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LifeCare Health Knowledge Center

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Exercise for Older Adults

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. There are four main types and each type is different. Doing them all will give you more benefits.:

  • Endurance, or aerobic, activities increase your breathing and heart rate. Brisk walking or jogging, dancing, swimming, and biking are examples.
  • Strength exercises make your muscles stronger. Lifting weights or using a resistance band can build strength.
  • Balance exercises help prevent falls
  • Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber

If you have not been active, you can start slowly and work up to your goal. How much exercise you need depends on your age and health. Check with your health care provider on what is right for you.

NIH: National Institute on Aging

Fistulas

A fistula is an abnormal connection between two parts inside of the body. Fistulas may develop between different organs, such as between the esophagus and the windpipe or the bowel and the vagina. They can also develop between two blood vessels, such as between an artery and a vein or between two arteries.

Some people are born with a fistula. Other common causes of fistulas include:

  • Complications from surgery
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Diseases, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

Treatment depends on the cause of the fistula, where it is, and how bad it is. Some fistulas will close on their own. In some cases, you may need antibiotics and/or surgery.

Growth Disorders

Does your child seem much shorter - or much taller - than other kids his or her age? It could be normal. Some children may be small for their age but still be developing normally. Some children are short or tall because their parents are.

But some children have growth disorders. Growth disorders are problems that prevent children from developing normal height, weight, sexual maturity or other features.

Very slow or very fast growth can sometimes signal a gland problem or disease.

The pituitary gland makes growth hormone, which stimulates the growth of bone and other tissues. Children who have too little of it may be very short. Treatment with growth hormone can stimulate growth.

People can also have too much growth hormone. Usually the cause is a pituitary gland tumor, which is not cancer. Too much growth hormone can cause gigantism in children, where their bones and their body grow too much. In adults, it can cause acromegaly, which makes the hands, feet and face larger than normal. Possible treatments include surgery to remove the tumor, medicines, and radiation therapy.

Healthy Aging

People in the U.S. are living longer, and the number of older adults in the population is growing. As we age, our minds and bodies change. Having a healthy lifestyle can help you deal with those changes. It may also prevent some health problems and help you to make the most of your life.

A healthy lifestyle for older adults includes:

  • Healthy eating. As you age, your dietary needs may change. You may need fewer calories, but you still need to get enough nutrients. A healthy eating plan includes
    • Eating foods that give you lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories. This includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.
    • Avoiding empty calories, such as foods like chips, candy, baked goods, soda, and alcohol
    • Eating foods that are low in cholesterol and fat
    • Drinking enough liquids, so you don't get dehydrated
  • Regular physical activity. Being physically active may help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic health problems. If you have not been active, you can start slowly and work up to your goal. How much exercise you need depends on your age and health. Check with your health care provider on what is right for you.
  • Staying at a healthy weight. Being either overweight or underweight can lead to health problems. Ask your health care professional what a healthy weight for you may be. Healthy eating and exercise can help you get to that weight.
  • Keeping your mind active. Lots of activities can keep your mind active and improve your memory, including learning new skills, reading, and playing games.
  • Making your mental health a priority. Work on improving your mental health, for example by practicing mediation, relaxation techniques, or gratitude. Know the warning signs of a problem and ask for help if you are struggling.
  • Participating in activities that you enjoy. People who are involved in hobbies and social and leisure activities may be at lower risk for some health problems. Doing things that you enjoy may help you feel happier and improve your thinking abilities.
  • Playing an active role in your health care. Make sure that you get regular checkups and the health screenings that you need. You should know which medicines you are taking, why you need them, and how to take them properly.
  • Not smoking. If you are a smoker, quitting is one of the most important things that you can do for your health. It can lower your risk of several different types of cancer, certain lung diseases, and heart disease.
  • Taking steps to prevent falls. Older adults have a higher risk of falling. They are also more likely to fracture (break) a bone when they fall. Getting regular eye checkups, getting regular physical activity, and making your house safer can lower your risk of falling.

Following these tips can help you to stay healthy as you age. Even if you have never done them before, it's never too late to start taking care of your health. If you have questions about these lifestyle changes or need help figuring out how to make them, ask your health care provider.

Healthy Living

Many factors affect your health. Some you cannot control, such as your genetic makeup or your age. But you can make changes to your lifestyle. By taking steps toward healthy living, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and other serious diseases:

  • Get the screening tests you need
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods, and limit calories and saturated fat
  • Be physically active
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Don't smoke
  • Protect yourself from too much sun
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, or don't drink at all
  • Get enough sleep every day
  • Work on improving your mental health, for example by practicing mediation, relaxation techniques, or gratitude

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

If you are thinking about hospice, palliative care, or home health, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions and even visit your home for a free consultation.


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