Senior Resources » 10 Health and Wellness Mistakes Adults Over 50 Make (and How to Avoid Them!)

10 Health and Wellness Mistakes Adults Over 50 Make (and How to Avoid Them!)

Do you prioritize personal wellness? Do you take care of you? We’re not talking about being selfish or indulgent. We’re talking self-care. Self-care means prioritizing your well-being so that you’re able to remain healthy, productive, and able to help others. When you take care of yourself, you become better equipped to handle the challenges and responsibilities of everyday life. Self-care isn’t just about treating yourself; it’s about ensuring that you’re in a good place both physically and mentally to accomplish everything you want and need to achieve throughout the day.


So, do you take care of you?

10 Health and Wellness Mistakes Adults Over 50 Make (and How to Avoid Them!)

According to Southern New Hampshire University, “Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve concentration, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, improve energy, and more.”


While it’s true that none of us can live forever, there are steps we can take to improve our chances of leading longer, healthier lives. By avoiding the following wellness mistakes that people often make after reaching age 50, you can greatly reduce your risk of serious health complications and improve your overall quality of life. So, whether you’re already in your golden years or approaching them, it’s never too late to prioritize your health and well-being. Let’s take a closer look at these common health and wellness mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Ignoring Oral Care and Skipping the Dentist

African American retired man brushing teeth in mirror

According to the CDC, 68% of adults over 65 have gum disease. And, nearly 1 out of every 5 adults in that same age group have lost all of their teeth. Neglecting oral care can lead to lots of issues like tooth decay, gum disease, and dry mouth. Dental problems can also affect your overall health problems like heart disease.

Don’t ignore your oral care. Seniors should brush their teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. It’s also recommended that you floss after meals, and don’t forget to schedule regular check-ups. If using traditional dental tools is difficult, consider using an electric toothbrush, a floss holder, or a water flosser for easier and more efficient oral care.

2. Skipping Showers

bathroom feet

Many seniors limit their bathing or showering to avoid slips and falls. However, skipping showers can lead to skin irritation, infections, and even urinary tract infections. If you struggle with mobility or have difficulty using the shower, consider installing grab bars and a shower chair to make the process safer and more comfortable.


3. Improper Hair & Nail Care

over 55 woman brushing her hair and smiling

Hair and nail care are important when it comes to personal hygiene. Seniors who neglect these areas may face problems such as ingrown toenails, fungal infections, tangled hair, and oil buildup on the scalp. Be sure to trim your nails regularly and keep your hair clean and well-groomed.

4. Improper Skincare

senior man applying sunscreen at the beach

As we age, our skin becomes drier, thinner, and more prone to wrinkles, sun damage, and infections. However, many seniors don’t prioritize their skincare routines, and may even use harsh soaps, hot water, or forget to use sunscreen. To maintain healthy skin, make sure to use a gentle cleanser and moisturize your skin regularly, especially after showering or bathing. Soap that’s gentle and fragrance-free can help prevent skin irritation and dryness. Also, use sunscreen to protect yourself from sun damage and wear protective clothing when exposed to the sun for long periods. If there are skin concerns like rashes, eczema, or skin cancers, then consult a dermatologist.

5. Ignoring Feet


Foot care is especially important for seniors because they are more prone to issues such as calluses and corns. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes that fit well and support your feet. Keep your toenails clean and trimmed. Also, check your feet regularly for any signs of infection or other problems.

6. Not Staying Hydrated

drinking water senior couple

With age, it becomes harder for your body to regulate fluids and stay hydrated. Certain medications, chronic conditions, illnesses, and decreased thirst perception can all contribute to dehydration. It’s recommended that adults over 65 drink 6 to 8 cups of water per day. If you’re not staying hydrated, that can lead to confusion, dizziness, and lots of other wellness problems. If you have difficulty drinking enough water, try adding some flavor with lemon or fresh fruit, or get a water bottle with markings to help you keep track of your intake.

7. Not Enough Physical Activity

on the beach with a dog

Regular exercise can help improve strength, balance, and flexibility, as well as reduce the risk of falls and chronic disease. You don’t have to engage in high-intensity workouts; simple activities like walking, yoga, and swimming can work wonders. Look for local exercise classes catered towards seniors or start with a low-impact exercise routine. Aim to move a little bit every day, and don’t be afraid to try something new or ask for help. Consult with a healthcare professional to find suitable exercises for your fitness level.


If you’re looking for more help with staying physically active, then check out Senior Fitness with Meredith on YouTube and podcast!

8. Inadequate Sleep

sleeping senior man staying healthy

Many seniors may have trouble falling or staying asleep due to chronic pain, sleep apnea, medication side effects, or anxiety. Sleep deprivation can lead to memory problems, depression, fatigue, and impaired immunity. To improve sleep quality, establish a regular sleep-wake cycle, avoid caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, create a sleep-conducive environment (a dark, quiet, and cool room), and talk to your doctor about possible sleep aids or therapies. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.

While it’s important to get enough rest, oversleeping can harm your health and wellness as well. Too much sleep could lead to fatigue, depression, and a weaker immune system.

9. Neglecting Nutrition

Asain couple cooking

Eating a balanced diet becomes even more important in your later years. Still, many seniors struggle to meet their nutritional needs. It’s important to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, and avoid processed and high-sugar foods. Steer clear of too many high-sodium foods. And, be sure to consume plenty of fiber (whole grains, oats, and many fruits are good for this!) Talk to your healthcare provider about any dietary restrictions or issues you may have, and consider seeing a nutritionist for guidance. Keep a routine, enjoy meals with friends and family, and drink plenty of water!

10. Skipping Preventative Care

senior meeting with doctor

Don’t skip regular check-ups just because you’re feeling well right now! Regular screenings and health assessments can help detect potential health issues early on, making them more manageable and treatable. Schedule routine appointments with your doctor to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels, eye health, and other key indicators. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

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Originally published September 11, 2023

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