When we think of health care providers and members of our health care team, we are quick to mention physicians, nurses, and therapists. But an often-forgotten provider who can make a big contribution at a critical time is a social worker.

Dr. Narrett leads the medical team at all Erickson Living communities. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he has been providing care for seniors for over three decades.

One aspect of health that we are all fully aware of is our weight. Weight is an excellent indicator of health as it reflects our nutritional status, which is fundamentally important to our well-being. Being at a healthful weight and having good nutritional status are very positive for mind and body.

Seniors are well aware of the changes that occur in certain senses as they age—hearing and vision in particular. But not everyone thinks about how aging-related changes in taste and smell can also affect health and quality of life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is gearing up for this year’s flu season, which typically begins in October, peaks in February, and starts tapering off in March.

Vaccination is a cornerstone of medical care and the most powerful method of illness prevention offered by medical providers. Since the development of the smallpox vaccine by Edward Jenner in the 1700s, medical science has developed vaccines for illnesses ranging from measles to tetanus to the flu.

Preventing a fall is fundamentally important to maintaining our health, well-being, and independence. Despite increasing awareness, falls remain the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people 65 years of age and up. About one-third of seniors fall each year, and one-third of those sustain an injury that requires medical treatment.

During those times when you’ve been trying to memorize a phone number, grocery list, or other information by repeating it over and over again, something was probably happening with your eyes that you weren’t aware of.

The simple act of walking improves our physical strength and promotes mental and cognitive health. It’s great exercise and benefits just about every aspect of our being from our bones to our heart to how well we sleep. Most importantly, walking helps us stay independent, but it can become a challenging activity as we age.

One very positive development in medicine has been the shift to whole-person care. Primary care providers now address wellness from a holistic perspective rather than solely focusing on physical symptoms or just one organ system such as the heart or lungs.

More of us are becoming aware of the need to stay engaged and connected with others as we age in order to stay as healthy and independent as possible. Increasingly, scientific evidence is reinforcing the association between social engagement and good health. Research is also revealing that social isolation and loneliness can lead to a decline in health.

Recently, new guidelines for the detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults were released by a number of medical associations in the Journal of the American Medical Association.