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What Are You Going To Do For Your Health This Year?

According to the SeniorHealth division of the National Institutes of Health, these are some goals to go for in 2015:

Lose Weight Sensibly. The SeniorHealth experts say that you shouldn’t lose more than 2 pounds a week. Start with

If you need to lose weight, it’s important to do so slowly. Lose no more than 1/2 pound to 2 pounds a week. Start with a goal of losing a total of 10 percent of your weight. Gradual weight loss, dieting experts say, is the best guarantee of success in the long run.

Begin with a goal of losing 10 percent of your current weight. This is the healthiest way to lose weight and offers the best chance of long-term success.

For tips on healthy eating from the SeniorHealth experts, visit here: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/benefitsofeatingwell/01.html.

Make Your Home Fall Proof

Falls can have devastating consequences for seniors, including the loss of independence and even death. According to SeniorHealth, six of every 10 falls happen at home, where we might be less on guard than we are outside. The SeniorHealth experts suggest these changes:

Remove or avoid safety hazards

Make sure you have enough lighting inside and outside your house. Use nightlights in the bedrooms, the hallway, the kitchen and the bathroom, and keep a flashlight by your bed in case of a power outage. Stairs should be especially well-lighted.

Add handrails and grab bars wherever possible – for example, in bathtubs or on stairs.

Carpets should be securely attached to the floor to avoid the possibility of slipping.

Declutter as much as possible so you’ll decrease the possibility of tripping over something.

Put non-slip strips on your bathtub or shower.

Clean up wet floors and spills right away.

At home and elsewhere, try to avoid wet floors and clean up spills right away. Use only non-skid wax on waxed floors.

Be careful when walking outdoors, and avoid going out alone on ice or snow. Wear boots with good traction if you have to go out. Ask someone to spread sand or salt on icy surfaces.

Quit Smoking

You can do it with the help of “quitlines,” free telephone counseling services. When you call a quitline, you talk anonymously to a counselor who can help you come up with a strategy to quit. The National Cancer Institute Smoking Quitline is (877) 44U-QUIT or (877) 448-7848 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You can also call your state’s quitline. Call (800) QUIT-NOW or (800) 784-8669 to be connected with free resources in your state. Or visit the site www.smokefree.gov.

Look Into Your Family’s Health History. A record of a family’s health history contains information about your relatives’ medical conditions, lifestyle (drinking or smoking habits, for example) and where and how the family grew up. You can use a family history to determine any increased risk you might have of developing serious problems such as cancer or diabetes.

Of course, it isn’t possible to change your genes, but you can make lifestyle changes. And since illness is often a combination of genes, lifestyle and environment, the SeniorHealth experts say, those changes may help.

People can’t change the genes they inherit from their parents, but they can change things like diet, physical activity, and medical care to try to prevent diseases that run in the family. This is good news because many diseases result from a combination of a person’s genes, lifestyle, and environment.

Stay Safe On The Road

The SeniorHealth experts say that If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may need to check your driving habits. (Editor’s note: Many communities offer driving refresher classes for seniors.)

Has a friend or family member expressed concern about your driving?

Has your doctor advised you to limit driving for health reasons?

Have you been stopped by the police or had near misses or accidents in the last 3 years?

Do you sometimes get lost on familiar routes?

Do your thoughts wander when you drive? Do you become confused or angry?

Do other drivers honk at you frequently?

Do cars or people walking seem to appear out of nowhere?

Do you have trouble moving your foot between the gas and brake pedals, or do you confuse the two?

Protect Your Vision

One of the best things you can do to look after your eye health is to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Most eye illnesses have no warning signs, the SeniorHealth experts say, and the only way to detect them is via this exam. Talk with your health care providers about how often you should have the exam. The SeniorHealth experts suggest an annual exam at least once a year, and more often if you are at increased risk for age-related eye disease.

The exam consists of four tests: Dilation, which widens your pupils so the doctor can look at the retina for anything suspicious; tonometry, which measures eye pressure and helps your doctor see whether you’re at risk of glaucoma; a visual field test to measure your side vision; and an acuity test to measure your ability to see distances.

Reduce Stress

The SeniorHealth experts suggest that you learn about relaxation techniques including breathing exercises, guided imagery, biofeedback, and progressive muscle relaxation. For more about these techniques, and how they can benefit you, visit the National Center for Alternative and Complementary Health: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm. Be sure to ask your doctor before you start doing any of these techniques.

For more information, visit www.nihseniorhealth.gov.