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February is Senior Independence Month! Throughout our lives, our goals and needs change and grow along with us. Just as our goals and focuses as children change as we grow, older adults have a special set of needs to be addressed.

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease affect older adults at a disproportionate rate. Nearly 95% of older adults have at least one chronic condition. Almost 80% of older adults have two or more. This accounts for two-thirds of all healthcare costs in America and 93% of Medicare spending.

First Course of Action: Prevention

Reducing your risk of chronic conditions is the first step to maintaining your independence as you age. Working now to prevent issues in the future can also reduce your healthcare costs significantly as you age.

Talk With Your Healthcare Provider

When working to prevent chronic conditions, your primary care doctor is your best friend! Attending your annual physical and wellness appointment is an important step in chronic disease prevention. This lets your doctor assess your risk for and prevent chronic conditions before they develop. Keeping your doctor in the loop with gives them a better understanding of your overall health if issues develop later.

Your doctor may have additional resources available to you. Talk to your health care provider to see if they participate in Chronic Care Management or Remote Patient Monitoring programs. These Medicare provided programs reduce hospitalizations and help manage your care between healthcare providers and in between your visits.

Expand Your Care Team

In addition to your primary care doctor, you’ll want to create an arsenal of specialists who can help you meet your goals. Regular visits with professionals such as physical therapists, psychologists, and nutritionists can keep you healthy and prevent chronic conditions. Instead of waiting until problems arise, start meeting with these healthcare professionals now. This helps build a good rapport and get the tools needed to reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

Final Thoughts

You take your car in for regular oil changes, tire rotations, and tune ups. So why not do the same for yourself? Work with your doctor now to prevent future hospitalizations and reduce healthcare costs down the road.

Next, it’s time to talk about what steps YOU can take to reduce your risk of chronic diseases in day-to-day life! Come back for the next installment of this series to learn how to reduce your risk of various chronic diseases by making healthy lifestyle choices!