Here it is: February. A short month in terms of days, but a long month for many, as it is usually cold and falls between the excitement of the holidays and the anticipation of spring.
February also claims Valentine’s Day and American Heart Health Month. Speaking of hearts, did you know that there is a link between heart health and hearing health? The inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow. Studies have shown that a healthy cardiovascular system—a person’s heart, arteries, and veins, has a positive effect on hearing. Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.
It’s no secret that New Englanders are well versed in the “winter blues.” With shortened daylight and chilly temperatures, it’s easy to feel sluggish and left longing for the summer months. For some people, however, depression during the winter is a serious problem. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs the same time every year, usually beginning in the fall as the days get shorter.
Do you know the difference between gerontology and geriatrics? Or understand what a gerontologist does versus a geriatric specialist? While both strive to improve life for seniors, and are clearly related, there is a difference between the two disciplines.
Gerontology is the study of the aging process including investigation of the physical, mental, and social changes that affect people as they age. Geriatrics is a branch of medicine that focuses on health promotion, as well as the treatment of disease and disability later in life.
We all make resolutions when the New Year rolls around. And usually, our resolutions are chosen to improve ourselves in some way. Do we want to eat better? Lose weight? Exercise more? Find ways to lessen stress?
If you, or any of your loved ones, have been struggling with hearing problems, perhaps 2013 is the time to resolve to hear BETTER!
I want to lose weight. I want to be healthier. I want to get in shape. As Orchard Cove’s Vitalize360 Coach, I often hear these goals, especially as the New Year approaches. And while made with positive intentions, they are sometimes flawed in their vagueness.
Anyone who knows me, is certainly aware that I have very strong feelings about how we should deliver health care – especially to older patients. That’s why I’m so proud that I’m part of an effort to expand geriatric health care access to Hebrew SeniorLife’s primary care medical services to more and more seniors both within and beyond the walls of HSL’s senior housing communities.
You can wrap presents up with pretty paper and bows, but the truth is, gift giving can be a major cause of family holiday stress. During what is supposed to be a joyful time, seniors can find themselves struggling to complete shopping under stressful circumstances and trying to choose the right gifts for family members of all ages. This, however, doesn’t have to be the case.
Holidays bring to mind thoughts of family, friends, fun, food…and maybe, in the face of hearing loss, some stress knowing it will be hard to keep up with the conversations. Maybe, when Cousin Bob tells his latest joke, you laugh at the punch line. NOT because you heard it, but because everyone else is laughing. Maybe, when the group is reminiscing at the kitchen table, you sneak off into the other room where it’s quiet, and you don’t have to participate.
A loose railing. A dusty table. Expired milk in the refrigerator. These can all seem like simple problems, but may actually be signs of bigger issues for seniors. That loose railing can mean difficulty making it up stairs. Ignored dust can hint at eye sight trouble or that house work has become too strenuous. Expired food can mean a senior is not getting the right nutrition or simply needs help getting to the store more often.
Aging can be associated with limitations and a loss of independence. That’s why I’m thrilled to witness an empowering movement in senior health care in which patients play more active roles to improve medical conditions and truly take control of their own destinies.
Senior health care doesn’t have to be a matter of strictly following doctor’s orders. In fact, when patients set specific goals, overcome obstacles and meet objectives, it can be a powerful experience, beneficial to both their confidence and health.