Health Tips for seniors? Who is a senior? Age is how old you feel. With improved technology and healthcare, age-related stereotypes are just that, stereotypes. Just when we were getting used to the concept of mid-life crisis, something called quarter life crisis appears. As if teenagers were not enough, we now have tweens. So our list of tips for seniors is addressed to those above the age of 60.
Modern healthcare has pushed life expectancy to an all-time high. At the same time, we keep coming across the word unhealthy lifestyle everywhere we turn. The result is a long but painful retirement. But it does not have to be that way. Our must-know tips include simple pointers to take little irritations out of your life. You may already be familiar with some of these tips. But going from knowledge to practice is the problem. Think of this list as a reminder if you must.
Know your medication: If you are past your 60s and are on no medication, let me stand up and applaud. But chances are you are on some medication if not multiple regimens. The first thing to do is know what medication does what and when to take them. Write your dosage down if it helps.
Be loyal to your doctor: With multiple health issues like arthritis and diabetes, you probably visit different doctors. Pick doctors who are close to your residence and stick to them. The more doctors you change more are the chances of adverse drug reactions and less effective medicines being prescribed. Preserve your case files and keep copies.
Get a mobile phone: Sure you have stayed clear of modern technology all these years. And you fared just fine. But not all of it is evil. You can get a decent handset and data connection at a very affordable price. Have people like your son/daughter, neighbors and family physicians on speed dial. Also, you can do a lot of things like banking transactions and taking appointments over a mobile phone to save time and energy.
Pursue sleep more diligently: Apart from the duration, the quality of sleep also goes down with age. All the sleep hygiene advice doled out to young sleep deprived souls also qualify as tips for seniors. These include: have a light dinner before nine, avoid stimulants and stimulating activities just before bed time, keep your bedroom dark and noise-free. Alternately, some of your medication may make you feel drowsy. Report such instances to your doctor so that he can prescribe alternates to you, if available.
Be carefree with diapers: Incidence of urinary incontinence increases with age and is a major spoilsport. So babies wear diapers. But babies are also care-free. And you deserve to be care-free after decades of anxiety. So don’t let a little shyness come in the way.
Eat freely but wisely: Ill-effects of smoking, drinking and an unhealthy diet take years to develop into a major disease. So if you have made it your senior years without any major illness, it is fair/ to feel a little smug. But you still need to watch what you eat. The odd incidence of binging should not worry you much. The gastric system becomes less efficient with age and incidence of constipation and other gastric disturbances increases. So like all mortals you need consume more fiber and less of fats and carbohydrates. A healthier diet will also keep you more energetic and less bound to indoors.
Exercise to avoid rust: So you can’t exactly play rugby. But there is nothing stopping you from playing some light hearted badminton or ping-pong. If you can manage to go to a gym it is even better. The important thing is regularity. Avoid sudden bursts of physical exertion such as running to catch a bus, climbing more than 2 flights of stairs or even excessive straining to pass stools. To avoid straining, most doctors will prescribe stool softeners. But this would not be required if you take sufficient fiber in your diet.
Negate injury-risks: Avoid slippery surfaces, uneven terrain, climbing on stools to reach for shelves. No one should watch a sunny day pass by with a foot in a cast. Use a walking stick if you have to, it adds character.
Your children are educated, employed and probably married. Your loans were paid off years ago and you do not have to go to work every day. So above all, your senior years should be a time of relaxation without guilt and action without anxiety. The only thing that can keep you from the ideal retirement is ill health and that is where this collection of health tips for seniors aims to help.
– Punit Pania