Good health relies on many factors, particularly among seniors. Sure, health services such as a good health insurance plan, a local pharmacy, and a trusted family physician are crucial. But, more broadly, staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible means embracing a healthy lifestyle — proper nutrition, social engagement, and a sense of purpose and involvement.
1. Develop A Medication Plan
A 2012 study on medications found that close to 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled in the U.S. Compounding this problem, up to half the medications prescribed for chronic illness are not taken properly. Not surprisingly, both these problems are concentrated among the elderly, who may struggle with memory challenges, lack good logistical support, and be dealing with the complexity of multiple chronic conditions.
Sitting down with your parent to develop a medication plan can be a great help. It starts by asking simple questions: Is your parent taking all the medications they’ve been prescribed? Are they clear on how much they should be taking, and how often? Are they taking some medications without knowing why?
Finding the answers and building a simple schedule for taking required medications is a substantial step toward well-managed healthcare.
2. Find the Right Medical Insurance
The right medical insurance is critical at any age, but even more so beyond the age of 65. The frequency of medical interventions increases sharply at this age, and budgetary concerns can become a challenge.
It’s a good idea to sit down with your parent and take stock of their health needs. Then consider which Medicare plan (Part A, Part B, Part C, or Part D) is the right fit for them. A wide range of Part C plans are available, from the versatility of Medicare Advantage PPO plans to the ease-of-use of a Mediblue PPO.
You’ll find the process remarkably straightforward if you take advantage of a plan selection tool the one offered from Anthem. Plugin your details and find a plan that works.
3. Take Advantage of Connective Technologies
If your senior parent is living alone, loneliness can be a real challenge. While telephones, of course, can help combat this, these days, there a wide range of smart technologies that can do the job better.
You might consider investing in paired smart speakers, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Both these technologies can be configured to permit a simple, voice-activated connection. These and similar smart technologies give you an accessible way to keep those precious lines of communication open.
4. Encourage an Active Lifestyle
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it! Staying active is so important for good health in old age. While a typical gym membership might be a bit of a social and financial stretch for many seniors, there’s always YouTube. You’ll find a wealth of free workouts there, many of them catering specifically to older folks.
And of course, you can always keep it simple and schedule regular time for a leisurely stroll in the park.
5. Get Your Parents Involved
Ultimately, good health isn’t just about a blood pressure reading, cholesterol chart, or regular checkups with a physician. It’s also about feeling valued, enjoying life to the full, and having a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
One challenge to embrace is to find ways your parents can be actively involved in their family and social life. Ask their opinions. Have them help where they can. Challenge them to stay actively engaged in their community.
Being actively involved in the fullness of life is good for the heart, body, and mind.