Health Topics

Seniors

Seniors' Health
National Library of Medicine
Aging

People in the U.S. are living longer than ever before. Many seniors live active and healthy lives. But there's no getting around one thing: as we age, our bodies and minds change. There are things you can do to stay healthy and active as you age. It is important to understand what to expect. Some changes may just be part of normal aging, while others may be a warning sign of a medical problem. It is important to know the difference, and to let your health care provider know if you have any concerns.

Having a healthy lifestyle can help you to deal with normal aging changes and make the most of your life.


Aging
Seniors
Population Groups
... U.S. are living longer than ever before. Many seniors live active and healthy lives. But there's no ...
Exercise for Seniors
National Library of Medicine
Fitness
Seniors' Fitness

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


Exercise
Seniors
Wellness and Lifestyle
Fitness and Exercise
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 ...
Nutrition for Seniors
National Library of Medicine
Seniors' Nutrition

Food provides the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

Studies show that a good diet in your later years reduces your risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart diseases and certain cancers. As you age, you might need less energy. But you still need just as many of the nutrients in food. To get them

  • Choose a variety of healthy foods
  • Avoid empty calories, which are foods with lots of calories but few nutrients, such as chips, cookies, soda and alcohol
  • Pick foods that are low in cholesterol and fat, especially saturated and trans fats

Saturated fats are usually fats that come from animals. Look for trans fat on the labels of processed foods, margarines and shortenings.

NIH: National Institute on Aging


Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
Nutrition Disorders
Seniors
Food and Nutrition
Food provides the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Studies show ...
Healthy Aging
National Library of Medicine

People in the U.S. are living longer than ever before. Many seniors live active and healthy lives. But there's no getting around one thing: as we age, our bodies and minds change. There are things you can do to stay healthy and active as you age:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Keep your mind and body active
  • Don't smoke
  • Get regular checkups
  • Practice safety habits to avoid accidents and prevent falls

NIH: National Institute on Aging


Healthy Aging
Seniors
Wellness and Lifestyle
... U.S. are living longer than ever before. Many seniors live active and healthy lives. But there's no ...
Dementia
National Library of Medicine
Senility

Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.

Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia. However, memory loss by itself does not mean you have dementia. People with dementia have serious problems with two or more brain functions, such as memory and language. Although dementia is common in very elderly people, it is not part of normal aging.

Many different diseases can cause dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and stroke. Drugs are available to treat some of these diseases. While these drugs cannot cure dementia or repair brain damage, they may improve symptoms or slow down the disease.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Dementia
Mental Health and Behavior
Seniors
Brain and Nerves
Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to ...
How Much Exercise Do I Need?
National Library of Medicine
Exercise: How Much?

Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. It has many benefits. It can improve your overall health and fitness and reduce your risk for many chronic diseases.To get the most benefit, here's how much physical activity you should get:

For adults:

Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. Or you could do a combination of the two.

  • Try to spread your physical activity out over several days of the week. That's better than trying to do it all in one or two days.
  • Some days you may not have long blocks of time to do physical activity. You can try splitting it up into segments of ten minutes or more.
  • Aerobic activities include walking fast, jogging, swimming, and biking
  • Moderate intensity means that while you are doing that activity, you should be able to say a few words in a row but not sing
  • Vigorous intensity means that while you are doing that activity, you won't be able to say more than a few words without stopping for a breath

Also, do strengthening activities twice per week.

  • Strengthening activities include lifting weights, working with exercise bands, and doing sit-ups and pushups
  • Choose activities that work all the different parts of the body - your legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders, and arms. You should repeat exercises for each muscle group 8 to 12 times per session.
For preschool-aged children (ages 3-5):

Preschool children should be physically active throughout the day, to help with their growth and development.

They should get both structured and unstructured active play. Structured play has a goal and is directed by an adult. Examples include playing a sport or a game. Unstructured play is creative free play, such as playing on a playground.

For children and teens:

Get 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. Most of it should be moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

  • Activities should vary and be a good fit for the child's age and physical development
  • Moderate-intensity aerobic activities include walking, running, skipping, playing on the playground, playing basketball, and biking

Also, try to get each of these at least 3 days a week: vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening activity, and bone-strengthening activity.

  • Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities include running, doing jumping jacks, and fast swimming
  • Muscle-strengthening activities include playing on playground equipment, playing tug-of-war, and doing pushups and pull-ups
  • Bone-strengthening activities include hopping, skipping, doing jumping jacks, playing volleyball, and working with resistance bands
For seniors, pregnant women, and people with chronic health problems:

Seniors, pregnant women, and people who have special health needs should check with their health care provider on how much physical activity they should get and what types of activities they should do.

Exercise tips:

People who are trying to lose weight may need to get more physical activity. They also need to adjust their diet, so they are burning more calories than they eat and drink.

If you have been inactive, you may need to start slowly. You can keep adding more gradually. The more you can do, the better. But try not to feel overwhelmed, and do what you can. Getting some physical activity is always better than getting none.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Physical Fitness
Wellness and Lifestyle
Fitness and Exercise
... playing volleyball, and working with resistance bands For seniors, pregnant women, and people with chronic health problems: Seniors, pregnant women, and people who have special health ...
Memory
National Library of Medicine
Amnesia

Every day, you have different experiences and you learn new things. Your brain cannot store all of that information, so it has to decide what is worth remembering. Memory is the process of storing and then remembering this information. There are different types of memory. Short-term memory stores information for a few seconds or minutes. Long-term memory stores it for a longer period of time.

Memory doesn't always work perfectly. As you grow older, it may take longer to remember things.

It's normal to forget things once in awhile. We've all forgotten a name, where we put our keys, or if we locked the front door. If you are a senior who forget things more often than others your age, you may have mild cognitive impairment. Forgetting how to use your phone or find your way home may be signs of a more serious problem, such as

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Other types of dementia
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Head injuries
  • Blood clots or tumors in the brain
  • Kidney, liver, or thyroid problems
  • Reactions to certain medicines

If you're worried about your forgetfulness, see your health care provider.

NIH: National Institute on Aging


Memory Disorders
Memory
Mental Health and Behavior
Seniors
Brain and Nerves
... locked the front door. If you are a senior who forget things more often than others your ...
Alzheimer's Caregivers
National Library of Medicine
Caregivers for Alzheimer's Disease

Caring for someone who has Alzheimer's disease (AD) can be stressful and overwhelming. It's important to take care of yourself. Ask for and accept help.

Talk to the doctor. Find out what treatments might help control symptoms or address behavior problems. Find a support group. Others who have "been there" may be able to help and will understand.

If there are times of day that the person is less confused or more cooperative, take advantage of that in daily routines. Consider using adult day care or respite services. These offer a break with the peace of mind that the patient is being taken care of. Begin to plan for the future. This may include

  • Getting financial and legal documents in order
  • Looking into assisted living or nursing homes
  • Finding out what your health insurance and Medicare will cover

NIH: National Institute on Aging


Alzheimer Disease
Caregivers
Seniors
Brain and Nerves
Social/Family Issues
Caring for someone who has Alzheimer's disease (AD) can be stressful and overwhelming. It's important to take care of yourself. Ask for and accept help. Talk ...
Alzheimer's Disease
National Library of Medicine
AD

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities.

AD begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. A related problem, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), causes more memory problems than normal for people of the same age. Many, but not all, people with MCI will develop AD.

In AD, over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members. They may have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them.

AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease.

No treatment can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.

NIH: National Institute on Aging


Alzheimer Vaccines
Alzheimer Disease
Mental Health and Behavior
Seniors
Brain and Nerves
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out ...
Angina
National Library of Medicine
Syndrome X (Cardiac)

Angina is chest pain or discomfort you feel when there is not enough blood flow to your heart muscle. Your heart muscle needs the oxygen that the blood carries. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. It may feel like indigestion. You may also feel pain in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.

Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common heart disease. CAD happens when a sticky substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, reducing blood flow.

There are three types of angina:

  • Stable angina is the most common type. It happens when the heart is working harder than usual. Stable angina has a regular pattern. Rest and medicines usually help.
  • Unstable angina is the most dangerous. It does not follow a pattern and can happen without physical exertion. It does not go away with rest or medicine. It is a sign that you could have a heart attack soon.
  • Variant angina is rare. It happens when you are resting. Medicines can help.

Not all chest pain or discomfort is angina. If you have chest pain, you should see your health care provider.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Angina Pectoris
Seniors
Blood, Heart and Circulation
Angina is chest pain or discomfort you feel when there is not enough blood flow to your heart muscle. Your heart muscle needs the oxygen that the blood carries. ...