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Prevention: Key To Keeping Elderly Healthy

elderly-exerciseThe elderly population in the United States is increasing rapidly. By 2030, the number of those 65 or older will more than double to approximately 71 million.

This number of elderly Americans has far-reaching implications for our nation’s public health system and will place unprecedented demands on the provision of health care and aging-related services. Public health efforts to promote health and functional independence are critical strategies in helping older adults stay healthy.

Research has shown that poor health does not have to be an inevitable consequence of aging. Older adults who practice healthy behaviors are more likely to remain healthy, live independently and incur fewer health-related costs. An essential component to keeping older adults healthy is preventing chronic diseases and reducing associated complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about 80 percent of older adults have one chronic condition, and 50 percent have at least two. Infectious diseases (such as influenza and pneumonia) and injuries also take a disproportionate toll on older adults. Efforts to identify strategies to prevent or reduce the risk of disease and injury and to widely apply effective interventions must be pursued.

Fall prevention can save lives and keep an older adult self-sufficient in his or her home longer. According to the CDC one in three adults 65 and older fall.

Following these tips can save a lot of older adults from falling.

Falls may occur for a variety of reasons, one of which is lack of exercise. The CDC states that, “physical activity is the most important factor to healthy aging.” For important health benefits it is recommended that older adults need at least:

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, which translates to 30 minutes a day 5 days a week (i.e., brisk walking) every week;
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
  • Or, 30 minutes a day 5 days a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and weight training muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.


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