I’m always impressed by seniors in our community and their commitment to healthy living. As Orchard Cove’s Vitalize360 coach, I regularly have the opportunity to help residents set and work on personal goals. It’s exciting to witness an 86-year-old woman recover from a hip fracture and commit to improve her physical fitness by taking on new activities such as swimming and Zumba. Sometimes, the goals are not related to fitness. I’ve watched watch a man revitalize his work as an artist at the age of 79 and discover new passions, such as singing in our choral group.
We expect a lot from our feet. They get us to all the places we need to go, while providing the anchor and balance crucial to physical activity. As we age, foot problems can become common. From aches and pain to bunions and corns, our feet are prone to many conditions that can cause discomfort and impact mobility. This shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that the distance people walk in a lifetime would take them around the globe nearly six times. Yet, our feet are often neglected and foot pain is frequently written off as not a significant risk to health. Researchers have also neglected foot problems when it comes to learning how they can affect overall senior health.
Research shows that creativity can help reduce stress and improve physical functioning. As we age, it’s important to explore new activities and ways to express ourselves. While it can be tempting to get stuck in a routine rut, seniors can benefit from fostering a creative mind with new experiences and ideas. From art and music to creative writing, there are endless options.
Many seniors in our communities thrive when introduced to new creative opportunities, such as art classes or performing in a choral group. Sometimes, they are trying these things for the first time. Often, they are renewing old passions. Either way, the experiences are fulfilling and enjoyable. Here are some ways to find the perfect activities for the creative mind.
It may be tempting to choose shoes based on style or a good sale, but poorly fitting shoes can cause a number of painful foot problems. Unfortunately, some seniors suffering from bunions, corns, calluses and other disabling problems because they are not wearing shoes that fit properly.
The best shoes for seniors are supportive and conform to the shape of their feet. In fact, a study by the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife has revealed that certain shoe types increase future risk of heel and ankle pain. Wearing sandals with poor support and high heels in the past were reported to have caused foot pain in 64 percent of women who participated in the study.
When was the last time you had a good laugh? It may be more important than you think. Over time, we have learned there are numerous health benefits of laughter. Not only can it relieve physical stress and tension, but boost our immune systems, including reducing stress hormones and increasing the activity of immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
It seems to go without saying – make sure to dress warmly during the cold winter months. For seniors, however, it’s particularly important to protect against the cold. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at retaining heat, making older people more vulnerable to hypothermia (low body temperature) often brought on by extreme temperatures.
Hypothermia symptoms often develop slowly. You can become confused, drowsy, and have trouble speaking. If not treated immediately, hypothermia can cause life-threatening emergencies. Stay warm and safe this winter with the following tips:
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. After all, it can be stressful to listen and try to catch every word. Much easier if it’s just you and the TV.
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.
I’m sure you’ve heard the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Unfortunately, this rhyme is not entirely truthful. Apples are healthy and good for you in many ways, but the reality is, eating an apple can’t keep you from getting sick. There is something that can do that though—vaccination (although we have yet to invent a rhyme reminding us of that).
Vaccinations are arguably the most important contribution to medicine. They are the reason polio no longer exists in the United States and why children no longer even need inoculation from small pox.