Health Habits to Avoid After Age 60, Say Experts
After age 60, health challenges may start to pop up. But they don't have to. Many of us are undermining our own health by engaging in some common habits. Avoid these health mistakes that can tarnish your golden years. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.
Being Depressed About Aging
Maintaining a positive outlook can have a positive effect on your health as you grow older, particularly on the brain. Research done at Yale University found that people who had positive self-perceptions about growing older lived 7.5 years longer—and had lower rates of Alzheimer's disease—than people with more negative views.
Being Socially Isolated
Loneliness has been a silent epidemic for years, particularly among older people, and it can seriously affect your health. Studies have found that being lonely can have negative health effects similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and may increase older adults' risk of developing dementia by 50%. Do everything you can to stay socially connected: Socialize regularly with friends and loved ones, join activity or support groups, or volunteer.
Drinking to Excess
Binge drinking among people over 60 is booming, particularly among women, and it's a dangerous trend. Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer and heart disease. And older people are more sensitive to alcohol, which can lead to dangerous drug interactions or injury from accidents or falls. To stay healthy, drink moderately: No more two drinks a day for men, and no more than one drink for women.
When it comes to quitting tobacco, it's never too late. Even people who quit smoking between the ages of 65 to 69 can add one to four years to their lives. But continuing to smoke after 60 raises your risk of chronic health conditions—such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancer—that are increasingly seen with age.
Skipping Routine Vaccinations
Got your COVID vaccine and booster? Good. Now don't forget to talk with your doctor about other routine vaccinations recommended for people over 60. The CDC says every adult should get an annual flu vaccine, especially people over 60. The CDC also recommends two pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines for people 65 and older, and two doses of shingles vaccine for people over 50. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.