Dec 19, 2011

Healthcare mistakes to avoid

When it comes to dealing with our own aging process, there's a big difference between being spunky and being just plain stubborn. Taking unnecessary risks with your health and safety is foolish, since you may end up jeopardizing the very independence you cherish! I am reminded of some of my clients who reject the use of personal walking devices, only to end up falling and suffering serious health consequences. My mother-in-law, perhaps from pride or vanity or both, refused to use a hearing aid long after she needed one, compromising her ability to socialize with people.

To help you stay healthy longer, The Institute for Healthcare Advancement has produced a list of seniors' common healthcare mistakes. I hope my readers take this list to heart!

Common Heathcare Mistakes of the Elderly

Driving when you no longer have the skills to do so safely. Chronological age is not necessarily the only factor to be considered when determining if it's safe to drive.

Fighting the appearance of aging. As noted above, resistance to using walking aids or hearing devices and the like can prevent a senior from living a fuller, safer life.

Reluctance to discuss intimate health problems, like sexual or urinary difficulties, with physicians.

Failure to understand what a doctor has instructed and therefore not following doctor's orders. Note-taking, tape-recording, bringing along a friend to an appointment, or just asking the doctor for clarification can help.

Not taking the appropriate measures to prevent falls. A fall can trigger a chain of disastrous health problems in the elderly, including permanent disability or sometimes even death. In addition to using walking aids, fall prevention measures may include changing lighting in the home, wearing sturdy shoes, installing shower bars, etc.
Failure to create a schedule and system that ensures proper doses of medicines are taken at the right times. Pill boxes and charts can help.

Not having a single primary care physician who can coordinate all aspects of health care and knows all the drugs you are taking.

Not seeking medical attention promptly. The earlier an illness is treated, the better the prognosis.

Failure to take advantage of preventive health screenings and programs like routine breast and prostate exams, flu and pneumonia vaccinations, etc.
Not asking loved ones for help. Yes, none of us want to be dependent on others. But that's what family is for. You would always help your family, right? Chances are they are more than eager to help you!

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