Healthy Aging (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Getting the Medical Care You Need
Medical prevention, regular checkups, and prompt treatment play a key role in your quality of life as you age.
Your grandparents' generation had few protections from life-threatening conditions, but you now have the advantage of immunizations and regular screenings. To maximize your odds of living a longer, higher-quality life, make sure you get all screenings and immunizations that are recommended for all people over age 50:
For more information, see the Interactive Tool: Which Health Screenings Do You Need?
Managing your health care
Be an informed health care consumer. When concerned about a medical condition, read as much as you can about it and its possible treatments. Make a list of unanswered questions and talk to your doctor about them. Explore all treatment options before deciding how to treat a problem, and get at least one second opinion if you're considering a surgery, medicine with dangerous side effects, or experimental treatment. For more information, see the topics Making Wise Health Decisions and Making the Most of Your Appointment.
Be your own best health advocate. Make it your goal to work in partnership with your health professionals. In general, people who make health decisions with their health professionals are happier with the care they receive and the results they achieve. It's important to share in every decision about your health. The decisions you make influence your overall well-being as well as the quality and cost of your care. Whenever you have a medical appointment:
Get organized. Feeling organized and in control of your health care can be a challenge, especially when something comes up unexpectedly. Your best approach to managing your health care is to get organized now—create a personal medical information file, including an ongoing record of your:
For more information on how to organize your medical information, see the topic Home Medical Records.
Advance directives such as a living will and a medical power of attorney can ensure that you will get the care you want if you become physically or mentally unable to make your own medical decisions. A living will states your wishes about your medical care; a medical power of attorney gives a person you choose (your health care agent) the authority to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to make these decisions for yourself. In addition to putting your advance directives in writing, also be sure to clearly communicate your choices to all family members who might be involved in your health care in the future. For information about writing advance directives or selecting a health care agent, see the topics Writing an Advance Directive and Choosing a Health Care Agent.
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