Getting older doesn’t mean a person has to have poor health. Many senior adults enjoy vigorous health and remain healthy throughout their lives, according to a news release.

Preventative measures such as eating right, exercising and managing stress help to reduce the risk of chronic disease and injuries, according to Linda Inmon, Extension associate-family and consumer sciences at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

These good health habits can make the difference between being healthy or being ill.

As people age, their digestive system slows down. Therefore, it is important to eat foods high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, Inmon said. It is also important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Seniors who exercise improve their energy, memory and overall well-being.

Jeanne Lenzer, a writer for AARP Magazine, lists the following screenings for senior adults to follow:

• Women between the ages of 50 to 74 should get a mammogram once a year. Check with a doctor, especially if there is a family history of breast cancer, for screening timeframes.

• Men, beginning at age 55, should have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test once a year. Men under 70 should discuss with their doctors whether personal risk factors, such as family history, indicate when screenings are necessary.

• A colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy examines the rectum and sigmoid colon. It is recommended for adults ages 50 to 85 and should be conducted every 10 years.

• A pap smear should be conducted once a year for sexually active women. After age 65, women no longer need this test if they have had three normal pap smears in a row or no abnormal results in 10 years. Women who have had a hysterectomy should consult their physician.

• Heavy smokers, both men and women, should consider getting a CT scan for lung cancer especially if they have had a strong smoking history. If they have symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath, consult a physician.

• The overall quality of health reduces the stress associated with having to depend on others to provide care and allows senior adults to fully enjoy their life, Inmon said. They can stay in their homes longer and reduce medical and care-giving costs.

“For senior adults who have had the responsibility of taking care of others, it is now time for them to take care of themselves,” she said.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its Extension and Research programs and services without discrimination.