Friday, July 15, 2016

Health Care Advocates

Become your own advocate to get the most out the health care system. Your health care provider will work with you to find a strategy that works best for you. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t be proactive about your health plan. It’s important for patients to ask questions and understand their options. By learning about the conditions that affect you and the treatments available, you can become an active participant in your health plan.


Sometimes you may not be getting the best course of treatment. When we age the way that drugs metabolize in our body changes. According to Dr. Amy Sterns from the University Hospital at Michigan State, “Our kidneys, liver and organs responsible for processing drugs loses efficiency as we get older, making it harder to process medication.”
Geriatricians, doctors who specialize in treating older patients understand this. This is why they try to only prescribe the medications when absolutely necessary. Monitoring your medications is an important part of becoming your own health care advocate. It’s important to research all the medication you are prescribed to be certain you aren’t facing unnecessary health risks.

Avoid Overscreening

There are lots of risks to being a patient. While it’s important to find a doctor you can trust, it’s always a good idea to double check. Just as medication can be overprescribed, overscreening for detection of illness can also be a problem. Facing unnecessary tests be harmful.

Avoid Isolation

Isolation is a risk factor for things like depression and mental decline. Studies have shown that spending time socializing can help lessen feelings of depression and loneliness. Finding hobbies to keep yourself occupied is a great way to avoid isolation. This can include garden, volunteering or visiting with family.

Healthy Diets Can Cure

Exercising is one of the most important things we can do to stay healthy. So is what we eat. There’s no one size fits all diet for everyone, because we all have different genes, habits, body types and needs. But there are some general guidelines that can help us eat food that feeds the soul as well as the body. Many people have found success with foods that revolve around the Mediterranean diet. This includes plenty of fish, fruits, whole grains and veggies. 
Meeting with a nutritionist can be a good way to take control of your diet. A licensed nutritionist can help you come up with a comprehensive strategy. This includes things like meal plans, shopping ideas and foods you should avoid. In general it’s a good idea to cut back on junk food. Making small changes can lead to a big difference. Try starting out by switching your morning bagel with some oatmeal, or replacing that cup of coffee with tea or fruit juice.

Choosing a Fitness Program

This goes along with avoiding isolation. Older people looking for a fitness program should see that it addresses:
·       Balance
·       Strength
·       Flexibility 
·       Aerobic Exercise
·       Floor Exercises
·       Lots of Stretching
Some people with mobility issues may be wary of exercising on the floor. If you have difficulty getting up, this may be a good reason to perform floor exercises. While regular exercise and balance training can help you avoid falling – floor exercises can help you get back to your feet in the event of a fall.
Are you not sure where to begin? Ask your family members, caretakers or friends. Also consider contacting the local senior center. They can provide you with listings for clubs and exercise programs. Speak with your doctor and find out if your health care plan will cover things like a gym membership or a nutritionist.

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