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Senior Women

With a focus on wellness and prevention, your older years can be a time of vigorous good health.

Women at this age need to continue to be vigilant about certain screening exams, such as mammography, and keep on top of conditions like osteoporosis, which may worsen with age. Treatment and therapies are widely available for many health problems that women formerly thought were "just a part of getting older."

And remember that you're never too old to reap the benefits of exercise.

You may very well be in the prime of your life. So take advantage of the hundreds of Southcoast services - both treatment and preventive - that will help keep you active and healthy.

Women in their older years need to:

  • Continue life-saving tests such as annual mammograms. Women over age 65 are most at risk for developing breast cancer.

  • Maintain physical activity. Activities such as walking, or aquatic exercise provide valuable activity without stress to the joints.

Tests You Need in Your Older Years

Special Health Issues

    Establish a strong relationship with your primary care physician. As you age, a woman may experience multiple health problems that need careful management to maintain good health.


    Breast Cancer:
      Although women have a one in eight risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, the incidence rises dramatically over the age of 65. It is vital that older women continue annual mammograms.
      This disease, which affects the body's ability to produce insulin and thus control blood sugar, develops more frequently in women over age 40. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, and increased itching of the skin.

      American Diabetes Association

    Heart Disease:
      As a woman's age increases, so does her risk for cardiac disease. Women can reduce their risk of heart disease by taking hormone replacement therapy and by paying special attention to risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. It is also important to maintain a low fat diet and good exercise habits.

      American Heart Association

      Southcoast Change of Heart program

      If left untreated, incontinence problems accelerate with age. Estmates are that over 50 percent of women over age 65 suffer from incontinence problems. Incontinence does not have to limit an older woman's lifestyle and a number of successful treatments are available for these problems.
      Pay special attention to interaction between medications you may need to take to treat multiple health problems. Interactions between medications can reduce the effectiveness of the drug and cause troublesome symptoms. Your physician or pharmacist should keep a careful record of medications and warn you of possible interactions. presecription information


Southcoast Services for Senior Women

    Arthritis Services Aquatic Exercise Program Mammography/Ultrasound Post-mastectomy physical therapy services Stereotactic Breast Biopsies
      Image-assisted breast biopsies done using a hollow needle. Used to help diagnose malignancies.

    • St. Luke's Hospital Radiology Department
      New Bedford, Mass.

    Breast Cancer Support Groups
    • The Oncology Center
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    Cardiac Services
      Diagnostic Testing including stress tests, thallium stress tests, echocardiography. For more information about these services, please check with your physician.

    • Healthy Hearts
      Charlton Memorial Hospital
      St. Luke's Hospital
      HeartMates (Support group for spouses of cardiac patients)

    Cardiac Rehab Services Osteoporosis
    • Osteoporosis and Research Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital
      Offering a multidisciplinary evaluation for osteoporosis, including a full-body DEXA bone density test, to determine the extent of calcium loss in the bones. Fall River, Mass.

    • Southcoast Center for Women's Health
      Offering DEXA bone density testing.
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    Southcoast Rehabilitation Services
      Providing physical therapy with individualized evaluation and treatment including fall prevention strategies to reduce the risk of injury from osteoporosis.

    • Southcoast Center for Women's Health
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    Diabetes Services
      Southcoast Diabetes Management Program is a comprehensive series of classes designed to give adults and their families the knowledge to live a better life with diabetes. Education is offered in small group sessions or individually if necessary. The program addresses all aspects of diabetes self-management including meal planning, medication management, complications of diabetes and much more. Weekly Diabetes clinics at all three sites:

    • Charlton Memorial Hospital
      Fall RIver, Mass.

    • St. Luke's Hospital
      New Bedford, Mass.

    • Tobey Hospital
      Wareham, Mass.

    • Diabetes Support Group (in Fall River, New Bedford and Wareham)

    • Monthly Diabetes Education programs

    Incontinence Services
      Offering evaluation and treatment for incontinence problems by a team of physicians, nurses and physical therapists. Evaluation usually involves a comprehensive history, exam, urodynamics study (a study examining bladder pressure and the presence of uncontrolled bladder contractions.) Sometimes a cystoscopy (a fiber optic exam of the bladder) is performed.

      Treatment can include behavioral techniques and exercises, medication, and surgery.

    • The Incontinence Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital
      (offering multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment)
      Fall River, Mass.

    Southcoast Rehabilitation Women's Health Services Surgical Treatment
      A number of surgical procedures can be used to treat incontinence, including collagen implants and other surgery. Most often, the procedures can be performed on an ambulatory basis and are available at Southcoast's three hospital sites. For more information, contact the Incontinence Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital, or talk to your physician.
    Health Screenings (blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol) Education/Prevention Programs
    • Women's Resource Center
      Southcoast Center for Women's Health
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    • Family Education Center
      Tobey Hospital
      Wareham, Mass.

    • Better Breather's Club
      St. Luke's Hospital
      New Bedford, Mass.

    • Caregivers Support Group
      St. Luke's Hospital

    • Cancer Support Groups
      The Oncology Center
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    • Fibromyalgia Support Group
      Southcoast Center for Women's Health
      North Dartmouth, Mass.

    • Alzheimer's-Dementia Caregiver's Support Group
      Southcoast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

    • Widows & Widowers Discussion Group
      Hospice Outreach

    • Bereavement Support Groups

    A range of fitness, diet and other wellness services for women are also available at the Southcoast Wellness Center. For information, call 1-800-497-1727.

Find a Physician: 800-497-1727

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