That is a pretty bold question and one that does not necessarily have one right answer, but many. As September is Healthy Aging Month, we wanted to address the topic many of us, admittedly, avoid talking about throughout the year – aging. Although we celebrate birthdays with family and friends, when we really think about getting older, we tend to think about the potential negative aspects, especially when it comes to health. However, the mission of Healthy Aging Month is to bring national attention to the positive aspects of aging by looking at what we can do to have more responsibility for our own health – from everything physically and emotionally to financially and socially.
But what does that really mean? Here are some practical tips you can start applying to your life as you strive to age healthy.
1. Have a relationship with a health care provider in whom you can trust. People who feel their health care provider treats them with fairness and respect and communicates well with them take better control of their own health, researchers have found. Need to connect better with your provider? Online patient portals, like myuticaparkclinic.com, allow you to access your medical information any time you need it, as well as give you the ability to email your provider with questions or concerns. Whether you are managing a chronic health condition, or taking steps to prevent disease, your relationship with a provider is a critical component to your health care. If you do not have an existing relationship with a primary care physician, you can find a provider near you by calling 918-579-DOCS (3627) or visiting here.
2. Schedule annual exams. There is no greater indicator of your future health than your current health. Before major health conditions exist, it is important to have annual exams to identify and monitor any risk factors, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and blood sugar, to name a few. Additionally, your health care provider will advise you when you need to schedule screenings such as a mammogram or colonoscopy depending on your age and risk factors. Many major health conditions can be prevented through screening and early detection. Don’t skip these appointments thinking you are perfectly healthy. After all, some conditions like high blood pressure are known as silent killers, because they usually do not present any symptoms.
3. Understand any changes in your health care that you need to make in 2016. Change is one constant in health care and that is especially true when it comes to Medicare coverage. To help you stay up to date on any changes for next year and to better understand your needs and options, services like Life Senior Services provide in-person consultations to help answer any questions you may have. You may contact them at 918-664-9000 or click here for more information. You may also attend a free Medicare seminar hosted by Silver Elite this month. Click here for dates and locations.
4. Find time to socialize, exercise and care for yourself each day. Family and friends may have moved out of town. Neighbors may no longer be able to get out and about on walks. Or you may have realized most of your outings are to doctors’ appointments. It is easy to let opportunities to see friends, get some exercise or have a little TLC for yourself fall off the calendar. However, volunteering at a hospital or joining social groups like Silver Elite help fill your schedule with fun, energizing ways to reconnect with people in your community. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Hillcrest, please click here. If you are interested in learning more about Silver Elite, to make friends and enjoy free health seminars created exclusively for anyone 60 and older, please click here.
5. Want to start a new hobby? That’s fuel for your mental and physical health. Taking up something new and creative like painting, pottery or quilting, for example, has shown to help reduce the risk of dementia and preserve your memory. Not sure where to start? Ask a friend who can knit to teach you or contact a local business to see if they offer classes. There are also several tutorial videos online that can teach you just about any hobby you would be interested in learning more about. Hobbies help us find new interests, as well as purpose and give us another opportunity to connect with others.
6. Take on a positive outlook. How you react or cope with the environment around you can have an impact on your own physical health. Do you harbor feelings of resentment or sadness? Or do you make it a point to see the good in situations and people? A positive outlook can help you cope and handle stress better, therefore warding off negative effects on your health. Some experts believe being a happy person can actually add years to your life!
7. Carry yourself as if you were 10 years younger. Sometimes how you look affects how you feel. When it comes to your posture, standing up straight with your shoulders back, stomach in and chin up, can wipe a few years from your appearance instantly. Also, good posture supports good health by strengthening your musculoskeletal system, improving circulation and boosting your overall mood.