Category Archives: Health

Tell Your Doctor What’s on Your Bucket List

It’ll help direct your health where you want it to go. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Grace Birnstengel for Next Avenue

Your doctor can’t read your mind. A doctor assumes everyone wants to live and continue to live the best, healthiest, happiest life possible — but that means something different for everyone. If your doctor knows about your long-term goals and “bucket list” items, however, that can be used to direct your health plan and goals.

Dr. VJ Periyakoil, an internist, geriatrician and palliative care professional at Stanford Health Care wrote a piece for the New York Times about how she regularly asks her patients about their bucket lists. read more

One Surprising Way Older Adults Can Get Healthier

You know about the obvious things. Now try this. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Dr. Ann Hwang for Next Avenue

Whether or not we actually do the right things to improve our health, many of us probably assume we know what they are. Walk more. Quit smoking. Eat healthier.

It’s a familiar list, and a good one. As a primary care doctor, I spend plenty of time counseling people to do exactly these things. But here’s another, less familiar thing I think you should consider: get engaged in your community.

The Benefits of Connection

Civic engagement may not be on the top of everyone’s to-do list, but it probably should be. There is intriguing evidence to suggest that people who are engaged in their communities — through activities like participating in local organizations or volunteering — could also have better health. read more

Are You Doing Doctor Appointments Right?

[Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Grace Birnstengel for Next Avenue

Navigating the medical system can be a daunting process. It’s challenging enough to find any doctor with openings, let alone a good doctor. And the internet isn’t always much help.

What is helpful, however, is this in-depth guide to having a good doctor’s appointment written for The New York Times by Dr. Danielle Ofri, author and associate professor of medicine at New York University.

“As a doctor I often get asked by friends and family how to make the most of a medical visit,” she wrote. read more

7 Reasons Why You Should Travel

Reap the benefits of health, happiness and gratitude on your next journey. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Wendy Sue Knecht for Next Avenue

Some people are just lucky — they’re born with it. I’m not talking about good looks or money. I’m talking about wanderlust …. that something inside of you that just makes you want to go places, explore and of course, wander.

My own wanderlust was cultivated at a young age. Although my family never took anything but road trips growing up, my father used to regale me with bedtime stories of Gee Gee Go-Go, a fictional character who traveled all over the world on his tricycle. It’s no surprise I became a Pan Am flight attendant! read more

Would You Want to Know Your Risk of Alzheimer’s?

There’s little chance now of finding out, but that may change. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Joan Mooney for Next Avenue

If one of your parents died of Alzheimer’s or has it, what does that mean for your own prognosis? How much would you want to know about your risk of Alzheimer’s when there is currently no medical treatment?

This is not a simple question. Anyone who lives past 85 has a nearly one in three chance of developing Alzheimer’s. But what if you are in your 50s and your father had Alzheimer’s, but you have no symptoms?

Many scientists and companies are working on a blood test. read more

How to Bounce Back From a Health Crisis

It’s not the cards you’re dealt, but how you play them. (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Claire Zulkey for Next Avenue

After a major injury or illness, your own participation and perspective can make the difference between moving past a health crisis and letting it define the rest of your life.

Psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo cites two reasons why. First, the right attitude corresponds with a stronger commitment to physical therapy or rehabilitation. Plus, happiness is healing. “When we experience chronic stress, when we’re upset or depressed, that actually impedes our immune system,” says Lombardo. “Our body does not heal as well.” read more

Neil Diamond and Coping with Parkinson’s Disease

Medication and surgery can help, but symptoms impact basic abilities (Photo credit: neildiamond.com)

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

Fans of Neil Diamond grieved last month to learn that the longtime pop singer has canceled the remainder of his 50th anniversary tour following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

“Very sad news,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “My brother and I listened to Neil Diamond in the back of the family station wagon growing up. So many wonderful memories with his music. Need a cure for Parkinson’s.”

The creator of such classics as Sweet Caroline, Song Sung Blue and Cracklin’ Rosie said in a statement on his website that his doctor recommended the move. read more

Take the Time to Better Care for Yourself

Senior woman smiles while holding pencil and adjusting her reading glasses

7 steps to the self-care you need (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Ken Druck for Next Avenue

Becoming a smarter, stronger, more self-caring version of yourself is both freeing and empowering.

I recently discussed the concept of self-care and the ways to set yourself up for — and avoid sabotaging — the way you take emotional and physical care of yourself. After you agree that you are worthy of self-care and will overcome the factors you let stand in your way before, you’re ready to move forward with these seven steps to self-care:

Step  No. 1. Make the Decision to Change the Way You Take Care of Yourself read more

How To Beat the Winter Blues

Vitamin D and bright lights really do work for seasonal affective disorder (Photo credit: Thinkstock)

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

The official beginning of winter that arrived on Sunday, Dec. 21, marked the darkest day of the year. Around this time, some of us feel a familiar pall as the gloom outside seems to creep into our psyches.

Symptoms of depression that occur during the late fall and winter are known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. People who live in places with long winter nights are at particularly high risk for this malady. But there are ways to combat the suffering.

Bright Light Therapy

Therapy with a special high-intensity lamp has been proven to make a difference in brain chemistry, though scientists don’t know exactly why that happens, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). read more

What to Do About Unintentional Weight Loss in Older Adults

It often points to underlying health problems that deserve attention (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Leslie Kernisan, MD for Next Avenue

One of my readers recently sent in this question:

Q: My 88-year-old father lives in his own home about 100 miles from us. He’s been living alone since my mother died five years ago. I thought he looked rather thin last time we saw him. I’m starting to feel worried about his nutrition. Should I be concerned? Would you recommend he start drinking a supplement such as Boost or Ensure?

A: This question comes up a lot for families. It is indeed very common for older adults to experience unintentional weight loss at some point in late life. read more