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Document your Medical History and Extended Family Histories – Healthy Aging Habit 29

familyhealthhistoryHave you ever been asked to recite your medical history and been a little fuzzy on a few of the dates?  The longer I live, I feel like the harder it is getting to know exactly when I had specific surgeries. Thankfully I have kids so it has been easier to track based on their birth since two of them coincided with their births. However, I know this is going to get harder the longer I live.

I know when I had to help my parents, knowing the familiar history of their families was important. Thankfully, my cousins could help out when we were faced with Dad’s cancer.

In general, having this done in advance will benefit you. So often these questions are asked of us, and most often, we don’t really know of our extended families history.

As we move into the holidays you can find ways to learn more about your extended family. WebMD offers this family health checklist, but I sure hope you can figure out how to better ask these questions. I’ve always gone in a little soft to ask about their lives and their passions and in that, if there were a health issue, it usually gets mentioned and from there you can go a little deeper.

Just having this written down about yourself will help you and may assist a loved one. Seventy percent of us will need someone to be their health advocate — and I want to make sure my loved ones have what they need to help me. Prepared. 

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Add Home Maintenance Milestones to your Personal Calendar – Healthy Habit 28

checklistThere is no reason to try and remember these things. I recommend that you add it to the ONE calendar you keep (Health Habit #1) so that those things you should do to maintain your household get done.  For most American’s, your home represents one of your largest personal assets and taking care of it will benefit you in the long run.

Here are some of the basics:

Quarterly:

  • Change or clean the filter in your furnace. It makes it easier for your HVAC and furnace to regulate your home’s temperature, and ultimately decrease utility bills.
  • Clean the garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes, then flushing with hot water and baking soda.

Fall

  • Replace batteries and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Rake leaves and aerate the lawn.
  • Have your forced-air heating system inspected by a professional. T
  • Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Drain and winterize exterior plumbing.
  • Drain and store hoses, and drain in-ground sprinkler systems.
  • Wrap insulation around outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated garages.
  • Cover your air-conditioning unit.
  • Vacuum refrigerator and freezer coils.

Spring

  • Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Remove the insulation from outdoor faucets and check sprinkler heads.
  • Have your HVAC system serviced by a professional.
  • Drain or flush water heater.
  • Fertilize your lawn.
  • Prune trees and shrubs and apply mulch to your garden beds.

For a longer list, visit Better Homes & Gardens to see what they recommend.

Having a way to manage these reminders can help make sure it gets done. I hope you will add in those things that are important to you. Advised. 

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Sort your Postal Mail Daily PLUS … Healthy Habit 27

stackofmailI am the WORST offender of the first part of this habit.

Sorting mail daily for clients has made me akin to the cobblers children with no shoes. I usually let it pile up and go through the pile weekly.

It’s annoying to friends and family that have sent mail because I typically prioritize the bills and statements and leave the “fun” stuff for that period of the day when I have a bunch of free time. That usually means I won’t see it until the weekend.

I keep trying to remind myself to “touch it once” and now I am at least reviewing it daily and culling out all the junk mail when I bring it up from the mailbox.

Do what you can. I am just recommending you sort it daily, at least weekly, and be sure to REVIEW your statements.

I find people decide to set up their credit cards on autopay and they truly set it and forget it. They STOP checking the itemized purchases. When I start working with clients and  we do this together for the first time we find HUNDREDS of dollars that have crept into their monthly charges they either didn’t know about or are not using.

The paperless setting lures you into this habit. I hope you will at least add a monthly reminder to review your charges if you have electronic billing. If you find you are not doing this, maybe you can go back to mailed statements? Suggested. 

 

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Visit Missing Money – Healthy Aging Habit 26

moneyI found $100 on Missing Money in my name last year. It was a refund check from a utility that never made it to my mailbox. Some of the unclaimed money could be something you never knew you were entitled to receive.

I recommend visiting this site annually for you and your loved ones since it is constantly being updated. I can take years for accounts to go dormant.

Follow these steps:

  • Visit MissingMoney.com
  • Put in your name (or the name of a loved one) and “Start Your Search”
  • Scroll to find the results and initiate the Claim. See the example below for what you should look for. You will have to scroll down past Ads to find the results. The “Claim” button will take you to the state or province website to initiate your claim.

missingmoneyclaim

Please know that you should NEVER have to pay to get your own money so if you are being asked to give a credit card or agree to a percentage of the money, you have ended up on the wrong site. You should never have to pay anyone to get back your own money.

You should also not find that anything is downloading from this site to your computer. If you are prompted, you have clicked on an Ad instead of finding the Claim button.

If and when you find some money – please tell me!  I love to hear all the stories of those that have done this and found money they never knew they were entitled to receive. Whether it is this your or a future year becuase you have continued this Health Aging Habit. Encouraged.

 

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Make color copies of your important personal documents and include a directory of their location – Healthy Aging Action 25

birth certIn order to get my “Real ID”, I had to show up with a few of my own personal documents. There will be several times in your life when you are going to need these papers and most likely, will have to provide a color copy.

Most agencies require color copies because they are more difficult to alter.

Caregivers know how important having access to health insurance cards and personal documents like birth certificates can be. There were many instances when I needed to have copies of my parent’s military, social security, birth and marriage certificates. I also needed a host of personal documents as their Executor.

Take ten minutes to go to the color copier you probably already have at home to make copies of your

  • Birth certificate/naturalization documents
  • Social Security card/number/statements
  • Marriage license/divorce /child custody documents
  • Driver’s license
  • Military identification/service records
  • Passport/green card

Put them in the same place you have stored your other important papers and estate plans. The good news is that once this is done, you really don’t have to do it again. Just make sure they can be easily found when you need them. Encouraged.  

 

 

 

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Get Health Screenings Done When Recommended – Healthy Aging Habit 24

healthscreenIf you are seeing a good primary care physician, hopefully once a year, they will perform some basic screenings based on your height and weight, blood pressure and health complaints.

I’m not a doctor, but culled information online and am sharing what I found. This is not a substitute for medical advice and I encourage you to regularly see your primary care physician who will help you know when screenings are right for you.

In general, everyone should be seeing a dentist at least annually if not twice a year. Oral hygiene is a major component of good health.

In general, your doctor will perform or recommend regular screenings for:

  • Cholesterol
  • A full body scan for moles or skin lesions if you have a familiar history

For women: Breast, pelvic, and pap smears

For men: Testicular

For women at 40, Mammograms are recommended unless there is a familiar history and then this is usually done earlier.

For men, at the age of 50 they recommend prostate screenings unless you are a high-risk individual then you start typically start at the age of 40.

50 is the magic number for a colonoscopy. If there is a familiar history, it is ten years earlier than the youngest family member with colon cancer.

At 65, it is recommended that men and women should have a bone density study every 2 – 5 years; this may start at the age of 60 if you’re in a high-risk population.

For those of you caring for loved ones with dementia, I will leave it up to you to determine how to manage preventative health care recommendations. I do know that I had to fight a regular battle with her care community over vitamins and supplements. I also struggled with the recommendation to add Ensure to her diet. My Mom was very clear that she wanted quality of life over quantity. I believed that she should eat what she wanted. It was the one thing she could choose to do and control.

I hope you will discuss these issues with you, or your loved one’s doctor. Early detection can not just save your life, but afford you a much better outcome. Suggested.

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Get an Annual Flu Shot and Consider the Recommended Vaccinations – Healthy Aging Habit #23

flu shotAs a caregiver, I started to think about how my health (or poor health) would impact my parents. I didn’t want to be the one to bring the flu to them, so made sure I got annual flu shots. I avoided the shoots for years thinking that having a dead virus shot into my arm sounded kinda gross … it still does, but know I know the value of avoiding the flu for myself and others.

In my role as a Daily Money Manager, I research varied ways to save my clients money—from simple things like reviewing phone and cable plans to bigger issues like refinancing and downsizing options.

At a training workshop, I learned that the lack of vaccinations is estimated to cost the American people $15.3 billion. It never dawned on me how much money NOT getting a flu shot costs me either directly on medication and doctor visits, or indirectly through lost wages and discomfort.

In addition to the flu vaccine, three other vaccinations. Some are recommended for adults over 60, but for many it may be a good idea to get it early.

Ask your doctor about these vaccines for those you are caring for, but they might also benefit you and I hope you will discuss them with your doctor.

  • Shingles or herpes zoster vaccine — if you know anyone who has developed shingles, you know how debilitating it can be. The healthcare cost of treating shingles is estimated at $1 billion a year. There are more than one on the market now and they are hard to get. Get on a waitlist if they are out at either your doctors or a local drug store.
  • Tdap — while many of us with kids still in the household are familiar with this vaccination, only 16% of adults over 65 have gotten it. My son received the vaccination that includes vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis but did contract whooping cough. It was awful in a 13-year-old, but apparently, it’s even more devastating for adults. Next time you need a tetanus shot, ask if you can get Tdap instead.
  • Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 for the prevention of pneumonia, which kills more annually than any of the others mentioned.

The annual flu shot is now a household habit and the I’ve already discussed the other vaccinations with my primary care physician. Completed.

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