February 26, 2016

Seven Neglected Areas That Sabotage Healthy Aging - P1

A Healthy Aging Checklist summarizes the six fundamental activities recommended when asked what to do to maintain the best possible health while aging.

The following are some of the points promoted for healthy aging:
  1. Promote brain health and emotional well-being.
  2. Promote physical health.
  3. Check for and address common senior health problems (such as falls, memory concerns, depression, incontinence, pain, isolation, polypharmacy).
  4. Learn to optimize the management of any chronic conditions.
  5. Get recommended preventive health services for older adults.
  6. Address medical, legal, and financial advance care planning.
In the next seven blogs, I’ll cover the third item above addressing commonly neglected senior health problems that routinely sabotage healthy aging.

These issues are sometimes referred to as geriatric syndromes. They affect health and quality of life, and although they happen more in people who are older or frailer, they affect countless people in the 60s and 70s as well.

Virtually all of these issues affect a senior’s ability to socialize, be physically active, and take good care of himself or herself. So discussing these is key to helping you be healthier while aging, or help you guide a parent to be healthier in their aging.

Unfortunately, these issues routinely fall through the cracks of usual medical care. People often suffer from these problems for years without anyone taking effective action. This may be because many people, doctors, seniors themselves, or family members, assume nothing can be done about these, and that they are just “part of getting old.”

Don’t believe that. These problems are studied in geriatrics and most of the time, correctly evaluating and then managing these problems helps older adults and their families feel better, live better, and sometimes even live longer.

Remember, healthy aging is not just about preventing problems. It’s also about spotting them and addressing them before they get worse, or drag down the rest of your health and independence. So, for healthier aging, be proactive in checking for these oft-neglected problems.

Then remember: sub-optimal treatment of these problems is all too common. So you’ll need to be proactive about getting them correctly managed, which might mean either seeing a geriatrician (if you can find one) or making sure your usual doctor is thinking like one.

Now, I’ll admit that it can be very difficult to completely eliminate the problems talked about, in some older adults. You have to try, especially if the problem is bothering you or interfering with life activities. In addition, you have to find professionals who will use the best-available knowledge to help you, do so.

When we make a good effort, we can almost always improve our (yes, I am considered in the elderly group) ability to be out in the world, doing the things they want to be doing, and doing things that are good for our health. This promotes healthy aging. So don’t let these problems fester and sabotage late-life health. Let me know below if you have questions.

Number 1 of 8 blogs.

No comments: