Everything Seniors Need to Know About Enjoying a Full and Healthy Life

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We often think of getting older as getting weaker and more fragile.  However, with a solid game plan, it’s possible to remain healthy and vital throughout life. Read on for important information to help you feel great and remain strong and independent throughout your golden years.

Explore health care options

Medicare covers important basics, such as hospital stays and some outpatient care.  However, Kiplinger points out many seniors are surprised when they discover all the medical expenses that fall outside Medicare coverage.  For instance, prescription drugs, dental care, hearing tests, and vision exams are not covered by Medicare.  It’s important to make sure you have all the coverage you need, as many seniors end up skipping care because of the expense.  You can get extra coverage through various Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare’s search tool will let you check into what is available where you live. It’s important to keep tabs on this since plans change regularly.  If you want to make changes, you can do so during the Open Enrollment Period, or OEP.  For 2020 plans, the OEP runs from October 15 through December 7, 2019.

Practice road safety

One of the challenges of growing older can be remaining safe in the driver’s seat.  Some older adults choose to avoid slippery conditions and night driving long before they must relinquish all driving.  Everyday Health notes there are a few indicators it’s time to stop driving altogether, such as running red lights, needing directions to complete routine trips, or getting in an accident that could have been avoided.  If you do need to give up some or all of your driving, there are several transportation options available to keep you on the go.  Many cities offer free or discounted public services, and there are ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber you can connect with.  

Steer clear of extremes

Extreme temperatures can be a safety concern for seniors.  Older bodies don’t adapt to temperature changes as quickly as younger ones.  Some experts note even in a chilly house, it’s possible for elderly people to experience hypothermia, so brush up on cold weather safety.  Keep thermostats set for at least 68 degrees, and dress appropriately for the weather.  Similarly, make sure you’re familiar with hot weather safety tips, staying in the shade as much as possible, and taking breaks in air conditioning when outside for extended periods.

Stay hydrated

As we grow older, changes in our physical condition can sometimes make us more vulnerable to dehydration.  For instance, seniors can experience reduced awareness of thirst, and some medications and medical issues also contribute to dehydration.  Because of this, it’s important to drink ample fluids, especially water, and learn the signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, headaches, and muscle cramps.  Aim for at least six glasses of water daily.  

Eat well

There are many reasons your diet might get off kilter as you grow older.  Maybe food doesn’t taste as good as it used to, you don’t go to the grocery store as often as you once did, or maybe food prep is more of a challenge with older hands and eyes.  Proper nutrition is key to being healthy, though.  US News explains that as you grow older, it’s important to consume a balanced diet based on reduced calories and additional protein.  As an example, soups can be an excellent selection, especially if they include ample vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.  You can make a pot and freeze portions for meals so it’s convenient to heat up what you need.  If getting food to your home is an issue or if you prefer not to cook, you still have options.  Consider checking on Meals on Wheels delivery, or investigate meal subscription services.  

Ageing has its share of challenges.  Make sure you have good health care coverage, stay safe when out and about, and pay attention to hydration and balanced nutrition.  With a few health-oriented strategies, you can stay safe, strong, and independent as you grow older.

Featured Image by Orna Wachman from Pixabay

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