Staying Healthy Longer

Two sources chimed in today with logical advice for maintaining health. Both focused on staying healthy while growing older, but get what, we’re all growing older.

From The Ladders: Spending 20 to 30 minutes each day learning something new for fun can stimulate the brain and maintain brain health. The mantra is: when  you stop learning, you die — so don’t stop.

From Dr. Leslie Kernisan and her blog, “Better Health while Aging” (https://betterhealthwhileaging.net/top-10-checklist-for-better-health-aging-next-year/): A top 10 checklist of things to do:

1.Make sure you’re doing exercises that challenge leg strength and balance, for fall prevention. See this link regarding Otago fall prevention exercises.  https://betterhealthwhileaging.net/podcast/bhwa/otago-and-exercises-for-fall-prevention/

2.Walk more.

3. Protect your brain — and your balance — by avoiding medications known to dampen brain function.   Yes, there are medications that can hurt your memory. They include: Benzodiazepines, which are used for anxiety and as sleep aids; Non-benzodiazepine prescription sedatives, the most common of which are the “z-drugs” such as zolpidem, zaleplon, and eszopiclone (brand names Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta, respectively); Anticholinergics; and Antipsychotics and mood-stabilizers. The last, among the elderly, may increase the risk of death.

4. Deprescribe if possible! Review all medications and identify those that may be potentially inappropriate or unnecessaryYou want to shed unnecessary medications, but consult with your doctor before discontinuing use. However, you doc may not be thinking about this, so it’s a good issue to raise with him or her.

5. Start — or update — your personal health record.

6. If you are on medication for high blood pressure, get a home blood pressure monitor and check your home blood pressure at least once a month.

7. Address or review your advance planning for health care. Advance care planning is a process of planning ahead, to ensure you get the right medical care in the event of a serious medical problem or life-threatening illness. If you are incapacitated, someone has to be your advocate with healthcare professionals and insurance. Who’s that going to be? You need to know.

8. Address or review your advance planning for finances. If you were injured or sick and couldn’t manage your finances, who would do this on your behalf?

9. Socialize, contribute, and nourish your soul. I’m not as big on this issue. There are people who are perfectly comfortable spending time with themselves.

10. Brainstorm a life wishlist. Then go and do at least one thing on the list. Victor Frankl was right: having a purpose matters, whatever it is. Keep excitement alive and you keep yourself alive as well.

There is nothing in Dr. K’s list that applies only to the elderly. We’re all aging;  these items can apply to all of us.

Happy 2019!

 

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