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Helping Hearts For Over 30 Years

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Slow Aging From the Inside Out

By Res-Q editor 3 years ago 2541 Views

The summer sun is shining, and as nice as it feels on your face, chances are it makes you think twice about aging, or rather how to prevent (or slow!) the signs of it. While year-round, daily sun protection is an essential step to maintaining youthful skin, the most effective way to fight aging is from the inside out.

Guide to Protecting Your Health As You Grow Older

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 5 years ago 3106 Views

The Basics

You can take steps to stay healthy and independent as you get older. It’s important to:

  • Keep your body and mind active
  • Choose healthy foods
  • Get regular checkups
  • Take steps to prevent accidents

Remember, it’s never too late to make healthy changes in your life.

Stay active to live longer and better.
Physical activity can help you:

  • Reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • Avoid falls and other injuries
  • Live on your own longer
  • Prevent depression

Check out how staying active can help you with everyday tasks [PDF - 864 KB].


Take Action!

These steps can help you live a healthier life.

Get active.
Staying active is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Get more tips to help you stay active as you get older.

Eat healthy.
Eating healthy meals is always important, no matter how old you are. It’s never too late to make healthy changes.

Try these tips:

  • Choose lots of vegetables and fruits in different colors.
  • Make sure most of your grains (like rice and pasta) are whole grains.
  • Drink low-fat or fat-free milk.
  • Choose lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Stay away from trans and saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugar.

Get more tips and ideas for eating well as you get older.

If you smoke, quit.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free help with quitting. 

If you have a history of heavy smoking and you smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, ask your doctor about screening for lung cancer.

Get regular checkups.
Your doctor or nurse can help you stay healthy as you get older.

If you have Medicare, be sure to schedule your Medicare wellness visit every year.

Stay safe.
Older adults are at greater risk for injuries from falls, home fires, and car crashes.

Take steps to prevent falls.
Do these 4 things to prevent falls:

  1. Exercise to improve your balance and leg strength.
  2. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines. Some medicines can make you dizzy or sleepy.
  3. Get your vision checked at least once a year. Update your glasses or contact lenses when your vision changes.
  4. Use this Home Falls Prevention Checklist [PDF - 7 MB] to help you find and fix the dangers in your home.

Put smoke alarms on every floor of your home.
Use long-life smoke alarms if possible. These alarms use lithium batteries and last longer than regular smoke alarms. They also have a “hush button” so you can stop the alarm quickly if there’s a false alarm.

If you use regular smoke alarms, replace the batteries every year. (Tip: Change smoke alarm batteries when you change your clock back from Daylight Savings Time in the fall.)

Follow these other tips on smoke alarms:

  • Test your smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button.
  • Put smoke alarms on every floor of your home and near places where people sleep.
  • Don’t forget to put a smoke alarm in the basement.
  • Replace your smoke alarm if it doesn’t work when tested or if it’s more than 10 years old.
  • Dust or vacuum smoke alarms when you change the batteries.

Get more tips on smoke alarms.

Watch for changes that may affect your driving.
Getting older doesn’t make you a bad driver. But changes that come with aging can make it harder for you to drive safely. You may have trouble seeing at night or find it harder to react quickly to avoid an accident.

Take these steps to stay safe:

  • Get your vision and hearing checked.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Drive on streets you know.

Get tips on how to stay safe behind the wheel.

Get support if you are a caregiver.
A caregiver is someone who helps a family member, friend, or neighbor who is sick or has a disability. Caregiving can be stressful. If you are a caregiver, make time to also care for yourself.

Tips on Staying Active As You Get Older

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 5 years ago 3135 Views

Physical activity is good for people of all ages. Staying active can help:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer
  • Improve your strength and balance so you can prevent injuries and stay independent
  • Reduce symptoms of depression
  • Improve your ability to think, learn, and make decisions

Before you begin...

If you have a health problem like heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, talk to your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activities.

  • Start slowly. Begin with 10 minutes of aerobic activity and gradually build up to doing 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Choose activities that make your heart beat faster – like walking fast, dancing, or raking leaves.
  • Tell your doctor if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, or unplanned weight loss.

Do strengthening activities 2 days a week.

  • Try using exercise bands or lifting hand weights. You can also use cans of food as weights.
  • Breathe out as you lift the weight, and breathe in as you lower it. Holding your breath can cause changes in your blood pressure.

Do balance activities 3 or more days a week.

  • Practice standing on one foot (hold onto a chair if you need to at first).
  • Stand up from a sitting position without using your hands.
  • Learn tai chi (“ty chee”), a Chinese mind-body exercise that involves moving the body slowly and gently.
  • Sign up for a yoga class, or try following a yoga video at home.

Don't Fall - Lower Your Risks Easily

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 5 years ago 3294 Views

The Basics

You can make small changes to help prevent falls. One in 3 older adults will fall each year. Falling can lead to broken bones, trouble getting around, and other health problems, especially if you are age 65 or older.

A fracture (broken bone) can cause pain and disability. It can also make it hard to do everyday activities, like cooking a meal, without help. Hip fractures are a major cause of health problems and death among older adults. 

You don’t have to be afraid of falling. Take these steps to prevent falls:

  • Exercise to improve your balance and leg strength.
  • Ask your doctor to review your medicines. Some medicines can make you dizzy or sleepy.
  • Get your vision checked by an eye doctor at least every 1 to 2 years. Update your glasses or contact lenses when your vision changes.
  • Make your home safer. For example, add railings to both sides of all stairs.

Am I at risk?
As people age, poor balance and weak muscles can lead to falls and fractures. Older adults usually fall during everyday activities, like walking or turning.

Some older adults also have vision problems or other medical conditions that can make a fall more likely. For example, a stroke can affect your balance and make you more likely to fall.

You may be more likely to fall if you:

  • Have fallen in the past year
  • Have a health condition that makes it hard to walk or affects your balance, like diabetes or heart disease
  • Have trouble getting up from a chair or stepping up onto a curb
  • Take medicines to help you relax or sleep

If you are worried about falling, talk to your doctor or nurse about how balance exercises, physical therapy, and vitamin D supplements can help.

Get the facts on falls and fractures.


Take Action!

Many falls can be prevented. Follow these steps to lower your risk of falling.

Get active.
Stay active to feel better, improve your balance, and make your legs stronger.

Improve your balance.
Exercises that improve your balance can help prevent falls. For example, tai chi (“ty chee”) is a Chinese mind-body exercise that involves moving slowly and gently.

Make your legs stronger.
Do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. These include lifting weights or using resistance bands (long rubber strips that stretch).

Try these strength exercises at home.

Ask your doctor about using medicines safely.
Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall. Take all of your medicines to a doctor or pharmacist. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if any of your medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) could increase your risk of falling.

Print this list of other questions to ask your doctor or nurse about preventing falls.

Get your vision checked.
Your vision changes as you get older. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling. Get your vision checked at least once a year to make sure you are wearing glasses or contact lenses with the right prescription strength.

Make your home safer.
About half of all falls happen inside the home. Use this Home Falls Prevention Checklist [PDF - 7 MB] to help you find and fix the dangers in your home.

To help prevent falls at home:

  • Use bright lights throughout your home, especially on the stairs.
  • Always wear non-slip shoes, even inside your home. Don’t walk barefoot or in slippers or socks.
  • Have railings put on both sides of all stairs on the inside and outside of your home.
  • Keep stairs and places you walk clear of clutter.
  • Pick up things you can trip over, like papers, shoes, or books.
  • Remove small rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs from slipping.
  • Have grab bars put inside and outside the bathtub or shower and next to your toilet.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.
  • Keep kitchen items you use often in easy-to-reach cabinets.
  • Stand up slowly after eating, lying down, or sitting.

Get a bone density test.
If you are a woman age 65 or older, get a bone density test to measure how strong your bones are.

Get enough calcium and vitamin D.
Calcium helps keep your bones strong and less likely to break. Vitamin D helps your body take in calcium. Check out this shopping list of foods high in calcium.

Get plenty of sleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep can help you make good decisions and avoid injuries.

Drink alcohol only in moderation.
Alcohol can increase your risk of falling.

Are you worried about a loved one’s risk of falling?
Use these tips to start a conversation about preventing falls.