Learn how to make your health a priority in your senior years.

Your senior years can be some of the best years of your life. Having grandchildren or time for retirement offers you wonderful memories and experiences. Now is the time to make these years count, so it is critical to be proactive about your health in order to maintain a comfortable and enjoyable quality of life. Senior citizens need to take special precautions to live well and stay healthy. Here are five healthy living tips to help you prevent illness, accidents and disease.

1. Maintain a safe environment.
Take care to keep your living environment as safe as possible. Install hand rails, sturdy step stools and other safety equipment in your home. Make sure that you have an easy way to access your telephone in case of an emergency. Keep walkways lit and free of clutter. Ask a friend or loved one to check in on you periodically if you’re living independently.

2. Make diet and exercise count.
Use your diet as a tool against heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Medline Plus recommends that seniors avoid empty calories from foods with very few nutrients, such as potato chips, sweets, soda and alcohol. Exercise can improve arthritis symptoms and balance, prevent obesity and lower your risk of heart disease. Talk to your physician about which exercise programs are recommended for you.

3. Get vaccinated.
Make sure you receive your flu shot every year. Seniors can be more susceptible to serious complications and should always receive the flu vaccination. Ask your doctor if you should receive additional vaccinations, such as the shingles vaccine and pertussis.

4. Take your medication.
If you have been prescribed medications for any specific health condition, take those medications and supplements exactly as directed. Consider using auto-refills at your pharmacy to avoid any lapses. Here are some tips about simplifying your medication regimen and be sure to check out these "dos and don'ts" for taking medication.

5. Visit your doctor regularly.
Health screenings become more and more important for seniors. Visit your doctor regularly for well visits and promptly for any health concerns or troubling symptoms you might have. The sooner issues are identified, the more easily they can be treated.

North Hills Hospital offers senior patients a specialized Senior Health Clinic. Here we manage all the health needs of patients 65 and older with immediate and professional care. Meet our talented staff of Senior Clinic physicians here. Please visit us online or call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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