Too many Americans expect illness, disability, and dementia to accompany advancing age. Elderly people who base their view of old age on the experience of their parents may expect poor health and never try to improve their health once it begins to deteriorate.
Poor health and loss of independence are not inevitable consequences of aging. Taking ownership of your health along with social support is effective in improving quality of life as you age.
Healthy lifestyles. Research shows the cumulative effect of a healthy lifestyle (e.g. being physically active and not smoking) is more influential than genetic factors in helping older people avoid the deterioration traditionally associated with aging.
Early detection of illness and diseases. Screening to detect chronic diseases early, when they are most treatable, can save lives. However, many older adults have not had all of the recommended screenings. About 36,000 people aged 65 or older die each year of flu. Immunizations can reduce a person’s risk for hospitalization and death from these diseases.
Injury prevention. Falls are the most common cause of injuries to older adults. More than one-third of adults age 65 or older fall each year with 20 to 30% of the falls causing moderate to severe injuries. These injuries decrease mobility and can rob older adults of their independence.
Financial preparation. Later life planning is financial planning focused on the goals in later life such as finding significance after retirement and maintaining independence and personal choice to the end of life.
End of life issues. End of life issues are important because of the substantial burden and impact of dying persons on their family members and society.