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Health Care Tips for Elderly Individuals
While health care is an important consideration for everyone, the elderly have special concerns to address and stay aware of. Just like we choose pediatricians for our children, it is important to choose a doctor who specializes in geriatrics when we are older. These doctors are specially trained in the unique health care needs of older adults.
As part of a good health care program, it is really important to make regular visits to the doctor so that he or she can monitor your health. Here are a few of the things that the doctor will be evaluating.
General appearance - are you well-groomed, and taking good care of yourself? When an elderly person looks disheveled and unkept, this may be a red flag that other things are going on. Perhaps there is memory loss or early signs of dementia. Simply not remembering is a common reason for regular health and hygiene steps to be missed.
Another health care concern is significant weight gain or loss. Many older people lose their appetites because they lose their sense of smell. Again, they may forget to eat - or forget that they recently ate - if they are having problems with short term memory or dementia.
Your health care provider will evaluate whether or not you are well hydrated. Sunken eyes, dry mouth, loose skin, and a weak pulse are all things that could show you are not drinking enough water. This is really important, as it can lead to urinary tract infections and even mental confusion. This problem is especially common during hot weather.
A good health care provider is actively looking at the ability to care for oneself. Home safety will be a concern, too. You may be asked whether you have night lights in your home, whether you are on one floor or two, and how good your mobility is. The physician will want to assess vision, hearing, and will look for tremors. Mild tremors are common, but severe shaking can be a sign of Parkinson's Disease.
People age 70 and older have decreased energy needs, and an increased need for fiber, calcium, vitamins D and B-12. A healthy diet that reduces fat and sugar intake, and increases healthy vegetables and whole-grain fiber can have great benefits for the elderly.
As a final thought on health care, staying physically fit is essential. Regular, low impact exercise can help maintain healthy bones and prevent deterioration of muscles and joints. It increases mobility and keeps your mind and body healthy for years to come.