Aging Gracefully: Mental Health

Staying Healthy in the Middle Years

Our bodies are changing as we reach our middle years (ages 50-70), and taking good care of ourselves allows us to embrace the new experiences ahead of us at this stage in our lives. We’ve asked one of our MedStar Washington Hospital Center physicians for advice to help you feel your best. Here Dr. Karen M. Johnson discusses changes in mental health as we age, and how to embrace these changes to thrive.

People in the middle years are fortunate because life experience has helped them develop a strong sense of self and identity, says Karen M. Johnson, MD.

“By 50 and older, most of us know important things about ourselves:  what we believe, what makes us happy, how to achieve some kind of balance in life,” Dr. Johnson explains. “We are better at loving who we are, and being at peace with ourselves, which promotes a high level of mental health.”

Continue to Thrive

Older adults can use this knowledge to affirm priorities.  “You may want to revisit your work life, streamlining it to focus on what gives you the greatest satisfaction and sense of purpose,” says Dr. Johnson. “Consider uncluttering your social group and investing your time with people who uplift your soul and spirit. Let go of unnecessary guilt—you are doing the best that you can. And find ways to say what you want to say in a respectful way, but still speak your truth.”

Embracing changing circumstances also helps us thrive.“If a longtime friend relocates, for example, you can maintain what’s important about that relationship in a different way. Schedule a trip together or chat on skype while sharing a cup of tea,” Dr. Johnson suggests. “The electronic world is still a new world to many of us, but this is a great time to use technology as a tool for connection.”

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We're here to help! Contact us to learn more about mental health issues as you age or to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist. Call us at 855-546-1974.

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Aging Gracefully: Women’s Health Issues

Staying Healthy in the Middle Years

Our bodies are changing as we reach our middle years (ages 50-70), and taking good care of ourselves allows us to embrace the new experiences ahead of us at this stage in our lives. We’ve asked one of our MedStar Washington Hospital Center physicians for advice to help you feel your best. Here Dr. Amy Park, a urogynecology expert, discusses women's health issues, and when you may want to seek advice from an expert.

Common and Treatable

The good news about urogynecological issues in women 50 and older is that most are very treatable, says Amy Park, MD.

“So many women feel uncomfortable discussing common women's health issues, such as leaking urine and vaginal bulge, where the vagina can prolapse, which can result from aging and damage from childbirth injury,” she says. “But often, we can help them dramatically improve their quality of life. Treatment of the incontinence and prolapse enables them to regain their confidence, engage in social activities and exercise comfortably again.”

Options for treating common conditions include making dietary changes, such as reducing caffeine intake (excessive caffeine can be a bladder irritant), using low-dose estrogen creams for vaginal dryness and considering minimally invasive surgical procedures to correct stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Healthy Body and Mind

Maintaining core strength is another important factor in urogynecological health, so Dr. Park recommends exercises like yoga, pilates or planks, which target the core muscles. But, she says, perhaps the most vital part of being active and healthy in the middle years is accepting where you are.

“You can’t compete against the idea of your younger self,” she explains. “I believe in the importance of optimizing who we are and what we want to do, whatever age we happen to be.”

Have Any Questions?

We're here to help! Contact us for more information about women's health issues or to schedule an appointment with a urogynecologist. Call us at 855-546-1974.

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Aging Gracefully: Maintain Healthy Bones

Staying Healthy in the Middle Years

Our bodies are changing as we reach our middle years (ages 50-70), and taking good care of ourselves allows us to embrace the new experiences ahead of us at this stage in our lives. We’ve asked one of our MedStar Washington Hospital Center physicians for advice to help you feel your best. Here Dr. James Tozzi discusses the importance of maintaining healthy bones, and when you may want to seek advice from an expert.

Strong, Healthy Bones 

Maintaining healthy bones is a lifelong pursuit, says James Tozzi, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon. “Good  habits that are developed early in life, together with genetics, provide the foundation for a resilient skeletal system,” he explains.

However, Dr. Tozzi continues, two controllable factors can help us keep bones stronger at any age:  the right exercise and a healthy diet (rich in calcium and Vitamin D, among other nutrients).

“Exercise that relies on some form of resistance, such as lifting weights, pilates or even swimming, is what helps us maintain our bone density and overall bone health,” Dr. Tozzi says. “Finding an activity we enjoy, so that we will make time to do it regularly, is essential for both physical and mental health.”

When Would we Need to Seek Advice about the Health of our Bones?

Dr. Tozzi says that for most people, the early signs of conditions related to bone deterioration (such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis) will involve a change in how they are feeling. “If you develop pain that won’t go away, pain that wakes you in the night, or muscle pain that feels different than just the soreness that accompanies activity, you should consider being evaluated by an orthopaedist or internist,” he advises.

Have Any Questions?

We're here to help! Contact us for more information about bone health or to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. Call us at 855-546-1974.

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