Your health is the most precious commodity you have, guard it well. Keep yourself fit, active and healthy using your medicare and other health resources available to you. Aging and living well hinges on maintaining and guarding your health.
There was a time when you took good health for granted. You were invincible, able to take those bumps and bruises life hands out with ease. Perhaps you have a life-long medical issue that plagues you and you have learned to manage it. Or you're just starting to feel those aching joints after all those pain free years.
Whatever the state of your health is, you must guard it judiciously. To neglect it is to guarantee an early death. Maybe you've been physician-adverse all these years. That will not work anymore. See your physician regularly, don't neglect your teeth, your emotional and mental health, and take all recommended medications. Develop a close relationship with your Primary Care Physician and attend to regularly scheduled checkups. Monitor your health closely and learn the signs and symptoms of major challenges, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, brittle bones, breast cancer to name a few. All this is nothing new, but it needs to be stressed and underscored.
If you don't know what Medicare covers, take the time to know and check out the Medicare advantage plans which offer excellent benefits - gym memberships, free OTC medications, free transportation to physicians, dental care and more. If you cannot afford medications that are prescribed, apply for financial assistance from Medicare to pay for them, as well as from your local city and state senior assistance programs. https://www.medicare.gov/index Stay active, walk, take advantage of senior gym membership activities, do anything to get exercise integrated as a meaningful part of your life. If you are retired, there's no excuse - you've got time. Exercise will help you live longer.
Eating well has never been more important. We're not talking French restaurants every day, we're talking eating a healthy balanced diet that is tailored to your lifestyle, health issues, activity levels and so forth. If you cannot afford to buy food you may qualify for SNAP benefits, check with your local government low income benefits office. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program
Your mental health is very important, play mind games, work, take classes, learn a new skill, read, any activity to exercise your mind. Your emotional health is important too, isolation and lack of social interaction is a major contributor to senior aging and death. If you live alone, seek out social stimulation and interaction by joining groups that have like interests. Both Meetup and Facebook have groups to help you meet people to socialize with. www.facebook.com https://www.meetup.com/
Senior-proof your living environment - grab bars and non-slip strips in the shower, make sure there are no areas in your home that will cause you to trip and fall. Be cognizant when you are out and about of areas that may cause you to fall. Wear proper shoes to maintain your balance. Medicare Advantage plans also offer free emergency items that will call for help in case of a fall, be sure to check that out. https://www.medicare.org/articles/fall-prevention-checklist-for-older-adult-safety/
And, know when to "say when". Everyone wants to participate in their favorite activities, some are more gentle and others are strenuous and life-challenging. Say "when" without guilt or remorse, skiing, riding motorcycles, and other high impact activities will, eventually, be something you physically are not or should not do given your physical abilities. Driving will, at some point, become an activity that your mental and physical abilities will not allow you to perform safely. Take a mature driver course to sharpen your driving skills, and be the first one to say driving is no longer safe for me. Sell that clunker you've kept and take Uber or Lyft, ask a friend or family member to drive you to your destination, or better yet - walk there if the location is close to your home.
As a retired person, you are under no obligation to work whatsoever. But you must make it a part of your lifestyle to eat well and be physically and mentally active to stave off illness and help you age well for as along as you are able. While it may be easier to just sit in the house and do sedentary things like watching TV, you must make exercise a vital part of your life and lifestyle. Low impact, strength building, balance exercises and mental agility exercise is a must. Besides exercise, you will want to interact socially and mentally with society, perhaps gain new friends and feel better about yourself. Make walking a part of your life, walk to the store, around the block, park your car further from the location and walk, walk, walk. Load bearing exercise is definitely needed to keep your joints and muscles healthy. If you enjoy the gym, most medicate advantage plans have a access to a gym for you free of charge. Here are some additional tips: https://www.medicinenet.com/senior_health/article.htm
Ignoring public health care warnings can kill you, literally. This is why it is so important you receive annual vaccinations and practice good personal hygiene and health care practices. Stay informed and up-to-date with health care issues and warnings. Change your diet and exercise regularly to help keep you healthy. If you are ill, don't try to "wait it out". Call or visit your primary physician or a local minute clinic. Don't try to self-medicate your way out of severe cold or flu symptoms that are getting worse, seek medical attention. For example, walking pneumonia kills seniors every year as its symptoms are more mild than pneumonia, but left unchecked it can kill. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a great resource, please visit for more information. https://www.cdc.gov/
Stress, depression, loneliness, isolation and more can unsettle you and cause mental health issues. Practice good mental health care, much as you would with your physical health care regimen. Do seek out assistance from your primary physician if you are suffering from any of the symptoms above for any reason. Mental health practitioners can help you find peace and happiness once again, even if you feel times are tough. Aging seniors are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation https://www.hrsa.gov/enews/past-issues/2019/january-17/loneliness-epidemic Loneliness is a common cause of physical issues and early death. https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/loneliness-in-the-elderly-151549.htm Try to use online groups and resources to keep you "connected", join groups that you find meaningful to you, practice meditation, keep your living environment in a peaceful state, and if possible, use working as a means to get you out of the house and inter-relating with society. If you are able, caring for a pet can help you remain calm and alleviate loneliness.
Happiness is a state of mind that you will want to cultivate and maintain. Practicing gratitude for all you have is important. Consider cultivating happiness in all that you do, it is all around you to enjoy. Yale has a popular course that is free to help you find happiness, consider checking it out. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/23/health/yale-happiness-course-wellness/index.html
The year 2020 brings the COVID-19 pandemic to the World. The United States has not experienced a health pandemic since the Spanish Flu of 1918. The COVID virus is like no other and there is no vaccine or remedy for it. The virus can attack young, old and everyone inbetween. Individuals can have the virus and show no signs whatsoever. Individuals with compromised health are particularly susceptible, along with the very elderly. Black and Hispanic individuals appear to be more susceptible given their socio-economic status, lack of access to/ability to pay for medical systems, nourishing food and more. Many Countries have ordered inhabitants to stay in their homes except for necessary outings to purchase food, pharmacies and hospitals. Do not ignore health care warnings. While isolation is not mentally and physically nourshing for Human existence, social distancing is at this time to avoid being exposed and coming down with the virus. Keep in touch with family and friends via social media site, telephone and so forth. Ask neighbors or family members to obtain food and supplies for you if you are particularly vulnerable to the virus. Don't forget to care for your pet as well. Your pet, if you have one, can be a source of companionship and solace for you during this time when you are ordered to stay indoors. Don't ignore exercise, exercise in place to stay active. Don't fall victim to pandemic scams, emails and phone calls. Be on the lookout as fraudsters are now targeting people via email and calls. For latest official updates on the COVID virus, visit the United States' CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
No one ever thought that it would be a long 10 months and the Pandemic ranges on in the United States - ensuring that it will be a long time more before a vaccine would be developed and face masks would no longer be required.
Are you physically adjusting well to reduced social movement, distancing and masks? Are you mentally adjusting well to reduced social contact and home confinement?
It is anticipated that reduced physical activity and social contacts will have impact upon all citizens, especially seniors. It is vitally important that one stay active, walking, in-home exercising and the like can help. Gyms indoors, if allowed to open, are not a good option for many reasons, despite promises of cleanliness and mask wearing while working out. Outdoor gymnastic activities are an option, be sure to check if there are classes near you. In-home exercise equipment are an excellent option despite the cost. For seniors, load bearing exercise is a must.
One warning for all citizens is that mental health may be affected, whether young or old. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, isolation, grief counselling and mental decline are beginning to take their toll on everyone, especially seniors. Joining on online group via Zoom is an option for all to participate and socialize in favored activities - discussions, learning a language, and most of all, seeking out mental health assistance via an online physician. If you feel the need to talk to someone about your feelings, don't be ashamed to engage the assistance of a mental health provider, your health plan, no doubt, has a list of providers that you may contact. You may find a plethora of information via Google and by contacting your health plan directly.
It has been 10 months and ongoing, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, entering a second deadly wave. Maybe you, a loved one or a friend has contracted the virus and has recovered. If you have ignored the social distancing and face mask recommendations to date and are OK, please think twice and consider distancing yourself and wearing a face covering at all times when among society and in enclosed surroundings. It is more critical than ever now as the pandemic grips the Nation.
The Holidays are coming and family get-togethers indoors are being discouraged. It is sad that the pandemic has so affected Holiday family traditions but, again, now is not the time to relax your distancing and facial covering practices. Even with family members it is important to note that you can become infected and you don't want to become ill and infect other family members. It is said that many COVID cases are a direct result of being in close contact with a family member. Be sure to keep in touch with family members via Zoom regularly, especially over the Holidays as it can help avoid you feeling socially isolated, alone and emotionally sullen and depressed. If you need to, take advantage of mental health online counseling to get yourself through the Holidays. Most health coverage and Medicare plans provide for this.
And, incredibly, we are less than a year away from having an effective COVID vaccine. That is a blessing which makes being vigilant now even more worthwhile adhering to CDC recommendations so you will not become ill and live to be vaccinated. See the CDC website for their guidelines https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
The COVID vaccine is here! While it is being rolled out on a gradual basis, it is still necessary to protect yourself and wear face coverings until the virus has greatly subsided, which may be another year into 2022. Please take the vaccine - the alternative may be intubation and death. Discuss your concerns with your physician to better understand the benefits of vaccination, and best of all - it's free!
Until you are notified it is your turn to obtain the vaccine by your health care physician or facility, continue to protect yourself from the virus. Once you are notified you may receive the vaccine, please get vaccinated - there is no reason not to do so unless your physician recommends against it given your health status.
Pre-Pandemic, if one had a medical issue then they needed to physically request an appointment and get to the physician's office (or urgent care). Many people let conditions worsen as they were hesitant to go or could not get to the physician's office, ending up in urgent care or the emergency room at a hospital as their conditions worsened. Both of the latter would end up in higher out of pocket costs and a longer recovery period.
I you are anti-physician and lazy to physically visit your physician, thanks to the pandemic we may now visit our personal physician(s) virtually from the comfort of our home to discuss a medical issue and receive prescriptions (if necessary) immediately after the visit. How convenient is this? Via Zoom, you visit with your physician and discuss your symptoms just as you would in person at the office. How convenient is this? Fantastically so!
Be sure to take advantage of virtual physician visits to discuss your symptoms and medical needs. It's no cost and highly recommended by health insurance providers. If you have questions, be sure to contact your health insurance provider to understand your virtual visit options.