Taking Proactive Steps with Your Health in Your 50s Leads to a Better Quality of Life

Are you in your fragile 50s, or just a bit younger or older? The 50s are when many health issues show signs, leading to declining health, long-term care, and premature death. Simple proactive steps can better manage your health as you get older.

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Taking Proactive Steps with Your Health in Your 50s Leads to a Better Quality of Life
7 Min Read February 14th, 2022

If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you probably thought anyone in their 50s or 60s were old. Look after old photographs of people then and people today at the same age. Sure, the clothes were different, but today we look a lot younger and healthier than those the same age back then.

However, the term 'fragile 50s' still applies today. Many health issues start affecting us in our 50s. These health issues progressively worsen over time as we get older and our overall health slowly declines. 

Sounds depressing, but it doesn't have to be as medical science advances allow us to delay our health decline and enjoy a better quality of life than those decades ago.

There are things you can do now to help you prevent or delay health problems that start to develop as you get older, making your 50s less fragile.

Health Issues That Develop Often in Our 50s

Several health conditions start creeping upon us as we get into our 50s.

  • High Blood Pressure

Two out of three adults over 60 have high blood pressure, and most start getting diagnosed in their 50s. Our blood vessels get less flexible as we get older, putting pressure on our circulatory system that carries blood through the body. This strain is not good on our heart as well.

Maintaining blood pressure is essential, but high blood pressure is known as the silent killer. Too many people don't get regular check-ups and are not having their blood pressure checked as often as they should. 

More aggressive guidelines for hypertension treatment went into effect in 2017, yet too many people fail to get regular check-ups and are unaware they have this serious health problem.

New aggressive guidelines encourage individuals and physicians to be more proactive when dealing with high blood pressure. As we get into our 50s and beyond, hypertension can health to declining health, leading to long-term care and premature death.

When we get older, we experience many changes in our health. High blood pressure can be the start of an overall health decline that starts in our 50s. The decline leads to illnesses, many of which can lead to significant health issues leading to long-term care and even premature death.

  • Diabetes

You can't watch TV without seeing commercials for some new diabetes medication. The number of people who have diabetes seems to have increased dramatically. About one in ten Americans have diabetes, and your chances of getting diagnosed with it grow as you get older.

Diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and makes any other existing health problem worse. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults between 45 and 64 years of age receive the majority of new diabetes diagnoses in the United States, with most of them in their 50s.

Your doctor will use blood work to test if you have the disease. When you go on your annual check-up, they will run a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) to test for many things, including your blood glucose and A1C. A hemoglobin A1C test is often used to diagnose diabetes. A reading of 6.5 or greater indicates you have diabetes.

  • Heart Disease

Do you have a family history of heart disease? If so, you are at greater risk, but not having a history does not mean you get to avoid concern. Plaque buildup in your arteries as you get older, and by the time you are in your 50s, it could cause your arteries to narrow, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Yes, annual check-ups will help you get diagnosed before the problem gets worse and before you have a heart attack or stroke.

  • Osteoporosis

Women may pay special attention to Osteoporosis, but the problem is not exclusively a female issue. Over 54 million Americans aged 50 or over have Osteoporosis, and others have Osteopenia.

Osteopenia is the precursor of Osteoporosis. Your bones are weaker than normal, but they still don't break easily, unlike Osteoporosis.

Your doctor will order a Dexa scan, the most commonly used test to measure bone density. Most doctors have women get their baseline test in their 50s. Men will get a scan based on a family history of males with bone density problems or due to an excessive use of steroids. The results from this test can help diagnose your initial bone loss and monitor the effectiveness of medications and treatment.

  • Osteoarthritis

Your joints tend to wear and tear due to age, but this is not the only reason we suffer from arthritis and joint problems, which tend to get worse as we get into our 50s.

A lack of physical activity, diabetes, genetics, and being overweight can increase the risk of arthritis and joint issues. One of the leading reasons people need long-term health care is due to mobility problems from arthritis and joint problems.

You can't change your genetics, but you can be proactive with your health to delay to avoid some of these arthritis problems that affect so many of us as we get older. 

Other Fragile 50s Health Problems

Many other health issues commonly start in our 50s. These problems include hearing loss, vision problems like cataracts and glaucoma, COPD, bladder problems, ED, depression and anxiety, back problems, and early dementia and Alzheimer's.

Ignore these problems - many people do. However, being proactive with your health and regular check-ups will better manage aging. 

How to Be Proactive

Here are several tips to be proactive with your health as you get into your fragile 50s. Remember, your doctor may make different recommendations, but this is an excellent overall guide.

In addition to our annual check-up, including blood pressure and lab work (CMP), consider the following:

  • osteoporosis risk assessment
  • dental check-up
  • heart disease risk assessment
  • mammogram for women
  • cervical screening test for women
  • colonoscopy
  • pulmonary function test
  • eye exam
  • skin cancer exam
  • prostate cancer screening for men
  • depression screening
  • Immunizations - including COVID-19, flu, shingles, and pneumonia 

OK, Now What?

Being proactive with your health is step one; step two is being proactive with your finances and family. Are you ready for your future retirement?

Long-term health care costs are increasing at a rapid pace due to increasing demand for care services, a growing aging population, and labor shortages. 

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows the current and future costs of these services where you live - or plan to move to when you retire.

For example, let's say you live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In-home health care services will run nearly $11,000 a month in twenty-five years - Wisconsin Long-Term Care Resources | LTC News. Assisted living and nursing home costs will be even more costly than that.

How would those costs affect your income, assets, lifestyle, and legacy? How would your family deal with your need for long-term health care?

Cash Flow Problem and Family Problem

Long-term care is both a cash flow problem and a family problem. Long-Term Care Insurance will give you the resources so you can choose the type of care you desire, giving your loved ones the time to remain family instead of becoming caregivers.

Health insurance, including Medicare (and supplements), will not pay for most of this care, leading to tremendous risk to savings and creating a burden to family caregivers who often must step in and provide care. 

Going to the doctor for regular check-ups, a better diet, exercise, and good planning will help manage these risks. Part of the plan should include Long-Term Care Insurance, which will provide you with the resources for quality care options. When you have a policy, you own a solution that will reduce the stress on loved ones and protect income and assets.

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s, but remember, every insurance company has its own underwriting requirements but, overall, you need relatively good health to obtain coverage. So, don't delay.

Being proactive with our health and planning can help us prepare for the costs and burdens of getting older. Long-term care has become a substantial risk leading to in-home care or institutional care in a long-term care facility. Being prepared to give everyone in your family better peace of mind.

Seek help from a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find affordable coverage.

Don't ignore your fragile 50s; take proactive measures so you can enjoy the decades to come.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

Health insurance, including Medicare (and supplements), will not pay for most of this care, leading to tremendous risk to savings and creating a burden to family caregivers who often must step in and provide care. 

Going to the doctor for regular check-ups, a better diet, exercise, and good planning will help manage these risks. Part of the plan should include adding an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy that will provide you with the tax-free resources for quality care options. When you have a policy, you own a solution that will reduce the stress on loved ones and protect income and assets.

Be sure to start planning in your 50s.

Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS

You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan the costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Seek Professional Guidance

Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad

Start by reading our four guides -  

If they are lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Help in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work, free with no obligation. 

You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and cannot be just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

You can also affordably purchase a dofollow link to your website or blog on LTC NEWS. Just contact the advertising department.

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