As wonderful as health care is in our country, women continue to outlive men by an average of two to four years. That’s a long time, and a big difference – especially when you’re talking about a husband, a brother, a father or grandfather. And since June is National Men’s Health Month, now is a great time to focus on improving the health of the elderly men in our lives – and all the beloved men and boys in our families.
According to the Men’s Health Network, men are far less likely to seek out preventative or wellness health care than women. This makes elderly men more vulnerable to the physical effects of aging, and causes them to be in poorer health when they do seek medical care. Even more striking are the effects of depression in older men: men over the age of 65 are five times more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts.
Making Men’s health a priority
It’s especially important for women to become advocates regarding the health of the men in their families. In most households, women are the decision-makers when it comes to health care. Research shows that women are more open to asking questions during doctor visits, and they’re more willing to consider changing their habits to improve their own health and the health of other family members.
The men in your life need to know that preventative health care is important. Encourage your men to schedule annual doctor visits and take regular screening tests for heart, prostate, colon, lung and testicular health. Let the men in your family know that, while these visits are a great start, good health is more than just a medical issue. Good health involves a healthy diet, safe exercise, mental awareness and spiritual support.
Support his healthy heart
Here in the United States, one in every four men dies from heart disease. Heart disease in all of its forms, including heart attacks and strokes, is the leading cause of death for American men. Fully 80 percent of all sudden cardiac events that occur each year happen to men.
To keep the men in your life heart-healthy, encourage them to make a few important life changes:
- Stop smoking;
- Drink alcohol only in moderation;
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and high in fiber;
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and less high-fat, high-sodium foods;
- Exercise regularly – about an hour a week is a good benchmark;
- Maintain a healthy body weight; and
- Use exercise, meditation, spiritual or support groups and healthy hobbies to manage stress.
While these recommendations will benefit men of any age, they’re especially important for our beloved elders. The patriarchs of our families enrich our lives and bring us a depth of wisdom and experience that’s impossible to duplicate. Let’s celebrate Men’s Health Month – and all the months of the year – by helping our men to live longer and live better.
Need more information? Download the free “Blueprint for Men’s Health” courtesy of the Men’s Health Network. We wish all the men in your life good health and happiness for many years to come.