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Many people know that they want to do more physically active but do not know where to start. Here are a few tips that may help you get started.

* Pick an activity you enjoy and start with small, specific goals, such as “I will take three 10-minute walks this week.” Slowly increase the total amount of time and number of days you are active.

* If you live in an assisted living or retirement facility, ask if the fitness center offers a free health checkup and fitness program.

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Healthy older adults should do four types of activities regularly: aerobic (or endurance) exercise and activities to strengthen muscles, improve balance, and increase flexibility.

For any new physical activity, if you have not been active, start slowly and work up to your goal. To track your progress and stay motivated, keep a daily diary of what you do and how long you do it.

Many activities give you more than just one benefit! Water aerobics with weights gives you strengthening and aerobic benefits. Yoga combines balance, flexibility, and strengthening. Choose what you like to do—some physical activity is better than none.

You may want to check with your health care provider or dentist if

* You find chewing difficult, don’t want to eat, or have trouble with your dentures.
* You feel that life events such as the death of a loved one or moving from your home are keeping you from eating well.
* You think your medicines may be making your food taste bad or affecting your appetite.
* You think you should take a daily vitamin like iron or vitamin C.

 

Eating healthy meals can be easier when you plan ahead and make them enjoyable. Try the tips listed below.

* Cook ahead and freeze portions for days when you don’t want to cook.

* Keep frozen or canned vegetables, beans, and fruits on hand for quick and healthy meal add-ons. Rinse canned foods to remove extra salt. Drain juice and syrup from canned fruit to remove extra sugar.

* Eat often with someone you enjoy. If you can’t cook for yourself, contact the Eldercare Locator listed in the Resources section for local programs that deliver meals.

A portion is the amount of one food you eat in one sitting. Many people eat more than they need, especially when eating out or getting takeout. Try these tips:

* Avoid eating in front of the TV, computer, or other screen. You may not notice how much you are eating if you are distracted.
*  Read the Nutrition Facts label found on food and drink packages to see how many calories and how much fat are in a single serving size of an item.

Some foods have many calories but offer few nutrients. Older adults should eat less of these foods:

* Sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts that have added sugars
* Foods with butter, shortening, or other fats that are solid at room temperature
* White bread, rice, and pasta made from refined grains

Make sure to always read contracts, account policies and disclosures. It may be tempting to sign contracts without reading them or all the fine print in account disclosures. Do not give in to that temptation, many important details about your rights, minimum balance requirements, and fees are included in these documents. I you do not understand something in the contract make sure you ask questions until you do.

Unfortunately, some shady companies or professionals have the gift of gab that will make a disastrous investment sound like a golden opportunity.

 

Collect information about the financial options you are considering. Read and compare the overviews of different types of accounts, ask trusted friends and family about their choices and interview several financial planners to determine if they fit your needs.

A Little cost-cutting now will help ensure that you enjoy a more comfortable retirement later. If you were planning to treat yourself to a new car, consider making due with your current vehicle for a few more years. Reallocate the money you would have used for a down payment toward your savings strategy.

Take another look at your auto insurance coverage. If you are paying for collision coverage for an older vehicle you may want to consider dropping it. Review your coverages, if your deductible is say $250, consider raising it to at least $500 or even $1,000. These two strategies could significantly reduce your auto insurance premium.

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Limit the amount of alcohol use. Drinking too much alcohol is associated with high blood pressure.  If you drink alcohol, you should do so in moderation—no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.

Do not Smoke: Smoking injures blood vessels and speeds up the hardening of the arteries. Further, smoking is a major risk for heart disease and stroke.
If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Your doctor can suggest programs to help you quit.

Exercise and stay physically fit: Physical activity can help lower blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week.

Keep and Maintain a Healthy Body Weight: Being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure. Losing weight or maintaining a the weight that is good for your body size and age will help reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

To find out whether your weight is healthy, doctors often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person’s excess body fat.

 

Make a lifestyle change: Start eating a healthy diet. Eating healthfully can help keep your blood pressure down. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which provide nutrients such as potassium and fiber. Also, eat foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Avoid sodium by limiting the amount of salt you add to your food. Be aware that many processed foods and restaurant meals are high in sodium.

Studies have shown that people who eat a healthy diet can lower their blood pressure.

Scammers never seem to run out of tricks. They offer fake health cures for arthritis or try to talk you into medical equipment you don’t need. You might get high pressure phone calls urging you to give to a questionable charity or to try to get you to agree to a reverse mortgage or investment scheme. But you don’t have to be anybody’s victim. With the FBI’s extensive list of scams that target seniors, you can empower yourself to recognize and steer clear of con artists.

Depression can take away your enthusiasm for the things and people you care about. It can creep in if you live with constant physical pain, are grieving a loved one or are facing the loss of your independence. And it can be conquered. Learn how getting evaluated and treated by your doctor can help you get back to feeling like yourself again.

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