Tips for seniors to stay healthy in 2021

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2020 was a difficult year for most Americans, but especially for the elderly. Not only are they most at risk for the coronavirus, they’ve also been deprived of their usual social interactions with family and friends which has been especially hard on their mental health.  

With 2021 officially here and the future looking brighter as Covid-19 vaccines become available, it’s critical for seniors to maintain their physical and mental health. Dr. Erica Savage-Jeter, a South Carolina primary care physician and Regional Medical Director of Partners in Primary Care, offers the following suggestions that can help older adults achieve better health. These simple tips can easily be implemented into daily routines.

Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine. Protecting yourself from COVID-19 is extremely important, which is why seniors should prioritize getting their vaccine once it becomes available to them, as well as continuing to practice social distancing and wearing masks. These practices will ensure your own safety and those around you.

Stay Connected. Find ways to remain in contact with family and friends to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Connecting on a regular basis, whether virtually or in-person at a safe 6-foot distance with masks, can be an incredible mood booster and will decrease feelings of loneliness.  

Communicate with Your PCP. Stay connected with your primary care physician to address current health conditions in addition to assisting with unmet social or functional needs.

Work Your Mind. Brain health is just as important as physical health. By challenging your mind daily, you can not only reduce cognitive decline, but also boost your mood. Try a crossword puzzle, paint, read a book or try something you have never done before.

Maintain Good Nutritional Habits. By eating healthy you will feel your best and avoid health issues. Focus on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein, and always consult your doctor to figure out the best diet for you.

Get Moving. Exercise has so many benefits, including disease prevention, improved mental health and improved cognitive function, among others. Go out for a walk or a jog, ride a bike or take advantage of online exercise classes at home.

“It is more important than ever to take good care of yourself,” said Dr. Savage-Jeter. “As challenging as times are now, you do not need the increased burden of being unhealthy. By taking some basic steps, such as eating right, staying active, and seeing your doctor regularly, you have a better chance of maintaining your best health.”

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