December 5, 2019
By Brooke Chaplan
The holidays are often filled with countless parties and dinner plans that fill us with happiness and cheer. However, many seniors can feel left out at this time of year due to mobility issues or the fact that they live alone. Keep these four ideas in mind to make sure your loved ones enjoy the holidays to the fullest:
Arrange Transportation Ahead of Time
If your elderly loved ones are planning to attend a holiday event this year, it’s important to keep their safety in mind. Start planning for this upcoming event by arranging transportation to and from the event ahead of time. If you aren’t able to provide transportation, consider sending them in a cab, Uber, or Lyft. Similarly, if you have any friends or family members that are attending, ask them to carpool.
Plan for Caregivers to Attend
Seniors that need to have their caregivers with them throughout the day should be accompanied by them to any holiday celebrations. Make sure that any holiday plans fit into the caregiver’s schedule so that your elderly loved ones will be taken care of regardless of whether you are there or not. With the holidays around the corner, it’s best to ask the caretaker well in advance so they can fit it into their schedule.
Throw a Holiday Party Yourself
For many family members, the best and safest holiday event is the one they throw themselves. With the right party plan, you can give your loved ones a holiday experience they won’t forget while making sure the environment is as safe as possible. With all your loved ones close by, your elderly family members will feel the true spirit of this holiday season.
Invite Other Family and Friends
If your senior loved ones want to go to a particular holiday event, consider inviting the entire family. Depending on the location of your holiday event, it may be a good idea to invite other family and friends to the event. For example, if your community is hosting a holiday light show, bringing all your friends and family members to the event is a great way to make sure your elderly loved ones are surrounded with as much love as possible at this time of year.
Make sure the seniors in your life are able to enjoy the holiday season this year. Keep these four ideas in mind to find new ways to engage them this season.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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November 29, 2019
By Lizzie Weakley
As you get older, your metabolism slows down and your circulation decreases. Common aging-related diseases like diabetes and hypothyroidism can also decrease your cold tolerance. This means that seniors are especially vulnerable to winter dangers like hypothermia, frostbite and pneumonia. Read on to learn how you can stay warm and safe during the coldest months of the year.
Dress in Layers
Bundling up in layers is a great way to stay warm in any temperature because you easily remove outer layers indoors or if the weather changes. Try a long-sleeved shirt under a cardigan with a jacket on top or a hooded sweatshirt with a cotton tee underneath. Accessories like scarves and gloves add extra warmth.
Drink Hot Beverages
A mug of hot cocoa, a cup of hot tea or some java from the corner coffee shop can warm you up from the inside. Holding the hot container can also keep your hands warm. If drinks aren’t your thing, try a steaming bowl of soup or a hot slice of apple pie.
Adjust the Thermostat
Turning the heat up is an obvious way to keep warm, but high heating bills and malfunctioning HVAC systems can be an obstacle for many seniors. If you or someone you love can’t afford to stay warm, look into special programs that help seniors cover energy bills in the winter or pay for heating repair services.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
Your ceiling fan provides a nice cooling breeze in the summer, but did you know that it can also help you stay warm in the winter? Reversing the blades on your fans pushes warm air down into the room to keep you cozy instead of wasting it at ceiling-level. Most new fans have a small switch you can flip to change their direction.
Take Warm Baths
There’s nothing like a warm bath to take off the chill, but remember to be safe in the tub. Install grab bars to help you get in and out, use non-slip bathmats and a bath chair if needed. Check the temperature of your bath with a thermometer to prevent burns. Water that seems fine to the touch may be too hot for soaking. You can get help from a loved one or an assistant if you have trouble getting in the bath.
Although it’s normal to need the thermostat turned up as you grow older, being cold constantly even when the temperature is very warm can be a sign of something serious. If you suddenly get cold more easily than usual or find it difficult to keep warm, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
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November 8, 2019
By Lizzie Weakley
As we get older, our bodies may begin to require more care and might function less efficiently than when we were younger. After decades of wear and tear, our joints, muscles, and bones begin to ache from years of service. In addition, the older we get, the risk for a chronic illness increases, which may cause chronic pain or discomfort. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this problem that are both practical and affordable. Check with your doctor before trying any of these tips.
Depending on your age and overall health, your doctor may give you approval for starting an exercise program. This can be done at home by watching an exercise program for persons whose circumstances, like age and health, are similar to yours. Alternately, the doctor may suggest joining a local YMCA or recreation center exercise class that meets at least weekly. Exercise can help to strengthen bones while making joints and muscles more limber. Systematic exercise also may stimulate the production of your body’s endorphins, which can ease pain and help you feel better. The immune system may also benefit and contribute to the reduction of inflammation.
Avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, and for some, white flour or gluten, may ease physical discomfort. Weight reduction for obese persons can take extra pounds off of the body frame, also reducing physical discomfort. Certain foods or a specific eating plan may be suggested by your doctor or a nutrition specialist to ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs to function efficiently, which may in turn lessen physical pain.
If you are a busy person with chronic pain, it may be a good idea to spend some time each day relaxing and escape stress temporarily. Taking a short nap or enjoying nature in the back yard or at the park provides a break from your daily routine, which also have a positive effect on chronic pain levels.
Medical Pain Management
Your GP may provide a referral to pain management doctors who can treat your discomfort from a medical perspective. With many treatment options to choose from, there is a good chance they can find ways to make you feel more comfortable. Pain management experts have the skills and knowledge needed to assist with chronic pain issues.
There is no need to suffer pain in silence. Try tips like these to get your pain under control so you can enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.
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October 25, 2019
By Anita Ginsburg
Unfortunately, our bodies tend to become weaker, frailer and less agile as time goes on. As a result, we become slower and our reflexes aren’t as sharp. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be this way. There are plenty of ways to keep your body in top form. Granted, this isn’t something that will magically happen nor will it happen overnight. Keep reading for tips on maintaining mobility as you age.
Eat a Nutritional Diet
Having a nutritional, well-balanced diet is one of the best ways to maintain mobility. In fact, one of the most common reasons why our bodies deteriorate is because of a poor diet. Constantly eating things that are high in fat, sugar and preservatives is not healthy, especially for older people.
In fact, we can start to lose muscle mass as early as the age of 30. Make sure to incorporate a lot of fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts into your diet every day. A good way to stay on track is to fill your plate with at least 70 percent fruits and veggies and 30 percent protein.
Manage Your Weight
Eating a healthy diet is beneficial, however, it won’t mean much if you’re overweight. Being overweight not only makes moving harder, it’s also really detrimental to your health. Being overweight is proven to cause health problems such as diabetes, which requires an ongoing medical supply of insulin. As such, it is important that you do everything in your power to maintain a healthy weight.
Exercising is one of the best ways to maintain your mobility while keeping your body healthy. Exercise is also good for our joints. Our joints become more vulnerable to injuries and damage due to the lack of synovial fluid and the cartilage becoming thinner. If you need equipment to help you stay on your feet longer for walks or errands, visit a local medical supply. While it’s important to move around as much as you can, don’t push your body past its limits by ignoring mobility tools available to you.
It is essential that everyone consumes the necessary amount of vitamins every day. However, everyone is different and may not be able to consume certain foods or drinks to do so. This is where vitamins come in. You can get vitamins through your local pharmacy or have them prescribed by your doctor. Vitamins are especially essential for people who have certain deficiencies.
Lacking the proper mobility can affect more than our physical health. It also affects our well-being. We might start to lose interest in hobbies, become depressed and we even start to isolate ourselves. Maintaining your mobility will certainly help prevent any of the above-mentioned issues from happening. Make an effort every day to follow these tips and you just might feel like you’re a teen again.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.
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October 16, 2019
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the Winter Blues, affects millions of people every year. A form of depression that occurs at the same time every year, with symptoms diminishing when Spring weather arrives, the likelihood of a SAD diagnosis increases as we age — and seniors who are housebound are especially at risk.
One of the most frustrating aspects of SAD is that it often mimics the symptoms of other illnesses. Seniors exhibiting symptoms of the Winter Blues have been diagnosed with everything from thyroid problems to mononucleosis, often because they don’t make the connection between their symptoms appearing every year and improving with the weather, and because the disruption to their sleep cycles, mood, and behavior is so extreme. For that reason, it’s important for seniors and their caregivers to understand the symptoms of SAD, so they can help ensure a correct diagnosis and the right treatment.
Understanding The Winter Blues
For many people, just the thought of Winter is enough to bring them down. The idea of being stuck inside, with short days, freezing temperatures, and mountains of snow and ice outside, isn’t always appealing. Winter weather can disrupt your usual routine, preventing you from visiting with friends or taking your daily stroll, which can lead to sadness.
It’s not just the disappointment and boredom that can come with Winter weather that causes, SAD, though. Although researchers aren’t certain of the exact cause, it’s believed that the disorder is due to changes in the amount of natural light exposure during the Winter season. The shorter days and longer nights, and in northern climates, the changes in the angle of sunlight, are disruptive to natural circadian rhythms, or the sleep-wake cycle. This disruption disrupts the body’s production of serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood. Without enough natural sunlight each day, serotonin levels fall, causing symptoms of depression — and significant changes to the sleep cycle.
SAD and Sleep
Although SAD causes many of the classic symptoms of depression — withdrawal, changes in appetite, changes in mood, loss of interest in activities — but changes to sleep patterns are some of the most common. The Winter Blues can cause increases in sleep for seniors, especially during the day, but it can also contribute to insomnia.
Many of these sleep changes are attributable to the changes in ambient light during the day. The human body is naturally attuned to the cycle of day and night. When that cycle changes, and there is more darkness than light or vice versa, the sleep-wake cycle is disrupted. This is only exacerbated by the natural tendency for circadian rhythms to chance as we get older. In general, as we age, we become sleepier earlier in the day, and wake up earlier in the day. But when the sun starts going down at 3 p.m., as it does in some northern climates, that could mean a very early bedtime for some people.
One of the most interesting aspects of the effect of SAD and sleep is the fact that many people report symptoms of insomnia during the Winter, when in fact, they don’t have insomnia at all. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that people with SAD often report that they have insomnia, when they are in fact getting just as much sleep as usual. The difference? They typically spend more time in bed, because the seasonal changes cause them to spend up to four hours a day more resting than usual. The perception is that this extra time resting is insomnia — or sleeping to excess — when in fact they’re getting the same amount of actual sleep as usual.
Still, the fact that the Winter Blues can have such an effect on sleep patterns is cause for concern. There are things you can do, though, to support better sleep during the Winter, and reduce the effect of SAD.
Supporting Healthy Sleep
Encouraging healthy sleep for any age during the Winter months is important for maintaining overall well-being, but it’s especially important for older adults. It’s possible to reduce the symptoms of SAD and improve sleep with a few changes to the daily routine.
- Consider investing in a “happy light.” Using a special, full-spectrum lamp for a short time every day can help regulate the circadian rhythms and improve mood.
- Start the day with some exercise. Exercising each day is a key part of healthy sleep. Take a short walk outdoors in the morning if possible, or do a simple indoor workout during bad weather.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Create a sleeping area that’s conducive to sleep: Dark, cool, and comfortable. Establish a bedtime routine to encourage sleep; for instance, go to bed at the same time every night, take a warm bath, read, or use specific lotions to indicate it’s time for bed.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Avoid long afternoon naps. If you need to rest, only sleep for 20-30 minutes.
- Talk with your doctor. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or trouble sleeping, your doctor can help by recommending lifestyle changes, further testing to rule out other issues, or prescribing medication.
The good news about the Winter Blues is that they are temporary, and when Spring comes, the symptoms will disappear. There’s no need to suffer in the meantime though. Understanding what’s happening and taking steps to get plenty of sleep can help alleviate the effects and keep you healthy all season long.
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October 12, 2019
By Anica Oaks
Arthritis is a name given to a large group of degenerative and painful conditions. They’re all similar in the fact that they are marked by inflammation in the joints of the body. This condition results in pain and stiffness for seniors. Here are four solutions that can help to soothe away your arthritic pain at home.
Hot and Cold Therapy
While this may not seem like a big treatment, it’s very effective for arthritic-related pain. Opt for a long, warm bath or shower in the morning. This will reduce stiffness in the joints. Even a heated blanket or heating pad utilized at night can allow your joints to stay loose the next morning. Reserve cold treatments for relieving the joint swelling and inflammation when it gets to its worst.
You can typically find compression sleeves at your local pharmacy. They will likely have all sorts of sleeves including ones for ankle compression, elbow compression, knee compression, and so forth. The concept behind this type of treatment is that it applies a mild compression to the area that regularly receives inflammation. The compression helps to reduce the amount of inflammation that occurs, which translates to less arthritic pain for you.
While your first instinct may be not to move the painful joints, you must reconsider. Low-impact movement can help to loosen up the muscles around the joints. This provides less possibility of inflammation around the joints. You’ll notice that the irritated joints will be more flexible and have less pain when you move them. If you have access to a pool, then doing any sort of exercise in the water is considered low-impact for your joints.
Regular massaging of the joints that get inflamed can help to reduce the amount of inflammation in the future. This results in less pain and stiffness for you. With regular massage, you’ll get an improved range of motion that can allow you to be more mobile throughout your everyday life. Talk with a physical therapist about self-massage techniques that you can use for your specific arthritic-related pain.
Relieving arthritic pain doesn’t always have to be done with medication. Rather, the above are some very effective treatment solutions that you can utilize at home to alleviate your pain. Be sure to try various treatment solutions to see which ones your body best responds to and stick with those in the future to help manage your arthritic pain.
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September 23, 2019
By Anita Ginsburg
With more home health care options currently available for aging seniors, many elders are choosing to live out their golden years at home rather than at an assisted living facility or nursing home. Family members who help to care for an older relative or who check in on seniors who live alone are often the best caregivers for them, as they know the senior’s personality and preferences and will lovingly provide suitable, loving care. Here are five ways to assist aging loved ones in living comfortably in their own home.
Make Frequent Well-Being Checks
If your elderly family member is able to live alone, stop by or call frequently to check on their health and safety. You may want to provide transportation to doctor appointments or other meetings if the senior is unable to drive. Knowing that you will be checking in periodically can be reassuring to an older person living alone.
Assist with Nutritious Meals
Even if your aging loved one can cook, cooking for one person can feel like a chore, so it is a nice gesture to take over a home-cooked meal now and then. Help your relative cook larger batches of food that can be frozen for future meals. You can also have occasional meals delivered or take your relative out to dinner sometimes.
Arrange for Comfortable Bedding
Everyone wants a comfortable bed, but it gets even more important as a person gets older. Quality rest is important for good health. No matter what their needs, you can find a bed that will help your loved one get the rest they need. If they need to stay in bed for long periods of time or if they struggle with back pain, you may consider contacting an adjustable bed supplier. Adjustable beds can relieve back strain and can help your loved one sit up in bed easily without having to fluff pillows or readjust constantly. If you senior has specific needs, you may also look into getting a bed outfitted with hand rails, elevation options, and wheels for mobility.
Organize Social Activities
Staying in touch with other people is important for protecting seniors’ mental health and emotions. Encourage your loved one to join a Bingo group or to take up a hobby, and offer to be the chauffeur to these events. You can also help them organize a social event for them and their friends. Social media may also help aging people to stay in touch with friends and family members they may have lost contact with or who they may no longer be able to travel and visit.
Monitor Health Conditions
Even when things appear to be going smoothly, keep an eye on your loved one’s health and take note of any suspicious new symptoms. Undue fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, extra sleep, and reduced interest in visitors or communication may be signs of a mental health or physical health condition that needs to be medically evaluated. If an older person inexplicably acts differently than usual, it is probably worth getting it checked out by the doctor.
Older people appreciate the opportunity of living in their own homes as long as possible, but that doesn’t mean they need to be alone. Follow tips like these to ensure their comfort and guard their health.
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July 26, 2019
July 19, 2019
By Anica Oaks
You may have heard the saying, “Grow old gracefully,” but there are many changes that occur as you move beyond middle age and into your golden years. Your 60s, 70s and beyond will be filled with various psychological and physical changes and challenges. Asking for help can make you feel weak, but you aren’t. It’s a sign of strength and self-awareness to recognize when you can no longer do something on your own.
Understand How Age Changes Things
You were probably taught from an early age that it’s important to be independent. Asking for help can make us feel like we’ve failed somehow, and you may worry that you’ll look weak and be a burden to your loved ones.
Getting older comes with some inevitable changes, and it’s important to accept these facts rather than try to go against them. Your health may decline, or you might have to live with a health condition like arthritis. You may also be dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation now that your children are grown. If you are widowed, then facing the rest of your life by yourself can trigger deep feelings of sadness that may turn into depression.
Recognize What You Need
Are you physically struggling to get around like you used to? Maybe going up the stairs is too painful or strenuous now. Perhaps you have emotional needs that aren’t being met, but you don’t want to bother people by calling them up just to talk.
Maybe you notice some health symptoms that weren’t there before; do you have frequent chest pains, feel dizzy or have become more forgetful than you used to be? It’s natural to want to ignore these things and write them off, but getting help early can make you happier and protect your well-being.
Finding the Right Resources
The last thing you may want to do is move into a care home, but they are not all like hospitals or filled with sick seniors. Instead, there are many retirement villages and facilities that offer round-the-clock assistance while still giving you plenty of space and independence.
For those who do not have any close family or friends they can reach out to, exploring elderly home care options can make you feel empowered and give you the help you need. Make sure that you are vocal about everything that’s bothering you; it’s possible for loneliness, sadness and even fear of the future to make us come off as cold and distant.
Don’t allow yourself to become closed off from the world. As you progress through the next stage of your life, be open to asking for help, receiving love and being in the presence of others as much as you can.
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July 17, 2019
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By Lizzie Weakley
Your chronic pain condition doesn’t need to run your entire life. Try these tips to find relief and enjoy more of your daily activities.
Get More Exercise
Regular exercise will strengthen your muscles and keep your body in a better overall condition. Even a small amount of movement each day will help you manage your pain.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with simple stretches and a daily walk. Consider enrolling in an exercise class geared toward seniors. Your health care professional will be able to recommend specific exercises that strengthen the area where you experience the most pain.
Look for Natural Alternatives
NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin are good to use in a pinch, but they can have complicated effects with other medications. Extended use of NSAIDs can also result in stomach problems in the long term.
Look for natural forms of pain relief like herbal teas, heating pads, and ice packs. Cold should be used to ease immediate pain, and heat should be used to loosen muscles. You can also try acupuncture, massage, and other treatments to find relaxation.
Seek Regular Treatment
You aren’t expected to manage your pain alone. Many different chronic pain services are available to help you find a long-term solution. Start by talking to your doctor about the options available to you. You might also want to visit a specialist related to your condition.
Don’t let yourself go without treatment. Some cases of pain are truly chronic, but others can be solved with medical care. Pain doesn’t always stem from an obvious source; only a doctor can identify and treat the actual cause of your discomfort.
Get Plenty of Sleep
A full night’s sleep has been shown to significantly increase your tolerance to pain. Adding two hours of sleep to your current schedule could increase your tolerance by as much as 25%.
As a senior, getting enough sleep isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Your chronic pain might even keep you from falling asleep at night. Clear your schedule so that you can sleep in a little later in the morning. You might also consider taking naps in the middle of the day. You’ll feel significantly better when you wake up.
Many seniors only sleep 4-6 hours a day. For pain management, try to average 8 hours; shoot for 10 if your pain is bothering you. If you continually deal with insomnia, your doctor may be able to prescribe a sleep aid to assist you.
There’s no single solution for the management of chronic pain. Your pain specialist may recommend several different treatments; try each option, and stick with the ones that work best for you.
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