Women Veterans Health Care
Aging is a natural part of life, and VA is here to help women Veterans take the steps needed to remain active and engaged so they can live their best lives at every age. An active and healthy lifestyle - what we eat, how much we exercise, how stressed we are, how much we sleep - plays an important role in how well we age and our long-term wellbeing. A healthy lifestyle can also help prevent many conditions common with aging that can impact quality of life such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It’s never too early – or too late – to get started.
Commit to be Fit
There are many things you can do to prioritize healthy aging. VA is calling on women Veterans to Commit to be Fit through regular health check-ups and screenings, stress management, and an active lifestyle that includes regular physical activity. Adopting these healthy habits, as well as managing existing health conditions and staying engaged in your community and favorite activities, can help you maintain a productive and meaningful life.
You can start by scheduling and attending annual checkups with your VA health care provider so they can evaluate your health and talk with you about preventive screenings, steps you can take to maintain your health as you age, and available VA tools and programs that can help you stay well. VA provides women Veterans with a full range of services that support healthy aging, such as nutrition and fitness programs, bone density (osteoporosis) screening and treatment, menopause management support, and stress reduction programs. Women Veterans Program Managers (WVPM) are also available at each VA Medical Center nationwide who can provide information about personalized healthy aging services available at VA, help coordinate care and advocate for you.
Menopause is a normal change in a woman's life, but it doesn’t have to slow you down! A woman’s body slowly produces less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during menopause, which can impact bone density and natural protections against heart disease. But, you can Commit to be Fit to help counter the natural effects of menopause. Your VA primary care provider or gynecologist can provide direct guidance on how best to manage menopause and get started on your healthy aging journey.
Bone Density Screening
Bone density is the amount of bone mineral inside your bones and it impacts their strength and thickness. The higher your bone density, the stronger your bones and the lower your risk of breaking a bone or developing a condition like osteopenia or osteoporosis. Bone density can be measured with a quick, painless bone density test called a DEXA scan that can tell your doctor how strong your bones are and inform their recommendations about the best physical activities and treatments for you.
You will not need to do any special preparation; a large scanning arm will simply pass slowly over your body while you lie on an open X-ray table. DEXA scans are recommended for all women Veterans aged 65 and older, as well as those under age 65 who are at increased risk for an osteoporosis – this may include a family history of osteopenia/osteoporosis, a petite build or early onset menopause, among other things. Your VA provider can help you determine if a DEXA scan is necessary sooner or later.
Everyone knows exercise is good for your health, but it can be hard to find the time for it. Look at your routine, find the times when you’re sitting down, and see how you can get on your feet instead. If you don’t have thirty minutes anywhere in your day to devote to exercise, try adding more physical activity to your regular routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get hands on with your garden. Take the dog for a brisk walk or play with them out in the yard.
The truth is that eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein can help limit the risk of some diseases, like diabetes or heart disease. A VA nutritionist can help you make a plan for eating foods that taste delicious and will keep you healthy.
VA is Here For You
VA is here to inspire women Veterans to Commit to be Fit and provide you with the tools you need to stay well and live your best life. Talk with your provider, or call 855-VA-Women and check out the resources below to learn more about healthy aging.
Healthy Aging Information
- Breast Health and Mammograms
- Colon Cancer Screening
- Cervical Cancer Screening
- Shingles Vaccine
VA Tools and Programs
- VA Provider Finder: Search tool to help Veterans find a VA location or in-network community care provider. Women Veterans are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their provider to discuss healthy aging.
- VA Mindfulness Coach App: has been shown to reduce stress, a key component of healthy aging. The Mindfulness Coach helps Veterans and Service members practice mindfulness techniques to manage their stress levels.
- Tai Chi: Tai Chai is a mind-body exercise combining slow-flowing movements with breathing, awareness, and visualization. A proven evidence-based program, Tai Chai is offered within the VHA Whole Health System of care
- MOVE! Weight Management Program: Physical activity plays an important role in healthy aging. Weight training can help protect and maintain bone density, and cardiovascular exercise can help mitigate some menopausal side effects. VA’s MOVE! Weight Management Program provides resources for physical activity and exercise, healthy eating behaviors, and weight loss.