The theme for Older Americans Month 2014 is “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.” While our first post on this topic focused on promoting safety throughout the month, we believe that a focus on senior health, a subject that is paramount in California’s Assisted Living communities, is also important.
According to The State of Aging and Health in America, a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) in 2013, “heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes continue to be the leading causes of death among older adults.” The report looks at key health indicators, health behaviors, preventive care, and fall injuries for Americans aged 65 years or older, and the CDC released suggestions for improving the health outlook of older Americans:
Less than half of men and women aged 65 years or older are up-to-date on preventive services including flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, colorectal cancer screening, and mammography for women.
Flu and pneumonia is the seventh leading cause of death among adults 65 years or older, despite the availability of effective vaccines. Older adults should get the flu vaccine every year and get the pneumonia vaccine at least once.
Be Physically Active
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do for their health. Physical activity can prevent many of the health problems that may come with age, including the risk of falls.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables Daily
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some cancers and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
Adults aged 65 years or older should eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables daily.
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. For help quitting, visit www.smokefree.govor call 1-800-Quit-Now.
Take Medication for High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of illness and death among older adults. Of the almost 67 million Americans with high blood pressure, more than half do not have it under control. Patients should take the initiative to monitor their blood pressure between medical visits, take medications as prescribed, tell their doctor about any side effects, and make lifestyle changes, such as eating a low-sodium diet, exercising, and stopping smoking.
How are you celebrating Older Americans Month in your community? In what ways are you promoting healthy aging practices among your residents?