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LIUNA Retiree Health and Fitness

Check out the National Institute on Aging's What's On Your Plate? web site to learn more about health eating!

Explore What's On Your Plate? for video and practical tips to help older adults live healthy lives. The dynamic website features topics like:

  • Recommended eating plans
  • Shopping for food that's good for you, even on a tight budget
  • Safely preparing, handling, and storing food
  • Printable resources to use on-the-go or share with others

 

Top Health Concerns

Aging is not a disease but a natural slowing-down process. Our body efficiency decreases with time. Sometimes the work we do help keep us fit. For others, the hard work of construction takes its toll. As we get older we must pay even more attention to our health to keep us going. As with keeping a car in running condition, this includes focusing on better health care maintenance.

Some medical problems are more common as we age. Some of the top health issues for retirees include the following:

  • Aches, Pains and Ailments
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease and Heart Attack
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of Hearing
  • Loss of Sight

As you approach retirement starting learning about the causes, risk factors and treatment for these conditions. This will minimize their potential impact on your health and put you in a better position to deal with the conditions should they affect you.

Health Tips

There is no fountain of youth, but you can stay young for your age by staying healthy. For the most part, our health depends on how we treat our bodies. A study published in Successful Aging reveals that the lifestyle choices you make-more than the genes you carry-determine your health and vitality. Your attitude, diet, exercise program, and engagement with the world around you are the main contributors to the quality of your life.
Tips for improving your health include:

  • Stop smoking
  • Good nutrition
  • Stress management
  • Alcohol consumption in moderation
  • Weight control
  • Physical activity

In research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Seniors 70-90 years old improved their longevity when they quit smoking, got a daily walk, decreased alcohol consumption, and ate a more Mediterranean style diet-vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and poultry. Additional health information is available at: www.health.gov/nhic or call 1-800-336-4797.

Physical Fitness

You are never too old for exercise.  However, almost 40% of people over age fifty-five report no leisure-time physical activity.  Yet, regular exercise is crucial to good health.

For senior fitness-there is no time like the present. Exercise helps control declining muscular strength and increases your endurance. Get started in a fitness program tailored to your current health status needs and goals.  Walking and swimming are both excellent forms of exercise that are easy on the body with substantial benefits.  Consider starting a walking program at your retiree council-compete against other retiree groups. Tips for exercising better:

  • See your doctor before starting an exercise program
  • Start any exercise program slowly-build up your activity level over time
  • Don’t exercise when you feel ill or faint
  • Find an exercise that you enjoy
  • Get a friend or family member to join you
  • Stick to a consistent but realistic schedule

Assuming their work has not resulted in injury or disability, Laborers have an advantage over other impending retirees in that their jobs require some degree of physical activity. Take advantage of this by keeping active toward and after retirement. And if you do need to cut down on your activity levels, don’t forget to cut down on your food intake as well.

Proper Medical Attention

The National Committee on Quality Assurance estimates that more than 57,000 Americans die each year because they receive inappropriate health care. The majority – almost 50,000 – have underlying conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes that go uncontrolled. Others fail to receive the correct follow-up or preventive care. And, in some cases, patients fail to follow their doctors’ advice.

To make sure that you are getting safer health care, here are some simple steps that you can take.

  1. Write down your symptoms and concerns before you visit your doctor. Take a friend or relative with you to the appointment if you are concerned that you will not remember or understand the answers.
  2. Keep a list of ALL the medications you take (prescription and over-the-counter) and show it to your doctor and pharmacist. Ask about side effects and what to avoid when you are taking medications.   Be sure to take medicine exactly as it is prescribed.
  3. Get the results of any test or procedure you have done. If you do not hear from your doctor’s office, call your doctor and ask for the results.
  4. Follow your doctor’s orders! This include following dietary and exercise recommendations, medications and changing bad habits.
  5. Know which hospital is best for your health needs. If there is more than one hospital in your area, ask your doctor which one can provide the best care and has the best results for your condition.   Find out if the hospital is part of your health plan’s preferred provider network.
  6. If you need surgery, ask questions. Discuss with your doctor and surgeon exactly what will be done during the operation, how long the procedure will take, potential complications and what to expect during your recovery period.

Tips for Safe Prescription Use

  • Don’t self-medicate. Ask your doctor or pharmacist before trying any new over the counter medication or changing the dosage of a prescribed medication.
  • Watch the clock. Be sure to take your prescribed medications on time. If you are not sure when the best time is to take your medication – ask your doctor.
  • Use the original bottle. It may seem like a good idea to put all of your pills in one bottle if you are taking a trip but a lot can go wrong:  you could take the wrong pill or forget the dosage.  And some pills need special packaging for their effectiveness.
  • Check expiration dates on medications. Review your meds every six months and toss out those with expired dates.
  • Take your medications in tact and as prescribed. Some drugs become less effective when they are split or crushed or might be absorbed too quickly.  Check with the pharmacist first if your pills can be safely split in two.