Turned 60 this year? Congratulations! You’re entering the best decade of your life. Your 60s are a decade that will bring you some freedom from your worldly duties and give you the opportunity to pursue passions you put on hold while managing your full-time family and work responsibilities. As a geriatrician, I like to tell my patients that their newfound freedom does, however, come with its own set of responsibilities. If this decade of your life has a theme, I recommend making it self-care. Investment in your physical and mental health and stopping certain behaviors and habits during your 60s will give you enormous rewards in the decades ahead. I give my own patients the following advice:
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“Excessive dietary salt intake has been linked to elevated blood pressure in research studies. Additionally, older adults are more sensitive to blood pressure fluctuations with dietary salt intake, including reduction in blood pressure with dietary salt reduction. As elevated blood pressure is a risk for heart attacks and strokes, please do yourself a favor and get rid of the salt shaker from your dining room table,” says Dr. Syed.
“Most people don’t realize that foods and herbs can have chemical ingredients which may interact with their prescription medications. For example, ginger, garlic, turmeric, ginkgo, green tea, and chamomile can all interact with the blood thinner warfarin and affect blood levels,” she says.
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“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the unpredictability of human life, so it is never too early to complete your advance directives. Your loved ones should know what your values and goals in life are, so that they can keep them in consideration when making emergency decisions,” says Syed.
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“The word ‘PM’ on over-the-counter pain medications, sleeping aids, and medications for sinusitis generally indicates that one of the ingredients is a first-generation antihistamine. These antiallergic medications are associated with episodes of confusion, dry mouth, dizziness, and falls in older adults,” she says.
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“Sleep specialists recommend getting TV out of your bedroom to improve your sleep hygiene. Avoid watching TV or using your smartphone or tablet up to an hour prior to bedtime, to improve your sleep quality,” she says. And to get through life at your healthiest, Don’t Take This Supplement, Which Can Raise Your Cancer Risk.
Dr. Quratulain “Annie” Syed, is a geriatrician at JenCare Senior Medical Center.