When it comes to health information, the Internet is both a wonderful and terrifying thing.
On one hand, it is now possible to access an incredible assortment of information from smart, authoritative sources for free. On the other hand, the web is also inundated with advice and opinions from many unreliable or self-interested parties.
How do you sort through it all? To help, here our 10 favorite online resources for retiree health information. One very important thing to keep in mind is that all of these sites are meant for educational purposes — none of them should ever be used to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The NIH website serves as an aggregator for government information about health topics. It covers everything from allergies to the West Nile Virus and provides overview articles as well as in-depth research papers. There’s a special section for senior health, where experts weigh in on topics like nutrition and how to create a family health history.
The health section of the AARP website is sometimes lost amidst all the other offerings from the organization. That’s a shame, since there’s a good mix of information about common ailments as well as advice on exercise and nutrition. Particularly useful are some of the tools, including a free resource to help you create a detailed health record.
The Everyday Health website is also chock-full of information on common health of topics. There’s a special senior health section, though it’s not updated as frequently as some of the other resources mentioned. One of our favorite things on the website is the video symptom checker, which mimics an emergency room intake interview.
This site from the highly respected Mayo Clinic is a good starting point if you’re looking for authoritative information. It does a good job of mixing layman’s descriptions with in-depth clinical information, and there are good explanations of tests/procedures not just diseases and ailments
This massive database offers overviews and detailed information about prescription medications as well as over over the counter drugs and vitamins. An excellent resource is the interactions tool, which allows you to enter all your prescriptions and then cross-check for any potentially dangerous interactions.
WebMD & MedicineNet
WebMD is often the go-to source for health information on the Internet, and rightly so — it has articles and tools covering every imaginable health topic. Dig around a bit and you’ll find plenty of retiree-specific resources, including hubs on dental care for seniors and senior nutrition. Affiliated website MedicineNet also has some good information.
Yahoo Health is another hugely popular health site, in part thanks to traffic from the larger Yahoo! network. It has a deep roster of experts weighing in on health topics, as well as a symptom checker and doctor finder. There is also a great selection of health videos.
Third Age is solely dedicated to the health of “Baby Boomers and beyond”. Sometimes the website can be a bit heavy on the advertisements, but if you wade through them you’ll find plenty of useful information tailored to retirees.
Prevention is a popular magazine that covers food, nutrition, beauty, exercise and cooking. The website tackles many of the same areas and is a good resource for health beyond just drugs and doctors. There are hubs for weight-loss, mind-body issues, and, yes, even sex.
Finally, it’s impossible to talk about retiree health without touching on Medicare. This government program affects many aspects of retiree’s lives — including medical care and prescription coverage. The official website can be a bit difficult to navigate, but it also has plenty of useful information — including answers to frequently asked questions about coverage and links to commonly needed forms.