May is the Month For Aging Well
When the pages of the calendar turn to May it signals the month spring is here. It’s also an opportunity for self-awareness to age well. Through awareness take steps to improve your well-being starting today.
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis you are in good company. Currently, arthritis is a multigenerational condition affecting infants to older adults. In fact, arthritis is the Number 1 cause of disability. Recently, Arthritis Care & Research reported individuals with arthritis need as little as 45 minutes per week to improve their mobility. However, the federal guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate activity weekly are the standard. Unfortunately, it’s reported only one in 10 older adults with arthritis in their knees is meeting the criteria. Take Away – Find opportunities to increase physical activity throughout the day.
Better Hearing and Speech Awareness
Now in the United States, one in three adults between the age of 65 and 74 has a hearing loss. Additionally, nearly 50% of individuals age 75 and older have difficulty hearing. By becoming aware of a potential hearing loss you can assess your risk factors. More importantly, you can identify solutions such as assistive listening devices or hearing aids. Take Away – Protect your hearing at every age. If you are an older adult know you may have hearing loss and use hearing devices.
While vision change may occur later in life few adults are aware of eye diseases. Many eye conditions have no early symptoms. In fact, some conditions are painless and individuals only notice loss when the condition is advanced. At the present time, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects over 2.1 million in 2010 and may double to 5.4 million in 2050. In addition, 7.7 million adults over age 40 have diabetic retinopathy (DR). Lastly, 2.7 million adults over age 40 have glaucoma.Take Away – Regular eye exams and early detection of disease can significantly improve your chances of maintaining good healthy vision as you age.
High Blood Pressure
Presently seven out of 10 Americans over age 65 have high blood pressure. However, 50% do not have their blood pressure under control. In addition, almost 5 million Medicare enrollees are not taking their blood pressure medicine as directed. Take Away – Regular eye exams and early detection of disease can significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye health and vision as you age.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 20% of adults over age 55 experience some type of
mental health concern. The most common conditions include anxiety, cognitive impairment, depression, and bipolar disorder. In addition, older men have the highest suicide rate of any age group and men over age 85 are at higher risk. Take Away – Depression is the most common condition in older adults and is not a normal part of aging. Have an open conversation with your health care provider to identify resources to improve your well-being.
Currently, I am the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. My claim to fame? First gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Another accomplishment? Freewheeling After Sixty the first book to make it easier for older adults to give up driving. Lastly, this summer I’ll be speaking at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging on Let’s Talk Sexy: It’s Part of Aging.