Written by Nurse Susan
As you age, it becomes more important than ever before to take responsibility for your overall well-being.
Unfortunately, many seniors don’t prioritize things like health and safety — some willfully and some because they don’t know any better — and put themselves at risk for serious illnesses and injuries.
In order to maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible, make sure you’re not making any of these five common health and safety mistakes.
- Not Being Honest with Your Doctor
Many seniors are reluctant to discuss intimate health problems, such as urinary or sexual difficulties, with their doctor. They may also avoid bringing up problems that they deem trivial, such as stomach pain, jaw pain, or constipation.
By refusing to bring up concerns, or by waiting until they become unbearable, you’re setting yourself up for a more difficult healthcare journey. The longer you wait, the longer and more intense your treatment will need to be.
In addition to not addressing concerns, some seniors are hesitant to ask for clarification when their doctor gives them instructions. Often, it’s because they’re embarrassed to admit that they didn’t hear or understand the first time.
Don’t let embarrassment stop you from getting the clarity you need, though. When your health is on the line, a few minutes of awkwardness are absolutely worth it.
- Neglecting Health Aids
Whether it’s out of pride or due to forgetfulness, many seniors are guilty of neglecting health aids like walkers, canes, hearing aids, glasses, and medical alert devices.
These tools aren’t always fun to use, and nobody likes to be reminded that they’re getting older. But, these health aids can bring you and your loved ones safety and peace of mind.
If you find them uncomfortable or awkward, remember that it takes time to get used to using a new device. Use them regularly for a couple of weeks. If the discomfort continues, talk to your doctor to get an adjustment or replacement.
- Not Managing Medications
It’s important to take the time to put a system in place to manage your medications properly.
It’s very common for seniors to miss doses or accidentally overdose. Things get even more confusing when they’re working with more than one doctor. To avoid confusion and accidental noncompliance, seniors should make sure they have one primary care physician who oversees their whole medical plan.
When they have one person handling all their medications, they’re less likely to accidentally take two or more prescriptions that interact negatively with each other. They should also figure out a system that helps them keep track of their prescriptions. Daily alarms or pill boxes are all good options to avoid accidentally missing or doubling up on doses.
- Not Taking Advantage of Preventive Care
Many seniors forget to take advantage of the preventive care options available to them. Most insurance plans will offer free or low-cost health screenings that can help seniors learn about and avoid a number of common illnesses and conditions.
It can be tempting to skip these screenings, especially if you’re feeling fine when they’re scheduled. Remember, though, that you could have a condition but not be showing any symptoms. The earlier you catch something, the easier it is to treat.
- Disregarding Limitations
Many seniors are hesitant to acknowledge their limitations. Like it or not, though, you’re getting older and some things that used to be easy for you might be a little more challenging.
For example, you might need to start moving a little slower to avoid falls. Plan ahead and give yourself time to prepare for appointments so you don’t feel rushed. You also need to evaluate your ability to drive safely. It can be hard to give up driving and the independence that comes with it. But, you need to think about the safety of others and be willing to admit you need help getting around.
Are you guilty of any of these common mistakes? If so, it’s time to make some changes.
Small adjustments can make a big difference. Start by committing to just one change, and you’ll be living a safer, healthier lifestyle before you know it!