Healthy Aging Tips for Every Decade of Your Life

When you trav­el, you might have a pack­ing list. If your child is about to start school, you might have a shop­ping list. And when you have a mil­lion tasks to get done in a day, you might write a to-do list. 

Many parts of our life can be bro­ken down into small­er chunks to make tasks eas­i­er to accom­plish — and don’t you some­times wish there was some­thing easy like a gro­cery list, but for your health? 

Now there is — and this list can help you stay healthy through­out your life. Check out these healthy aging tips for every decade. Like a gro­cery list, the items on it may vary from per­son to per­son depend­ing on their needs. 

    If you’re in your 20s …

    • Find a pri­ma­ry care provider. You may have been lucky enough to have the same pri­ma­ry care provider through­out col­lege, but now is a good time to find some­one you like and can build a new rela­tion­ship with
    • If you are a female, you should get your first pap smear at age 21 to screen for cer­vi­cal cancer. 
    • Prac­tice safe behav­iors. Don’t start smok­ing tobac­co (and if you do, quit while you’re young). Avoid binge drink­ing, use pro­tec­tion dur­ing sex­u­al activ­i­ties, and always wear your seatbelt.
    • Keep your­self cov­ered — with insur­ance. At 26, you may expe­ri­ence a change in your health insur­ance if you have been cov­ered by your parent’s plan. Learn more about your options for apply­ing for health insur­ance after your 26th birthday.

    Make your annu­al well­ness vis­it a pri­or­i­ty at any age by find­ing a Pri­ma­ry Care Provider or mak­ing an appoint­ment with yours today. 

    If you’re in your 30s …

    • Devel­op habits that will set you up for suc­cess and healthy aging, like eat­ing bal­anced meals and stay­ing active. Now is a great time to find a form of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty you love or want to learn!
    • If you are con­sid­er­ing start­ing a fam­i­ly, there are sev­er­al things you can do to pre­pare before you even start try­ing to con­ceive. Talk to your provider about fam­i­ly plan­ning and learn more about pre­na­tal and post­par­tum care such as tak­ing a folic acid supplement.
    • Begin find­ing spe­cial­ists who can sup­port you as you age, like a der­ma­tol­o­gist. It’s always good to have a rela­tion­ship with a provider before you need them. 
    • Lis­ten to your body. You may think that expe­ri­enc­ing changes in your health dur­ing your 30s is too ear­ly and ignore signs your body is try­ing to tell you some­thing. Talk to your pri­ma­ry care provider about any major changes in your phys­i­cal or men­tal health.

    If you’re in your 40s …

    • You will need to make sure you get a few impor­tant rou­tine can­cer screen­ings. For peo­ple with an aver­age risk, this means get­ting your first colonoscopy at age 45, and if are a female, get­ting your first mam­mo­gram at age 40.
    • Look out for changes in your eye­sight. Many adults over the age of 40 begin to have trou­ble see­ing things far away or read­ing things near­er to your face (like a book or lap­top). Sched­ule an eye appoint­ment at least every 2 years.
    • Destress. From work to kids to every­thing in between, it’s always a good time to step back and see how much stress is in your life — and what strate­gies, like mind­ful­ness or yoga, can help you man­age it.
    • Refresh your mem­o­ry on your fam­i­ly med­ical his­to­ry. It’s good to know about your risk for dis­eases that may be com­mon in your fam­i­ly, like heart dis­ease and dif­fer­ent kinds of can­cers so your provider can ensure you get screen­ings ear­ly if needed. 

    If you’re in your 50s …

    • Walk more. Stay­ing active is a key way you can stay healthy as you age, but it can be tough to know what exer­cis­es to do. Try dif­fer­ent exer­cis­es you’ve always want­ed to try, like rac­quet­ball or Zum­ba — or sim­ply get out and get more steps in your day.
    • Keep your brain active. It’s not just about work­ing out your body, but your mind too. From learn­ing a new skill to doing a dai­ly sudoku puz­zle, there are many ways to keep your mind sharp. 
    • You may want to get screened for lung can­cer in your 50s depend­ing on your smok­ing his­to­ry. It’s also nev­er too late to quit. 
    • It’s pos­si­ble that some­time in your 50s or 60s, you may take on more respon­si­bil­i­ty car­ing for an aging par­ent. This means you may have less time to care for your­self, so be sure to make time for inten­tion­al self-care.

    If you’re in your 60s and beyond … 

    • Get your flu shot. It’s impor­tant to get your flu shot every year regard­less of your age, but your risk of get­ting a severe case of the flu goes up as you get older.
    • As you get old­er, it’s impor­tant to main­tain friend­ships and rela­tion­ships as a key part of healthy aging. You can also look for new ways to con­nect, such as by vol­un­teer­ing, tak­ing a class at a local col­lege, or check­ing out your library for fun programming. 
    • Pre­vent falls in your home. A sim­ple fall can lead to a seri­ous injury, but small steps like using a cane or walk­er, installing grab bars in your show­er, and get­ting rid of trip­ping haz­ards can keep you safe and healthy. 
    • Take the time to think about advance care plan­ning. While it may not be the most fun top­ic to think about, hav­ing writ­ten doc­u­ments out­lin­ing your health care proxy and future care wish­es can make you feel con­fi­dent that you will receive the care you want.

    Stay­ing Healthy at Any Age

    Many of the tips for each decade could apply in oth­er decades as well — and there are many rec­om­men­da­tions that should be in each cat­e­go­ry, like see­ing your pri­ma­ry care provider once a year, get­ting enough sleep, and reduc­ing stress in your life. 

    No mat­ter your age, it’s not too late to devel­op new healthy habits that can sup­port you through­out your entire life. Whether you want to talk about start­ing a fam­i­ly or tips for fall pre­ven­tion, your Duly Health and Care provider will sup­port you in each and every decade. 

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    • I have a commitment and dedication to my patients' health care needs, while also caring for the human spirit.