School prepares us for a lot in life, but one thing none of the courses really covered is aging. What happens to us as we get older? What will each stage feel like? What problems should we expect, and how should we deal with them? Most of us simply blunder into it and take each change as it comes.
The good news is, your doctor can be your best ally when it comes to living your best life. A yearly physical exam is a great opportunity to ask questions. In the meanwhile, doctors themselves are sharing what they wish all their patients knew about aging, right now:
- Know what medications you’re on and what they’re for
—including how many pills you take daily and how often.
- Be careful where you get your health information.
Websites, TV health talk shows and infomercials are no substitute for you doctor, who knows your medical history.
- Don’t be embarrassed to share concerns, ask questions, or confide in your doctor.
Be completely honest. After all, it’s their job to help you live your healthiest life. Besides, doctors have seen it all, and they’re bound by professional confidentiality not to discuss your concerns with anyone else.
- Avoid the sun.
While sunshine provides much-needed vitamin D, too much raises your risk of skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen when you’re outdoors.
- Do your utmost to prevent falls.
A bad fall can transform a healthy, active senior to an ill and dependent one. The Government of Canada offers some excellent tips on its website: canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/aging-seniors/publications/publications-general-public/you-prevent-falls.html
- Tell us if you are having memory issues.
Dementia is only one cause; a faltering memory may be due to all kinds of other things, including depression, heart problems, medication, hormone abnormalities.