March 11, 2015

Tips for healthy aging: Your 50s



Part four of our seven-part series

Aging begins at birth. Even so, the way we age changes with each successive decade of life. What health and lifestyle goals should you have when you are in your fifties? The following tips can help you adopt habits that will maximize your health now while preparing you for a better future.

Have a primary care doctor you know and trust

From age 50 on, you’ll be facing increasingly more health decisions such as how frequently to have certain cancer screenings and how to best manage chronic conditions. If you don’t already have a primary care doctor you trust and can easily talk to, find one now. That way, you’ll be prepared to make decisions together as health issues arise.

Be an activated patient

Research shows that people who are actively involved in learning about and managing their health conditions have better outcomes. Learn how to access your medical record and understand its contents so you can have informed conversations with your health care provider. Also, find credible, objective, up-to-date sources of health information. (Your health plan’s Web site is often a good place to start.)

Pursue rehabilitation and wellness aggressively

Healing from injuries and illness may be slower from now on. That means you have to be more conscious about pursuing regimens for getting better. If you injure a limb, for example, get a treatment plan right away and work at regaining function quickly. If you catch a cold, take time to rest and recover so that it doesn’t develop into a bacterial infection that lingers.

Plan for colon cancer screening

Colon cancer happens more often in people age 50 and older. Kaiser Permanente Washington recommends screening beginning at age 50 with either a FIT (fecal immunochemical) stool test every year or a colonoscopy every 10 years. Colon cancer screening may be recommended at a younger age, depending on your individual risk. 

Learn about prostate cancer screening

Men should learn about prostate health at this age and consider options for prostate cancer screening with their doctor.

Check out our health tips for your twenties, thirties, and forties to see healthy habits such as cancer screening that you can still start now. And look ahead to your sixties, seventies, and beyond on our Healthy Findings blog.

Live Healthy


Healthy aging: Never too early—or too late

Advice based on your current decade of life.