If you’ve been with me a while, you know that I push my readers to be advocates for their own health.
But with great responsibility, also comes the risk of making mistakes.
It’s understandable. We’re human.
Sometimes our ego, or pride, gets in the way of making decisions that are best for our long-term health.
Like accepting when it’s time to turn the car keys over to someone else.
I get it.
Driving can mean independence.
But if your reaction time isn’t what it once was – or your vision isn’t crystal clear – you’re not only putting your own life in danger, but others on the road, as well.
The decision to stop driving shouldn’t be made alone.
Sit down with your family and your doctor to determine your driving fitness and whether it’s time to let someone else take the wheel.
Another common medical mistake older folks make is refusing to use the health tools available to them, like hearing aids, glasses and dentures… because they think they make them look “old.”
But in my opinion, the advantages of these health aids far outweigh their appearance.
I would rather be able to see my loved ones clearly, than live a blurry life without glasses.
I would rather hear music and laughter with a hearing aid, than sit in silence.
And, I definitely would rather eat the foods I love with dentures, than mush without a full set of teeth.
Another big mistake people make with their health is taking the word of their doctors without question.
Doctors make mistakes and misdiagnose all the time.
In fact, medical errors are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
You need to question everything, even if that means being a pain in the you-know-what.
If challenging doctors’ decisions makes you uncomfortable, bring someone with you to your appointments.
Whether it’s a spouse, sibling, friend, or adult child, having a companion at your side can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding medical mistakes.
As a patient, you have a lot going on and it’s hard to process all the information a doctor is presenting to you.
Your companion can be a second set of ears… and a powerful advocate for your health.
Underestimating the risk of falls within your own home is another big mistake.
Falls are the #1 cause of injuries and deaths from injury among seniors.
Tighten up stair railings and remove tripping hazards like slippery rugs and pet toys scattered on the floor.
It’s impossible to remove all fall risks from your home, but you can make it far safer.
I want all of you to live long, healthy lives.
Don’t let your pride, or stubbornness, or reluctance to question medical decisions, get in your way of achieving vibrant health.
That would be one of the biggest mistakes of all.