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Expert advice for springing into healthy ageing

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29th May 2023 Wellbeing

Expert advice for springing into healthy ageing
As we age, it is natural for our bodies to undergo certain changes that can affect our health and wellbeing. However, there are several ways to maintain good health and age gracefully.
We connected with Dr. Darwin Hale, CEO and founder of Advocate Health Advisors, a company he started to help seniors navigate the complexities of Medicare and Medicare Advantage to share expertise.
Here are some tips for seniors to age with health in mind.
  • Communication is key: “Be sure to consider and communicate with the person who will represent you when you can’t represent yourself. There are many big decisions to contemplate as we get older, and they not only impact us, but our friends, family, and the healthcare professionals who want to act in way that respects our wishes,” said Dr. Hale. “End of life matters take a lot of time to consider and to communicate with our loved ones. Remember when a health emergency happens, you are not at your best. The emergency room is not the place to discuss things unsaid. It’s important to proactively select a care team like a primary care doctor to help you prevent disease and promote good health in addition to addressing other issues like a medical power of attorney and advanced directives. Usually, it’s better to share your thoughts and feelings with these important stakeholders along the way as you memorialize them- As they can help you better if they understand what it is you really want.”
  • Focus on social determinants of health: “Prevention beats cure. Make sure you spend enough time and energy on the non-clinical things that impact health outcomes, this includes eating healthy food, exercise, meditation, social interaction, and doing the things that bring you joy.” Dr. Hale added. “You may be surprised to know the social and economic factors that impact health— account for up to 75 percent of health outcomes.”
  • Create attainable health goals:  According to Dr. Hale, “when it comes to goals, think both big and small. Small things like going to a social club or gym a few times a week, walking around the neighborhood or making better food choices can have wonderful outcomes for overarching well-being.”
  • Cultivate a strong relationship with your PCP: “Having a strong and stable relationship with your PCP, or primary care physician is key. Having a professional who knows you can help catch changes in your health before you're even aware of them,” Hale added. “it’s a good idea to visit your doctor yearly, at minimum, and even more depending on your health status. To gain the benefits of medical advancements you need to check in to catch those undercover diseases and conditions you may not be aware of. This can include diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.”
  • Try to stay physically active: “Studies have shown physical activity is a foundation of healthy aging. Evidence has suggested that people who work out on a regular basis not only live longer but add to the quality of their life without pain or disability,” said Dr. Hale.
  • Do your homework: “for seniors in the U.S. over 65 years-old, it’s important to use the Medicare Star Rating System when shopping for healthcare plans, because not all care providers are created equal. It’s also a good idea to work with a licensed, local Insurance agent who is selflessly involved in helping members of the local community to ensure you get the best, and most personalized help possible. Look for someone who understands all the stakeholders involved (carriers, physicians, providers, and medication) through deep education of local providers and plans. Also be sure they conduct a detailed needs analysis to best understand your healthcare needs and advocate for you.”

The bottom line

Aging with health in mind is about making choices that support physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. By staying active, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, staying connected, staying up to date on medical checkups, managing stress, staying engaged in cognitive activities, and practicing safe behaviors, seniors can enjoy good health and wellbeing as they age. It is never too late to make positive changes that can have a significant impact on overall health and quality of life.
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Banner image credit:  Photo by Ravi Patel on Unsplash

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