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20 Things People Over 65 Should Stop Doing 

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With aging comes wisdom and experience. At a certain stage of life, people start to realize the importance of looking after their bodies and making choices that bring them joy and a sense of fulfillment. Society often talks about what to start doing as you get older. However, thinking about what you should stop doing to live better is just as important. 

For those over 65, the golden years can be really rewarding. It’s a liberating time to have fun and follow your passions that you might have put off. But along the way, you need to change some patterns that can prevent you from fully enjoying this time.

Research says the need for change is constant as people strive to live healthful, productive lives. For older people, it might mean starting new habits, moving to a new place, or making new friends. So, if you are over 65, you should consider stopping doing these 20 things now. 

1. Neglecting Sleep Hygiene

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It’s a common myth that older people require less sleep. While it’s true that they might have difficulty getting good sleep, they still need 7-9 hours of sleep. Poor sleep cycles can lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and depression, as well as cognitive conditions, memory, and decision-making that jeopardize their safety and overall well-being. 

To improve sleep, try lifestyle changes like sleeping on a consistent schedule, reducing screen time before bed, and managing stress with deep breathing and meditation. Also, reduce caffeine and alcohol, stay active during the day, and talk to your doctor if you have sleep concerns to promote better sleep quality. 

2. Overreliance on Painkillers

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Older people are prone to develop different health issues like arthritis or other chronic illnesses that cause severe pain in their bodies. To get quick relief from pain, they turn to painkillers without considering their side effects. Overuse of painkillers, especially opioids, can lead to addiction and dependence, particularly in older adults who may be more sensitive to the impact of these drugs.  

Opioids are safe for short-term pain if taken in the right doses for a short time. But when people continue to take them, they might need more and more to feel better because their body gets used to them. Over time, they become less effective at reducing pain. Consequently, raising the dose becomes necessary to maintain that benefit. 

Luckily, there are other ways to manage the pain. Seniors can try physical therapies and exercises or talk to a doctor about different non-opioid medications or alternative treatments to ease their pain without overreliance on painkillers.

3. Skipping Exercise

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You’re not too old to exercise because you’ve reached 65. While being 60 can feel like being 40 again, it takes effort to maintain that feeling, and skipping exercise will not help you achieve it. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults 65 and older should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week, like brisk walks, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, like jogging. 

Regular exercise makes you strong and fit, helps improve cardiovascular health, and boosts mood and energy levels. Know that some exercise is always better than no exercise.

4. Over Drinking

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Older people may overdrink because they have a past habit of it without realizing that their bodies have become sensitive and can’t take the effects of alcohol as they used to. Some may turn to alcohol to cope with stress and loneliness, especially after losing a loved one.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it’s okay for older adults to drink 2 or fewer drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. However, exceeding these limits can lead to problems. 

Data suggests that around 20% of individuals between 60-64 years old and about 10% of those over 65 report binge drinking, which can result in a variety of problems.

5. Smoking

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Smoking in older age speeds up aging, causing wrinkles, teeth discoloration, and weaker immunity, which further leads to other serious diseases like lung cancer, heart attack, and breathing problems. Moreover, smoking over 60 years of age is linked to poor cognitive scores, according to the American Stroke Association. 

Before you think it’s too late to quit and the damage has already been done, the good news is the research further says that quitting smoking in older ages has immense benefits. It can slow the progress of long-term health problems, improve memory and concentration, and help medicines start working better.  

6. Sedentary Lifestyle

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Being sedentary is the worst lifestyle you can adopt because no physical activity can make you disabled, making it harder to perform daily tasks (if you use it, you lose it). Plus, it is more likely that an older adult will have problems like obesity, high blood pressure, back pain, and depression.

Moreover, too much idle sitting can create negative vibes around you, which impact your cognitive well-being.

It’s important to break free from this lifestyle and become active. You can start by taking baby steps like walking, stretching, gardening, or swimming. Then, gradually increase your activity levels and find enjoyable and suitable activities for your health issues.

7. Social Isolation

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Older people socially isolate themselves when they have fewer social relationships and have no contact with them. They withdraw from social activities mostly because of health issues or because their loved ones are no longer around.

However, they should find new ways to reach out to their friends and family, especially through video calls or joining community groups to make new friends.

Social isolation has a serious impact on older people’s longevity, their physical and mental health, and their quality of life. So, step up and connect with your besties and have meaningful conversations with them. 

8. Holding onto Stress

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When we feel stressed, our bodies release chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals help us react quickly in dangerous situations, but if we’re stressed for a long time, they cause harmful reactions in the body. 

Cortisol, the stress hormone, can weaken the immune system and make us more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Adrenaline increases heart rate and blood pressure, straining the cardiovascular system when activated too often.

To tackle stress, it’s important to find out the source of stress and find ways to get rid of it. It might be difficult, but simple activities like deep breathing, walking, practicing yoga, or having a heart-to-heart with someone we trust can help lower stress levels.

9. Traveling Alone

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It might not be easy to give up on traveling, especially if you liked exploring new places and having adventures when you were younger. However, traveling alone as an older person can have its challenges. 

Seniors are more vulnerable to unwanted attention or even attacks on their own. Plus, in case of any setbacks in their journey, they may find it difficult to get through them. If your wanderlust prevents you from sitting back, one safe way is to travel with friends or join a travel group. 

This way, you can still enjoy seeing new places and trying new things, but you’ll have other people around to help if needed. You can also make new friends along the way.

10. Sticking to Unhealthy Eating Habits

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Aging can cause your metabolism to slow down, so it might not digest everything as efficiently as it once did. People in their 60s or over need a balanced and nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. 

It’s crucial to let go of most everything (in moderation) that has excessive sugar, fats, or processed foods, as they are the major contributors to various health issues in young and older adults alike.

Home-cooked meals are the winners for all ages. They help limit portion size and are packed with nutritious and balanced ingredients. And when you crave snacks, opt for nutrient-dense options. 

11. Ignoring Regular Disease Monitoring

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Older people are at a higher risk of developing complications from uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes, and without proper monitoring, these conditions can grow silently without letting anyone know. 

So, older adults must prioritize their health, monitor these levels (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.), and manage them well to stay healthy. 

They should seek guidance from healthcare professionals on how and when to check their blood pressure and blood sugar levels and set alarms to help them remember.

12. Lifting Heavy Weights

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While getting big muscles might have been your fitness goal when you were younger, lifting weights can now do more harm than good for mature adults. While lifting weights is not prohibited (it’s strongly encouraged for bone health!), seniors must prioritize safety and avoid overdoing it. 

Instead of lifting heavy weights and trying to compete in body-building competitions, focus on lighter weights with more repetitions or opt for bodyweight exercises and resistance bands. This will help maintain muscle endurance, strength, and bone health.

13. Overspending

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In retirement, it can be tempting to use your savings to maintain your previous lifestyle or keep up with your peers. Or perhaps you like to go shopping just because you’re lonely and spend too much.  Unfortunately, this overspending can empty the savings account too quickly and leave you with financial difficulties later.

Even though older people spend less than younger ones, once you’re over 60, it’s important to be more mindful of your spending.

Still, remember that these are your golden years, and you need to enjoy them without stress. With careful planning and budgeting, you can manage your finances well and find financial and emotional happiness.

14. Ignoring Health Symptoms 

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The main reason older people ignore symptoms is denial. They may not want to believe they have a serious illness that could cause harm. Sometimes, they might think symptoms are just a normal part of aging. 

But minor discomfort could be a bigger problem that requires quick medical attention. Ignoring these signs delays diagnosis and treatment and allows the disease to grow inside you.

Caring for your body is important, so don’t ignore it if something seems off. Regular check-ups with your doctor can help with early diagnosis and prompt treatment. You should also be fully aware of the common diseases in older people so you can watch out for them.

15. Resisting Technology 

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Older people usually feel intimidated by new technology, leading to technophobia. Their fear of the unknown makes them anxious about using it. 

In today’s AI-driven world, when we depend entirely on technology for communication and accessing information to manage finances and healthcare, everyone must learn and understand technology; otherwise, they’ll be left behind.

By resisting technology, older adults miss out on connecting with their loved ones, which can lead to loneliness and isolation. 

Additionally, technology can also make healthcare easier and better for them. With healthcare apps, they can schedule appointments, order prescriptions, and access medical records online. They can also consult with doctors remotely and track vital signs using wearable devices.

16. Skipping Vaccines

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Skipping vaccines is a risk that seniors should not take. With age, the immune system weakens, making it more difficult to fight off infections. Without vaccination, diseases like the flu, pneumonia, and shingles can create severe complications, eventually leading to hospitalization or serious consequences.

According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, older adults face a higher risk of complications from many vaccine-preventable diseases. There are now 15 diseases against which adults age 65 and older should get vaccinated. 

Seniors should understand the importance of vaccination for their health. They should talk to their healthcare provider about getting any vaccines they missed. And which vaccines they need based on their age and health conditions.

17. Neglecting to Update Legal Documents 

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Life is unpredictable, and so is our relationship with others. Unexpected circumstances can change life circumstances, such as marriages, divorces, births, or deaths in the family. It is better to update your legal documents regularly, like wills and power of attorney, to ensure the proper distribution of your assets according to your current wishes and desires. 

Failure to do so can lead to disputes among family members or unintended beneficiaries receiving assets.

To avoid these problems, you can consult with an attorney to review and update your legal papers. You must also communicate any changes to family members or other relevant parties to ensure everyone is aware of your wishes and intentions. 

18. Relying Solely on Fixed Incomes

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Approximately 42% of Americans aged 60 and above rely solely on fixed incomes from Social Security. In times of soaring inflation, fixed incomes from pensions or Social Security may not be enough to cover all expenses, and it will become impossible to handle unexpected emergencies.

To keep up with the pace of inflation, you can explore part-time jobs, like freelancing, for extra income. You can also invest your savings in real estate or stocks and let the money work for you. This way, you can diversify your income streams to reduce reliance on fixed income and achieve greater financial security and stability. 

19. Driving When it’s Not Safe

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Driving is a way of maintaining independence for many seniors, allowing them to shop, attend social events, and access healthcare without relying on others. However, our driving abilities can decline as we age due to slower reflexes, decreased vision, and reduced hearing. 

It’s crucial to recognize when it’s time to stop driving for your own safety and that of others on the road. Seniors should regularly assess their driving skills to make informed decisions about when it might be time to hang up the keys. 

It can include self-evaluations, professional evaluation by a driving instructor, or recommendations from a healthcare provider. 

20. Collecting Too Much Stuff

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Holding onto a lifetime’s accumulation of things can become messy and unmanageable. 

Sometimes, older people collect things for sentimental value, think they might need them later, or feel overwhelmed sorting through it all.

But all that stuff can mess up your living space, making it hard to keep things tidy, safe, and chill at home. Seniors should see the perks of decluttering, not just for their space but also for their peace of mind.

19 Things You Shouldn’t Fear as You Get Older

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As we grow older, it’s common for our fears to grow alongside us and sometimes hold us back from enjoying our lives. Many of these worries come from not knowing what will happen as we age. The media (social and news) also makes older folks unnecessarily fearful about their health and vitality- often painting a picture of disaster, decline, and disease.

19 Things You Shouldn’t Fear as You Get Older

17 Insane Things That Were Acceptable for Children in the 1960s

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Many of the behaviors that were deemed ordinary for children in the 1960s would be mortifying to people today. If parents from the ’60s were to raise their children in the same manner in today’s world, they might find social services knocking on their doors. As time progresses, so do parenting methods and the level of supervision and exposure provided to children.

17 Insane Things That Were Acceptable for Children in the 1960s

16 Boomer Habits That Are Becoming Obsolete

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The youngest members of the Baby Boomer generation are swiftly approaching their 60s, and several of the once-iconic trends they championed have become unfamiliar to the younger generations.

16 Boomer Habits That Are Becoming Obsolete


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