Seniors who wish to age in place and maintain control of their independence find sustainable living and a healthy happy quality of life by gaining control of their mental and physical well-being. The keys are activity and making smart lifestyle decisions. This year, make smart decisions aimed at keeping you healthy by preventing the physical and mental health problems that often plague older adults.
No one knows your body and its needs better than you do. If you have high blood pressure, even if it’s well-controlled through medication, try to anticipate possible complications that could result from your condition. Talk to a doctor about protecting your cardiovascular and kidney health and preventing stroke as you grow older. Preventive health is an important part of your physical health – approximately 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition according to the National Council on Aging.
Taking advantage of your annual free wellness exam, a crucial preventive benefit, is one important way to make the most of your Medicare coverage as is getting free cardiovascular health screenings, bone mass measurements and flu shots. Shop around for a new Part D (prescription medication) plan each year to make sure you’re getting the most for your healthcare dollar and be prepared to seek additional supplemental coverage through Medicare Advantage to avoid coverage gaps, taking care to check for program options available in your state.
Preventive health for seniors includes ensuring safety in your own home and the prevention of injuries, especially if you lack a support system that can intervene physically whenever necessary. Twenty-two percent of Americans over age 65 will go through their senior years without a spouse, child or other form of personal support so it’s very important to establish a safe living environment by maintaining an open floor plan with plenty of flow-through and few physical obstacles, such as coffee tables, foot stools, throw rugs, and electrical cords. Safety features like grab rails, non-slip flooring and sufficient lighting should be incorporated in the bathroom, the most common area for falls and other in-home accidents.
A healthy mixture
A healthy combination of physical, mental, spiritual, and social activity can help older adults stave off physical and mental decline and lead to decreased symptoms of depression and joint and muscular pain. It’s possible that an active lifestyle emphasizing personal achievement and human interaction may be as important as prescription medications in warding off illness and mental or physical disability. Establish goals to be active, social and involved that provide a compelling challenge and yet are attainable and realistic enough to be reached.
Living a sustainably autonomous lifestyle depends on the determination to take action to prevent mental and physical decline. Make a point of staying socially and physically engaged with simple but consistent exercise and regular interaction with friends and family. Activity and accomplishment are the answer to isolation, inactivity and depression.
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Written by Jason Lewis