Advocating for your own health is important, especially as you get older and may experience more serious ailments. Seniors who are able to advocate for their physical and mental well-being will be able to take maximum advantage of the healthcare system and get the best treatment possible. There are many practical steps you can take to advocate for your health. Here are some of the highlights.

Make a point of leading a healthy life

Seizing control of our own health starts with day-to-day habits. Start by eating a healthy diet. Make sure you're eating a balanced, nutritious diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean proteins, and whole grains. You should also be getting regular physical activity. Senior-friendly exercises include chair yoga and pilates. If you're very busy, find shortcuts to getting your exercise, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Understand your insurance coverage

Your insurance can cover emergency procedures as well as preventative medical interventions, like an annual checkup. Understand your insurance so you can take advantage of all it offers. If you're already enrolled in Medicare, check out this guidebook for pointers. While Medicare covers a lot of things, it isn't totally comprehensive. For example, you may want to invest in a so-called "Medigap" package to address things that aren't included, like some dental procedures.

Take advantage of preventive care

When you review your insurance, check out what preventive care measures are included. For example, some providers may include one annual checkup with a general practitioner every year. It's important to use these opportunities. A checkup is a chance for your doctor to assess your overall health and to catch signs of possible diseases early. For example, if you have high cholesterol, lifestyle changes like a healthier diet can help bring it down.

Know how to review medical bills for errors

Your insurance probably won't cover all of your healthcare costs. When you do get a medical bill that isn't covered, make sure you analyze it carefully. offers a step-by-step guide to reviewing medical bills for mistakes. For example, you should keep an eye out for duplicate bills and ensure all medical codes are accurate. Also, beware of being billed for canceled work.

Get a second opinion when needed

When you are diagnosed with an illness, consider getting a second opinion. One doctor's point of view won't necessarily be the same as another's. It's especially important to get another opinion when it comes to life-altering diagnoses like cancer. According to Yale Medicine, a second opinion isn't just practical; it also brings you peace of mind. When getting a second opinion, bring all your existing medical records with you.

Maintain your own healthcare records

It's always convenient to have a copy of your own medical records on hand. While you can ask a doctor to share this information with another doctor, it's often easier to simply obtain the records yourself. This way, you can access them whenever you want. PDFs are easy to share and you can access them offline via your phone or other devices. By clicking here, you can use a free online tool to convert files in other formats into PDFs. 

Don't forget to address your mental health too

Many people assume that mental health problems are more prevalent in younger people. Unfortunately, the truth is that mental health issues can strike at any age. For example, seniors may be more prone to issues like depression due to isolation and loneliness. There are many resources for older adults that can help. Also, don't be afraid to reach out for professional mental health support if you're struggling.

Having the tools and knowledge to advocate for your own health can be very empowering. This is especially important for seniors, who are more prone to certain health problems. The above resources can help you seize control of your health.

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