Inactivity is the greatest health risk for older adults, says the World Health Organization.
Research shows that active living can combat the rate of aging, reduce the risk of developing
certain conditions and even slow the progression of common diseases. Plus, your body gets
stronger with activity at any age, so it’s never too early, or too late, to get moving. Walking is a
great way to start.
Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of activity. Consider joining a group such as Alberta 55+
( alberta55plus.ca). Check with your healthcare provider before starting new physical activity.
Eat healthy meals regularly
Skipping meals makes it hard to get the nutrients you need. A healthy meal includes vegetables, whole
grains and a lower-fat meat or alternative. For more information on building a healthy plate, visit
healthycanadians.org; search eat well plate. Eating three meals a day also gives you more chances to
connect with friends and family. If you need help getting enough food, reach out to community gardens,
food banks and delivery services such as Meals on Wheels.
Annual checkups with your primary-care doctor
can help prevent potential ailments. They also help
you develop and adjust plans to manage existing
conditions. Annual vision exams (covered for
those 65 and older by Alberta Health Care) can
help you see potential hazards and prevent falls.
Likewise, regular trips to the dentist keep your
mouth healthy and help prevent tooth loss. The
Alberta government provides assistance for low-to moderate-income seniors for basic dental and
optical services. See page 23A and 50A.
Include protein at every meal
Protein in your diet helps guard against muscle loss. Balance
chicken, fish, beef and pork with meat alternatives such as
beans, lentils, tofu, milk and Greek yogurt.
Using the right safety equipment is
the first step in preventing injury:
seatbelts when driving or riding in a
car, helmets when cycling and proper
footwear when walking. In your
home, install railings by stairways,
grab bars in the shower and other
aids to prevent falls; check that smoke
and carbon monoxide detectors are
installed properly and test them
regularly; have an emergency supply
kit; and consider a safety-alert system
if you live alone. For more home safety
information, see Apple’s Winter 2016
issue at applemag.ca.
Falls are not a normal part of aging, but
they are the leading cause of serious
injury in older adults. Good balance
is the best way to stay strong on your
feet. Improve your strength and balance
with activities such as walking, water
exercises, yoga or tai chi.
Be falls aware