According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death.
How vital is fitness to aging? Very.. A recent study of participants in the 2015 National Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics, revealed that the typical participant had a fitness age of more than 20 years younger than his or her chronological age. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, fitness age is determined by a measure of cardiovascular endurance and is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age.
It’s been known for years that poor dental health increases a person’s risk for heart disease. In the recent past, poor dental health has been mentioned as a possible risk for Alzheimer’s disease, as well. Now, a large and lengthy study has confirmed a probable correlation between poor dental hygiene and dementia.
A recent AARP survey discovered that 93% of Americans find maintaining brain health to be very important, however very few know the best ways to make this happen. When asked how to maintain brain health, results showed that many of the methods that are scientifically proven to improve or maintain brain health ranked as low priority areas for most respondents.
Dear Readers: Throughout the decade that I’ve been answering questions about aging and caregiving I’ve been continually unsatisfied with the need to refer seniors and caregivers to multiple websites when assisting them in finding resource information. The recent White House Conference on Aging has now launched a one stop link to resources and I’ve taken it as a personal challenge to share this information with as many seniors and caregivers as possible.
Throughout past centuries, meditation has been used as a method for staying centered and spiritually connected, which in turn reduces chronic stress. This connectedness is often called spiritual fitness. It's known that chronic stress is a risk factor for Alzheimer's. Could spiritual fitness, along with diet, exercise, brain fitness and socialization be a path to reducing our Alzheimer’s risk? Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., who is president and medical director of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation and a clinical associate professor of integrative medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, thinks so.
As people age, surgery becomes a greater risk to their overall health than it is for younger people. Older people often have less robust immune systems so they are more at risk for general infections and they are more at risk for pneumonia. However, one of the most frightening risks for older people is post-surgical delirium.
Dear Carol: My 81-year-old grandma has been healthy all of her life. Her only doctor is a family physician who is very nice but nearing retirement himself. Grandma has been getting forgetful and has had a few episodes of confusion. She is much closer to me than she is to my mother, who is her daughter. Mom tells me that the family doctor says Grandma is just getting older but she’s fine. I’d like Grandma to see a specialist. How do I convince them both that Grandma’s reliable family doctor who has been fine all of these years may not be the person to diagnose dementia? Niki
Caregivers of elderly or disabled loved ones work hard. There’s no getting around the sacrifices of time, energy, private life and often financial wellbeing that caregivers, be it family or professional, often make. However, the rewards that accompany this self-sacrifice can be priceless. With a caregiving history involving decades of caring for multiple loved ones, I know quite a bit about the hard times as well as the blessings of caregiving. Yet, because I’m an eldercare columnist, I receive letters from individuals who have caregiving responsibilities far beyond anything I’ve ever imagined.
It’s been nearly a decade since I began sharing my personal caregiving stories with the public, first via the book “Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories” and later through a newspaper column, on my own blog and then contributing to major websites such as Healthcentral.com.When I first started sharing my stories and looking for others who had similar tales to tell, people tended to be reticent about speaking up. Now, sharing caregiver “in the trenches” stories has become a major part of caregiver self-care and even survival.