Aging and managing chronic illnesses can be both taxing and challenging, yet there are ways to lower stressors.
Experts advise us all to eat well and exercise regularly, but for those living with chronic diseases it becomes even more essential. For instance, adhering to the DASH diet (a high-fiber, low sodium diet that restricts saturated fat and salt) may help lower blood pressure while regular moderate exercise sessions can boost mood as well as relieve pain and fatigue.
Maintaining copies of lab and radiology results is especially useful for people living with chronic illnesses, providing both themselves and a new doctor with a more accurate depiction of how severe or effectively managed their condition may be.
Chronic disease sufferers often experience symptoms that impede their ability to work, participate in family and social activities, or care for themselves. Effective management can minimize such impacts while decreasing the chance of decompensating into an emergency health crisis that requires hospitalization or emergency room treatment.
Diet, exercise, stress reduction and medication management are among the most widely-utilized strategies for mitigating the impact of chronic illness on quality of life. Programs such as NCOA’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program or Stanford University programs have also proven highly successful at equipping older adults living with chronic diseases to manage them effectively.