5 Steps of Healthy Aging for Senior Women

Health & Wellness
Healthy Aging for Women

Posted: May 12, 2021

National Women’s Health Week is a time to encourage women of all ages to build healthy habits for life.

Taking Steps Toward Healthy Aging

Aging is a natural part of life. Although women live longer than men, they are faced with unique health challenges as they age. For example, women develop autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis more often than men. Women have lower bone density and less muscle mass than men, which increases their chances of falling and experiencing bone fractures. Two out of three caregivers in the United States are women, which puts them at risk for poor physical and mental health. By taking these 5 steps towards healthy aging, senior women can lead happy and healthy lives well into their 70s, 80s, and beyond.

Step One: Prioritize Health Screenings and Vaccinations

Health screenings are an important part of maintaining health and discovering issues before signs and symptoms are present. For senior women, this includes regular bone density testing, colonoscopies, mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. Annual hearing and vision tests, blood pressure checks and labs to measure cholesterol and blood glucose can reduce the chances of a negative health event.

The recommended vaccines change with age. Work with your health care provider to determine what immunizations you should receive based on your age, health status and travel plans. Common vaccinations include an annual flu shot, the two-shot pneumonia vaccine, the shingles vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Step Two: Prevent Falls and Fractures

Hormone changes after menopause increase the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that causes bone loss which can lead to falls and fractures. Broken bones can cause serious health problems and lead to loss of independence for senior women. There are steps you can take to build bone mass and prevent bone loss:

  • Get plenty of vitamin D and calcium through foods or supplements. Talk to your health care provider about how much you need.
  • Regular weight-bearing aerobic exercises like walking, dancing and low-impact aerobics are good for your bones.
  • Strength training and weight-lifting are also good for your bones.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol.

Exercise and physical activity are vital components of healthy aging. Learn how technology can help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of a fall or fracture.

Step Three: Nutrition Needs

As we age, our nutritional needs and eating habits change and the need for good nutrition increases. Because activity levels tend to decrease with age, women start to lose muscle mass, which can increase the risk of falls and broken bones. It is essential to eat a diet that includes protein to build and repair healthy bones and muscles.

According to the FDA, adults over 65 can benefit by making these simple adjustments:

  • Add sliced fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks. Look for pre-sliced varieties if slicing and chopping is a challenge.
  • Drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk throughout the day. If you cannot tolerate milk, try small amounts of yogurt, buttermilk, hard cheese or lactose-free foods.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Consume food fortified with vitamin B-12, such as fortified cereals.

Many older adults rely on restaurants to eat and don’t cook for themselves. Senior women, especially those who live alone, frequently suffer from poor nutrition. One of the benefits of an assisted living community, like Cappella of Pueblo West, is enjoying a variety of services and amenities, including elevated dining experiences with nutritious, well-balanced meals.

While living independently at home is the preferred option for many older adults, home may not be the best or safest place as we age.

Step Four: Manage Stress and Mental Health

Positive mental health is associated with improved overall health and well-being. Women who care for an ill spouse, parent or other loved one may find it difficult to manage stress, sleep well or care for themselves by eating right and having regular healthcare check-ups.

Seek help when feeling symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. These conditions are twice as common among women, due in part to hormonal imbalances. Many women are reluctant to speak with their doctor about mental health issues but left unchecked, these conditions will negatively affect your physical health. Carve out time for yourself to do things you enjoy. Spend some time outdoors in the sunshine, do things you enjoy, like gardening or crossword puzzles. Try meditating or learning a new hobby or craft. Talk with family and friends or a professional about how you are feeling.

Stress can present itself in many ways including irritability, fatigue, pain, lethargy, sleeplessness and other detrimental symptoms. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the stress level of many older adults, and normal stress management techniques just aren’t cutting it. At Cappella of Pueblo West, we understand this and have resources to help you navigate life’s challenges. Check out this video to learn how to manage your stress levels and improve your quality of life.

Step 5: Stay Social

As seniors age, the risk of isolation increases. This is especially true for women who tend to outlive their spouses and live alone sooner. Research shows we live longer and healthier lives when we’re connected to others in meaningful ways. It’s important to stay emotionally and socially connected with others. Cappella of Pueblo West assisted living residents have many opportunities to engage with others who share their interests and tastes. Our calendar is filled with the social, intellectual, inspirational and physical programs that make Cappella a special place to call home.

Friendships flourish through everyday interactions with the dedicated people on our team. Skilled, caring and professional, our care partners are an integral part of the Cappella community and are committed to providing exceptional senior care services to each resident as an individual. We believe life enrichment is a whole community responsibility, and our efforts honor the individuality of each person’s passions while challenging them to grow, learn and contribute to the enrichment of others.

In honor of National Women’s Health Week, be proactive and take one of these steps toward healthy aging. Learn more about Pueblo West residents and their experiences at Cappella of Pueblo West or contact us for more information.

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