Healthy Living Tips for Seniors during National Minority Health Month

April 22, 2019

According to the report, “A Tale of Three Cities: The State of Racial Justice in Chicago,” disparities among white, black and Latina adults living in Chicago are rooted in the historic, institutional practices that have held minorities back in the areas of housing, education, economy, and health. When it comes to population health, outcomes are improving across the city, but racial inequalities have remained stable or widened on major indicators of mortality like heart disease and stroke.

That’s why ACCESS stands ready to offer quality, patient centered health care right in medically-underserved communities. We are committed to providing integrated health care services, programming and resources both within and beyond our health center walls to help create total health equity for the communities we proudly serve.

Embracing Health Maintenance as We Age
With April recognized as National Minority Health Month, we wanted to provide some helpful reminders on how to embrace good health practices as we age.

Reevaluating Diet Choices
Food is a representation of our culture and ancestry. It is enjoyed with families and friends at celebrations, and often plays a large role in our lives physically, mentally and spiritually.  As we age, many of us find that we cannot eat like we did in our twenties. While you may not need to give up those traditional dishes that you were brought up on entirely, you may need to make small adjustments, like using less oil or butter, to maintain your health and wellness. 

Focus on eating nutrient-rich foods. These diet choices are important factors toward maintaining a healthy weight, good energy levels, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases or managing current health issues like diabetes.

Try these nutrient-rich foods:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy items
  • Seafood
  • Lean meats
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Meanwhile, try to limit the following:

  • Soda
  • Foods with high fat content (or too much butter as a cooking ingredient)
  • White bread
  • Rice
  • Pasta

Physical activity
Get moving! According to the U.S. Library for Medicine, older adults need to stay active and should focus on four types of exercise including aerobic, balance, flexibility and strength training.

If you are new to exercise or in need of finding a new routine, follow these tips:

  • Take a stroll in your neighborhood. Spend quality time with friends or family. Once you feel ready, pick up your pace and work yourself up to more strenuous exercises.
  • Set attainable goals and track your progress along the way.
  • Swim or stretch it out! Consider water aerobics and yoga. Water aerobics have low impact on your joints and can help with muscle-building, recovery and cardiovascular health. Yoga is great for flexibility, balance and strengthening muscles. 

Mental health
Making mental health a priority is crucial for your overall well-being, and for older adults, it’s even more important. As we age, we also go through many difficult experiences, such as the loss of loved ones, health problems or financial issues, and loneliness.

Some ways easy tips for self-care as we age:

  • Get the proper amount of sleep.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends. This can include hosting a visit or even a quick phone call.
  • Join a walking club or social group to make friends and stay active.
  • Play card games with friends to see others and keep your mind sharp.
  • Get a pet for companionship, love and loyalty. There are several health benefits for seniors with pets, including lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels than people who do not have pets.
  • Surround yourself with people you enjoy. Life is too short to be around people that don’t add happiness or value to your daily life.

Access Community Health Network (ACCESS)
ACCESS has the resources to serve Chicago area seniors facing physical, mental or emotional troubles. If you have questions about enhancing your daily and long-term life, we are here to help. Talk with one of our medical experts and schedule an appointment today.


As of March 23, 2023