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I'm a Doctor and Here Are 6 Tips for Seniors to Stay Healthy in 2023


As 2022 is winding down and we enter the new year, many individuals will be making New Year's resolutions to be more active or lose weight. As a doctor who treats seniors, I encourage my patients to not only be active in the new year, but also be proactive about the other factors impacting their health Working at CenterWell Senior Primary Care Center, I have become very familiar with the health obstacles that my patients face, and I strive to address those issues within my practice. Read on for advice I share with my senior patients to ensure they're prioritizing their health in 2023.


Get Vaccinated


Your immune system weakens as you age, making it more difficult for your body to fight off diseases. As a result, seniors are disproportionately affected by illnesses such as COVID-19, the flu, shingles, and pneumonia. In addition, patients who have chronic conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, are at higher risk of severe illness, making vaccinations a crucial component to staying safe, especially when gathering with friends or family during the holidays.

Getting vaccinated is a simple, effective, and safe way to protect yourself and others around you from preventable illnesses. I recommend talking to your doctor or pharmacist about which vaccines you need to stay healthy in 2023 and when is the best time to receive them.


Schedule Regular Screenings 


Older adults are at higher risk for chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. In fact, according to the CDC, an estimated 70% of adults age 65 or older have hypertension, and for many, symptoms can go undetected if they don't get regular screenings. Detecting and treating these conditions early can improve your health outcomes. I encourage everyone to be proactive about their health and speak with their doctors about the diseases they may be at high risk for so they can schedule their annual screenings in advance.


Eat Healthy

Washing veggies

While it's important for everyone to eat healthy, it's especially crucial for seniors to follow a balanced diet to support their healthy aging. Minor adjustments in your diet, such as including fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts, can go a long way toward improving your health. If you have trouble getting to a supermarket, consider home delivery services, research shuttles in your community, or ask a neighbor or family member for a ride. And if you struggle with food insecurity, know that you're not alone. In fact, a 2022 study from Feeding America revealed that 5.2 million seniors are food insecure. If you need help getting access to healthy, nutritious food, I'd recommend talking to your doctor about resources that are available in your community. For example, at CenterWell Senior Primary Care, our staff can help patients secure access to healthy food as well as transportation assistance.


Exercise Safely

happy senior man exercising with dumbbells to look and feel younger

Older adults tend to have sedentary lifestyles because of limited mobility and decreased muscle strength, but there are low-impact, safe exercises most seniors can do to improve their health, such as walking, yoga or water aerobics. Research from The National Council on Aging found that staying active in the later years of life is linked to improvements in physical and psychological health. Some of these benefits include the prevention of bone loss, relieving osteoarthritis pain, preventing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, boosting immunity, and improving your mood. Including even a short walk into your daily routine can benefit your overall health.


Stay Connected with Others

social seniors dinner party, sneaky habits to slow down aging

As a physician for seniors, I know the impacts of loneliness on a person's physical and mental health. According to the CDC, many adults aged 50 and older are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk such as premature death, dementia, higher rates of depression and anxiety, and heart failure. Staying connected to others is a great way to reduce social isolation. The National Institute on Aging recommends scheduling a time each day to stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors in person or over the phone, or become active in your community. For example, I encourage my patients to come to CenterWell Senior Primary Care's community rooms, where we host educational health sessions and engage in fun activities as a community. Friends and family are welcome too.


Consider Home Health


Many seniors don't realize that they can receive quality healthcare for a wide range of health issues in the comfort of their homes, which also helps if they have difficulty with transportation to appointments. While traditional doctor's offices may feel less personal, home healthcare professionals are able to build closer relationships with their patients and address their unique needs, including the lifestyle factors affecting their health. For example, a home health nurse may look inside a patient's refrigerator to ensure they have access to nutritious food or open the cabinets to check that medications are up to date. Home health services such as Heal and CenterWell Home Health take a whole-person approach, not only caring about their patient's physical health but also helping connect patients with social and mental health services so they are able to continue to age well at home. No matter what your 2023 resolutions might be, it's important that everyone – especially seniors –prioritize their health and well-being in the coming year.

Karen Henrichsen, D.O.
Karen Henrichsen, D.O., Physician at CenterWell Senior Primary Care in Anderson, S.C. Read more about Karen
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