Staying Healthy – Staying Active after 80 Years of Age

By Joan Koczor

Life expectancy is increasing and women tend to live longer than men. The fear associated with getting older is something we all cope with.

How we approach getting older can make all the difference.

If we think of the aging process in a negative way it can cause depression, stress and denial. We cannot reverse the aging process but with a positive attitude and a healthy daily regimen we can slow it down. Make the most of this longevity.

With this in mind we need to start preparing to live many years past 80. It’s true what they say, the 80’s are the new 60’s. You might disagree with that but you can feel young even at that point in your life.

At this age you may experience increased self-confidence. You know yourself – your strengths –your
weaknesses. Knowing this brings a sense of freedom you have never before experienced. Relationships may strengthen with age. With your spouse. Your friends. And it you are fortunate with your grown up children and grandchildren.

According to Consumer Report here are a few things you can do to improve your mental and physical well-being:

A great primary care doctor should be your main point of contact with the health care system. Look for a physician whose practice is a “patient-centered medical home.” That means the doctor’s office has organized itself to handle all of your care, including alerting you when it’s time for a test or visit, keeping tabs on all of your medications, and coordinating care with your specialists.

Mary Tinetti, M.D., chief of geriatric medicine at the Yale New Haven Health System and the Yale School of Medicine, said. “At least once a year, you should put all of your pill bottles in a bag (including all over-the-counter drugs and supplements) and take them to your primary care doctor for a review.

Make a note of any side effects or problems you’ve noticed. If it turns out your medications are working at cross-purposes or causing unacceptable side effects, ask your doctor to work out the optimum combination of medications. Also keep an up-to-date list of your drugs (including dosages) in your wallet or handbag in case of a medical emergency

Carefully go through your health plan’s requirements, so you really know how it works and whether you need to get referrals for specialist visits or prior authorization for elective surgery or costly tests. You can find all of that information in your plan’s summary of benefits and coverage, a standardized plan-information document that should have come with your policy. (If it didn’t, ask for it.)

Make necessary modifications in your home to help you stay independent longer and may be less costly than moving to a more suitable home –such as assisted living facility, There is comfort from familiarity; the same cup; the same chair; the same view. One can be disturbed by the disruption or criticism of established habits

Stay socially active with friends, community groups. Volunteer. Travel. Dancing. Keep learning new things.

Want to learn more about a particular subject? Take a class.

Life is a journey one without maps and directions. It is up to you how you choose to live your life as you age.

About Joan

Joan Kozcar is a Neighbors Who Care friend who moved to the city of Maricopa in 2006. She was surprised to learn there were no resources for seniors, nor was there a Senior Center.  As a woman in her 60s, she set out to change that.

She met with individuals from Area Agencies and like-minded individuals whose focus was providing unlimited resources and programs for Seniors. She currently serves on the BOD for the Pinal Senior Center and other committees that are senior focused.

A woman  now in her 80s, Joan has helped Maricopa Seniors obtain a wide range of resources and programs such as those she’s volunteered for such as the Caregivers Program, Grief Support, Color Me Calm and Meals on Wheels at the Community/Senior Center providing much needed socialization and fun things to do. She’s grateful that the list of services and resources continues to grow. Seniors are (finally) being recognized and given a voice as to what they want –what they need. Among her goals is establishing services similar to Neighbors Who Care‘s.