Frontline Initiative Healthcare
Nine Components for Healthy Lives
Everyone is different. We all lead different lives. We make different choices about taking care of our health. Staying healthy throughout our lives is important! As we age, we change physically and our healthcare needs change too. In order to maintain good health, it is important to understand each of these nine components for healthy lives.
General Health Care Visits
General health visits are regularly scheduled appointments with a healthcare professional for basic preventative and routine health care. The healthcare professional conducts a physical to monitor a person’s health. Common things that occur during a healthcare visit:
- Review a patient’s current health status and medications.
- Conduct routine health screenings or immunizations.
- Conduct an assessment of patient health and make suggestions as needed to maintain health.
- Identify potential problems and refer the person to a specialist if necessary.
Health screenings are exams or tests used to assess your health and identify conditions or diseases before they become serious. This usually occurs during healthcare visits. Common health screenings include:
- Auditory tests screen for problems in the ears such as hearing loss.
- Oral screenings check for disease such as oral cancer and gingivitis.
- Vision screenings test for conditions associated with sight, such as glaucoma.
- Cholesterol tests screen for high cholesterol levels which lead to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.
Immunizations are special vaccines designed to prevent diseases, illnesses, and viruses. Most immunizations are a good idea but sometimes not. Some reasons for getting immunizations:
- To protect from getting diseases, viruses, and illness.
- To protect people around you who cannot get immunizations.
- Because the risks are low and side effects or reactions don’t last for a long period of time.
Some reasons against getting immunizations:
- Some people have allergic reactions to certain components in a vaccine.
- Some religious beliefs disallow immunizations.
- Some immunizations cannot be given during pregnancy.
Most people think of eyeglasses when they think of vision care. Correcting vision so that a person can see better is one form of vision care; however, there are a lot of other things to be aware of. Common ways to take care of your eyes:
- Make regular visits to the eye doctor to check for changes in vision and for abnormalities or diseases of the eye.
- Do not rub your eyes when you feel there is something in your eye. If there is a particle of dust, or fiber you could scratch the surface of the eye.
- Wear sunglasses with ultraviolet protection when outdoors so that the harmful sunrays do not damage your eyes.
- Make sure you have proper lighting when reading books or magazines.
Hearing loss is one of the most commonly ignored health problems. If you can answer yes to one or more of the following questions, you may have hearing loss and should consult a healthcare professional or hearing specialist. Some important questions about your hearing:
- Do you need to strain to hear people or sounds?
- Do the people around you seem to mumble or talk in a muffled manner?
- Do you regularly ask people to repeat themselves?
- Do you turn up the television or radio so loud that it bothers other people?
- Reduce fat in your diet.
Oral Health Care
Routine visits to the dentist twice a year are important to your oral healthcare. Here are some things to keep in mind when taking care of your oral health. Preventative oral care includes:
- Brush and floss your teeth daily.
- Visit a dentist at least twice per year.
- Maintain regular fluoride levels in water and toothpaste.
- Maintain proper oral nutrition to build strong and healthy teeth and gums.
Threats to your oral health include:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Poor nutrition
- Smoking (e.g., cigarettes/cigars, “smokeless” or chewing tobacco)
- Oral Piercing
Some oral related health problems include:
- Oral cancer or lip cancer
- Bad breath
Mental health is an important aspect of living a balanced and healthy life. People who enjoy good mental health generally have positive feelings about themselves and others.
Common ways to maintain good mental health include:
- Think before you act or speak on your thoughts or emotions.
- Learn to express your emotions and feelings in appropriate ways.
- Work to achieve balance in your life.
- Learn to deal with stress
Good food, proper nutrition, and hydration are needed in order to maintain good health. Because food is the way that the body gets energy, it is important to select the right foods in the right amount for your age and level of activity.
Some basic information about eating healthy incudes:
- Make sure you have a great variety of foods in your diet.
- Eat fruits and vegetables.
- Eat whole grain cereals and breads
- Reduce fat in your diet.
- Eat lean meats like poultry and fish.
- Eat low fat or no-fat dairy products.
- Include beans and lentils in your diet for protein.
- Make sure you drink enough water to keep hydrated.
- Reduce salts and sugars in your diet.
- Moderate how much alcohol you drink.
Exercise allows you to keep your body healthy through activity.
Some common household activities that exercise your body:
- Putting away laundry
- Yard work
- Light house cleaning
- Walking to the mail box
- Grocery shopping
- Using objects in the house (e.g., telephone book, plastic grocery bag with cans, etc.) to strengthen your muscles.
From Supporting Healthy Lives from the College of Direct Support
Course Authors: Nancy McCulloh, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota Traci Laliberte, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota