The Golden Years Can Enhance Mind and Body

The passage of time is a mystery, which is something seniors have had time to ponder. seniors playing shuffleboardData shows that one in seven Americans is considered elderly, which is 65 years of age or older. Now, there are a number of people who believe that those who reach a certain age cannot achieve much more in life, but that is not the case. The following should highlight how the elderly prove that age is just a number.

The Positive Elderly Experience

As people age, they go through many changes. There is no denying that some of these changes are not positive.

Skin can get wrinkly and reflexes tend to weaken as time goes by, but there are a few benefits to be thankful for. For example, it is known that wisdom increases and sexual activity seems to improve, but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

A Physical Boost

The body may be slowing down, but there are a number of things that may improve with age. It seems that the elderly have fewer colds and migraines. The reason is the body is prepared for sickness. The body has had years of experience with viruses and bacteria. Experience has made your body more efficient, which is the reason why those of a certain age might not get sick often.

It also means that health issues should not last as long as they once did. Keep in mind that these benefits should only be applied to seniors who are healthy and not suffering from an affliction that affects the immune system.

Some people get a toothache from time to time. This could happen because enamel has been reduced. Enamel is a naturally formed layer of minerals that coat the teeth. The layer is there to protect teeth from harm.

The problem is that certain activity can erode this thin layer of protection, such as cavities, brushing too roughly, or even eating acidic foods.

Teeth become sensitive when the enamel is reduced, which is what happens with some people, but older folks may get some relief. It seems like older people grow a little more dentin as they age. This means that teeth are a little more resistant to pain, even if some of the enamel has worn down. It might be okay to enjoy a few scoops of ice cream every now and then.

You should not worry about being around your grandkids when they are a little sick. Now, you are not superhuman or immune to everything. You should still have vaccinations and take other similar precautions. Be sure to keep up with a healthy diet.

Still, an elderly person can enjoy a few more things with additional freedom. Maybe there really is a reason to travel more often when you retire. This is the time when your body can resist sickness better.

On an interesting note, older people have smaller and less sensitive sweat glands. This means that you do not have to worry so much about staining your shirt or blouse as often. That little annoyance is something younger people have to deal with often. Who knows what could be done with that information, but it is a positive change.

Growth of the Mind

One thing that an elderly person will likely hear from time to time is the myth that an older person’s mind might be declining. This is sort of true but only when one is talking about people dealing with issues such as Alzheimer’s or a similar affliction.

People who are healthy can expect something else. A study shows that older people may gain intelligence as they grow older. People’s ability to understand language and solve problems is heightened as they age.

Seniors have also formed ideas, which are clear to them. This helps a person formulate thoughts based on those fundamental thoughts.

This means that you still have the ability to think of something worth while. This might be the best time to write that novel that you have been itching to write, or this could be the right time to take that class you have been talking about for some time.

You should also know that this increased level of understanding also makes older people a little more competitive. No, you will not be attempting to challenge everyone that stands in your way, but it does make you competitive should you be challenged.

This might be a great time to join competitive work forces if you still want to to see how far you are willing to push yourself.

Yes, there are downsides to aging, but people who seem to perpetuate the idea that life diminishes when you age are wrong. As you can see, there is plenty to do and plenty life to live as you hit those golden years.

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Aging in Place Provides Better Options for Seniors

One of the newer options for adults in their older years is called aging in place. aging in place with a home care aideThis option can provide positive results for both the aging adult and his or her family.

Why Aging in Place Works

There are several factors that remain the same even as the person grows older. People who have lived independently throughout life often cherish the freedom independence brings. This love of freedom often causes seniors to resist moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home. The senior does not want the restrictions that living environment places on his time or activities and does not desire constant supervision.

One of the beauties of aging in place is that the elderly individual continues to enjoy independence. Restrictions are limited to those necessary for the person’s well-being or health. Maintaining his independence increases his personal dignity.

A second benefit is that seniors enjoy familiar settings. If a senior owns his home or has resided in the same apartment for an extended period, he is often more comfortable in those familiar surroundings. Some seniors have special pets or important possessions they want to keep.

If health permits, seniors should not be forced to give up all that is familiar to them. Doing so robs the senior of a sense of pride in possessions and home and breaks a loving bond with a pet. By aging in place, the senior retains everything he finds familiar.

Moving a healthy senior to a nursing facility is often traumatic for him. He may lose his sense of taking an active role in his life and instead begin worrying about death and dying, leading to a major depressive episode. For many aging adults, aging in place is the best option for both mental and physical health. Seniors maintain a sense of control over their own destiny when they remain at home.

Aging in Place is Not Without Problems

Aging in place is not the right choice for all seniors, due to the physical changes that sometimes occur. The aging process brings problems that seniors did not experience in their younger years.

Forgetfulness is often an issue with older people. The seriousness of the problem ranges from forgetting to feed a pet or forgetting to take medications. Some seniors begin to forget to turn off burners, lock doors or other safety issues. When seniors live alone, such forgetfulness can be serious.

The aging process can also bring about frailty. Even though a senior remains healthy, he loses strength, becomes less limber and has slower reflexes than a young adult. These changes increase the risk of accidents and fall during normal activity.

The isolation of living alone can also lead some senior adults to issues with mental health. Without nearby family members or friends, loneliness can be an issue. With no one to visit or listen, it is easy for the senior to become depressed.

Sedentary lifestyles are also possible problems for the elderly. While they might seem happy reading or watching TV all day, regular physical activity is a requirement for staying healthy.

Families of seniors are often greatly concerned about these issues. Some family members become so worried about these potential problems, they are unsure aging in place provides a good option. Such family members often consider a nursing facility as the best alternative for safety.

Aging in Place Safely

Home care provides a great solution to the potential problems associated with aging in place. With home care, seniors enjoy their older years while remaining safe and healthy.

Home care aids help to eliminate many of these problems. The aide can complete many tasks to ensure the senior’s safety. The aide might tidy the home, cook meals, provide assistance with bathing, secure windows and doors and perform many other tasks.

The home care aide also helps to resolve issues with loneliness. Nonmedical aids provide a good companion for the individual. Seniors enjoy the companionship and are less likely to feel alone. The client and aide can enjoy their time together, sing, play games and read aloud.

Home care aides are trained in the kinds of activities that are suitable for the senior. When clients are able to take walks or follow exercise routines at home, such regular exercise helps to strengthen muscles and limbs. Regular exercise also provides a positive benefit on the person’s mental health.

Hiring a nonmedical home care aide helps to eliminate many of the family’s worries. With the assistance of the aid, the elderly family member continues enjoying the benefits of life at home while eliminating the risks of living alone.

Each Senior Is Unique

The aging process affects seniors differently, so it is impossible to develop a one size fits all program. This means fewer seniors require nursing home care but also means programs should be customized to match the senior’s preferences, personality, and needs.

For aging in place to work, it is essential to match the senior with a home care aide who is a good fit. The senior enjoys a better experience and families see better results when the aide and senior adult are compatible.

Just because you are growing older does not mean you must give up all that is familiar. By finding a compatible home care aide, your senior can enjoy more healthy years at home. This provides positive benefits and allows seniors to retain their independence. The result is a happy individual who is also safe.

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Meals on Wheels: A Program Worth Fighting For

Not many programs were birthed from the heart and perpetuated by the human spirit like Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels recipient and volunteerThe program brings much needed assistance to millions of seniors. It seems impossible that the program could be threatened by an administration or circumstance and yet it is.

The True Value of Meals on Wheels

The concept behind this program originated in the United Kingdom. It started during the Blitz, where many people in the country lost everything.

Homes were destroyed during these trying times, but the people behind the Women’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defence saw an opportunity to make a difference. The idea was to simply bring prepared food to people who needed it, which is how the program started.

The program has transformed over the years and through different cultures, but the core idea remains the same: to help people. The program delivers food to the needy, to those who cannot prepare their own meals, and to elderly people.

Meals on Wheels did not officially arrive to the United States until 1974, and many welcomed the program.

The program is under attack under the new President of the United States. It seems that the current administration believes the program is not being run correctly. The officials seem to believe that Meals on Wheels is not targeting the people that need this service the most, which makes it ineffective.

These statements were made as the administration announced that it was planning to cut funding to Meals on Wheels. It should be noted that the program is already suffering. Data shows that the program, as a whole, has had to reduce the number of meals delivered by 23 million since 2005. This is on top of the fact that the program’s waiting list is growing, which shows just how greatly the program is needed.

Some will likely point out that Meals on Wheels will be just fine without the financial support it receives from the government. There probably is some truth to that since the program’s budget states that only around 3 percent of its revenue comes from the government. Most of the program’s revenue actually comes from companies and good-hearted people.

The problem here is that the program can use all the help it can get. Charities and other similar initiatives are always going to give more than they receive.

It is very hard, some might say impossible, to make a profit from helping people. Furthermore, no charity should really begin by hoping to make a profit off of giving but rather give as much as possible. The key thing to understand is that the reward is that people are ultimately helped by the program.

Meals on Wheels delivered 219.4 million meals in 2015. That is a large number, and it also represents the number of victories this program has had. For the administration to say that this program shows no results is quite a stretch.

The Other Side of Meals on Wheels

There are additional services that Meals on Wheels provides that some may overlook like companionship. Many seniors that are visited by the volunteers of this program are lonely and rarely get additional visitors.

Human beings are naturally social creatures, so giving lonely seniors an opportunity to meet with others should have a positive effect on some.

It should be pointed out that some people cannot prepare a meal without considerable strain due to some type of disability. Forcing people with debilitating afflictions to prepare their own meals by stripping away help could actually put some of these people in danger. Many people know that elderly people have been known to trip or fall, which could be fatal.

Meals on Wheels helps minimize the need for an elderly person to have to cook, and it provides a visitor who will also make sure everything is okay.

Some seniors also have trouble knowing if food is safe to eat due to afflictions that hinder the sense of smell or taste. This puts the senior in unnecessary risk. Thankfully, the good people in this program help feed some of these people. Seniors are happier with the assistance and also get to eat healthier, too.

No one is saying that the program is perfect. There are surely a few changes that can be made to target more people who are in need of help.

There are bound to be changes in policies that could make Meals on Wheels an even more effective program. Perhaps, some of these policy changes can connect the organization to the people who need it. It should also look for people who want to be involved.

Change should be welcomed because the goal should always be to improve, but cutting funding is a step backward. Cutting funding seems like it would hurt the program rather than help it.

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Surgical Correction for Cataracts

Nearly everyone experiences an eye problem at some point in life.

When the eyes are healthy, they focus the light that passes through the pupil to the retina at the back of the eye, allowing us to focus. cataractCataracts cloud the lens. The hazy lens prevents light from passing to the retina, impairing or dimming the vision. Once the cataract starts, it gradually increases the amount of light it blocks.

While most cataracts are age-related, some form due to other reasons. Such cataracts are much less common than age related ones.
For example:

Babies or children may develop congenital cataracts due to birth defects or heredity. Occasionally, a child forms cataracts for no obvious reason.

Eye surgery or chronic diseases are other causes of cataracts.

Medications, particularly steroids and diseases such as diabetes increase the risk of cataract formation.

Trauma that results in an eye wound can start the formation of a cataract. These cataracts may advance slowly.

Smoking, obesity, hypertension, prolonged exposure to sunlight and heredity also increase one’s chances of developing cataracts.

Cataracts are diagnosed by an ophthalmologist who examines the eyes by dilating the pupils using medication in the form of eye drops. He uses a slit-lamp to examine the cornea, lens and iris, as well as the space between the lens and iris. The doctor uses an ophthalmoscope, a special microscope, that allows the doctor to look for details and check for abnormalities. While the pupil is dilated, the doctor examines the retina and looks for diseases including glaucoma and cataracts. He also examines the retina and optic nerve. Additionally, the patient undergoes a standard vision acuity test, that involves evaluating the eyes using various sizes of letters.

If your doctor discovers cataracts, but you want to avoid surgery, you may have a few options. Depending on the severity of the condition, a simple change in prescription lenses may help you to see better.

Once you reach age 65, have an annual eye exam.

Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing a hat and choosing sunglasses designed to block 99 % of ultraviolet rays.

Avoid smoking.

Lose some weight. Your primary care physician can offer some tips to help.

If the cataracts cause halos or blur your vision after dark, limit your night driving.

If you find reading difficult, try using a magnifying glass.

Avoid any eye drops that claim to cure cataracts, as drops cannot cure the condition.

When the vision changes become too bothersome, see your ophthalmologist. Cataracts are easily treated with surgical removal. If the condition changes your lifestyle, you have the option of a simple surgery. Prior to the operation your doctor will perform tests. He will measure the curve of the cornea and size of the eye so he can choose the correct lens.

If you have had eye surgery such as Lasik in the past, it does not prevent cataracts, but you should let the surgeon know your medical history.

It is also important to inform the surgeon of any medications you take, including supplements and sleep aids. Some medications can slow the healing process. The doctor may prescribe eye drops for a few days after the surgery to help prevent infection.

Cataract surgery is generally quick and painless. The doctor makes a very small incision next to the cornea in the front of your eye. He then uses high-frequency ultrasound to break up the cataract before suctioning it away. He replaces the damaged lens with an intraocular lens (IOL). IOLs may be made of plastic, silicon or acrylic. As healing occurs, light begins passing through the new lens so it can focus on the retina and your vision starts to clear within a few days. To protect the new lens, the doctor places a protective shield over the eyes. He also provides wraparound sunglasses. After a short rest in the recovery, patients are ready to head home. However, every patient is required to have someone else to drive them home, as they are restricted from driving immediately after the procedure.

During the week after surgery you should:
-Avoid touching the eye
-Wear your shield continually
-Put on the provided sunglasses if in bright light
-Avoid lifting, bending or any strenuous exercise
-Protect the eye from water and dirt

It is normal for the vision to be blurry for a few days after surgery. If you experience pain, call your doctor immediately.

As with any surgery, there are some risks:

-The surgical site could become infected

-The retina or cornea or retina could swell

-The retina could detach

-You could experience glaucoma

-There could be hemorrhaging in the eye

Your insurance or Medicare sometimes helps with the cost of cataract surgery. Always check with your surgeon if you have questions about the surgery or expense when making your plans.

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How Senior Citizens Can Minimize Back Pain

Senior citizens are learning, as we age, problems with back pain seem to become a fixture in our lives, yet exercises are often a forgotten path. Senior Woman With Back PainCuriously, elderly patients run straight for a doctor, which typically results in a prescription. A better approach towards pain-free damage control is proactive stretching.

More than 50 percent of all Americans will suffer from some type of back pain during their lifetime. Some problems may be congenital, but classic back pain causes are simply due to muscular tightness, poor posture, inactivity, and being overweight.

For the elderly, the best approach to back problems is to implement methods of stretching, standing, sitting, and sleeping. Individuals who have reoccurring lower back problems should avoid any stretching that arch the back, called hyper-extensions. This creates too much stress on the lower lumbar.

Here are a few back pain exercises for daily care:

People tend to lift items when their legs are straight, causing tension in the back. The knees should always bend slightly when picking up packages so that the bulk of the work is done by the heaviest muscles in your legs. Not the small muscles in your lower back. When lifting, keep the weight close to your body, and the back as straight as possible.

Back pain is also a result of poor posture when standing and sitting. We tend to ignore our posture and usually will sit or stand with rounded shoulders, as our head droops forward. To correct alignment, pull your chin in, with the back of your head pulled straight. Keep your shoulders pulled back and down while you tighten your abdominal muscles. It sounds challenging, but getting into the habit will help flatten your lower back as you sit.

We also tend to stand with the knees locked. This tilts the hips forward and places the pressure of standing directly on the lower back. Use the large muscles, the quadriceps, to control posture when standing, and support the body in a position of strength. Your body will be always be aligned through the hips and lower back when the knees are slightly bent.

Every day individuals awake stiff, sore and grumbling about back pain. Bad sleeping habits account for a large portion of back pain causes. A good, firm surface can help with back care. A quick resolve is to sleep on your back, placing a pillow under your knees to keep the back flat, and minimize any tension.

Your Weight and Back Pain Causes

Tension in the back can be caused by excessive weight around the middle. The extra weight individuals carry can gradually cause the pelvic to tilt forward. Strong abdominal muscles can help support the pelvis and a stronger back. Many individuals simply ignore weight issues until it becomes one of their obvious causes of back pain. The good news is that back pain exercises can quickly address and resolve your problem. Here are a few simple routines to improve the condition;

1. Develop the abdominal muscles by regularly doing abdominal workouts. Of course, exercise within your limits. It will take time and regularity, but as you become more aware of weight issues and the uncomplicated treatments for these back pain causes, you’ll develop a daily routine.

2. Slowly allow the size of the stomach to shrink by not overeating. An overweight person needs more food to fill an over-stretched stomach and the outcome is an unbalanced body.

3. Build up the muscles in your chest and upper arms by performing daily knee push-ups. These push-ups help to isolate the muscles in the upper body without straining the lower back.

You’ll soon learn that movement will become much more enjoyable when your back is properly aligned. Proper nutrition and regular physical activity will add more function to your daily life, far beyond your current potential. When senior citizens introduce a few simple lifestyle changes, that include daily exercises that are targeted toward minimizing back pain, the problems will become a predicament of the past.

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