Dr Charmaine Tan You Mei, Senior Staff Registrar from Post-Acute & Continuing Care at Outram Community Hospital (OCH), shares five ways the elderly can stay healthy and age gracefully. OCH is managed under SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH), a member of the SingHealth group.

5 Tips for healthy ageing

1. Keep active

Engaging in regular physical activity can extend one's years of active independent living and reduce your chances of suffering from disability and pain, so that you can continue doing the things that you love. Aim to move more and sit less throughout the day. The more you move, the more health benefits you will get!

Aim to do a mix of the types of exercises regularly, as each type of exercise has its own benefits, such as:

  • Resistance training (for e.g. resistance bands, weight training) will help to improve one’s strength and reduce the loss of muscle mass and strength that comes with age

  • Aerobic exercises (for e.g. brisk walking, jogging, dancing) are important for improving one’s endurance and maintaining good cardiovascular health

  • Balance training (e.g. taichi, yoga) can help to reduce fall-risk in older adults

2. Stay connected with friends and family 

Engagement in social, physical and intellectual pursuits are important in decreasing one’s risk of getting dementia. Challenge yourself to sign up for a course, learn a new skill, join an interest group and engage in social activities with your friends and in the community. Limits are self-imposed, don't allow anyone to tell you what you can or cannot do!

3. Set goals for yourself to achieve

Growing up, career goals and family goals take priority. However, after one has reached retirement and when the children have moved out, many may feel as if they have lost meaning and purpose to their lives. This should not be the case!

It is important to continually seek new goals and achievements, work to improve yourself and continue to contribute to society actively. For example, go the extra mile for someone, and be pleasantly surprised by how good it makes you feel. This will allow you to live a fulfilling and meaningful life even in your retirement years.

4. Go for regular health screenings

Chronic diseases develop slowly over time, and many do not experience symptoms until they have developed complications at the later stages. Many older patients tend to be in disbelief when they receive their medical results, showing irreversible organ damage caused by chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) or hyperlipidermia as they have been “feeling well”.

Such situations can be avoided by going for regular health checks for early detection and early treatment to prevent these complications.

5. Don't worry, be happy! 

Avoid comparing yourself with other people, take time to appreciate all that you have around you and be thankful for what you have. Aging gracefully is also about having a happy and positive mindset, to enjoy happier, healthier golden years.

Ref: K21

Check out other articles on healthy ageing:

Best Foods for the Elderly

Best Exercises for Seniors

7 Common Ageing Problems Faced by Seniors

Must-Know Nutrition and Diet Tips for Seniors

Why Seniors Need to Be Vaccinated

How to Prevent Falls in the Elderly

Depression in Seniors