May 30th, 2014
Regular physical activity and exercise are extremely important for staying healthy, and as we age physical activity and exercise play a key role in staying mobile and independent.
Walking is an everyday activity most people can easily do to stay fit, and usually the only special equipment needed is a pair of walking shoes. A study from the Institute of Aging at the University of Florida indicates that people in their 70s and 80s who regularly walk for exercise are more likely to stay mobile or recover lost mobility than those who stay sedentary.
Walking also helps to maintain healthy weight and blood pressure, it increases muscle strength, flexibility and balance, and it reduces the risk of heart disease, hypertension and falls.
If you are considering taking up walking for exercise the first step is to consult your doctor or physical trainer. They can help you avoid injury and ensure that your walking regime is right for you.
Here are some additional steps to help you stay safe on your walks:
- Warm up before the walk and cool off afterwards.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. Wear comfortable and supportive footwear with non-skid soles.
- Choose a path that is familiar, well-lit, even, and free of debris.
- Hydrate frequently.
- Pace yourself. Start out on short walks and over time increase the distance.
- If you need a cane or walker, use it. Be sure it’s sized to your height.
- Stop or rest if you feel pain during the walk. See your doctor if pain persist after the walk.
- Carry a cell phone or a Mobile Emergency Button in case of emergencies.
- Avoid walking in extreme cold or icy conditions. Be vigilant of slippery walkways during wintertime.
- Walk with friends or in groups.
This guide on fitness for seniors offers more advice on the benefits of exercise and how to safely incorporate a fitness routine into your life.
May 12th, 2014
The UnitedHealthcare 100@100 Survey annually polls 100 people who are age 100 or older (centenarians) to gauge their attitudes about their lifestyle and world events. For the 2014 survey, researchers also polled baby boomers (age 65) entering retirement to compare their views with the views of centenarians who have been retired for the last 35 years.
Here are a few illuminating results of the 2014 UnitedHeathcare 100@100 Survey:
- Centenarians report feeling blessed, happy and surprised about reaching the age of 100, none report feeling sad or burdened.
- Both centenarians and boomers feel as if they are younger than their age.
- Over 50% of centenarians live independently and about 25% of baby boomers are caregivers.
- Centenarians believe convenient household appliances and automobiles are the most significant technological advancements to emerge during their lifetime, while boomers believe it to be the personal computer.
- 3 out of 4 centenarians report that they do not have access to the internet, while almost 90% of boomers report that they do.
- The home telephone is the most popular way to connect with friends and family for both centenarians and boomers.
- Baby boomers are much more likely than centenarians to use cell phones, smartphones or social media.
- Boomers believe their health will be more difficult to maintain than their social connections.
April 28th, 2014
Hearing professionals and developers are using the latest wireless and smartphone technology to create a new generation of digital hearing aids which users can control via an app on their smartphone.
Most of the new app-linked hearing aids provide their wearer with the ability to:
- Tune his hearing aid himself.
- Amplify or reduce the decibel (dB) as needed for his location.
- Save the sound setting best suited to his location, and automatically switch to that setting every time he returns to that location.
- Use his hearing aids as headphones. He can stream sound directly from his smartphone to hear music, navigation instructions, or his conversation partner over the din of a crowd.
According to Nielsen, 51% of adults over age 55 are now smartphone owners and that number is expected to grow each year. With the advent of these app-linked hearing aids and the increased use of smartphones, older adults suffering from hearing loss now have a viable alternative to traditional hearing aids. Moreover, there’s an increased likelihood that they will make use of the hearing aids’ extra features since these smartphone apps are meant to be convenient and user-friendly.
These new app-linked hearing aids are sold as electronic devices and are not overseen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hearing professionals advise that these new hearing aids are not for those with severe hearing loss or sensorineural deafness. Nor are they meant to replace the delicate and customized care provided by an audiologist. Any hearing loss should be medically assessed for your well being and quality of life.
Next-Generation Hearing Aids Tune In to the iPhone by Dawn Chmielewski
Better Hearing Through Bluetooth By TRICIA ROMANO
Smartphone Milestone: Half of Americans Ages 55+ Own Smartphones
April 7th, 2014
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March 31st, 2014
Are you drinking enough water? Although the amount of water a person needs to drink varies, a general rule of thumb is at least eight, eight ounce, glasses per day.
Our bodies use the water we drink to replenish the moisture we lose throughout the day. Water is needed to hydrate blood and tissue, lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, promote digestion and plays an integral part in ridding one’s body of waste. More than 50% of one’s body is comprised of water, making it a vital part in maintaining a healthy body.
If we fail to replace the water our body has used, we may suffer from dehydration. Dehydration is a physiological state where one’s body does not have enough fluids to perform its functions.
Seniors are very susceptible to dehydration and must be sure to stay properly hydrated. Seniors are less likely than younger adults to realize that they are thirsty, causing them to drink fewer liquids. At the same time, they might routinely take medications, and/or ingest caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, which have diuretic effects. Furthermore, the kidneys of some older adults may have a reduced ability to regulate their bodies’ water levels.
Taking a deliberate role in staying hydrated is very important for seniors, therefore here are several ways to help keep yourself and your loved ones hydrated:
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink, your body always needs water.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of liquids per day.
- When at home, keep ice and drinks within reach for easier access.
- On the go, keep a water bottle with you and take frequent sips.
- Drink frequently during the daytime, rather than drinking large amounts at one time.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content (watermelon, lettuce, broccoli, grapes, etc).
- Soups, smoothies, popsicles, and yogurt also have high water content.
- Choose water instead of syrup/sugar-sweetened, caffeinated, or alcoholic beverages.
- If you do drink the beverages above, try cutting sweet drinks with water or choosing decaffeinated coffee and tea.
Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure these tips are right for your health and lifestyle.
February 27th, 2014
People with dementia may require assistance with daily tasks and activities because they are often unable to interpret social and environmental cues and/or remember the corresponding responses. While many with dementia live with loved ones who provide the support they need, some require professional 24-hour supervised care.
Hogeweyk, a village in the Netherlands, is taking an innovative approach to providing sufferers of dementia with the assistance and security they need in their daily lives. People with dementia often remember past events with much more clarity than recent events and have the desire to wander, be it to run errands or simply go for a walk. Hogeweyk was specially designed for residents with dementia to go about their daily lives seemingly without restriction.
Hogeweyk furnishes its residents with an apartment similar to where they might have lived in the past and a whole village to roam. Six to eight residents with common interests and backgrounds share a house that is decorated to closely represent a lifestyle enjoyed before moving to Hogeweyk. The residents cook, do housework, shop at the market, visit gardens and attend movies at the local cinema – enjoying amenities and routines they became accustomed to over their lifetimes.
Specially trained caregivers, in ordinary clothes, function as the villages’ support system; they live in the village as roommates, neighbors, shop clerks, and other village workers. Caregivers calmly help residents in their daily tasks or compensate for missed cues – like applying a resident’s bill to his room if he forgets to pay at the restaurant.
In the U.S, there are nearly 5 million people over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – and that number is projected to triple by 2050. Currently our options for dementia care communities comparable to Hogeweyk are memory care units. A memory care unit is usually a separate ward within an assisted living community that is designed to address the needs of those with dementia. They are staffed with personnel specifically trained to interact with dementia sufferers and feature special security measures to deter wandering beyond the unit.
Memory care units are safe environments that offer daily living assistance and recreational programs. However, one can appreciate the appeal of an open-air village where residents can live freely and where simple mistakes such as forgetting to pay a bill is understood and accounted for. Perhaps U.S. developers will look to Hogeweyk for inspiration as they begin to build additional dementia care communities to accommodate the growing demographic.
January 28th, 2014
You might have noticed many food labels now disclaim the use of gluten. But, what is gluten and why does it matter if it’s a part of our diet?
Gluten is the term for proteins found in cereal grains. Consuming these proteins is usually harmless. But, for sufferers of the hereditary celiac disease, ingesting the gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye can be a big problem. If a Celiac sufferer ingests gluten, their immune system damages their small intestine in an effort to remove the protein. This may result in symptoms varying from stomach discomfort to malnutrition.
The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. The Celiac Disease Foundation is a great resource for tips on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle, offering guidance on gluten-free alternatives to favorite foods, how to read labels, and how to stick to your diet while dining out.
Although it is a hereditary disease, celiac can develop at any age. Many adults and seniors appear to tolerate gluten for many years before they are diagnosed with the disease. This source talks about the unique considerations of seniors with celiac disease like the stronger risk of osteoporosis, managing a special diet on a budget, and addressing dietary needs with potential retirement communities.
Now that awareness is on the rise and diagnosis techniques have improved – the increase in gluten-free labeling addresses the needs of a rising demographic. However, unless you have gluten allergy or intolerance as determined by a doctor, there’s no need to be concerned about gluten in your food.
January 17th, 2014
In a team effort between New York City’s Department of Records/Municipal Archives and Ancestry.com, the City’s Vital Records indices are now available online – for free.
Volunteers from the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy group diligently worked over ten years to compile these indices. Now, thanks to the concerted efforts of these four groups, would-be genealogists can instantly query more than ten million birth, marriage, and death records ranging in years from 1862 to 1942.
Depending on the query, Ancestry.com’s New York City Department of Records search page will list the person’s name, birth date, death date, spouse’s name and marriage date, and the county where the event took place.
If you’d like to acquire certified copies of original certificates and/or images, you must order the document directly from the NYC Department of Records. You will need to reference the certificate number, which can be obtained by becoming a Registered Guest of ancestry.com. A registered guest account does not require credit card or billing information, and requires nothing more than your name and email address.
Online access to these indices means everyone can search for records, not just New Yorkers. New York City was the first destination of many immigrants and has always been a popular tourist destination, so it’s no stretch of the imagination that a significant event of family history – like birth, marriage, or death – might have happened in NYC. Take advantage of this free resource to find out more about your family history.
January 13th, 2014
Researchers at the University of Arizona have found evidence that patients with dementia can adhere to, and experience significant benefits from, an intensive exercise program. Michael Schwenk, PhD, lead author of the research paper, states that “results indicate that medium to high training adherence can be achieved in the majority of geriatric inpatients despite cognitive impairment and acute functional impairment.” Dr. Schwenk believes that rehabilitation programs of low intensity are currently employed because of the preconceived limitations of those with dementia. He hopes this study will provide insight towards developing geriatric rehabilitation exercise programs that will engage the full potential of dementia patients and yield the maximum improvement possible.
January 8th, 2014
Brrr, it’s cold! A distorted polar vortex has brought arctic winds too far south, plunging temperatures across the country dangerously below the freezing mark. During these harsh days of winter it’s important to stay healthy, warm, and safe. Aside from the hazardous conditions caused by snow and ice, the cold weather can harm bodies by causing dry skin, stiff joints, and high blood pressure, in addition to other ailments.
Protected Tomorrows has listed several cold weather health tips for seniors, outlining advice on how to stay warm, protect your skin, and keep your spirits high.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has helpful advice on many winter related issues:
Prepare your Home
If you use space heaters to heat certain rooms in your home, the National Fire Protection Association’s Space Heater Safety Tips might be helpful.
I hope these tips help you and your loved ones stay warm and safe through these record low temperatures.