A study by the Pew Internet Center states that smartphone ownership among people age 50 and older has nearly doubled in the last five years. As seniors become more comfortable with smartphones, access to health and fitness apps increases, meaning the possibilities for improved senior health are limitless.
Apps and Wearables
Countless apps to track sleep patterns, food intake, steps, heart rates and blood pressures have been created. Seniors can participate in virtual fitness classes, work with virtual trainers and track fitness goals and progress. Hospital systems and physician offices have even started to monitor important health metrics for patients, such as daily weights for those with heart failure, through apps and portals.
This exciting healthcare trend allows seniors to link remotely to doctors and specialists through devices like iPads, computers and even smartphones without having to leave the privacy of their homes. For seniors with physical challenges or transportation issues, this method of care delivery could dramatically increase access to healthcare.
While technology is convenient, good health can be achieved without any fancy gadgets.
Personal emergency response systems offer incredible peace of mind for seniors and their family members, especially for those seniors living alone. With a single push of a button, a senior can activate a call for help in the event of a fall or an emergency situation. There are also GPS tracking devices for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which is especially helpful if there is a tendency for the person to wander.
While this technology is convenient, good health can be achieved without any fancy gadgets, as evident in the list provided. At Hurley’s Senior Center of Excellence, we partner with our patients in reaching their optimal health and function.
Tips for Staying Healthy After Age 65
- Get Active! Physical activity boosts the immune system. The activity doesn’t have to be strenuous – walking and low-impact exercise is very effective, and a strong immune system makes it possible for the body to fight off infection. The current recommendation is 20-30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week.
- Eat a healthy diet. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats also give your immune system a boost and protect against harmful viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage and keep your body healthy.
- Manage stress. Chronic stress increases your body’s production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Too much cortisol can disrupt different functions in your body, including your immune system. To reduce stress, increase physical activity, get plenty of sleep, set reasonable expectations for yourself and explore relaxing, enjoyable activities.
- Rest. Not only can sleep reduce your stress level, but sleep is how your body repairs itself. For this reason, getting adequate rest can result in a stronger immune system, making it easier for your body to fight off viruses. Sleep is also important as you get older, because it can improve memory and concentration. Aim for at least 7.5 to nine hours of sleep per night.
- Focus on prevention. Preventative health screening visits are very important for monitoring cholesterol levels, screening for colon cancer, diagnosing heart problems and getting vaccinations that can help prevent influenza and pneumonia.
- Manage medication. Ask about and review medications with your physician on a regular basis.
- Socialize. It is extremely important for seniors to stay connected to family and friends and participate in activities involving other people. Social isolation leads to depression, which in turn, leads to other health issues.