How Planned Care Helps Your Health As You Age

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How Planned Care Helps Your Health As You Age

OU Health Geriatrician Physician Seki Balogun, M.D., specializes in the treatment and care for older and aging adults. Dr. Balogun shares with us the importance of maintaining routine primary care screenings and planned ongoing care as you age.

Aging is a normal part of life, but with it comes physical and mental changes that can become more complex and often more frequent. Your changing needs might be daunting to think about but having a plan for routine and ongoing care in place as you age will ease the confusion.

In Oklahoma, 13.91% of the population are ages 65 to 84, and 1.69% are 85 years of age and older. More than 615,000 people in Oklahoma fall into these age ranges, and the aging process affects both mind and body. Routine care from a physician who specializes in senior healthcare can help us maintain an excellent quality of life, especially as we may have more doctor’s office visits, treatment plans, and prescriptions.

Why Regular Primary Care Is Important As You Age

Whether you have a chronic illness or are simply experiencing the natural aging process, your care must evolve to meet those needs. Simply, you receive medical care from the same physician-led care team over time in a coordinated manner.

The aging process changes both the body and the mind, and along with physical changes, emotional variations can also occur. Taking steps to maintain good health for as long as possible by remaining active and paying attention to changes in your physical symptoms is key to staying healthy.

With a plan of care in place, a primary care provider (PCP) and an integrated care team specializing in aging issues work with your unique situation, understand your health goals and health history and work with you to ensure everyone’s on the same page. With such a team in place, necessary medical concerns like vaccines, medications and checkups are also less likely to slip through the cracks.

A Plan Tailored For Your Individual Needs

A well-structured plan for ongoing care provides a range of services that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each person in order to support their aging journey. This is especially important as, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of seniors over 65 will need some form of long-term care for an average of three years.

Patients who receive a regular, ongoing care can experience:

  • Greater convenience. Oftentimes you can receive all your services through a single network and in one location.
  • Easier transitions. Navigating all of life’s transitions is easier if a medical plan is in place to address those needs ahead of time.
  • Clear information. Coordinated care can help patients know about their condition and types of treatment, next steps and long-term plans, thus avoiding confusion.
  • Less expense. Unnecessary procedures, duplication of care and repeated office visits are reduced with a team of continued care in place.
  • Enhanced safety. Because your healthcare team has your medical history, they know which medications and treatments are needed – or should be avoided – based on your preexisting conditions.

Seniors can also choose a care plan through independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing. The more comprehensive communities also offer memory support services and rehabilitation.

OU Health has locations that feature physicians specializing in geriatric medicine experts as part of OU Health’s Center for Geroscience, where experts are conducting groundbreaking research on aging, caring for older adults and providing community resources. Senior residents in North Oklahoma City and Edmond can also receive care at OU Health Physicians – Geriatrics Clinic at the Epworth Villa Retirement Community, located at 14901 N. Pennsylvania Ave.

We all age, and with an established care plan in place, you will be able to enjoy your current active lifestyle and know that you’ll have the proper framework for the future should your health needs ever change.

Learn more about senior health and geriatric care services at OU Health and gain access to an extensive network of specially trained experts like Dr. Balogun who can help provide care as you age. You can also call (405) 271-3050, (select option 6), for information on services or scheduling an appointment at our Epworth Villa location.

Seniors are more at risk for certain conditions than other age groups, including:

  • Osteoporosis and arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Certain cancers
  • Balance and fall prevention
  • Depression/mood disorders impacting daily activities
  • Difficulty with daily activities due to problems with cognition
  • Driving concerns
  • Emotional changes, such as often feeling “blue”
  • Medication interactions and side effects
  • Polypharmacy or high-risk medication use that may worsen cognition
  • Thinking and memory changes

The 4 M’s

As OU Health geriatrician Lee A. Jennings, M.D., MSHS, Chief and Associate Professor, Reynolds Section of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, says, aging Oklahomans should focus on the 4Ms of Geriatrics care to optimize their health:

  1. Maintaining mobility through regular physical activity and exercise. Mobility is important for maintaining independence in daily activities as you age and preventing falls.
  2. Taking care of your mental health, through activities to promote brain health and emotional health. This includes things like social interaction, continuing to work or volunteer, getting your hearing checked so hearing loss doesn’t limit your interaction with others, limiting alcohol, treating depression.
  3. Avoiding high-risk medications, including any medications that can be sedating, like sleeping pills. Asking your doctor about possible drug interactions or if your medications might have side effects for you.
  4. Paying attention to what matters most. This is different for different people, but doing activities and having relationships that are important to you and bring joy and meaning to life are important at every age. Talk to your doctor if you feel like your health is limiting your ability to do what is most important to you as they may be able to help.