When you think about your retirement years, you certainly want to stay as healthy as you can, for as long as you can. No one wants to be a burden to his or her loved ones! At the same time, every senior we know would do as much as possible to help their family members avoid health crises. Well, there’s a simple gift you can give your family that can help them – and you – stay healthier.
It’s called a Family Health Tree. It’s described in this article from the website EverydayHealth.com, and it’s a simple idea that can literally save the life of a loved one.
As the article explains, a Family Health Tree is a comprehensive overview of the health history of relatives on both sides of your childrens’ family. Assuming you have adult children, you can start with yourself and your spouse – Mom and Dad – and work your way out to grandparents, aunts and uncles. This is vital information for your kids and grandkids to have, since many diseases have genetic properties. Knowing that your mother or uncle or grandfather had a specific disease can provide essential clues to a physician as your children age – but too often, when a health care crisis strikes, a patient may not know his family history, and vital clues are overlooked.
You may have to ask a lot of questions if you decide to put together a comprehensive Family Health Tree. What kind of “female cancer” did Aunt Mary have? Why did your brother pass away at age 40? Were there environmental factors that contributed to Granddad’s heart attack? Every bit of information can be important – so the detective work is worth the effort.
As the article explains, “The bottom line is this. If you have a family member who has suffered from or died of a disease that has genetic implications, like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, don’t panic. Talk to a healthcare professional who is well versed in the subtleties of genetic risk factors, and decide what might be the best course given your specific situation.”
As we’ve said many times, on the radio and in our seminars, we strongly suggest seniors have a geriatrician on their health care team. Click here to access our archive of recent articles explaining how and why to select a geriatric physician. And for more insight that can help you stay healthier longer as you age, attend one of our Life Planning Seminars. We offer them in locations throughout the area, so click on the Upcoming Events tab for seminars near you.
As we often say, “Aging is a family affair.” So why not bless your family with this simple suggestion? Start a Family Health Tree today, and your kids will thank you tomorrow.
(Originally reported at www.everydayhealth.com)