Preventative Health Care Tips for Senior Citizens

You can take charge of your health by utilizing preventative measures that can keep you healthier, reduce your risk factors for illness, falls and injuries.

Even a few simple changes to your lifestyle can improve your quality of life and help you to lead a long and fulfilling life. While regular doctor appointments are important, it is equally important to come prepared and understand how to communicate with your doctor in order to get the most out of each appointment. You can help yourself avoid falls by engaging in routine exercises that build balance, strength and flexibility as well as ensuring that your home is safe and free from hazards that cause trips. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. To find the preventative health care tips that can improve your life, review the information that has been provided below.

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Appointments

A regular visit to your primary care physician is an invaluable way to ensure that any chronic illnesses are managed, that new conditions are caught early and to make any necessary adjustments on medications. Therefore, communication and an overall preparedness are crucial for your medical checkup. Prepare for your visits with:

  • A list of your current medications and dosages including over the counter medications, dietary supplements and herbal supplements.
  • Notes on any changes you have experienced in your responses to medications.
  • Notes that detail any changes to current illnesses or conditions including when, how severe, what happened beforehand and if anything helped alleviate your symptoms.
  • Notations on any new signs or symptoms that you have experienced, no matter how small.
  • Notes on any changes in your activities and results.

By being better prepared for your appointment, you can ensure that you go over each topic with your doctor thoroughly. When making notes, try to leave space beneath each topic to write notes of your doctor’s answers and suggestions.

During your appointment, keep in mind that it takes two people to communicate. Your physician likely has several patients and forgetting one topic is not a sign of negligence. It is your responsibility to bring up each topic. If your physician says something that you do not understand, then do not be afraid to say so. Your doctor wants to you to understand and receive proper care. If you did not hear something or do not understand what your doctor means, then ask him or her to repeat or explain. Furthermore, deal with each category on your list until you have asked all of the questions you have and understand the answers to each of those questions.

Jot down any vital information or suggestions that your doctor provides so that you need not rely on your memory alone. Keep your list for the next visit and note whether his or her solutions have been helpful, ineffective or somewhere in the middle.

Preventing a Fall

It is estimated that every 11 seconds, a senior citizen is taken to the emergency room for a fall-related injury. However, many falls are preventable, making it imperative that you learn what you can do to prevent falls. Contrary to common misconceptions, exercise is great for any age, but it is especially invaluable for senior citizens.

By engaging in an exercise routine that includes endurance and strength exercises, you can improve flexibility, balance and strength. There are several endurance exercises such as aqua aerobics, yoga and Pilates that can help you to improve your flexibility and balance. Strength exercises can help you to maintain bone density. If you do fall, then you will be less likely to break or fracture something.

Talk to your primary care provider about your risk of falls and share any recent history of falls. Additionally, talk to your doctor about your current medications and find out if any of the medication contain side effects that can increase your risk of falls, such as dizziness or drowsiness.

Ensure that your home is safe from tripping hazards, including changes in floor height when moving from one room to the next. Make sure that that your home is well lit and have grab bars installed in key areas, such as in your shower.

Protect Your Skin and Prevent Skin Cancer

As you age, your skin grows thinner, making it far drier with less elasticity. You may have noticed that you take longer to heal from cuts and bruises, but did you know that you also have a growing risk to skin cancer? Too much of the ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause skin cancer, but there are ways that you can protect your skin. Use sunscreen whenever you will be in the sun for a long period of time and avoid tanning. There is no such thing as a “healthy tan”.

Make Appointments for Regular Dental, Vision and Hearing Checkups

Your teeth and gums can last through your entire lifetime if you give them proper care. Not only does this mean that you must floss once a day and brush your teeth twice a day, but it is important to get regular checkups with your dentist. Routine cleanings are incredibly beneficiary especially if you have plaque buildup. If you get a cavity, then having your dentist take care of it right away can lead to overall better tooth health. Your dentist will likely recommend that you schedule a routine cleaning every six months, but you should schedule an appointment if you are experiencing tooth pain.

Some loss of vision is relatively common after 50 years of age, primarily when it comes to small print or the focus on close objects. It is important to schedule routine vision checks every one to two years, especially if you notice sharp declines in vision. There are a variety of common eye problems for senior citizens such as cataracts and glaucoma. If you have a chronic medical disease such as diabetes, then you will likely to be asked to make an appointment more often.

Hearing loss can also occur with aging or after being exposed to loud noises. By getting your hearing checked once a year, you will know if you need extra assistance such as a hearing aid, which can provide you with better hearing and the ability to hear things with more clarity.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk for a number of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis in the weight-bearing joints and more. A combination of a healthy diet and a routine exercise can help you get down to your ideal weight and maintain it.

If you are unsure whether or not you are at a healthy weight, then refer to the body mass index (BMI) in order to determine the ideal weight for your age and height. If you need to lose weight, then try cutting back on food by 500 to 750 calories each day. Set realistic goals for yourself and only aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week. Make a goal to eat healthier. Try to cut out sugary foods and drinks, such as soda pop. Speak with your doctor about any weight loss concerns that you may have or exercise suggestions if you have an illness that may impair your ability to exercise.

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