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This week, kicked off yesterday on Mother’s Day, is National Women’s Health Week. Let’s use this week to prioritize women’s health needs. Women should take this opportunity to think about how they can improve their health. For others, use this week to consider how you can support the women in your life. Over the past few years, we’ve been focused on Covid-19 and preventing infection. Let’s not forget however that we have other health needs, including preventive health care and mental health.

Don’t Neglect Preventive Care

Many of us put off preventive care during the past few years. While it is important to protect yourself from Covid-19, it’s also important to seek care to prevent other harmful illnesses. Schedule an annual physical with your healthcare provider to discuss your preventive care needs.

Preventive care is important because it can help prevent and identify health problems that affect many women, such as osteoporosis, breast cancer, and cervical cancer, as well as issues like diabetes or high blood pressure. Discuss what screenings might be appropriate for you with your health care provider. Check out the National Institute of Health’s website on important health screenings for women age 65 and older. You can also ask your doctor or nurse practitioner about whether you have missed any vaccines during the pandemic.

Prioritize Metal Health Needs

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us, particularly older adults, isolated at home. While this may have protected us from falling ill with Covid-19, it took a psychological toll on many people.  A lot of older adults felt lonely and isolated. Loneliness and isolation are harmful to older adults and can contribute to depression and cognitive decline. If you’ve been feeling isolated, take this opportunity to get out and socialize. With the weather warming, we have more opportunity to meet friends and family outdoors. If you want to meet new people, check out the programs at your local senior center. Many senior centers around Contra Costa County have reopened and are hosting all kinds of fun group programs for older adults. Socializing with others can decrease feelings of loneliness and stress, which can contribute to a general improvement in your overall physical and mental health.

Incorporate Healthy Habits

You can incorporate healthy habits into your daily lifestyle. Physical activity like going for a walk, doing yoga, or taking a dance class can be a great way to improve your health. Some local senior centers offer exercise and dance classes, as well as walking groups. Contact with your senior center to learn more about their programs. In addition to getting more exercise, try eating more healthful foods like fruits and vegetables. If it is difficult to obtain fresh fruit and vegetables, opt for frozen fruit or vegetables. Finally, reducing alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking can help prevent chronic diseases and keep you healthy.

Click here for more tips on staying healthy.