Thanksgiving can be challenge for seniors

Nov. 23, 2009 at 3:49 PM

PHOENIX, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Seniors can be vulnerable to certain holiday-related health pitfalls, officials at a U.S. non-profit Medicare advantage plan says.

"Thanksgiving can be a joyous start to the holiday season, but it is especially important that seniors take care of themselves during this time," Tom Lescault, president of SCAN Health Plan Arizona, says in a statement. Lescault recommends:

-- Don't dine alone. Many senior centers provide opportunities for people to enjoy a hearty Thanksgiving meal in the company of others. Sharing the holiday with others not only lifts your spirits, but provides a well-balanced healthy meal.

-- Overeating can lead to everything from heartburn to a heart attack. Limit gravies, butter and other high-fat choices with plenty of vegetables and lean white meat. If experiencing chest pain, don't delay seeing a doctor.

-- Drink in moderation. Besides a nasty hangover and obvious safety hazards, over-imbibing can have many negative effects -- some social and some physical including: depression, an inflammation of the pancreas, hepatitis and an irregular heartbeat.

-- Have an up-to-date list of medications, in case you do face a health emergency during the holidays.

-- If you feel under the weather, physically or mentally, during the holidays, don't wait to visit your doctor.

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