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Wellness Tips for Older Clients

Posted: June 18, 2010

Simply living longer isn't enough. What your clients really want is to live longer while staying healthy enough to continue doing the things they love. Although having good genes certainly helps, a growing body of research suggests that how well people age depends largely on them and what they do. Fortunately, research also finds that it's never too late to make changes that can help clients live a longer and healthier life.

Here, from the American Geriatrics Society's Foundation for Health in Aging, are top tips for living longer and better.

Eat a rainbow. People need fewer calories when you get older, so choose nutrient-rich foods such as brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Eat a range of colors; the more varied, the wider the range of nutrients you're likely to get. Shoot for two servings of salmon, sardines, brook trout or other fish rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids a week. Limit red meat and whole-fat dairy products. And choose whole grains over the refined stuff.

Sidestep falls. Walking as few as 30 minutes, three times a week can help clients stay physically fit and mentally sharp, strengthen bones, lift spirits—and lower the risk of falls. That's important because falls are a leading cause of fractures, other serious injuries, and death among older adults. Bicycling, dancing and jogging are also good weight-bearing exercises that can help strengthen bones. In addition to exercising, advise clients to get plenty of bone-healthy calcium and vitamin D daily.

Toast with a smaller glass. Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may lower the risks of heart disease and some other illnesses. But what's "moderate" changes with age. It means just one drink per day for older men and ½ a drink daily for older women. (A "drink" is 1 ounce of hard liquor, 6 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer.) Since alcohol can interact with certain drugs, ask your health care professional whether any alcohol is safe for you.