Women's Health In Your 70s and Beyond
Learn how to stay mentally and physically active.
You've come this far, and may still be running a business, raising grandkids, going back to school, or checking something off your bucket list.
More than ever, you need to watch out for serious health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and memory deficits. That means following medical advice, living a healthy lifestyle and taking good care of yourself.
Healthy aging is a gift, so do what you can to make sure you receive it.
Important Stats for Women Your Age
Here are some facts you need to know for a healthier life.
70-YEAR-OLDS WILL LIVE PAST 80
TAKE 5 OR MORE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
1 in 3
HAS OSTEOPOROSIS BY 75
DEAL WITH URINARY INCONTINENCE
11 Steps to Better Healthcare
Not sure where to start? Here are healthy steps you can take today:
- Schedule a physical twice a year; more if your doctor advises it.
- Tell your doctor about any chronic or new symptoms you’re experiencing.
- Take medications as directed.
- Make sure your doctor knows all your medications, and if they’re causing side effects.
- If you have diabetes, check A1c levels and control your blood sugar regularly.
- Get your hearing and vision checked regularly.
- Have regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Practice good hygiene to reduce risk of catching colds and flu.
- Use protection during sexual activity.
- Walk, hike, garden, swim regularly, if approved by your doctor.
- Join a health support group if you need one.
Screenings & Vaccinations
While some routine tests, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, can be stopped after age 75, your physician may advise continuing these:
- Bone-density screening: every 2-3 years after age 65
- Blood-pressure screening: every 2 years
- Cholesterol blood panel: every 3-5 years
- STDs and HIV screening: if you're sexually active
11 Tips for Healthy Living
In your 70s and beyond, it's more important than ever to stay mentally and physically active. Follow these guidelines for good health.
- Eat a healthy diet; ask a nutritionist if you're getting all the nutrients you need.
- Drink plenty of water, especially in hot or dry conditions.
- Exercise daily, to the best of your ability.
- Get regular medical checkups.
- Protect your memory with mind-stimulating books, games, puzzles and learning.
- Spend quality time with family.
- Make new friends: Volunteer, take adult-education classes, join a club.
- Return to a favorite hobby or start a new one.
- Wear glasses or hearing aids if you need them.
- Don’t smoke or abuse substances.
- Get enough sleep every night—and if you have trouble sleeping, get help.
Understanding Your Body's Changes
You may have questions about what's happening with your health. Browse these frequently asked questions.
You're right to be worried. As you age, your immune system doesn't work as well, so you're more likely to catch colds and flu. And they can be more serious, or longer-lasting. To reduce your chance of becoming ill, get vaccinated against influenza, pneumonia and other diseases. Wash your hands frequently and well (and make sure the grandkids do, too). In the end, though, you may have to settle for a video chat by phone or tablet when the kids are coughing and sneezing.
First, make sure your bones aren't getting weaker. Get screened for osteoporosis; if you're diagnosed with low bone density, follow your doctor's treatment plan. Ask your doctor if you should be tested for balance problems. Learn exercises that can help improve your balance. Or take tai chi or a senior fitness class. But don't press your luck—if you're worried about an uneven, wet or slippery surface, ask for help.
Once in a while it's OK, if you had a particularly large lunch, for example. But don't make it a regular habit. Hunger and thirst signals wane as you get older. If you rely on them to know when to eat and drink, you could risk malnutrition and dehydration. Commit to eating small, nutritious meals or snacks 4-6 times during the day, and drink plenty of water when you do. If you're losing or gaining weight, tell your doctor.
Disclaimer: These are general guidelines for people in your age group, but every individual is different. Talk to your doctor about your personal medical needs.
Life in Your 70s and Beyond
Interacting with other people and making new friends isn't just fun—it helps you stay healthy and mentally active, too. Try these ideas for boosting your social life.
If you frequently feel down, don't just accept it—you may have depression. Older people can benefit from depression treatment just as much as younger ones. Find out what you need to know.