Healthy aging: Beyond 50

Health and vitality are important at any age. After 50, though, you may think more about how to promote good health as you get older. Whether you're concerned about weight gain, sex drive or chronic diseases, a big part of healthy aging is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating reasonable amounts of a variety of nutritious foods and getting physical activity every day can go a long way toward staying healthy as you age.

If an interest in healthy aging leads you to think about trying anti-aging therapies, be careful. Supplements or expensive treatments that claim to delay or reverse the aging process may not deliver on their promises. And diets that strictly limit the types of foods you eat could be harmful. Know what you're buying, and know how to spot suspicious schemes. Remember, there's no quick fix when it comes to healthy aging.

Healthy retirement

Whether you're still planning for retirement or you've already moved into that phase of your life, there's a lot you can do to ensure good health during your retirement years.

Start by learning what to expect as you get older, such as changes in muscle mass, sex drive, vision and heart health. After all, your dreams for an enjoyable retirement likely depend on good health. Then think about how you can maintain your health through the years. For example, look for ways to lower your risk of falls, incorporate physical activity into your daily routine and improve your memory.

Another important aspect of healthy retirement is long-term care. Review care options, as well as how to pay for them, before you need them. That will help prevent hasty decisions later.

Aging in place

Many people prefer to remain in their own homes as they grow older. This sometimes is called aging in place. A variety of services for older adults can be provided at home. And home care services may help promote independence and support a good quality of life.

But it's important to plan ahead. Make sure your family members know your preferences. If you want to stay in your home, talk with them about how you might be able to make that happen. Explore the resources available in your community before you need them. Home care can provide aid such as medical care, physical therapy, nutrition counseling, housekeeping support, meal delivery and companionship services.

As you look into agencies that provide assistance, research their qualifications, quality of care, costs and the specific services they provide. If you're not sure where to start, talk with a member of your health care team. Ask for suggestions about services for older adults in your area. The more you know, the easier it will be to choose the best resources for your needs when the time comes.

Nov. 18, 2023