(WJHL) — According to an article in the National Library of Medicine, by the year 2029, the number of adults aged 65 and older will outnumber people younger than 18 years old.
While we’re living longer, there are things we can do to make sure we are getting the correct nutrition and physical activity as we age. Eating well and staying active is just as important in our Golden Years as it is while we’re young.
Holston Medical Group Geriatrician Dr. Ronna New says, “Most of us as we age will have some degree of sarcopenia which means loss of muscle mass with age.”
For older adults living independently, Dr. New says about 1 in 10 are suffering from under-nutrition, and many older adults say that they skip at least one meal a day. Loved ones should watch for signs, and they may not be easy to recognize.
“Blood abnormalities like anemia, changes in our skin texture, hair texture, there are a lot of different things that can represent that,” New says.
Staying active can prevent the loss of muscle strength and agility, which can lead to falls and lingering injuries, especially during snowy or wet conditions. New says seniors can feel like they’re caught in a catch-22.
“It’s a vicious cycle that sometimes patients can be afraid of being physically active for fear of falling, ” she says. “But, if they’re not physically active and not moving, that, of course, makes them lose strength. And when we lose strength, we become weaker and more and more likely to have a fall.”
And, there are resources available for those who need it.
“Our HMG Care Management Team they do a great job helping my patients to identify these resources, to get whether it be financial support, transportation, Meals On Wheels is a great option to have meals provided at home, as well as other things that are available,” New says.
Dr. New also stresses the importance of talking to your medical professional about what kind of healthy diet and exercise program is right for you, or your loved one.