Gone is the belief that growing older means inevitable and irreversible physical decline. Thanks to aging research, including that conducted in the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife, we now know that not only is physical activity possible at any age, but it is beneficial— from staying heart healthy, to helping prevent falls, to slowing the onslaught of dementia.
The fifth commandment instructs us to “honor your mother and your father.” Last time I checked, there is no social commandment instructing our elders to hide their gray. The veneration that our tradition gives to a person with gray hair is undermined by a nip-and-tuck culture. People in large numbers persist in trying to mask the natural effects of aging, which creates a false hierarchy of youth and communicates that those who are older are less valued.
It’s time we got over it. The statistics are quite clear: We are living in a time when the oldest in our society are the fastest-growing portion of the population. And yet it is also clear that people over 85 are frequently marginalized, lonely and alienated from the larger community. Significant change is needed.
Hebrew SeniorLife Home Care specializes in the care of older patients, and in my experience, the majority of my patients experience some degree of pain. It can range from mild, daily arthritic discomfort and stiffness to severe pain associated with surgery or trauma such as a fall, and in some cases, a disease like cancer or diabetes. Whatever the cause or level of severity, pain can cause a ripple effect that touches relationships and profoundly affects an individual’s quality of life.
Nothing can take the place of human touch when it comes to patient care. For those of us in home care, technology does not replace direct patient contact, but rather serves as a powerful ally. I like to say that technology known as telehealth enhances my team’s intelligence.
What is telehealth? Telehealth is defined as a means for exchanging health care information using communication technology. It can be as simple as a conversation between two providers discussing a patient’s status over the phone, or as sophisticated as performing robotic surgery between locations miles apart or even on opposite sides of the globe.
Getting outside and moving is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any age. When exploring all that New England has to offer in the summer, it’s important to take steps to avoid Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is commonly spread through the bite of infected ticks that can be found in places like your backyard or outdoor recreational areas. Whether you have been out walking in tall dune grass at the beach, or the grassy area by the playing field at a grandchild’s soccer game, it’s important to check for ticks.
We all know that vaccines are an important piece of preventive health care for children. But did you know that immunizations are equally important as we get older?
The Centers for Disease Control reports that each year, about 42,000 adults in the U.S. die from illnesses that could have been prevented by vaccines. Chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease can put seniors at greater risk for becoming seriously ill. As a geriatrician with HSL Medical Group, my primary goal is to help seniors avoid health complications that can happen as we get older – and vaccines are one important tool.
It’s one of the most simple, but important things you can do for your body – drink plenty of water. Next to oxygen, water is the most significant nutrient your body needs to function properly. It makes up nearly 70 percent of the human body and plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function, including regulating temperature and carrying nutrients throughout the body.
I often remind my patients of ways to stay hydrated because without proper fluid intake, the body becomes dehydrated. Untreated severe dehydration can lead to seizures, permanent brain damage, and even death. Seniors must take extra precautions because their thirst mechanism is not as sensitive as it once was and they are often not aware that they have become dangerously dehydrated.
With summer upon us, we tend to hear a great deal about healthy eating and getting in tip-top shape. There is no shortage of diets, drinks and pills being marketed, all promising slim waistlines for the summer season. But the truth is – healthy eating isn’t limited to a particular time of year. It’s a lifestyle and one that is incredibly important as we age.
Truth: No studies to date show that your eyesight will get sharper just by eating more carrots. In order for your eyes to function properly they need the nutrient Vitamin A which is found in carrots. Be sure to talk to a doctor before adding a vitamin A supplement to your diet because too much can be harmful to your health.
Many studies indicate that people with untreated hearing loss may be at an increased risk of depression. Further, when these people use hearing aids, they experience significant improvements in quality of life and a decrease in depressive symptoms. A study published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics examined the effects of hearing aids on cognitive function and depressive signs in people 65 and older. Researchers found that after three months of using a hearing aid, all patients showed significant improvement in their psychosocial and cognitive conditions.