September is Healthy Aging Month, an awareness campaign designed to bring attention to the many positive aspects of growing older. While growing older does have many benefits, it’s important for older adults to take charge of their overall mental and physical health and wellness. Making healthy aging a priority, rather than an afterthought, helps older adults remain active and independent.
To help ensure that older adults prioritize healthy aging, the Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care share these 10 tips:
- 1. Prioritize fall prevention. Incorporating exercises that focus on balance and strength are critical for reducing the chances of a fall. Each year, older adult falls result in a variety of medical emergencies, but with a focus on exercises that build leg strength and balance, the risk of falls can be significantly reduced.
- 2. Walk more. Regular walking helps older adults stay active and mobile. Whether walking to the store, at a local mall, around the block or at a nearby park, walking is something that can be done almost anywhere. Walking is a great form of exercise that is easy on the joints, strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, and provides a number of mental and physical health benefits. Figure out the average number of steps taken per day by using a smartphone or activity bracelet and then make a commitment to increase this number a little bit each day.
- 3. Socialize. Maintaining friendships and connections throughout aging helps maintain mental and physical health. Scheduling a regular lunch with friends, volunteering at a local non-profit, participating in a book club at the library, or inviting family over for dinner are just a few examples of the ways in which older adults can maintain connections to people and their community, and to bring purpose to life.
- 4. Vaccinate. There are a number of vaccines physicians recommend for adults 65 years and older. They include: an annual flu shot; pneumonia; shingles; COVID-19; and Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). Speak with a physician to discuss individual medical history and for recommendations on vaccinations.
- 5. Request a medication review. Schedule an appointment with a physician for a medication review to go over the prescribed and over-the-counter medications being taken. Ask the physician to identify any medications that may decrease cognitive function, make one groggy, or increase fall risk. Work with the physician to determine if medication doses can be decreased, if there are other medications available that may have fewer side effects, or if any can be safely stopped.
- 6. Create (or update) a personal health record. A personal health record (PHR) is a centralized location where all important medical information is kept. A PHR provides an accurate picture of an older adult’s health and can help ensure better and safer medical care. A PRH can help older adults quickly get the care needed in an emergency situation, a second opinion, or provide a new member of the older adult’s medical team with needed health information.
- 7. Review (or create) an advance healthcare directive. An advance directive is a legal document that details how medical decisions should be made on one’s behalf if they are incapacitated. This provides a guide for loved ones and the healthcare team to honor one’s wishes. Since people’s preferences regarding their medical care may change over time, it’s important to revisit an advance healthcare directive frequently and update if needed.
- 8. Review (or create) advance financial planning. It is often assumed that if an older adult were to become incapacitated and unable to manage their finances that his or her spouse would take over responsibility. In fact, this is not possible without a durable power of attorney that covers finances. Ensuring that this legal document is in place provides peace of mind for both the older adult and their family members.
- 9. Make and keep medical appointments. As people age, it becomes more important than ever to make and keep regular wellness exams and schedule routine screenings. Whether an annual physical, a quarterly medication check, an annual eye exam, a mammogram, a colonoscopy, or other preventative measures, making and keeping these appointments helps older adults remain proactive in their healthcare.
- 10. Plan for long-term care. When asked, most older adults would choose to age in place – remaining in the home, neighborhood and community they love. With the help of referred care providers from American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, this is easier than ever before. Offering a variety of medical and non-medical in-home care services that help older adults remain active, independent and engaged throughout the aging process, the referred care providers bring peace of mind to seniors and their families.
To learn more healthy aging tips and for additional information on the wide variety of in-home care services offered by referred caregivers throughout Florida, reach out to your local office at American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care.
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661