Your questions, answered: Aging in Atlanta’s spring 2023 event

We've all heard the phrase "respect your elders." Now science has proven that respecting your elders can help them live longer. high-income nations. Japan, South Korea and Argentina rank the lowest in this regard. A positive attitude toward aging has been shown to help the elderly stay socially active and seek out new opportunities.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution hosted the first in-person Aging in Atlanta event of the year in March at the Kessel D. Stelling Ballroom at Cobb Energy Centre. Panelists answered lots of questions ranging from estate planning to health and wellness to things to do in the metro area.

But since we couldn’t get to everyone during the lunchtime event, here are answers to some of the questions we didn’t get to:

Q: Why is medication management important for older adults?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, older adults are more likely to use additional medicines as they age. This can increase the chance of drug interactions or other harmful side effects.

“No matter how hard we fight it, our body changes over time. We tend to lose muscle and gain fat. This changes the way medicine works in our body,” Zachary Oleszczuk, who has a doctorate in pharmacy, told Oleszczuk is a board-certified geriatric pharmacist who served as a team leader in the FDA’s Division of Drug Information.

“This means that medicines may need to be adjusted or changed later in life, even if they have worked very well for you for years or even decades.”

Q: What steps should patients take if they want to reduce or get off some of their medications?

Consumer Reports’ former medical director, Dr. Orly Avitzur, suggests talking with your doctor about how you can wean yourself from prescriptions. Doing so abruptly can trigger serious medical problems including symptoms the medication was meant to treat. That can be the case with heartburn pills, for instance.

Develop a plan that includes coming up with a clear timeline and doctor appointments to track your progress.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to stopping a drug,” Avitzur said. “You may need to slow your taper or even pause it for a while. It may take some trial and error to find what works best for you.”

Q: At what age should I think of going to a senior living facility? I am 73 and in good health. I have no children or grandchildren.

Experts point to several signs it may be time to move into a senior living facility, but age isn’t necessarily a consideration. Instead, they told Forbes Health to look for changes in the household, mobility or function, financial judgments, personality, and physical and mental health.

Examples of some of these signs include mail remaining unopened, bills going unpaid, or clear signs of memory loss.

“These signs can indicate your aging loved one may be ready to move from their home to a senior living situation,” said Dr. Wessam Labib, a geriatrician at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif.

Q: What are the benefits of a trust and how do you have one done for adult children?

According to the metro Atlanta-based Law Office of Paul Black, a living trust allows the immediate transfer of assets following death with no court interference. If you’re incapacitated, it can also allow for the management of your affairs — there’s no need for a guardianship or conservatorship process.

To create a trust for adult children, Jeffrey M. Verdon Law Group says to asses your children’s financial abilities. You’ll appoint a trustee when you create a trust and they’ll be in charge of distributing money based on your child’s needs.

Q: What are healthy steps to prevent diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease?

To prevent these conditions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend eating healthy foods — including those lower in sodium and increasing fruit and vegetable intake — and staying active. It’s recommended that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate exercises, such as bicycling, weekly.

Q: Can I really boost my immunity with food? If so, what foods should I eat?

Regular consumption of diverse nutritious foods — such as spinach and citrus fruits — can aid in boosting your immune system, according to Healthline. While no supplement will cure or prevent disease, red bell peppers contain vitamin C, broccoli has vitamins A, C, and E plus fiber, and yogurt can be fortified with vitamin D. Each of these can help regulate and support the immune system.