We all know that getting older comes with a few changes. While some of these changes are welcome (wisdom and experience, for example), others can be more challenging to adjust to.
Everyone ages differently, of course, but there are some general things you can expect when you hit your 60s.
Increased Risk For Injury and Illness
Unfortunately, you’ll become more susceptible to injury and illness as you age. This is due to several risk factors, including:
- Weakened immune system
- Reduced vaccine effectiveness
- Increased inflammatory response
- Reduced bone density
- Decreased muscle mass
- Slower healing time
- Reduced skin health
This doesn’t mean that you should start living in fear of injury or illness, but it is essential to be more cautious and take steps to protect your health. For example, you may want to get more regular checkups, take extra care to avoid falls, and eat a healthy diet.
Changes in Vision and Hearing
Another common change with age is a decline in vision and hearing. Approximately 4 out of 10 adults over 65 have some form of hearing loss, and nearly 1 in 3 experience vision-reducing eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration.
If you notice any changes in your vision or hearing, be sure to see a doctor. These changes can often be treated or managed, so getting them checked out as soon as possible is essential.
Increased Risk of Heart Issues
When you were younger, you probably didn’t worry too much about your heart health. But as you age, your risk of developing heart disease increases substantially.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol become significantly more dangerous, and you may also be at risk for heart attack and stroke.
You Can Age Happily and Healthfully
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you should lose your health or happiness.
Conditions such as cognitive decline, frailty, depression, and chronic illness are not normal parts of aging. While you may become more vulnerable to these things as you age, you should not just accept them as inevitable.
There are many things you can do to stay healthy and happy as you age, such as:
- Be physically active: gardening, dancing, bowling, golfing, and walking are all great ways to stay active.
- Eat a healthy diet: focus on eating various fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily.
- Manage your weight: if you are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight can have a huge impact on your health.
- Stay socially connected: join a book club, volunteer, take a class, or visit with friends and family.
- Challenge your mind: solve puzzles, learn a new language, or read interesting books.
- Visit doctors regularly: get checkups and screenings as recommended.
If you are experiencing difficulty with ordinary activities or notice any changes in your health, don’t dismiss these symptoms as “just getting older.” Tell your doctor about any concerns you have, as treatments may be available.
Aging doesn’t have to be a negative experience—with a little effort. You can age gracefully, happily, and healthfully.