‘Healthy aging’ Posts

Osteoporosis and Arthritis Affect The Life of Many Seniors

May 27th, 2017 by Doris Bersing

Also known as the elderly disease, osteoporosis is a chronic disease that affects the bones. Several of the most serious consequences are fractures; in senior people, these have a detrimental effect on their general wellbeing. Osteoporosis affects the quality of one’s lifestyle, and even though there are preventive treatments that one can opt for, there’s no definitive treatment.

 

An undertreated disease

Many seniors don’t take osteoporosis seriously, and they undergo treatment when the disease is too advanced. There are things you can do to prevent its onset. For example, you should quit smoking and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Including healthy foods in your daily diet, and exercising is extremely important. Furthermore, a physician may recommend supplementation and vitamins to help strengthen the bones and restore mobility.

Why aren’t older seniors receiving proper treatment for osteoporosis?

Most seniors don’t get proper treatment because the symptoms are misleading. In other cases, they might even receive the wrong treatment. Some don’t want to consult with a physician, and choose to take supplements or vitamins at random. With a complete set of blood tests, it’s literally impossible to keep the condition under control.

In time, osteoporosis can severely affect your lifestyle. Sadly, the system is faulty and it needs to improve. There are seniors who can’t afford medical insurance, and even if they do, oftentimes prescription medication to keep the condition under control is not discounted. This discourages the elderly from buying them.

Preventive measures

If osteoporosis is spotted in time, it can easily be supervised. However, without a change in lifestyle and diet, there’s really not much you can do. It’s crucial that you convince your aging parent to eat more dairy products, vegetables, lean meat and fruits. Proper nutrition matters because it strengthens the bones and keeps the whole body feeling strong and vigorous. Also, it’s equally important to take walks and engage in mild exercise. Vitamin D matters just as much as best source of the power of the sun. In senior adults vitamin D deficiency is extremely common. Bone cartilages become extremely weak as people age. To prevent bone loss, supplementation might be required. However, seniors are not advised to take supplements at random. Visiting a physician is recommended, to make sure you are given the right type of treatment.

Is your mom or dad losing a lot of weight?

Do you feel that your mom or dad is losing a lot of weight, too fast? Osteoporosis is the kind of disease that doesn’t always present clear symptoms. It can be tough to tell that your parent has weak bones. In some circumstances, the symptoms may come too late. The good news is there are things you can do to make things better.

Take mom to the doctor’s office and get a bone density test. The most popular type of test is the DEXA. It’s a painless test that only takes a few minutes, and it is extremely accurate. Following the results, you should start the treatment. You shouldn’t wait because things can get worse, and you wouldn’t want to see mom struggle to get out, walk or get out of bed.

Misdiagnosis

Whether we like it or not, we have to mention that oftentimes physicians make mistakes. Older adults don’t get the right treatment because their condition is misdiagnosed. Osteoporosis must not be confused with arthritis.  To begin with, osteoporosis is a chronic disease that affects bone density. Basically, fractures occur more often when you suffer from osteoporosis. In the US, over 53 million older adults suffer from this condition. The side effects are acute: back pain, height loss and evident changes in body posture. Bone tissue is lost, and your parent’s physical condition may be severely affected triggering impairment and the inability to perform daily activity, such as walk or lift heavy items.  Bottom line is the body becomes extremely fragile with age. As a last resort, you may be compelled to consider care homes or assisted living facilities where professional caregivers will be with your parent every step of the way, providing treatment and extra care. But if you start treatment ahead of time, you have the best chances of postponing the onset of osteoporosis.

Age-Associated Changes in Metabolism

March 22nd, 2017 by Doris Bersing

How our bodies process the food we eat

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow your metabolism is between the ages of 10-30, you’ve probably heard that it’s a slippery slide into obesity past that point. Aunts and moms are generally those who love sharing nuggets of wisdom such as, “enjoy it while you can” and “after 30 it’s all downhill”. Based on that, we could conclude that there is some magical change that happens at the exact moment we celebrate our 30th birthday, causing the body’s metabolism to suddenly slow down to a crawl. Though it’s true that metabolism slows down with age, there’s no single turning point or cause why that happens.

We cannot deny that our metabolism has its ownups and downs. However, there’s no reason to fear any particular birthday more than any other when it comes to the way the body functions. The metabolism slows down as we age. That happens because it goes hand in hand with hormonal changes that happen over the course of years and decades.

Hormonal changes and a slowing metabolism are fundamental parts of aging, but there are ways to stave off both, if only for a little bit. Read on to find out what experts have to say about the process of metabolism slowing down and what healthy habits help curb that.

Metabolism is the speed with which the body turns calories from food into usable energy

No matter what we’re doing, our bodies are hard at work doing things such as extracting oxygen from the air, healing damaged cells and pumping out hormones. For all that, the body uses calories, and their combined worth in a single day is called “basal metabolic rate” (BMR). This differs from one individual to another, and a way to find out your BMR is to have your doctor check it for you or use an online calculator.

You will spend more calories when jogging, doing pushups or sprinting, but your BMR value tends to remain constant, since it’s controlled by your hormones. Genes, gender, body type and age also affect the BMR. As we grow older, the hormones within our bodies begin to change, affecting the way our bodies burn calories and store fat. When hormones are released in different quantities, our basal metabolic rate begins to fluctuate.

Biggest metabolic rate changes are related to menopause

The metabolism tends to grind to a halt way after 30, and generally around menopause. The average women see their metabolisms change is at the age of 50, when they get into menopause. The most notable hormone responsible for metabolism is estrogen. When it starts decreasing, the metabolism takes a big hit. Harvard Health also mentions the human growth hormone (HGH), released from the pituitary gland. It also slows down to a trickle as we grow older, since it regulates our muscle mass and fat burning. Muscles tend to grow slower as we age and break up faster. Since muscles are more metabolically active than fat cells, they are a huge factor in whether your BMR will slow down or speed up.

Post-30 weight gain is mostly due to lifestyle changes

People’s metabolisms slowly decline throughout 30s and 40s, but the weight gain is mostly caused by general lifestyle changes that you might not be aware of. We love to exercise in our 20s, but as we age and get to 30, we lose interest because we’re too focused on our careers or kids.

The silver lining: Faster metabolism is related to more physical activity

You can’t escape your genes, but you can take care of your body to make a difference. Even if someone has good genes and has looked skinny their entire life, a lack of physical exercise and proper dieting may trigger weight gain. It’s very important to try and restore muscle mass.

Eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and working out can help the metabolism get back on track. Why wait for your body to break down, when you can look and feel amazing at 50? Sure there might be lots of nursing homes near me just waiting for seniors to jump in, but if you eat right and exercise, you can live alone at home and be healthy. That’s the definition of a fulfilled lifestyle!

Social connection is key for senior well-being

August 24th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Visiting your eldersWhen talking healthy aging, we need to stress the fact that social connection is key for senior’s well-being. Loneliness and isolation can have serious consequences for seniors’ physical and mental health.

Social isolation and loneliness go hand in hand with poor health outcomes. Numerous side effects have been connected to social isolation in the elderly, including dementia, loneliness, and severe depression. Aging parents want to feel included in the lives on their loved ones; sadly, very few have the time to come visit. To make sure our beloved mothers and fathers stay happy and help preserve their general health, it is important to include them in our lives. Edward Francis from Forest, an eldercare village, gives us some tips on how to reduce elders’  loneliness and some ways to help them reconnect with family and friends.

Make transportation accessible

The main cause of social isolation in aging parents is lack of transportation. Most seniors are not in the capacity to drive, so it is important to help them get around in order to socialize and make independent choices. If your parents leave someplace where public transportation is not available, it might be a good idea to call them and ask if they need a lift. Do this twice a week. If you can’t, ask a friend or send them a taxi. Some seniors don’t even know they have public transportation in the area; make time to visit and teach them how to use the bus or the train. It will make them feel more independent, and even prevent a sense of loneliness.

Give aging parents a sense of purpose

Seniors who have hobbies or a sense of purpose are less likely to become isolated. Apart from making seniors find meaning in life, interests and hobbies are social activities by nature. Playing bridge or chess, cooking classes, exercising are all excellent activities aging parents should do to stay entertained. Local senior centers have all sorts of events planned out for seniors; checking those out might also be a great way to meet new people and interact. Doing some volunteering work is an excellent way of expressing and preserving a sense of purpose as well. Encouraging aging parents to stay active and engaged keeps them away from becoming lonely and isolated from the rest of the world.

Encourage your parents to get a pet

Research has demonstrated over and over again that the mere act of caring and nurturing relieves feelings of depression and social isolation. Getting a pet for example, is a great way of staying engaged, feeling more secure and having motivation to use time in a constructive way. Animal companionship fosters relationships with neighborhoods. It is a social stimulant, an icebreaker that gives seniors a serious reason to wake up in the morning and do fun things. Prior to recommending your parent to get a pet, you need to make sure that they can take care of it.

Boosting self-esteem

Many seniors don’t want to socialize because they have a poor image of themselves, particularly of their bodies. Those who lack confidence are prone to being lonelier than those that do choose to interact and have a social life. For instance, overweight seniors feel embarrassed and ashamed; they don’t like to engage because they fear that people will judge their physical appearance. Positive comments and compliments can go a very long way; they help boost self-esteem and prevent seniors from freaking out over their weight and physical appearance. It might be a good idea to encourage your aging parent to adhere to a healthier lifestyle; not just to lose weight, but also to feel better and more self-assured in their own skin.

Recommend vision and hearing tests

Seniors suffering from untreated or undiagnosed hearing or vision issues may want to stay isolated because of their inability to communicate properly. In this case, it might be a good idea to take your parents to the doctor; have them checked out and treated so that they can be back on their feet. A hearing aid can help them overcome their fears of social interaction. Vision tests are equally important because they will allow older people to see better and thus pay more attention to the things happening around them.

Senior parents who refuse to socialize usually have a very good reason for their behavior. It’s up to you to find the root cause of their depression; then you can work together on a solution. In most cases, it’s all about boosting their self-esteem and convincing them that they can have friends and be happy even if they’re in their 70s or 80s.

 

Summer Skin Care Tips For Seniors

June 4th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

summer skin care

Ruth Folger Weiss (a writer for the New Eastwood Rehab and Healthcare Center, a nursing home in Easton, PA. shares with us, valuable skin care tips for seniors to practice this coming summer.

For many, summer is one of the most enjoyable times of the year, but the sun rays can potentially be dangerous to all ages and skin types. Because aging skin is so delicate, it is highly susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays and the most at risk. While it’s important to be conscious about caring for and protecting your skin, that doesn’t mean it has to ruin your summer. Discover the secrets of caring for aging skin and create a summer skincare regimen that’s right for you.

  • Make moisturizing part of your routine. Seniors are more at risk of dehydration in the warm weather, so it’s important to moisturize. Find a lotion or ointment that you love and use it around the clock to prevent your skin from drying out throughout the day.
  • Blast away bugs with repellent. Bug bites aren’t fun for anyone, but a senior getting bit can be a tremendously irritating experience. Not only are bug bites pesky and itchy, but you also have to consider the diseases bugs carry. To prevent these issues, apply bug spray every day.
  • Shield with sunscreen. Sun protection is the most important step in a senior citizen’s skincare routine throughout the summer. The sun is harmful to all skin types no matter what age, but can be extremely damaging to the elderly. Apply sunscreen every day as a precaution. If you plan on being out in the sun for an extended amount of time, apply sunscreen liberally and often.
  • Wash away dirt and grime. Washing your face before going to bed is a great ritual to help combat dry and flakey skin. Remember to use face cleanser that contains moisturizers to help prevent dry skin. Using soap alone can strip away the natural oils that your skin produces, doing more damage to your skin than good.
  • Avoid overexposure! Spending too much time in the sun can cause major damage to your skin. Even if you apply sunscreen every hour, you are still at risk for sun damage. If you know you’ll be in the sun for a decent chunk of time, apply sunscreen and wear protective gear, like a wide-brimmed hat or light-weight clothes that conceals as much skin as possible.

You only get one set of skin, so make sure you do everything that you can to prolong its natural beauty. While the summer season certainly presents its challenges for seniors, it doesn’t have to determine whether or not you enjoy the warm weather. Follow this senior skin care regimen for making the most out of your summer!

Enjoying your golden years

February 14th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Contrary to conventional belief, retirement is a great time to set new goals that don’t revolve around work and raising kids, but instead revolve around your own personal growth. Living with purpose is something that doesn’t stop when you are older. If anything, purpose becomes even more important for the overall health and well-being of senior citizens. So get ahead and start your goal setting during your golden years. And learn how to pay for it.

Refresments provided.

Speakers
Mary-Alice Cardenas
Doris Bersing
Date/Time
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 5-6:30pm
Location
Mill Valley Recreation Center
180 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA 94941
RSVP

Limited seating. Please rsvp by calling 1-800-805-7104 or email us at events@livingwellah.com

Dowload event flyer

Living Well presents: Enjoying your golden years, Thursday, February 18

January 19th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Contrary to conventional belief, retirement is a great time to set new goals that don’t revolve around work and raising kids, but instead revolve around your own personal growth. Living with purpose is something that doesn’t stop when you are older. If anything, purpose becomes even more important for the overall health and well-being of senior citizens. So get ahead and start your goal setting during your golden years. And learn how to pay for it.

Refresments provided.

Speakers
Mary-Alice Cardenas
Doris Bersing
Date/Time
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 5-6:30pm
Location
Mill Valley Recreation Center
180 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA 94941
RSVP

Limited seating. Please rsvp by calling 1-800-805-7104 or email us at events@livingwellah.com

Dowload event flyer

Healthy Diet for Seniors and its Benefits

November 21st, 2015 by Doris Bersing

healthy foods for seniorsOur regular collaborator, Edward Francis with Supplemented.co.uk alerts us that trying to stay healthy as we age can be a bit of a challenge, and it’s even more difficult to try and encourage someone else to be healthy. He says: “…But there are many benefits of having a healthy diet as a senior, so it’s definitely worth the effort. Here’s just a few of the main benefits of having a healthy diet as a senior:

Reduce Risk of Heart Issues

As we get older, our heart is already at a higher risk of suffering from issues – whether that’s heart attacks, heart disease or other similar problems. Making sure you have a healthy diet is one way to lower these risks and keep your heart in top shape. But what exactly is a heart healthy diet? Portion size is important here – eating too much of even the best things isn’t great for you. There’s no need to cut the size so much that you’re hungry, but learning not to overfill your plate is a great foundation for building a healthy diet on. Other key aspects of a heart healthy diet include eating more fruit and vegetables, swapping to whole grains, and limiting unhealthy fats. It’s important to note that it’s only unhealthy fats – there’s no need to cut out fat altogether!

Have More Energy

It’s common for older people to begin to feel lethargic and low on energy. Part of this is simply because of aging, but it’s often something worsened by underlying issues – such as depression, or a poor diet. Swapping to a healthier diet is a quick way to give yourself an energy boost. If this is the main benefit that interests you, there are some specific tips you should follow. Firstly, make sure you’re eating breakfast! This is a vital part of both eating healthily and keeping your energy rates high. If you’re really struggling to eat a full meal in the mornings, even snacking on a breakfast bar is better than not eating. Complex carbohydrates are a must – starchy foods such as potatoes are a great source of these. And finally – make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Being dehydrated saps away energy, and making sure you’re drinking lots throughout the day is a great way to feel refreshed.

Strong Bones

One risk for seniors is brittle bones – it’s why there’s an increased risk of hip fractures from falls, for instance. Whilst this isn’t entirely avoidable, it is possible to lessen the impact by ensuring you’re eating correctly. Calcium and vitamin D are the most important things to consider here. Vitamin D is often hard to get enough of through diet alone, so we recommend taking a supplement in order to ensure you reap the benefits. As for calcium, milk and yogurt are key sources, but you should also consider increasing the amount of green leafy vegetables and nuts that you eat, as these are great secondary sources. It’s also important to remain active – in this case, diet can only go so far, so making sure you get a regular amount of exercise (even if it’s only a small amount) is vital.

Keep Your Mind Sharp

There’s a lot of discussion on the best way to keep your mind sharp as you age – from doing sudoku to taking long walks. One thing everyone agrees on though is that your diet plays a massive part of it. Starting to eat more healthily can has major benefits for your mind, and if you’re concerned about issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s, then it’s a quick and easy change with a big impact. If this is the thing you’re most concerned about, then a big thing to add into your diet is omega-3s. Foods like salmon are the obvious choice, but did you know you can also get the same effects from flax seeds? Green tea is another worthwhile addition, as it’s great for countering free radicals – the things most likely to be responsible for age-related mind issues.

These are just a few of the potential benefits gained from having a healthy diet – there are many more, and it’s something worth discussing with a medical professional if you have any queries about. Just be aware that the portions deemed healthy for a senior are likely to differ from what’s considered healthy for a younger adult, so make sure to do the research and not overload with food by mistake. Everything calls, of course for balance. That what you like and that what you must have versus what improves your quality of life. A difficult balance to keep and yet, a token for quality of life.