Florida ranks number 25 for senior health out of all states in the country and that statistic is leading more older adults to wonder if what they’re doing for their health is actually enough. The lag in good health across the state has a lot to do with lingering effects from the pandemic, a stall in mental health funding, a lag in education for nurses, and even Medicaid not being expanded.
There are a variety of factors that have contributed to Florida’s current ranking. With there being so many high-priority health problems that Florida seniors face, it’s becoming more important to form an understanding of how to approach your wellness.
Keep reading to learn if you, as a senior or as someone of any age are doing enough for your health and wellness in the Sunshine State.
Being Able to Tell if You’re Doing Enough for Your Wellness
Maintaining your health and wellness is a lifelong journey and it’s something that is going to require careful attention and proactive effort. The thing is, many seniors find themselves with health issues that could have been prevented if they made better lifestyle choices earlier. This is actually a common problem for many people because it’s become normal to fall into routines that may not be ideal for your body or your mind. In Florida specifically, obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension are three of the top health concerns for citizens.
To be more specific, heart disease is the top health issue across the state. Certain health problems like hypertension, for example, are something that plays a large part in your heart health and your risks for other health concerns. Because of things like this, It’s natural to wonder if you are doing enough to support your overall well-being especially as you get higher up in age. Where this can become tricky is that wellness is highly individual.
This means that what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. With that, there are several key factors and guidelines that you can follow as a senior to help you determine if you are on the right track especially if you have specific health concerns.
To Start, Listen to Your Body…Literally
Your body should act as your primary source of information when it comes to assessing your wellness needs. Pay attention to how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. As a senior, you should be asking yourself, are you experiencing consistent energy levels throughout the day, or do you often feel fatigued most of the time? Are you in tune with your emotions and able to manage stress effectively? Do you find yourself mentally alert and focused or do you feel like you’re lagging when it comes to mental health? These are all indicators of your overall wellness.
If you consistently feel drained, stressed, or mentally foggy, it may be a sign that you need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle. Prioritizing adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, and stress management can help bring your body back into balance. Additionally, you don’t want to just assume that there is nothing serious going on. Some of these symptoms can be indicators of bigger health concerns. Also, you shouldn’t immediately overthink if you are taking certain medications or have certain conditions that involve specific treatments. For example, if you are experiencing things like chemotherapy or radiation, it won’t be abnormal to feel drained or fatigued at times.
If you are taking certain medications, it might not be abnormal to experience lower energy levels, sleepiness, or even stomach issues depending on the side effects of the medication. Overall, as an older adult, try to make it a habit to listen to your body more and to pay attention to things that may be changing when it comes to energy, your sleep schedule, appetite, and anything that may be different in terms of physical appearance.
Start Establishing Wellness Goals Based on Your Current Health Problems
Setting clear and achievable wellness goals is an effective way to ensure you are doing enough for your health as a senior. Keep in mind that heart health is the top concern when it comes to health in Florida. If you already have poor heart health, have experienced concerns in this area, or have a family history of poor heart health, you should especially take proactive measures to combat potential issues that could be avoidable. Your goals should be specific, measurable, and tailored to your unique wellness needs.
For example, you might set a goal to exercise for 30 minutes five days a week or to eat a certain number of servings of fruits and vegetables each day all of which can lower your risk of heart attacks or heart-related disorders. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your goals can help you stay on track and ensure you are making progress toward better health. To get a jump on something like this, it would be a good option for you to work with your primary care physician.
Noticing Increasing Concerns in Florida
In recent years, Florida has seen a rise in early deaths among its senior population, with poverty levels on the upswing although we do know that this isn’t the only contributing factor in the state. The soaring housing costs across Florida are taking a significant toll on fixed incomes, leaving seniors struggling to make ends meet and this rolls over into healthcare needs as well.
Additionally, a growing number of seniors are battling multiple chronic health conditions, further complicating their quality of life and not knowing how to navigate this as an older adult which makes these concerns more complex.
You might now know that Florida currently ranks 25th for overall senior health in the country, according to the latest America’s Health Ranking Seniors Report. While the state’s overall ranking has slightly improved it still faces significant challenges in senior well-being which is what we want to draw attention to. A
Understanding the Concerns and the Rankings
The analysis that presented this ranking considered 52 measurements across different categories. Some of these categories of focus included community and family safety, economic resources, social support and engagement, physical environment, air and water quality, clinical care, and even certain lifestyle choices.
With all of these concerns, especially as they range across different age groups, it’s essential for people to determine what makes sense for their lives, their means, and their needs. The best way for seniors to do this is to remain aware and educated about what their bodies require.
Evaluating Your Own Health Status
Overall, assessing whether you’re doing enough for your wellness requires a combination of self-awareness, goal-setting, and professional guidance, and could even benefit from things like holistic evaluation and simply trusting in your instincts. As a senior, you need to remember that wellness is an ongoing journey, and it’s okay to make adjustments along the way. It’s even okay if you haven’t given this as much thought as you might have wished that you have because it’s never too late to reevaluate your lifestyle and health choices.
By regularly monitoring your well-being and making proactive choices, you can make it more possible to achieve a healthier and more balanced life.