact, research demonstrates that our sleep needs remain constant throughout adulthood. Avoid caffeine and use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation to help with sleep problems. Try to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancer and a range of other health problems. It may also increase hot flashes and bring on earlier menopause.

Consider Hormones or Medication

Hormone therapy, low-dose antidepressants, and Gabapentin have been shown to decrease menopausal hot flashes.

Strengthen the Pelvic Floor

Pelvic floor muscle exercises, called Kegel exercises, can improve some forms of urinary incontinence.

Reduce Vaginal Discomfort

Use over-the-counter, water-based vaginal lubricants (Astroglide, K-Y) or moisturizers (Replens, Vagisil). Staying sexually active also helps.

Have Regular Checkups

Talk with your doctor about how often you should have mammograms, Pap tests, lipid level (cholesterol and triglyceride) testing and other screening tests.