Aging

Children born today in the United States can expect to live nearly 78 years. That life expectancy is a great leap forward from 1900, when the average newborn couldn’t expect to reach age 50. Similar increases have been seen in in developed nations all around the world. In the 20th century, life expectancy increased more than it had in any century since the beginning of human civilization.

Life expectancy at various ages in teh United States

And the longer you live, the longer you can expect to live. Average life expectancy for a newborn American is 78 years, while it is 84 years for a 65-year-old and 87 years for a 75-year old.

But extending the lifespan has also increased the burden of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, and other conditions that tend to affect older individuals. Most of these diseases, though, aren't inevitable consequences of aging. Instead, many are preventable.

Solid research from long-term studies such as the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses' Health Study, and others have shown that the combination of not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar in check can prevent three-quarters or more of these chronic conditions.

Aging Articles

Keep your shoulders strong to stay independent

In older age, the shoulders become vulnerable to health problems and pain that may curtail activity. Fortunately, most older adults can reduce pain and improve shoulder strength without surgery. Therapy typically focuses on three keys to restoring shoulder health: improving posture, strengthening the muscles that support the shoulder, and stretching. Posture exercises aim to reverse forward-shoulder positions. Strengthening focuses on the rotator cuff muscles and the shoulder blade muscles. The muscles that must be stretched for shoulder health are in the front of the body and on top of the shoulders. (Locked) More »

Tools to make your life easier

Many tools can assist people with everyday activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating, cooking, and taking medications. Helpful eating tools including weighted or curved eating utensils and skid-control bowls with high sides and rubber bottoms. Helpful cooking tools include jar openers and one-handed cutting boards. A long-handled tool with pinchers at the end allows users to grab something that’s out of reach. Long-handled and curved versions of hairbrushes and combs, toenail clippers, and shoehorns are helpful for personal grooming. And pillboxes, journals, and automatic pill dispensers help keep users on their medication regimens. (Locked) More »

Easy ways to stay regular

As people get older, the muscles around the colon become a little less responsive to contractions, so it’s not uncommon to become constipated. Managing fluid and fiber intake can help people stay regular. Treating underlying conditions, such as stress or a slow metabolism, and adjusting medications may also help. Many experts recommend regular exercise as one way of increasing regularity. The minimum recommendation for general health is 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking. Some doctors think that the extra fluids people drink when they exercise may be more important for regularity than the exercise itself.  (Locked) More »

How to banish aches and pains

Regularly engaging in a variety of physical activity can help to relieve and prevent everyday aches and pain in the muscles and joints. For longstanding, chronic musculoskeletal pain, it can help to see a physical therapist to carefully evaluate the causes and recommend appropriate and safe stretches. A regular stretching routine, such as yoga, aids flexibility, strength, and range of motion in joints. Being too sedentary can lead to problems like tight hamstring muscles in the back of the leg, which can contribute to lower back pain. (Locked) More »

How to ease the transition when you move to assisted living

Making the move to an assisted living facility may bring challenges, and adapting may take time. Suggestions to ease the transition include seeking emotional support through therapy or group support, bringing familiar belongings, and getting to know other people in the assisted living facility. An easy way to meet others is to take part in the many activities that are usually offered, such as painting or outings to museums and concerts. Taking part can help people feel purposeful and engaged. (Locked) More »

Longer work hours may boost stroke risk

People who work at least 55 hours per week may face a higher risk of stroke than people who work 35 to 40 hours per week. Working long hours may lead people to sit more, sleep less, and have higher stress levels-all of which can boost stroke risk. More »

When blood pressure dips too low

People who feel dizzy or lightheaded when they stand up may have orthostatic hypotension, a condition in which blood pressure drops dramatically upon standing. As many as 30% of emergency room visits for fainting may be due to orthostatic hypotension. The problem is more common in older people, who are more likely to have conditions that increase the risk, including having high blood pressure and taking certain medications. Strategies to help prevent blood pressure drops include drinking plenty of water throughout the day and wearing compression stockings or an abdominal binder.  (Locked) More »