June 5, 2019

4 Mattresses Sure to Provide a Good Night’s Sleep for Seniors

Filed under: Seniors Health — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 12:17 pm

Sleep for Seniors

Courtesy of Lizzie Weakley

If there’s one thing that can help determine how you feel the next day, it’s a good night’s rest. Depriving yourself of quality sleep can be bad for your health. In fact, it can be downright dangerous. Driving without sleep is very much like driving drunk. As one gets to a senior age, there are plenty of reasons one might lose sleep, but it is just as important to get the rest you need.

There are many ways to help ensure that you sleep well: avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bed, having a regular bed-time, and otherwise establishing an effective routine. However, one of the keys to getting quality sleep is having the right mattress. Not everyone can sleep comfortably on every mattress. As you get older, you might have more regular back pain or your body might need a particular kind of support. Luckily, there are specially designed mattresses that may improve your sleep by leaps and bounds. Below are four possibilities to consider.

Memory Foam

One option that helps many people improve the quality of their sleep is memory foam. If you think your mattress is too hard or stiff, memory foam may be a great choice. The material used actually conforms to the shape of your body while you lay on it. It adapts to your body’s contours and can provide great support for both your shoulders and hips. Memory foam can wear out over time, so you want to look for a mattresses that guarantees long lasting comfort. Some memory foam mattresses, like those from Lulu Mattress, include cool gel, which can help regulate body temperature to ensure that you will not get to too warm or too cool.

Smart Gel

A second popular choice is known as a smart gel mattress. Distinct from the aforementioned cool gel, these kinds of mattresses have an extra layer of gel added to the design of a foam mattress either in the support system or the mattress’s layer of upholstery. Smart gel mattresses work similarly to memory foam mattresses but can provide more support, as they have a stable, but flexible, structure. If you have back pain or similar problems, smart gel can help support your body, while providing comfort. These kinds of mattresses also dissipate body heat more while normal memory foam tends to absorb and retain it.

Pillow Top

A third choice for sleepers who want a bit more support with their mattresses is to choose a pillow top mattress. A “pillow top” usually exists as an extra layer of support you add yourself on top of an existing mattress. They are very soft and often feel and function similarly to a memory foam mattress. However, the extra layer can provide better support than a mattress without a pillow top would.

Latex

Lastly, you may prefer to use a latex mattress. Latex mattresses can come in varying degrees of cushion and firmness. You can choose a latex mattress that best meets your needs in regards to the level of support you need as well as your individual sleeping style. They absorb less heat than memory foam mattresses, and thus can help keep your body cool as you sleep. They are also often made of more natural materials than memory foam as well.

Overall, sleep is important. It helps determine your overall health and your energy throughout the day. Sleep is even more important for seniors, who often need more energy throughout the day. Performing some research when looking for a mattress, even consulting your doctor, can help you determine the kind of mattress that is right for both your body and your finances. The body of every person, old or young, is different and needs different things. Certain designs may do a better job of providing you with the kind of support you need to get a good night’s sleep.

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May 23, 2019

Why Dental Implants are More Practical and Affordable for Seniors

Filed under: Aging,Healthcare,Seniors Health — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 10:41 am

Courtesy of Lizzie Weakley

dental implants for seniorsHealthy teeth are a vital part of our overall health. They allow us to eat comfortably and help to reduce the chances of secondary infections from dental problems. As we grow older, though, it may not be possible to maintain our original teeth. Decay or damage can simply be too extensive, and it becomes time to talk about other options for improving your oral health. One choice that is growing in popularity is dental implants. If you have teeth missing or in very poor condition, there are several reasons why you may find that implants are a good choice for you.

You Replace Only The Missing Teeth

Tooth loss is rarely organized. You may lose one on the upper right, one on the lower left, and one in the front, or any other random order. Bridges, partials, and dentures require larger openings for insertion, but dental implants can take the place of a single tooth. If an adjacent tooth needs to come out later, it is no more complicated to add another implant. Other dental options require a totally new appliance for the expanded space.

You Won’t Lose Them

This goes for loss from inside your mouth and out. One of the greatest inconveniences and fears of dentures is that they will come out of your mouth when you are speaking or eating. All on 4 dental implants are permanently attached, with no concerns about adhesives. And because they don’t come out at night, you won’t worry about dropping them, getting them dirty, or leaving them in a hotel room.

They Are Easier to Care For

Dentures require a container for cleaning and a seemingly endless stream of tablets. They take up space on the bathroom countertop and provide an unpleasant intrusion when you are a guest. Dental implants are brushed and cared for just like natural teeth, reducing the expense, mess, and space associated with caring for your teeth.

They Will Last Longer

Typically, dentures only last five to eight years, while dental implants can potentially stretch out as long as 15 years with proper care and with gentle use. Using dentures can mean additional time at the dentist on a more frequent basis, as well as the expense of purchasing new appliances more frequently.

Having healthy teeth is an important part of your overall health, especially as you enter your senior years. However, the effects of time and life can leave your teeth in poor condition and in need of removal. At that point, you have a choice between traditional options like dentures and bridges, and more permanent solutions like dental implants. Over time, implants are less expensive and more practical.

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May 2, 2019

What are the main differences between manual wheelchairs & electric wheelchairs?

Filed under: Mobility,Senior Safety,Seniors Health — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 11:43 am

Manual vs Electric Wheelchairs

Courtesy of ScootersNChairs.com

Wheelchairs are mobility tools that help people who have difficulty walking or who can no longer walk at all achieve greater independence. The most obvious difference between a manual wheelchair and an electric one is that an electric power wheelchair doesn’t require that you have tremendous upper body strength or someone to push you around in it. That said, the differences between the two types go far beyond this simple comparison.

No one wants to rely on a wheelchair for a temporary or permanent length of time. If you or a love one have reached a point though where you must use a wheelchair, review the information in this comparison guide to help you make an informed decision.

Mobility

A manual wheelchair offers less mobility than an electric one. These wheelchairs aren’t great for all day or long-distance movement. Anyone who has incredible strength and durability eventually tires while either trying to turn the large rear wheels and maneuver the chair and their own body weight or maneuver and push the chair and the weight of the person sitting in it from behind. On the other hand, electric wheelchairs feature a battery, motor and other parts to make them self-propelled and entirely drivable with little effort. The person sitting in the chair simply moves a joy stick. These wheelchairs are a fantastic solution for anyone who doesn’t have enough upper body strength or a caregiver who can push them. Electric power wheelchairs also make it easier for users to travel to locations near a home or office without a car and up and down hills or around curves without fear of losing strength and control.

Comfort

Since electric chairs are often designed for long-term mobility, they also typically feature more padding than manual wheelchairs. If a person has a painful chronic condition, they might prefer an electric wheelchair because it offers a softer and more comfortable, thickly-padded seat. A manual chair usually features thinner seat and back padding so that the chair is easier to collapse and transport. Additionally, electric designs have evenly-distributed wheels that move more smoothly along level surfaces. Some electric-powered wheelchairs even feature all-terrain wheels for uneven surfaces. All electric designs reduce the jarring movements that typically occur when someone tries to force a manual chair to move in a particular direction.

Price

Many people choose manual wheelchairs because they’re less expensive than electric wheelchairs. A powered wheelchair has a lot more parts and an electrical system that can break down at any time from something as simple as a dead battery, faulty wire or circuit board or even a lightning strike. Some models have complex systems that require expensive future software or hardware updates. A manual wheelchair simply has a seat, back, handles, arms, leg rests and wheels. As a result, an individual or their insurance company pays a lot more for an electric chair mobility option upfront and during maintenance and repair scenarios than for a manual one.

Transport

When comparing mobility products, it’s fairly obvious that manual wheelchairs are easier to transport in vehicles than electric wheelchairs. A manual chair is lightweight and typically folds or collapses in a way that makes it fit well in most standard-sized automobile trunks. An electric wheelchair requires either a special van or large headroom vehicle that features a lift or ramp if the user wants to go somewhere on their own or travel with someone else. Some people use an electric wheelchair at home and a manual one when traveling with a caregiver.

Final Thoughts

Battery-powered robotic leg braces and exoskeletons have become the next best potential alternative to wheelchairs for people who suffer from leg paralysis. These mobility products are still in early development and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Automobile manufacturers have also come up with new vehicle designs that make it possible for wheelchair users to simply roll into their cars and drive away while still seated without depending on lifts, ramps or trunk storage.

Scooters ‘N Chairs is offering a bi-annual mobility scooter giveaway for Seniors. Click here for your chance to win a mobility scooter: https://www.scootersnchairs.com/pages/mobilityscootergiveaway

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April 25, 2019

3 Reasons Voice-Guided Technology Services Elderly Care

Voice Assistants for Seniors

Courtesy of Kara Masterson

Chances are that you know someone who has entered the elderly phase of life. It can seem difficult to watch older members of society struggle to do tasks that younger people take for granted. Fortunately, voice guided technology can help the elderly to function more effectively in their daily lives. Here are three reasons why voice guided technology is involved in servicing the ongoing care of this segment of the population.

When the Elderly Fall

Often, the elderly can experience a major fall when no one else is around. This can be a dangerous situation for many people who live alone. Fortunately, modern advancements in voice guided technology makes it possible for older members of society to reach out for help in these situations. It turns out that a device like Alexa in the home can be a useful tool for aiding a fallen elderly person who needs to call for help in an emergency. Not only is Alexa capable of being voice commanded to do tasks, but it is a very affordable option that even retired persons can take advantage of in their homes as well.

At Home Medical Monitoring

Another area where voice guided technology is beneficial to the elderly arises with the need to monitor and interact with the health needs of these individuals. This is an important area of advancement, because many elderly people cannot easily drive themselves to doctor’s appointments. However, they may still require regular medical care as in the case where a patient uses a Home Kidney Dialysis Machine to perform peritoneal dialysis. Such devices can guide the patient with step by step verbal instructions to ensure the proper outcome.

Digital Access

Voice guided technology is opening up digital access to the elderly. This can be mostly seen in how this technology is helping this segment of the population stay connected with family, friends and access information online. Due to the fact that so many elderly people are blind or visually impaired, voice guided technology can make it possible for these individuals to use modern phones and even successfully navigate and interact on popular social media-based websites. As a result, this provides an elderly person with the ability to access information and communicate with anyone they desire like everyone else. These kinds of barriers have been eliminated by the use of screen reading software that talks to a user and by voice recognition software that gives an elderly user voice command-based control over an Internet ready device.

Conclusion

Growing old is no longer the isolated situation it used to be. Modern devices are using voice guided technology to allow these individuals to live more fulfilling lives. From meeting at home healthcare needs to providing older individuals with a broad range of entertainment and social avenues with which to occupy their time, voice guided technology has truly redefined what it means to enjoy life after retirement.

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April 3, 2019

Health Fairs for Seniors

By: Darleen Mahoney

As Seniors search for more Healthcare options and answers, Health fairs are becoming more and more a valuable resource. Healthcare can be confusing and overwhelming for many seniors and their caregivers. Health fairs offers seniors in the community the opportunity to engage with professionals in a relaxed and threatening or sterile atmosphere to discuss common health issues and conceHealth Fairs for Seniorsrns.

Many Health fairs focus on preventative and offer proactive information like health screenings, blood pressure checks, cholesterol blood tests, vision and hearing tests which may provide feedback to identify any risks. For example, Gulfside Healthcare Services located in Land O’Lakes Florida, is presenting a community Health fair for Seniors and their Caregivers on April 16th, featuring a “Healthcare Navigation Table of Experts” for one-on-one assistance with healthcare-related needs offering free blood pressure checks, free living wills, and access to information on Home Health, Palliative Care, Hospice Care and Elder Law.

Successful Health fairs can inspire health lifestyle changes in Seniors and provide support for their Caregivers.

*If you would like more information on the Gulfside Healthcare Services community Health Fair, contact them at info@gulfside.org or 727-845-5707

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March 18, 2019

Medication, Alternatives, and Beyond: 4 Pain Relief Methods for Seniors

Filed under: Seniors Health — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 9:35 am

Medication Alternatives for Seniors

Courtesy of Dixie Somers

Pain is a natural feeling that the central nervous system uses to inform people that their bodies are potentially in danger. Without pain, we would inadvertently harm ourselves on a daily basis, not to mention live a much shorter life. While pain is necessary for survival as we know it, some people’s central nervous systems malfunction, causing some people to feel pain throughout the day.

Surprisingly, some 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from chronic pain. As people get older, they’re more likely to face around-the-clock pain. Let’s dig into four potential treatments that are known to help people deal with constant, non-stop pain.

Money Might Not Grow on Trees, but Kratom Sure Does

Kratom refers to a tree in Southeast Asia, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, which has been used by the natives of Indonesia for hundreds of years to knock the edge off of the pain they’d feel while working. Mitragyna speciosa’s leaves contain dozens of opioid-type molecules that are great at blocking pain. The plant is legal in the United States and costs no more than pennies per dose. Be sure to talk to your doctor before using any substance that might interact with any medications you might be taking already.

Physicians Can Really Work Magic in Bringing Relief to Suffering Seniors

Licensed physicians have a vast array of tools at their disposal to help people feel better, such as seniors who suffer from chronic pain. Physicians can consider your specific situation and work with you to figure out the best route for you. Whether that’s physician-approved exercises done at home or prescription drugs from a pharmacy, you’ll know it’s backed up by study and professional know-how.

Mental Health Treatment Could Help Some Seniors Deal with Pain

Cognitive behavioral therapy involves a counselor and client talking to one another with the intention of getting the client to build skills to deal with unwanted behaviors and thoughts. Even though people effectively can’t rid themselves of pain, crafting a toolbox that is filled to the brim with such mental tools can, in fact, get seniors feeling better.

Weightlifting

Exercise is known to help people feel better. Believe it or not, certain exercises can be used to reduce pain in people with chronic pain. Although the risks of injury are somewhat high, the effects are said to be well worth it. Exercises like weightlifting and walking are great to help seniors stay active as they age and mitigate pain. Be sure to consult a doctor before you start any new regimen.

Dealing with pain all the time is one of the worst medical problems to face and can be incredibly frustrating. However, these four tips and tricks should keep any senior out of terrible pain. With the help of some trial and error and your doctor’s advice, you’ll be back to doing what you love in no time.

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February 15, 2019

Age Keeping You from Your Hobbies? 4 Leisurely Alternatives to Fill the Void

Filed under: Aging,Memory Care,Seniors Health — seniorlivingguide @ 1:34 pm

Courtesy of Lizzie Weakley

Often, aging individuals can find it challenging to maintain their hobbies they once enjoyed. This can often leave an empty space in their lives that they aren’t exactly sure how to fill. Sometimes, it can even lead to social withdrawal or a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to stay active and engaged in activities you love as you get older. While you may not be able to participate in rigorous physical activities that you enjoyed when you were younger, there are still many fun and leisurely hobbies you can take up. The following information provides some helpful tips about pastimes you can begin at almost any age: 

Puzzles and Board Games
Puzzles and games are a great way to keep your memory sharp. Many people believe that they can even help to improve your cognitive abilities and prevent memory loss. Therefore, these make great activities for the elderly. Planning a game night with your friends and family is also a great way to engage with others and become more social. Planning a game night can be relatively simple. To start off, you should research some of the most popular games that your guests are likely to enjoy and then purchase a few. You can also prepare snacks or a nice dinner to make your guests feel right at home. 

Arts and Crafts 
Arts and crafts are also another great option that can be taken up at nearly any age. If you are a creative person and enjoy making things, this could be something you can explore. You can learn how to paint, draw, sculpt, or take up photography. You can also make your own DIY projects and crafts, such as wreaths, flower arrangements, jewelry, pressed flowers, scrapbooks, and birdhouses. 

Sewing 
In addition, if you are interested in sewing, there are many options to pursue, such as knitting and crocheting. You can knit blankets, scarves, or socks and even take up quilting. If you are interested in making your own clothing, this can also be a great way to pass the time. There are so many options when it comes to sewing, and learning these new skills can help you to make things for yourself or even gifts for your friends and family that they can appreciate for many years to come! 

Coin Collecting 
Coin collecting can be a very rewarding and engaging activity. It can allow you to potentially make money in the future if you are able to hold onto your coins while they increase in value. Not only this, but collecting coins helps you to gain a deeper appreciation for history and culture. If it is something that interests you, you may want to visit some of your local silver coin shops to learn more about the hobby. 

Overall, you shouldn’t let aging hold you back from finding new activities that you enjoy. Hobbies can help to bring a lot of fulfillment into your life and they can make a great way to pass the time on slow and boring days. You just need to find what you enjoy and turn it into a hobby or skill that you can develop!

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January 29, 2019

Restlessness When Living with Dementia

Filed under: Alzheimer's,Dementia,Seniors Health — Tags: , , , — seniorlivingguide @ 1:18 pm

For someone living with dementia, restlessness and fidgeting are common behaviours which have long been associated with agitation or stress.  Together with fidget widget for seniorsDementia Advisor for Alzheimer’s Society Judith Bower and UCLan Senior Graphic Design Lecturer Jane Souyave, Active Minds have been working towards creating an activity to help alleviate fidgeting and repetitive movements.

Conversing with carers of people living with dementia, the teams realised that these restless and repetitive motions were not always negative and wanted to dispel the thoughts that fidgeting is a disruptive behaviour.

Funding from the Alzheimer’s Society and UCLan’s Innovation funds have allowed the teams to work together and raise awareness surrounding communications and connection techniques for people living with advanced dementia. The ‘Positive Connections’ group was formed and worked tirelessly to come up with a concept which would later advance in to a product – the Fidget Widget.

What Is Fidget Widget

An age-appropriate activity, Fidget Widget comprises of five different handheld tactile tools which have been specially designed to help keep hands both relaxed and busy. The different tools can be interacted with in a variety of creative ways such as spinning, sliding, twisting, turning or rolling.

The variety of actions have been shown to not only keep restless hands busy, but also improve dexterity and provide stimulation and engagement as the activity is both meaningful and fun.

Fidget Widget is not just an individual activity however, it has been shown to be beneficial in both group and singular settings and is a brilliant way to get carers involved.

The Fidget Widget tools have undergone a two year testing period whereby the families of people living with dementia were supported with communication techniques using the Toolkit. The incredible feedback from the families showed the positive effect these products have had for their loved ones.

Interacting with the Fidget Widget has been shown to help enhance a persons psychological wellbeing as it provides an outlet for restless hands whilst being a meaningful and engaging activity. The creation of this product has allowed a wider understanding of restless behaviours and the ways in which we can interact with people living with dementia who may have verbal communication difficulties.

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January 25, 2019

Are you doing these 10 things to save on healthcare?

Filed under: Health Insurance,Healthcare,Medicaid,Medicare,Seniors Health — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 2:49 pm

Courtesy of Alison Lee

When you’re a retired senior, you finally get to pursue your “real” life. Long vacations, cruises, new hobbies, and other adventures await. However, old age also brings more illnesses, and sometimes it can be a challenge to balance your ideal post-retirement life with your healthcare costs. Make sure you’re doing these 10 things to minimize your healthcare spending.

healthcare saving for seniors

  1. Take advantage of preventive care.

The earlier you spot a disease, the easier and cheaper it is to fix – plus, you’ll feel better sooner. Medicare covers a bounty of preventive and screening services, from cardiovascular disease screening to depression screening. If you’ve been under Medicare Part B for more than 12 months, you’re also entitled to a “wellness” visit every year.

To make the most of your visit, make a list of health questions and concerns throughout the year to take to your wellness check-up so you don’t forget. Being thorough and honest about your habits (such as whether you smoke or drink alcohol), medical history, and family health history can help your doctor catch risk factors early.

  1. Buy generic medications and buy them online from more affordable sources.

You can save a significant amount of money by choosing generic drugs over brand-name ones. Generic and brand-name drugs are deemed “bioequivalent” by the FDA, so there is virtually no loss in quality.

Many Americans also buy prescription drugs online from international and Canadian pharmacies, such as Canadian pharmacy referral service Rx Connected. Pharmaceutical industries in other countries may be more strictly regulated than in the U.S., making their drugs significantly cheaper.

Buying drugs online may sound risky, but there are many legitimate websites that care about drug safety and patient wellbeing. However, do exercise caution when buying anything online. If a price is too good to be true, or if the company claims you don’t need a prescription for something that should, it’s likely a scam. Legitimate websites like Rx Connected will welcome consumer questions and concerns, and even encourages doctors to call them directly.

  1. Get vaccinated.

Make sure you get vaccinated during flu season; it’s often free for seniors under Medicare. The flu bug changes every year, so it’s important to get a flu shot each year. Seasonal influenza isn’t just a nuisance; it’s highly contagious and especially dangerous for seniors. Complications can be serious. Click here for more information about the flu.

You should also ensure you are vaccinated against other contagious diseases. Talk to your doctor about what vaccines to get, including booster shots. Getting vaccinated is not just good for you; you can help protect immunocompromised and high-risk individuals too.

  1. Learn about Medicare Savings Programs and Extra Help, and see if you qualify.

If you haven’t already, research Medicare Savings Programs and Extra Help, programs that help those enrolled in Medicare pay their premiums. You may still qualify for Medicare Savings Programs if your income is higher than the limits. If you’re eligible for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program, Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program, or Qualifying Individual Program, you are automatically eligible for Extra Help for prescription drugs.

  1. Visit a Community Health Center.

Community Health Centers are available in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and every American territory. These state-funded clinics offer free or low-cost care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay or their insurance status, and are located in designated “medically undeserved areas.” Services may include preventive care, mental healthcare, pharmacy services, dental care, and more. You can find one near you by clicking here.

  1. Learn about health.

Now that you’re retired, you have time to read all those books on your backburner book list! Why not also read more about health in general? The good news is, a large amount of useful health information is free and found on the internet. Being informed can alert you to potential problems early.

Of course, there is an unfortunate amount of misinformation on the internet. Stay away from articles with sensationalized titles like “Lose 10 Pounds in 1 Week!” Stick to government-approved websites like the CDC, Medline Plus, and the National Institutes of Health.

However, DO NOT diagnose yourself based on information you read on the internet. There’s a reason why physicians go through years of schooling. When in doubt, see a doctor.

  1. Now that you know more about health, get the appropriate level of help.

Not every little discomfort warrants a trip to the ER. If you have a minor health issue or question, see if you can find a 24/7 phone line where you can talk to a nurse. Many insurance plans offer this service, as do many hospitals. A qualified nurse can decide whether your health question warrants a trip to the doctor’s office. Online services – where you talk to a doctor remotely over the internet – are another low-cost option for more minor health problems.

  1. Compare before you buy.

Just like buying a new car, you should shop around before committing to a health service. Ask your healthcare provider about the Healthcare Bluebook, a good tool to use to compare pricing for health services offered by different providers. Don’t pay for a hundred-dollar X-ray when there’s one at half the price just a block away!

  1. Does your local community center, senior center, or non-profit advocacy group offer discounted or free programs?

If you have a chronic illness like arthritis or diabetes, a non-profit advocacy group may have a facility near you that offers programs to help manage your condition. If you do not have a chronic illness, check out what your local community and senior center offers. Don’t restrict yourself to fitness programs; your physical and mental health can benefit greatly from art therapy, music lessons, and more.

  1. Continue living a healthy lifestyle.

The best way to save on healthcare is to not get sick in the first place. Now that you’re retired, invest some time into making healthful, home-cooked meals, spend an hour or two at the park each day, and make sure you’re active and socializing regularly. If you smoke, now is a good time to quit, and while a glass of wine or two is fine on occasion, if you drink excessively, now is also a time to cut down.

Ask any physician and they will say that good health is really quite simple: eat well, move around, get enough rest, and be happy. So go ahead and enjoy retirement.

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January 22, 2019

How to Get Your Best Sleep in Your Senior Years

Filed under: Healthcare,Seniors Health — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 2:21 pm

Courtesy of Lisa Smalls

Elderly people in our world deserve the best in their golden years, including the best sleep. Unfortunately, it gets harder to sleep well as we age. Seniors are more likely to struggle falling asleep, staying sleep and sleeping deeply enough—they also suffer from age-specific sleep problems—than any other age group.

Seniors, you are not destined for poor sleep. We will explain how to attack your sleep issues and come out the other end rested and refreshed for another day on earth.

Sleep Issues

The good news for senior citizens here is that most sleep issues the elderly might face can normally be tracked back to physical (soreness, osteoporosis, arthritis, restless leg syndrome, insomnia) and psychiatric illnesses (depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease) and the medications doctors use to treat them.

Thankfully we’re not usually talking about issues that do require medication to alleviate.  But our older friends should discuss their sleep issues with doctors and family members to address them.

better sleep for seniorsAlso, did you know our sleep patterns change as get older? Our internal clock, which tells us when to rest and when to wake up, actually shifts as we age. Seniors tend to want to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.

But our need for sleep, once we reach adulthood, does not change. Popular belief is misinformed. How much sleep we actually need to heal and feel fully restored each morning does not decrease with age. All adults—defined as anyone age 18 or over—need 7-9 hours per night.

Sleep culprits

And we’re all human. We have habits that hinder our sleep.

One sleep thief is the food we eat or drinks we imbibe. Eating too close to bedtime means our bodies are still working to digest as we’re trying to wind down for the day. Drinking alcohol may relax your inhibitions, but it doesn’t ease you to sleep.

Sleeping in a room that is too warm will keep you up. Seniors do get colder because often they don’t move enough to keep the blood circulating. But sleep scientists recommend sleeping in a room cooler than 70 degrees. Your body temperature will regulate to a good temperature once it begins the hard work of repairing itself as we sleep.

Sleeping in a room with too much light definitely robs you of good sleep. The artificial blue light behind our smartphones, tablets and televisions is the worst offender. The light artificially signals your brain that it must stay awake. You must keep those devices in other rooms at bedtime, ideally starting two hours before bedtime.

Ironically not getting enough natural sunlight during the day also slows the process of falling asleep. Seniors may not be mobile enough to go outside. It may be dangerous for them to do so without help, or they may not feel safe enough to do it where they live. Without at least two hours of natural sunlight per day, your circadian rhythm gets confused. You end up not feeling ready for bed once it’s time.

Another problem related to mobility is that seniors may not get enough exercise each day. Whatever you can do to get your heart pumping, based on your physical ability, will burn fuel. Burning off some during the day, eases you to sleep at night.

Finally, the wrong mattress or a too-old mattress will definitely keep you up at night. You toss and turn because your body isn’t comfortable. Any mattress that throws your spine out of alignment or puts too much pressure on delicate joints and muscles needs to be replaced.

Tools for better sleep

It starts with the best mattress, that you can afford, that works for you. Because there is a very competitive marketplace for mattresses these days, you have so many mattress options to choose from that will address whatever issues you have.

Younger adults usually do well with a medium-firm mattress. Medium-soft mattresses are better for seniors, who need a little more give, something more gentle to curve to older shoulders and hips. The important thing is that your spine remains aligned straight regardless of your sleep position.

For example, If you sleep on your back, that area of the mattress should not cave against your weight. That would put your tailbone and lumbar vertebrae out of alignment with the rest of your spine. If you are bothered by back pain, choose a mattress designed to alleviate it.

Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be on your way to better nights of sleep.

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