From scheduling preventive screenings to understanding the side effects of medication, here are five things to be mindful of in your health.
As the old saying goes, “You’re only as old as you feel.” That’s why paying attention to a few extra things in your health can help you feel your best as you grow older.
“Sixty-five is the new 50,” says Dr. Jeffrey Powell, an internal medicine doctor at Geisinger 65 Forward in Scranton. “And 75 is the new 60. Thanks to more of a focus on preventive care and advances in medicine, people are living longer, healthier lives including in our communities right here in Pennsylvania.”
Staying well as you age is easier than you might think. Here are five things to be on the lookout for to help you live your healthiest, best life.
1. Any overdue preventive health screenings
Preventive health screenings are one of the easiest and best ways to help identify potential health concerns early — when they are most manageable.
That’s why it’s essential to stay on top of them.
At your next doctor’s appointment, talk with your healthcare provider about which preventive screenings are recommended for you. These may include:
- Dental exam
- Annual eye exam
- Cervical cancer screening, or PAP smear
- Cholesterol test, or lipid panel
- Routine mammogram
It’s also important to stay up-to-date with any immunizations you might need, like your annual flu shot, shingles shot or pneumonia vaccine.
“Staying on top of your health now helps you feel your best, so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy later,” Dr. Powell notes.
2. Variations in blood pressure
It’s natural for your blood pressure to change over time. “As we age, it’s normal for blood pressure to rise,” says Dr. Powell. “However, if you develop high blood pressure (also called hypertension) that’s left untreated, your risk of developing heart disease can increase — which can also put you at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. That’s why it’s important to check your blood pressure regularly.”
You can track your blood pressure at home with the help of a blood pressure pump or a fitness tracker. Through routine blood pressure monitoring, you and your doctor can look for changes and help you keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
3. Any new side effects of medication
If you take medication, it’s important to understand any potential side effects they may have. If your doctor prescribes a new medicine, ask about possible side effects it can cause.
Often, these can be temporary as your body adjusts and will go away or lessen over time. Other side effects may last longer. Your doctor can help you manage them and provide guidance on what to do if you experience more serious effects.
It’s also important to make your provider aware of any herbal or holistic medicine or supplements you’re taking (or considering taking), as some can cause interactions with other medications or their own side effects.
4. Changes in mood
Having an adjustment to a previous routine (like if you’ve recently retired or had some health concerns) can bring about feelings of stress or anxiety. These feelings and mood changes are normal to experience with life’s changes as you get older, and they may be short-lived as you adjust. However, consider speaking with your doctor if you experience any of the following on a regular or more frequent basis, to rule out more serious signs of depression:
- Being more irritable than usual
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping too much or not enough)
- Frequently feeling worried or anxious
- Withdrawing from activities you enjoy
Your doctor will answer any questions you may have and put together a plan to help you get back to feeling like yourself again.
5. A Medicare plan that’s right for you
Whether you’re turning 65 this year, or you want to make some changes to your existing plan, you can start by learning the ins and outs of Medicare. Because everyone’s needs are different, there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” coverage.
Before you commit to a Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan, like Geisinger Gold, offered through Geisinger Health Plan, research your options to find the one that’s right for you. Some things you’ll want to consider before choosing a Medicare plan include:
- Your overall health
- Any medications you take
- Whether you’ll be away from your permanent residence for an extended period during the year
Interested in learning more about our plans? Our Geisinger Gold Medicare Advisors are standing by and are ready to help you on your Medicare journey. Give us a call at 800-482-8163 (TDD: 711).
A new approach to healthcare
If you’re 65 or older and a Geisinger Gold member, we offer healthcare designed just for you. Geisinger 65 Forward is a new, holistic approach to primary care created exclusively for people 65+. With this program, you’ll get same-day appointments, more time with your doctor (up to 60 minutes) and access to a variety of wellness activities and services under one roof — and at no extra charge. You’ll have an entire team to care for you and keep you living your healthiest life.
Page last updated: 9/9/20