ASK, ANSWER, LEARN
I’m getting older, and more concerned about how to stay healthy as I age. Do you have any suggestions?
Kathryn Borgenicht, MD answered:Here are five tips on how to age well:
1. Take a walk. Exercise is good not only for your body but also for your mind. We are not talking about hours of strenuous exercise at the gym: 30 minutes of walking 4-5 times a week works to help your mind and your body.
2. Do an activity. As with exercise, having a social interaction helps preserve your mind and your short term memory. Ideally, activity should be done with other people, but can also include doing crossword or jigsaw puzzles, or my personal favorite, knitting.
3. Check your medications. As we age, we may be given a number of different prescriptions, and encouraged to take supplements of varying kinds. What we take at age 65 may not be appropriate when we are 85, or if we develop a serious illness. It is crucial that you inform your medical provider about all of your supplements, vitamins and other over the counter medications.
4. Make a list. There are no clear guidelines as to how often you should see your medical provider. It depends on the current state of your health and your chronic medical problems. Since it can be stressful when you go see your provider, it is extremely helpful to make a list beforehand so you can discuss all your concerns and get them adequately addressed.
5. Do advance care planning, to create instructions you have developed with your family and health care provider that reflect your values and wishes about your future health care. Write them down in an advance directive, appoint someone to help make decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself and make sure your provider has a copy. At Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, we encourage using the “5 Wishes” form. Review this document regularly, especially if your health changes.
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