US guidelines urge more cholesterol meds than Europe

US guidelines urge more cholesterol meds than Europe (via AFP)

US guidelines for prescribing cholesterol-lowering drugs to people over 55 call for many more to be taking the medications than in Europe, researchers said Saturday. The findings raised new questions about how popular drugs like Lipitor (atorvastatin…

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Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

older adults on the beachFound a great quote about growing old this morning so I decided to scour the interwebs for a top 10 list.  Add your favorites to the list below!

Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

  1. “Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” John Glenn
  2. “I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” Albert Einstein
  3. “Do not try to live forever, you will not succeed.” George Bernard Shaw
  4. “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” Henry David Thoreau
  5. “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” Bill Vaughan
  6. “The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” Muhammad Ali
  7. “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain
  8. “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” Author Unknown
  9. “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” Satchel Paige
  10. “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” Michael Pritchard

There are so many more out there that should be on the list of top 10 quotes about growing old!  What’s your favorite?  My mother always used to say “Growing old is just a state of mind…” and it’s so true!  (Not sure where that one originated but I certainly like it.)

Photo: Natasha Hirtzel via Flicker

Wrinkles by Mark Twain

Elderly Couple Took Photo In Same Place Each Season Until The Inevitable

Purportedly, journalist Ken Griffiths of The Sunday Times took a photo of the same couple, in the same place (outside their home), each season for 12 consecutive years.  There are many theories surrounding this series of photos.  Some say it’s Ken Griffiths’ parents and he chronicled their love for one another through their final 12 seasons together.  Others merely note the acclaimed photographer and journalist took the photos of some would be friends to be originally published in 1973.  The results no matter which way you cut it are amazing, and they are making their way around the web for all to ponder.

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”
― Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

There is something magical about each season anew.  Each bring with it inevitable change, glory and even decay.  Spring brings with it eternal hope and each season unveils a new chapter.  The same holds true in our lives, and I love to think about the parallels between our mother earth… and each of us that share her for a brief moment in time.

Ken Griffiths Season 1

Ken Griffiths Season 2

Ken Griffiths Season 3

Ken Griffiths Season 4

Ken Griffiths Season 5

Ken Griffiths Season 6

Ken Griffiths Season 7

Ken Griffiths Season 8

Ken Griffiths Season 9

Ken Griffiths Season 10

Ken Griffiths Season 11

Ken Griffiths Final Season

10 Tips To Total Healing

10 Tips To Total Healing (via Honey Colony)

By Kathy Gruver, Buzzworthy Blog Though one of the most basic things our bodies do, healing is complicated by bio-individuality, our mental states and our environments. I believe we can enhance our healing using mind-body techniques, but we can’t…

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What Boomers Look For In A Retirement Community

Boomers on computerMedia Post’s Engage Boomers Blog wrote a nice piece on the 5 things boomers are looking for in a retirement community and we thought we’d pass a few of these tidbits along.  There are a few obvious features, and a couple not-so-obvious.

Today’s baby boomers are looking for pet friendliness, spacious living quarters and sustainability (environmentally functional) just to name a few.  Boomers today live active lifestyles, and their not looking to get bogged down!  Lot’s of activities are a must in any modern day retirement community, and a quality food menu is an absolute essential!!!!

The article doesn’t mention it, but it goes without question – staff friendliness, attentiveness and professionalism rank extremely high among the attributes of top retirement communities.  People really do make the difference.  What are you looking for in a top rated retirement community?

PRISONS GET GRAYER, BUT EFFORTS TO RELEASE THE DYING LAG

PRISONS GET GRAYER, BUT EFFORTS TO RELEASE THE DYING LAG (via City Limits)

Phil Lyons sat with four other inmates, shackled and handcuffed inside a dark blue windowless van with no air conditioning. It was 2010, New York’s hottest summer in history. While they roasted in the van, according to the story that Lyons told his…

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Book Review: Plan Ahead: Tools for the Caregiver

plan ahead caregiver workbook for senior careWhile there are many books for caregivers and senior care in general, few are able to distinguish themselves as part workbook, part resource and part guide.  The author, Walt Sonksen has done a nice job putting all three together in this easy-to-read caregiver workbook.  In this book, Walt shares life experiences, as well as those lessons learned  from the deaths of his own parents.  The book encompasses many aspects of family care…  Such as gathering personal information and wishes, transition planning, safety concerns, caregiving options, financial and legal issues, and community resources.

 This handbook is meant to be used before a crisis so the family and their designated caregivers can spend more quality time with their family member.

Plan Ahead: Tools for the Caregiver is a workbook that can be used and written in and is small enough to fit in a purse or tablet pouch.  This is a tool that you will use over time and will add to it as you go along the journey of caregiving. Some of the information is specific to Oregon and Washington, the author resides in the Northwest, however a reader who is resourceful will be able to access similar information for their own area.   The book is geared to the adult caregiver and is focused on senior care, but could apply to any caregiving situation (dependent children, etc…).  Throughout the book you will find checklists, tidbits, personal stories and encouragement.  Several well-respected leaders in the elder care field are also contributors to topics like senior living options, downsizing and moving, and mental health.

The book can be purchased on Amazon for a list price of $16.95.  Additional details and a downloadable Emergency Medical Packet are available at the website, www.planaheadtools.com.


 

February is American Heart Month- What are you doing to care for your heart?

February is American Heart MonthFebruary is American Heart Month and I just celebrated by taking a brisk walk.  It’s important to show some love to your heart since Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one killer for men and women in the U.S. and is a leading cause of disability.  CVDs including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure can be prevented by healthy habits like diet and exercise and not smoking.  The CDC offers some great tips to improving heart health, check out their website for expanded information- remember each step in the right direction is a step closer to a healthy heart!

1. Work with your health care team- make sure you are seeing your doctor at least once a year for regular check-ups.  Even if you are feeling great, they can check for things that may otherwise go unnoticed (like diabetes and high blood pressure).

2. Check your blood pressure and cholesterol- I have to keep reminding my kids that the blood pressure machines at the drug store aren’t toys to play on while we wait!  High blood pressure typically has no symptoms, so check it regularly.  A blood test for cholesterol is recommended every five years.

3. Eat a healthy diet and keep a healthy weight- An apple a day….  Adults should be eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, foods low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium and high in fiber.  If you need help planning meals, selecting the right foods, physical activity ideas and exercise trackers, ChooseMyPlate.gov is a terrific resource.

4. Exercise.  Often.- You don’t have to run out and join a gym.  It’s easy to get your blood moving doing daily activities like taking the stairs, raking the yard, or parking at the far end of the parking lot.  The Surgeon General recommends that adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.  That’s less than 25 minutes per day to show some love to your heart.

5. Don’t smoke and limit alcohol-  If you smoke, quit.  Talk to your doctor about strategies and medications that can help you with the addiction.   Alcohol overuse can increase blood pressure.  Men should limit alcohol intake to two drinks per day and women to one.

6. Manage diabetes and take your heart medication- Work closely with your health care team to ensure your diabetes is being managed the best way possible.  If you are taking heart related medications, make sure you are taking the right dose and follow directions for the medication correctly.  If you are having any side-effects or concerns about the medication, bring this to the attention of your health care team right away.

If these recommendations seem overwhelming, take it one step at a time.  Ask friends and family to support you and share your goals with them.   For more inspiration, check out these Hearty Healthy Pins.

Making a Difference, One Wave at a Time

elderly woman waves to kids and they wave backIt’s not hard to find inspiration on the web, a few minutes spent on youtube or facebook is all it usually takes to make us tear up.  The waterworks get turned on when we see inspiration and seniors in the same story.  This delightful video has it all- smiles, humor, sweetness, and tears. Tinney Davidson is a widow who has impacted kids in a big way, with a small wave. This year, the kids decided they would show her how much her small daily act meant to them.  If this doesn’t melt your heart, you should probably see a doctor.  And speaking of your heart, did you know that February is American Heart Month?

 

 

Improve Home Access and Mobility For Seniors – Tune Up Your Doors!

Creating an accessible home with doors and doorwaysAre the doors in your home sticky, narrow or just plain unwieldy? For most of us, this can be a big annoyance. However, for seniors, it can be a significant impediment to mobility in the home.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve the situation and make daily life a little easier.

Here are some ideas:

Door Knobs - Consider replacing door knobs with door levers. These are simply easier for seniors to open than a traditional round door knob. Internal door hardware is affordable and relatively easy to replace. Entry door locksets are more expensive, but won’t necessarily break the bank if you shop around.

Misaligned Doors - When doors are out of alignment, they can rub on the frame and become difficult to open and close. There are a few quick tricks you can try before you resort to re-framing the door.

  • If the problem is very minor, you can sometimes just sand the edge of the door that is rubbing. This is permanent and is not recommended if the problem is seasonal or if too much material must be removed.
  • Use shims to move the upper or lower hinge out from the door frame slightly. While you may be able to use cardboard or washers to accomplish this, it’s probably better to purchase door shims that are specifically designed for this purpose.
  • Another trick is to slightly bend one or both of the door hinge knuckles. Crescent wrenches are frequently used for this, but there are now knuckle bender tools to make it easier.

Narrow Doorways - Some doorways are too narrow to provide access for a walker or wheelchair. You have a few options:

  • ‘Swing clear’ hinges are a great way to improve access. As the name implies, these hinges allow the door to swing completely out of the door opening. In some cases, this can add a couple inches of badly needed clearance.
  • If you don’t need to close that particular door, consider removing the door and hinge altogether. You can also remove the innermost strip of trim that functions as a door stop. If the doorway needs to be even wider, you can try removing the entire door frame and trimming out the opening with thin sheet-rock.
  • Depending on the location in your home and the wall framing surrounding the door, you may be able to replace the existing door with a wider pre-hung door. While this may not be a DIY job, a good contractor can probably do it for a reasonable price.

Garage Doors - Not only can garage doors be difficult to open and close, they can be downright hazardous for some seniors. While most problems with garage doors can be easily fixed, it is recommended that you hire a licensed contractor for significant improvements. Garage door springs are dangerous to work with and some municipalities may even require building permits.

  • If you have a slab garage door, check into getting a roll-up door. These should be much safer and easier for seniors to manage.
  • Remove dirt and debris from the garage door and the areas around it.
  • Lubricate your door hardware. If you are unsure of the best type, look for a lubricant specifically labeled for garage door hardware.
  • Replace your garage door springs. If the springs are old, they may not be functioning as well as they should. They could also be dangerous in the event of a failure.
  • If you don’t have one already, consider purchasing an automatic garage door opener. The quality of these continues to improve and they are more affordable than ever.

Sliding Doors - Sliding doors are inherently more difficult to open than swinging doors and can be even more of a challenge for seniors. These generally require more ongoing maintenance to function smoothly.

  • Clean out the tracks regularly.
  • Lubricate moving parts.
  • Although it can be tricky, many sliding doors have screws to adjust alignment. If needed, replacement parts are generally available as well.
  • Consider replacing a sliding door with a pair of swinging French doors. Because the sliding door opening is typically wide, replacement with French doors is generally easier than many other installations.

Keyless Entry Systems - Some seniors have difficulties when using keys. Door locks with combination buttons and remote key fobs are now available. Some of these can even be activated by other remote devices such as cell phones or security systems.

While these are all great improvements for the doors themselves, don’t forget to address the lighting near your doorways. For example, motion detectors can automatically turn on the lights when approaching the door. This will free up both hands for opening the door, carrying groceries or even stability. Now all you need is a friendly welcome mat!