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Healthy ageing

People in Australia generally live longer and healthier lives than previous generations. Recent research shows that three out of four people aged 65 years and over consider themselves to have good, very good or excellent health. But the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health shows that about 87% of people aged 65 and over live with at least one chronic disease.

Healthy ageing is about looking after yourself so you can stay well, maintain your independence and get the most out of life.

There are many ways to age well. It’s important to be active, eat a healthy diet, have regular health checks and stay connected with people in your life. A healthy lifestyle will help you stay physically and mentally well.

Learn more about how to look after your physical health (e.g. bone, bladder, bowel and heart health, diet and exercise) and mental health (e.g. social connections, memory and support).

Maintaining healthy bones and joints is especially important as you get older. Ageing causes changes in your bones, joints and muscles, such as stiffer joints and loss of bone density. Learn more about common issues for women and what you can do to have good bone and joint health. Read more

Staying active as you get older has many benefits. It can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of many health conditions. Research also shows that regular physical activity can improve mental and emotional health, social wellbeing and brain health. Learn more about the benefits of exercise and different ways to stay active. Read more

As you get older, your bladder and bowel may not work as well as they used to. Learn more about how to have good bladder and bowel control (continence), treatment and management options and the bowel cancer screening test. Read more

Good nutrition and healthy eating are important throughout your life. A healthy diet can lower your risk of developing health problems. It can also help you feel more energetic and mentally well. Learn more about the importance of good nutrition as you age, plus healthy eating tips. Read more

Good heart health is important for your overall health. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a disease of the heart and blood vessels (veins and arteries). CVD is the leading cause of death in women in Australia. There are many risk factors for CVD, including age. The older you get, the greater your risk. Learn about heart changes as you get older and important heart health checks. Read more

Staying connected to people in your family, friendship groups and community is good for your health and wellbeing. As you get older it can be hard to maintain and build new relationships. But there are many things you can do to stay socially connected. Learn more about the health benefits of social connections, changes that affect your social life, and helpful tips and resources. Read more

Good sexual health means being able to enjoy a regular and satisfying sex life by yourself or with others. Good sexual health is important at any age. Learn more about things that can affect your sex life, and how you can have good sexual health as you age. Read more

Memory and cognition means how you learn, understand and remember things. As you age, the brain changes and some things become harder, such as concentrating and remembering. Other brain functions become easier, such as having the ability to see ‘the bigger picture’ in situations. Memory and cognition issues can be influenced by things such as stress, illness, mental health conditions, medicines, reduced hearing or vision, or the onset of dementia. Having a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference. Learn more about memory and cognition and dementia, plus practical ways to maintain your memory and take care of yourself. Read more

As you get older, it’s important to look after your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health. It can be hard to adjust to big life changes, such as retirement. You can also be affected by issues like health problems, loss of independence, the loss of loved ones and loneliness. These changes can make you feel worried, sad, anxious or even depressed. But it’s good to know there are many ways to feel mentally well as you age. Learn more about things that can affect your emotional wellbeing, what you can do and support services that can help. Read more

This con­tent has been reviewed by a group of med­ical sub­ject mat­ter experts, in accor­dance with Jean Hailes pol­i­cy.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Older Australians Report, Health – status and functioning,
Rahman MM, Jagger C, Princehorn EM, et al. Onset and progression of chronic disease and disability in a large cohort of older Australian women. Maturitas. 2022;158:25-33