Healthy Aging Archive

Articles

Better balance may mean a longer life

Being unable to stand on one leg for 10 seconds in middle and later life is associated with a sharply increased risk of premature death, according to a study published online June 21, 2022, by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Fall vaccination roundup

Because aging makes it harder to fight off infections, it's especially important for people to stay up to date on vaccinations as they get older. Important vaccinations include those that ward off COVID-19; tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis; shingles; and pneumococcal diseases. Flu vaccinations are also important and are needed yearly. There are a few different types of flu shots. Doctors advise getting whatever flu vaccine is readily available. If there's a choice, the latest recommendation in 2022 for people 65 or older is to have the high-dose flu shot rather than the regular-dose version.

Do you fall down when you stand up?

People with orthostatic hypotension experience a drop in blood pressure when they stand, which increases the risk for falls. Ways to manage the condition include keeping up blood volume by taking in at least 3 liters of fluid and 4 to 6 grams of salt per day; taking medication to alleviate lightheadedness; avoiding hot environments; getting up slowly from a sitting or standing position; and sleeping with the bed on a slant. Someone who feels lightheaded upon standing should sit down immediately. If that's not possible, it may help to tense the muscles.

Are you headed for a fall?

Cardiovascular conditions can increase a person's risk of falling. Such falls are usually related to a lack of blood flow to the brain that causes a person to faint. The most common cause is orthostatic hypotension, but severe aortic stenosis and the heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation can also cause a person to faint. Other falls may result from cerebral microvascular disease, a type of blood vessel damage in the brain that develops over time.

Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?

The adoption of technology has grown rapidly among older adults, and with it have come potential benefits to mental health, daily functioning, and quality of life. Those who want to help an older person in their life might suggest one of the many options available.

Doing multiple types of activities improves cognitive health

Studies have shown that doing any one of certain activities, such as staying physically active and maintaining social ties, helps maintain brain health in older adults. A new study suggests that participating in multiple kinds of these activities, several times a week, may help even more.

Improving vision may help prevent dementia

A recent analysis found a link between vision loss and higher risk of dementia. The results suggest improving visual acuity, such as with eyeglasses or cataract removal, might help maintain cognitive fitness in older adults.

Three moves for functional fitness

Older adults can benefit from functional fitness exercises—those that focus on the muscles needed for basic everyday actions, like squatting, bending, reaching, and twisting. An all-around exercise routine that addresses the major muscle groups is ideal for improving functional fitness. Still, people should add specific exercises that mimic basic movements, such as getting up and down from the ground or a seated position, bending down and lifting objects, and carrying heavy or bulky items.

Understanding sex drive

Men's sex drive can wane and fluctuate with age, but that does not mean they still cannot enjoy a healthy and satisfying sex life. The goal to working with a changing sex drive is to focus more on the non-physical side of sex, which can help reignite the sexual spark for both people in the relationship. Examples include more romantic touching with your partner, communicating about each other's needs, and experimenting with different sex routines and practices.

Living longer, without dementia

A study published online April 13, 2022, by The BMJ found that those age 65 or older who regularly practiced numerous healthy lifestyle habits lived longer and had fewer years with dementia than those who practiced one or no healthy lifestyle factors.

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