Caring for one’s health in the “Golden Years”Submitted by the Guilford County Dept of Health / January 4, 2019
Adults aged 65 and older are one of the fasting growing groups in the U.S. Many are beginning to retire from full-time careers, spend more time with grandchildren, travel and just enjoy life. Getting older has its perks but it can also bring some challenges. Caring for your health is important at this age and it is never too late to start getting healthier. Here are some steps that you can take to maintain or improve your health:
- Keep track of your important health information. Make a list of your medications and keep it in your wallet or purse. Share this with your loved ones, such as your spouse or one of your adult children.
- Get the recommended health screenings. For example, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says adults ages 50 through 75 should be screened routinely for colorectal cancer. Women ages 50 to 74 should have a biennial (every other year) mammogram. Ask your health care provider about other important screenings.
- Do not be afraid to speak up when you visit your health care provider. Write down any questions before your visit. Consider taking someone with you to the provider. Tell your provider if you have noticed something different about your body or how it works. It’s also important to share life events that may impact your physical and emotional health, like a spouse’s illness, death of a loved one, etc.
- Staying active and making healthy food choices are in your control. Consider joining an exercise group where you can go at your own pace and enjoy the company of others. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Fresh foods are best but canned or frozen ones can be good selections too. Try to include lean protein, whole grains and low-fat or non-fat dairy foods for a well-balanced diet.
- If you use tobacco, quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.quitlinenc.com for assistance.
- Lower your risk of falling. Exercises that improve balance and strength will help you. Be aware that some medicines may make you dizzy. Get your eyes checked regularly and get new glasses or contacts if your vision has changed. Ask a relative or friend to help you look for and fix dangers in your home such as slippery rugs and low lighting.
- Be aware that changes in your health that come with aging or medications may affect your driving. Always wear your seat belt and consider driving only in familiar areas.
Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Division offers a variety of services and programs for older adults, such as immunizations (against flu and shingles) and those for travel. We have programs that could provide basic health services in your home. To learn more call (336) 641-7777 or visit the Web site: www.guilfordcountync.gov
Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services wants your golden years to be healthy and safe.