Some people assume that getting older will automatically lead to a decline in physical and cognitive wellness. That doesn’t have to be the case, though. Following sound advice and being proactive in your planning can make a huge difference. You might be surprised at how a few simple steps can lead to less stress, improved health, and a better quality of life.
1. Plan for Appropriate Insurance Coverage
Planning for the unexpected can be a challenge, but the right insurance package can make sure you are covered. A little planning now can help you better manage finances and your health down the road. Start with a review of life insurance policies and your financial needs. If you don’t have a large mortgage or other debt, it may not make sense to keep a huge policy. A smaller, more affordable plan could be all you need to cover final expenses and any outstanding debts, while still leaving a small amount for surviving family members.
You will also want to examine your health insurance options. In most cases, you are required to act on Medicare at age 65. If employer coverage isn’t an option or you are no longer working, you should look at the different plan options to find one that fits your needs. One popular choice is Medicare supplement plan N, which offers a wide range of coverage within minimal deductibles to help offset premiums. It can be an overwhelming process, however, so be sure to seek out information well in advance so you can make an informed choice.
2. Develop a Relationship With a Health Care Provider
If you have any health concerns, you want to address them early on. After all, it is much easier to handle a small illness than a full-blown one. A healthy and positive relationship with your doctor can make that much easier. Schedule an appointment with your health care provider for a full physical. Have blood work run to test for cholesterol and blood sugar levels if you haven’t already. Depending on your overall health, you may want to have additional tests performed. This will give you a good baseline to move forward from.
3. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet
Your nutritional needs change with age and what you eat plays a huge role in your overall wellness. Instead of falling into a cycle of dieting or worrying about cutting out certain food groups, it pays to develop healthy eating habits that are realistic and sustainable. Both the DASH and Mediterranean diets are consistently ranked as the top plans for healthy eating by nutrition and medical professionals. They focus on plant-based foods without severely restricting choices or meal times. Plus, there are a wide variety of recipes and menus available to help you get started with either one.
4. Learn a New Skill
Memory loss and declining function are serious concerns for many older adults. In many cases, there are simple things you can do to preserve and possibly even improve your memory. One of those is learning a new skill or doing ordinary things in new ways. So, if there is something you have always wanted to try but just haven’t found the opportunity, now is a great time to jump in and give it a go. Sign up for a class at the local technical college, register for a free online course, or check out what area community and senior centers are doing to keep people engaged and learning.
5. Stay Active
Just like memory loss is not a foregone conclusion, neither is losing your muscle tone and physical abilities. Stay physically active by walking, gardening, or enrolling in an appropriate exercise program. Always talk to your doctor before you start anything new, especially if you have any existing health issues.
Getting older may offer some challenges to maintaining your wellbeing, but they can be overcome. Staying on top of health conditions, planning for the unexpected and staying active and engaged in your community can make a big difference in your overall health and wellness.