In other words, nearly nine out of ten adults may lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease. Fourteen percent of adults (30 million people) have Below Basic Health Literacy. These adults were more likely to report their health as poor (42 percent) and are more likely to lack health insurance (28 percent) than adults with Proficient Health Literacy.People with limited Health Literacy often lack knowledge or have misinformation about the body as well as the nature and causes of disease. Without this knowledge, they may not understand the relationship between lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise and various health outcomes.
October is National Health Literacy Month. As a trained Health Literacy Coach through a program at the University of Georgia, and a certified Health Coach through a program at Emory University, I encourage you to use October to learn some Health Literacy Basics and improve upon your current knowledge. We all know there is always room for improvement!
When I reached the great age of 65, I started going for my Medicare Annual Wellness visit around my birthday, which was in September. To my dismay, the doctor I had been seeing, Dr. Jennifer Moncrief, whom I loved, had left Emory and I had to see a new doctor. The short of the long is, as we were reviewing my health status, of which I will report, was excellent, we were talking about weight and BMI, he admitted to me, without me asking, he was out of shape, which of course was obvious. My previous doctor was in great shape. Also, he seemed rather taken aback, though very polite, at the level of my questions, knowledge and responses. While I left the appointment feeling exceptionally well, I was a bit disappointed with him. I think I will seek a new doctor. Someone more engaging and someone I can feel comfortable with who walks the talk of health.
I don’t know about you, but if someone is going to give me some advice, I want it to be obvious that they walk the talk of whatever it is they are departing to me. That is a high priority and level of credibility for me. And because that is a way of life for me to my very pleasant surprise, I will be a celebrated at living gallery of Georgia’s elders engaged in positive aging, by the LeadingAge Georgia / Georgia Institute on Aging ‘Profiles of Positive Aging Image Awards Gala in November at the Atlanta History Center. Please cllick here for more information and of course to purchase tickets and come out and support me and the others. Ambassador Andrew Young is the featured Icon Speaker!
As a result the focus for this month, I put together the following three valuable tips I feel confident will help you with your health literacy, and know that they continue to work for me. Please review them and know that the talk I walk is based on my personal experiences, training and my research. I feel very confident with what I share. I know that because I have improved my health literacy and assured myself of optimum health! I want you to know that, no matter your age, it is possible to improve and live your best life, as a very good friend of mine always tells me … I live life like it is golden!
Following are the three valuable tips I want to share with you and encourage you to consider incorporating them into your lifestyle during Health Literacy month. If you start the first of October, you have more than 21 days, which is what they say is the length of time to make a them automatic, and turn them into healthy habits.
- Determine what Preventive Measures and Services, i.e., improved diet, physical activity, annual health screenings, etc., are best for you to improve your current health status.
- Become knowledgeable about your medical conditions and treatment so you can manage them effectively. Commit to do your own research and develop questions to ask your health professional to help you better understand your condition, the medications you are taking and any associated side effects.
- Develop a short-term, practical action plan that you can incorporate into your daily routine, i.e., walking more, drinking more water, making healthier food choices, etc.; and the long-term results you want to achieve. Keep a written log of your progress.
The goal is to have them become an integral part of your lifestyle where you don’t have to think about them, you just do them! As someone who continues to work on improving my healthy lifestyle habits, at age68, they have proven to have me living my best life … now! Join me!
Please feel free to share your thoughts, experiences and comments.