Age Happens: Here’s What You Can Start Doing Today to Improve Your Health for the Future

Jake Newby

| 4 min read

Studies regularly find that a large chunk of patients keep significant health information from their providers. As we age, it’s natural to want to avoid certain discussions with doctors. This is especially true for topics we find embarrassing, like incontinence, falling and problems with balance.
You are not the only one experiencing issues associated with aging. Many issues are treatable, so difficult conversations are necessary. Additionally, you may encounter issues that are out of the norm or overlooked, in which case talking with your health care provider and asking them questions becomes crucial. You want to be prepared when going to your provider’s office, have meaningful discussions and come away one step closer to receiving the best health care possible.
As always, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) is ready to help guide you on your path to healthy aging, with tips and resources on important topics like the ones listed below.

Talk with your health care provider about urinary incontinence treatment options

Incontinence is one of those issues that is certainly not unique to you. Urinary incontinence – also known as urine leakage – affects up to 75% of women and up to 30% of men over the age of 65.
Since so many people share the fear of a sudden sneeze, a burst of laughter or a long walk to the bathroom, it should be common to discuss urine leakage worries with your primary or other health care provider. Urinary leakage can be embarrassing, but don’t let that stop you from talking with them today; work together to find the best solution. Here are some helpful ways to approach the conversation:
  • Share your medical concerns with your health care provider like you would with a close friend.
  • Write down your questions and read from the list or hand it to your health care provider or nurse, so you don’t have to start the discussion.
  • Tell your story your way. Health care providers have heard it all — pee, poop, mucus, warts and rashes — they’re comfortable talking about it, so you can be too.

Talk with your health care provider about fall risks and prevention tips

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 36 million older Americans experience a fall each year, and one out of five falls cause serious injury. Fortunately, your primary and other health care providers can help reduce your chances of taking a tumble. As your health partner, they may:
  • Recommend physical activity or physical therapy to build your strength and balance.
  • Review your current prescriptions that may cause dizziness and fatigue.
  • Provide ways to reduce household hazards.
Work closely with your provider to help you stay safe from falls. Additionally, consider these tips to reduce the risk of falling:
  • Remove unused furniture or loose and detached rugs that could lead to a trip-and-fall accident.
  • Implement cord management solutions such as cable organizers or cord clips that help you avoid entanglement issues and eliminate the risk of tripping over lamp or electronic cords.

Don’t turn your back on physical activity and exercise

Regaining the physical shape you were in at 25 may not be realistic, but certain lifestyle tweaks can help you feel your best. As we age, getting healthy for the simpler things motivates us. This includes lifting a grandchild or pulling a heavy garden hose through the yard.
Have a conversation with your provider about exercise and physical activity expectations. They may advise you to:
  • Start a new exercise routine.
  • Maintain your level of exercise or physical activity.
  • Adapt exercises or physical activities to better suit you.
Specifically, they may suggest certain measures that improve your physical activity, such as:
  • Taking brisk 30-minute walks
  • Joining fitness classes in your area
  • Taking an online fitness class
  • Doing gardening outside

Other tips to improve your overall health

Beyond staying active, it’s important to invest in self-care activities that help you enjoy the little things in life. Here are some topics to discuss with your provider:
  • Managing pain
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Staying hydrated
  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Spending time outside
  • Socializing with friends, family and neighbors
  • Doing routine housework
  • Journaling to recognize gratitude
  • Reconnecting with old hobbies or starting new ones
BCBSM and Blue Care Network are committed to helping you age well and maintain your independence. Visit to learn more about the topics discussed here and other aspects of healthy aging, as well as conversation starters to use with your providers.
Photo credit: Getty Images
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association