Holly Glen Gearhart
After writing several articles on senior health, I decided to give some of the information I gathered for the articles a first-hand try.
One of the benefits of community journalism is that we often benefit from what we write about, such as the information I dug up while writing my series on senior healthcare. Some of the information on the importance of physical activity later in life hit close to home, and I decided to see if I could improve my physical strength, flexibility and balance, as well as drop some excess weight in an effort to ward off a familial history of diabetes II.
I knew my first step should be a visit to my primary care physician. I made an appointment to see her for a physical check-up and to set up a plan to improve my physical health. Together we set up a strategy directed toward my goals and tailored to my physical limitations. The doctor’s insurance people and I can check online to see what is covered under my medical coverage.
For the record, I have Medicare and a very limited supplemental insurance plan. As far as health insurance coverage, I am at the lower end of the bracket, so what I am allowed will be somewhat limited.
I have some physical problems, including walking, sitting and bending, that worsened over my years of inactivity. Not uncommonly for those of us over 50, I also have trouble with flexibility, strength and balance, exactly what is targeted by the National Institute of Health’s “Go4Life” program. I ordered a “workout to go” program and selected some DVDs to guide me through everyday exercises. There is no charge for the DVDs and even shipping is free. Find them here. I plan to incorporate this information in the routine my doctor and I put together.
The National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes on Health have put together programs for adults over 50 to fit exercise and physical activity into our daily lives. Research has shown that regular exercise and physical activity are important to maintain physical and mental health and can extend the number of years older adults stay independent.
The challenge may seem impossible, but I hope to regain some of who I was before I stopped caring about my health. I spent years sitting at a desk, not exercising more than the ten-minute walk to the bus to work and back home. As I take on an exercise program that is tailored for seniors, I will have firsthand knowledge to share with you for your journey navigating the senior healthcare system.