Nov 22, 2022 Ask the Doctor, November 2022

First, when and why see a Geriatrician?

Sara Ali, MDGeriatrician Sara Ali, MD, an RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group provider affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, recommends patients 65+ see a geriatrician at least once.

As we age, our body functions differently and a geriatrician is trained specifically in identifying and treating symptoms and illnesses specific to this population. Geriatricians can either see patients as their Primary Care Physician or as a specialist working in tandem with their existing physician.

Dr. Ali shares her top three tips for healthy aging so we can make the most of all our years.

1. Adopt a healthy diet as early as possible and continue this as you age. Eating well is the best way to get important nutrients, maintain heart health and fuel your body. The key to eating well is balanced meals that include protein, carbs, fruits and vegetables, and consuming the appropriate number of calories. You can speak to your provider about what the right number of calories are for you and your specific health needs or goals. When we are eating well we will often have more energy and have an overall sense of being healthy.

2. Maintain a regular exercise routine. While regular exercise is recommended at any age, it is especially important as we age. Cardiovascular activities such as walking are a great way to support your overall health, especially your heart health. Strength training, exercises done with weights, helps develop and maintain muscle. The combination of cardiovascular and strength exercises will help you maintain an active lifestyle. I also recommended incorporating balance training, such as yoga or Tai chi, into your weekly routine. By building better balance, you can reduce your risk for falls as you age. In addition to the many physical health benefits to exercise, daily movement is also great for mental health. I always suggest taking a walk or doing yoga with friends, loved ones, or even a pet to make it more social and enjoyable.

3. Take your medication as prescribed. No matter your age, it is always recommended to take your medication exactly as prescribed by your provider. This is important because taking medication infrequently or stopping suddenly can negatively impact your health. If you do have any concerns about a medication or dosage, ask your pharmacist or provider. Even if you don’t have questions, bring a list of all current medications, including any vitamins and supplements, to every doctor’s appointment. And, never stop taking any medication unless instructed to do so by your provider.

And last, I invite those in our local communities to take advantage of our completely complimentary Better Health Program where you can “Rediscover your body, mind, and spirit” through free programming and activities. Attend Tai Chi and yoga, learn how to incorporate healthy tasty food choices into your diet, and attend our medical educational classes where our physicians and experts provide guidance and health education programs designed for those 65+ years old,” shares Dr. Ali.

To register, visit us at Better Health, or call 609-584-5900.

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