(StatePoint) The contributions of older Americans are celebrated each May during Older Americans’ Month. This year’s theme, “Engage at Every Age,” emphasizes that you are never too old to enrich your physical and emotional well-being.
To encourage happy, healthy and productive golden years when older adults are able to pursue their hobbies and passions, consider these tips from Cigna-HealthSpring, one of the nation’s largest providers of Medicare plans.
Get an annual exam. Annual visits are critical for identifying potential health issues early, as well as maintaining a relationship with your primary care physician. During this visit, your doctor can establish a plan based on your age, gender and health status for the vaccinations and health screenings you need, such as mammograms, cholesterol screenings and colorectal cancer screenings. Medicare and Medicare Advantage cover certain types of annual exams at no extra cost. Check with your plan for details.
Take medications as prescribed. Your drugs were prescribed for a reason. It is important to adhere to your medication regime and take medications as prescribed. Some drugs can cause harmful interactions, so make sure your doctor knows everything you take, including over-the-counter drugs.
If you smoke, stop. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. It’s never too late to quit, and the benefits of doing so are almost immediate, according to the American Cancer Society. Keep in mind that parts of Medicare cover smoking cessation counseling and prescription medications.
Get some exercise. Regular exercise can help older adults stay independent and prevent many health problems that come with age. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer exercise programs designed specifically for older adults at no extra cost. If your plan has a program like this, make sure to take advantage of it.
Have some fun! Be sure to make time for activities you enjoy and seek out others who also enjoy them. The social interaction is good for you.
“We are constantly inspired by stories of older adults reinventing themselves later in life in meaningful ways, from running marathons to mentoring young people to painting for the very first time,” said Brian Evanko, president of Cigna-HealthSpring. “The key that unlocks all of this is maintaining your physical and emotional health and well-being through the years.”