Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, including as we age.
Many older adults are at risk for mental health problems. But this does not mean that mental health problems are a normal part of aging. Studies show that most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, even though they may have more illnesses or physical problems.
Sometimes, however, important life changes can make you feel uneasy, stressed, and sad. These changes could include the death of a loved one, retirement, or dealing with a serious illness. Many older adults will eventually adjust to the changes. But some people will have more trouble adjusting. This can put them at risk for mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
It's important to recognize and treat mental disorders in older adults. These disorders don't just cause mental suffering. They can also make it harder for you to manage other health problems. This is especially true if those health problems are chronic.
Some of the warning signs of mental disorders in older adults include
If you think that you may have a mental health problem, get help. Talk therapy and/or medicines can treat mental disorders. If you don't know where to start, contact your primary care provider.
What is nutrition and why is it important for older adults?
Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet so your body gets the nutrients that it needs. Nutrients are substances in foods that our bodies need so they can function and grow. They include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Good nutrition is important, no matter what your age. It gives you energy and can help you control your weight. It may also help prevent some diseases, such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
But as you age, your body and life change, and so does what you need to stay healthy. For example, you may need fewer calories, but you still need to get enough nutrients. Some older adults need more protein.What can make it harder for me to eat healthy as I age?
Some changes that can happen as you age can make it harder for you to eat healthy. These include changes in your
To stay healthy as you age, you should
Sometimes health issues or other problems can make it hard to eat healthy. Here are some tips that might help:
NIH: National Institute on Aging
Food provides the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. If you don't get enough nutrients -- including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals - you may suffer from malnutrition.
Causes of malnutrition include:
Symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, and weight loss. Or, you may have no symptoms. To diagnose the cause of the problem, your doctor may do blood tests and a nutritional assessment. Treatment may include replacing the missing nutrients and treating the underlying cause.
What is an inactive lifestyle?
Being a couch potato. Not exercising. A sedentary or inactive lifestyle. You have probably heard of all of these phrases, and they mean the same thing: a lifestyle with a lot of sitting and lying down, with very little to no exercise.
In the United States and around the world, people are spending more and more time doing sedentary activities. During our leisure time, we are often sitting: while using a computer or other device, watching TV, or playing video games. Many of our jobs have become more sedentary, with long days sitting at a desk. And the way most of us get around involves sitting - in cars, on buses, and on trains.How does an inactive lifestyle affect your body?
When you have an inactive lifestyle,
Having an inactive lifestyle can be one of the causes of many chronic diseases. By not getting regular exercise, you raise your risk of
Having a sedentary lifestyle can also raise your risk of premature death. And the more sedentary you are, the higher your health risks are.How can I get started with exercise?
If you have been inactive, you may need to start slowly. You can keep adding more exercise gradually. The more you can do, the better. But try not to feel overwhelmed, and do what you can. Getting some exercise is always better than getting none. Eventually, your goal can be to get the recommended amount of exercise for your age and health.
There are many different ways to get exercise; it is important to find the types that are best for you. You can also try to add activity to your life in smaller ways, such as at home and at work.How can I be more active around the house?
There are some ways you can be active around your house:
Most of us sit when we are working, often in front of a computer. In fact, less than 20% of Americans have physically active jobs. It can be challenging to fit physical activity into your busy workday, but here are some tips to help you get moving:
Traveling can increase your chances of getting sick. A long flight can increase your risk for deep vein thrombosis. Once you arrive, it takes time to adjust to the water, food, and air in another place. Water in developing countries can contain viruses, bacteria, and parasites that cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Be safe by using only bottled or purified water for drinking, making ice cubes, and brushing your teeth. If you use tap water, boil it or use iodine tablets. Food poisoning can also be a risk. Eat only food that is fully cooked and served hot. Avoid unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables.
If you are traveling out of the country, you might also need vaccinations or medicines to prevent specific illnesses. Which ones you need will depend on what part of the world you're visiting, the time of year, your age, overall health status, and previous vaccinations. See your doctor 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. Most vaccines take time to become effective.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention