Alternative Health Options: How to Stay Healthy and Active as You Age

Alternative health options can offer valuable support and wellness solutions for individuals navigating the challenges of aging and long-term care. Exploring these options can provide holistic approaches to promote well-being and enhance the quality of life during the aging and long-term care journey.

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Alternative Health Options: How to Stay Healthy and Active as You Age
4 Min Read July 14th, 2023 Updated:May 17th, 2024

As people age, they may experience a decline in their physical and mental health. This can lead to a need for long-term health care, which can be expensive and quality care difficult to find. However, there are a number of alternative health options that can help older adults maintain their independence and quality of life for a longer period of time.

Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CAM)

CAM is a broad term that refers to a variety of health care approaches that are not part of traditional Western medicine. Harvey Zarren, MD, president of the Arlington, Mass.-based Integrative Medicine Alliance, because CAM therapies told Social Work Today that CAM therapies tend to be less invasive than conventional medicine and have fewer side effects, especially for older adults because they have the risk for more complications.  

They tend to be much more prone to encounter problems from standard medical treatment. There's a focus on deepening the quality of the human experience. CAM practitioners generally relate to their patients with respect, spending lots of time with them and focusing on people's wellness rather than their problems.

CAM therapies can be used to prevent or treat various health conditions, including pain, anxiety, and depression. Some of the most common CAM therapies used by older adults include:

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points. Acupuncture is thought to help improve circulation, reduce pain, and promote relaxation. 
  • Massage therapy: Massage therapy involves applying pressure to the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Massage therapy can help to reduce pain, improve range of motion, and promote relaxation. 
  • Yoga: Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Yoga can help to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): MBSR is a type of meditation that teaches people how to focus their attention on the present moment. MBSR can help to reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost mood.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, explains it this way:

Integrative health brings conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. Integrative health also emphasizes multimodal interventions, which are two or more interventions such as conventional health care approaches (like medication, physical rehabilitation, psychotherapy), and complementary health approaches (like acupuncture, yoga, and probiotics) in various combinations, with an emphasis on treating the whole person rather than, for example, one organ system. Integrative health aims for well-coordinated care among different providers and institutions by bringing conventional and complementary approaches together to care for the whole person.

Other Alternative Health Options

In addition to CAM therapies, there are several other alternative health options that can benefit older adults. These include:

  • Dietary changes: Eating a healthy diet can help to improve overall health and well-being. Older adults should focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They should also limit their intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats. 
  • Exercise: Exercise is important for people of all ages, but it is especially important for older adults. Exercise can help to improve physical function, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve mental health. 
  • Social engagement: Social engagement can help to reduce loneliness and isolation, which are common problems for older adults. Older adults should stay connected with friends and family, and they should also get involved in activities that they enjoy. 

Excercise is always important. Dr. Kimberly Kinder, owner of Amada Senior Care's Little Rock franchise and a licensed physical therapist, says that calisthenics are bodyweight exercises that mimic the body's natural movements. She says the benefits are just as great whether you're an older adult or 65-plus, and it's never too late to improve your health. 


Even if you cannot do a push-up from the floor, anyone can lean against a wall to do a wall push-up and work towards a floor push-up. Squatting is another popular bodyweight exercise that improves balance and can be progressed from any level of fitness.


Dr. Kinder says the best benefit of squats is that they can help seniors maintain their ability to rise from the floor as they age – thus, seniors can decrease their fall risk by regularly performing squats to improve balance and lower body strength. 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), is part of the National Institutes of Health, summarizes it this way:

As you grow older, you go through many changes, and you may need to adjust your lifestyle for healthy aging. Healthy eating and regular physical activity can be keys to good health at any age. Making suitable lifestyle choices may also prevent some health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Long-Term Care and CAM

CAM therapies can be a valuable part of both in-home long-term care and facility care for older adults. They can help to improve physical and mental health, reduce the need for medication, and promote overall well-being. 

Some of the most common CAM therapies used in both settings include acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, and mindfulness-based stress reduction. In addition to these specific therapies, several other CAM approaches can benefit older adults, such as dietary changes, exercise, and social engagement. 

Keep in mind that long-term health care is not paid for by health insurance, including Medicare. Long-Term Care Insurance will often pay for all levels and types of care, including at home.

Healing and Rejuvenation Treatments

Among the array of innovative wellness practices, red light therapy emerges as a captivating avenue for holistic healing and rejuvenation. Particularly, Hooga red light therapy stands out for its remarkable benefits in addressing the effects of aging. It offers a non-invasive approach to combat the signs of aging, enhances circulation, and reduces inflammation, fostering an environment where the body's innate healing processes can flourish.

Making Informed Choices

When considering alternative health options, it is important to do your research and talk to your doctor. Some CAM therapies can interact with medications, so ensuring they are safe for you is important. Finding a qualified practitioner who can help you make the most of these therapies is also important.

There are a number of alternative health options that can be beneficial for older adults. These options can help to improve physical and mental health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve quality of life. If you are an older adult, talk to your doctor about alternative health options that may be right for you.

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About the Author

Marcus Howard is a writer with years of experience in the field of alternative health. He has written extensively on a variety of topics, including CBD, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and the use of alternative health options for older adults.

LTC News Contributor Marcus Howard

Marcus Howard

Contributor since July 5th, 2023

Editor's Note

Aging is a natural part of life. As we age, our bodies and minds change. We may experience physical changes, such as decreased strength and mobility. We may also experience cognitive changes, such as difficulty with memory and concentration.

However, aging doesn't mean losing control and independence. If you plan ahead, you can take steps to maintain your independence and quality of life as you age.

Here are some tips for planning ahead for aging:

  • Stay healthy. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can help you stay healthy as you age.
  • Stay active. Staying active can help you maintain your physical and mental health. There are many different ways to stay active, such as walking, swimming, dancing, or playing sports.
  • Stay engaged. Staying engaged in activities that you enjoy can help you stay mentally sharp and connected to others. There are many different ways to stay engaged, such as volunteering, taking classes, or joining a club.
  • Plan for your finances. Make sure you have a plan for your finances in retirement. This may include saving for retirement, planning for long-term care (including LTC Insurance), or ensuring you have a will.

Plan for your future care. In addition to adding Long-Term Care Insurance be sure to talk to your family and friends about your wishes for your care as you age. This may include discussing who you would want to make medical decisions for you, where you would want to live, and what kind of care you would want. 

An LTC policy gives you control over the types and quality of the care you receive without concern for the cost or the burden on those you love.

By planning ahead, you can take steps to maintain your independence and quality of life as you age. Aging doesn't have to mean losing control and independence. With careful planning, you can age gracefully and live a full and active life.

Here are some additional tips for planning ahead for aging:

  • Talk to your doctor about your health concerns. Your doctor can help you develop a plan to stay healthy as you age.
  • Do your research. There are many resources available to help you plan for aging, in addition to LTC NEWS. You can find information online, in books, and from government agencies.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are many people who can help you plan for aging, such as social workers, financial planners, and elder care attorneys.

Aging is a journey, not a destination. By planning ahead, you can make the most of your golden years. 

Act Sooner Than Later

With Long-Term Care Insurance, because of the cost of the premiums and underwriting, the sooner you plan, the better. Premiums are based on your age when you obtain coverage, your health, your family history, and the total amount of benefits within the policy. The best time to get coverage is in your 40s or 50s. Be sure to speak with a specialist representing all the major insurance companies offering this type of coverage.

Professional Help is Worth It

Using a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist does not cost you anything. Still, you need to find the right professional to help match your age, health, and other factors to find the best coverage at the lowest cost. 

Every insurance company has its specific underwriting guidelines and pricing. An LTC Insurance specialist will shop the top companies and review their underwriting guidelines to provide you with accurate quotes and recommendations for coverage levels. 

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Aging Parents Deserve Quality Care

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If they don't have an LTC policy, Amada can still help develop a plan of care and provide you with many affordable in-home care options. Learn more now - Find Quality In-Home Care.

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