“Old age ain’t for sissies”, that’s what Bette Davis told reporters who asked about her aging process. While it may have been true for Bette, it turns out aging isn’t as scary as the media makes it seem. Studies have shown that seniors in America are thriving.

So why are so many industries focused on anti-aging? It turns out there are some common misconceptions about what it means to grow older.

The biggest misconception is that older people feel depressed. Stanford University’s Center on Longevity conducted a study which found that emotional well-being actually improves as you age. Seniors feel better about their looks, lives and relationships than younger people.

Depression among seniors seems to be triggered by feelings of isolation. This secluded feeling can occur when seniors experience a lack of mobility that keeps them at home instead of socializing. So seniors living in an urban community with excellent public transportation or in a refined residential living community, where socializing is a major part of life, still feel vital.

Another common misconception is that you lose your brain power as you age. Barring dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, there’s no reason to believe that your mind crumbles as you age. Seniors may take longer to access information in their brains, but that may be because their knowledge base is greater than younger peers.

“Like an older computer, an older brain typically takes longer to process and retrieve information from its crowded memory,” says University of Texas at Dallas professor of behavioral and brain sciences Denise Park.

In fact, if you train your brain like you train your muscles. Try working crossword puzzles and reading to help your mind stay active. Another great way to keep your mental acuity is conversation. Studies have shown that regular interaction help seniors keep their minds sharp.

Change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Don’t let the common misconceptions about aging make you afraid to embrace the next stage of life. As you age, make some healthy choices and you’ll discover how much fun growing old can be.

Snow can make your house and neighborhood look beautiful, but this time of year can also be dangerous for aging Americans. The same snow and ice that makes the world glisten can create unsure footing which can lead to falls.

The CDC reports that one third of adults over the age of 65 suffers from a fall each year. These falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors. The medical costs of these falls add up to nearly $30 billion. The National Council on Aging estimates that these costs will increase to $59.6 billion by 2020 as the senior population in America grows.

The cost and pain of a fall is something no one wants to experience. Luckily, there are some ways to make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe this winter. Be sure that all of your senior loved ones have their drive- and walkways properly shoveled and salted.

Another important aspect of fall prevention is keeping yourself in good physical condition. The Mayo Clinic recommends walking, water workouts, or tai chi to help seniors improve their balance and enhance their muscle tone. It’s also essential that seniors wear proper footwear, especially when going out in winter conditions. If you or your loved one feel themselves falling on a winter walkway or sidewalk, try to fall toward a soft area – a snowbank on the side or the grass next to the pavement may help prevent or lessen injuries.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends that seniors take a look at their homes and eliminate common fall hazards. Homes should be clear of any clutter, to reduce the risk of tripping. Make sure all electrical cords are out of high traffic areas. If seniors own area rugs, they should be secured with tacks, slip resistant backing or double-sided tape. Keep all heavily used items (like bowls or cups) within easy reach, so that seniors do not have to strain to retrieve them. Make sure all bathrooms have non-slip mats and that there are fall bars that can aid seniors if they do lose their balance.

This year, face the winter weather with awareness and you’ll be able to enjoy the season in health and happiness.

You’re only as old as you feel. It’s an old adage, but scientists have discovered that it may prove true. Why does one 100-year-old man run marathons while a 60-year-old barely has energy to cook dinner? It turns out some of it may relate to your state of mind.

In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine online, researchers found that persons 65 years or older who felt younger than their actual age where more active and less likely to die than those who claimed to feel their real age or older.

The study is one of many that have proven that your attitude and personality can affect how you age. So, how do you keep your spirits high as you age?
Environment may be a key.

While “aging in place” is often a goal for seniors, staying at home can sometimes be a negative thing. As mobility becomes an issue, living at home can actually make seniors feel isolated. Lack of public transportation, the loss of partners and poor health can all contribute to feelings of seclusion. Isolation actually increases the rates of mortality and depression in seniors.

One way to prevent isolation is to ensure an active environment. Moving into Refined Residential Living accommodations, like the Cottage at Curry Manor can help keep aging loved ones vital and active through the years.

The Cottage is Capital City Nurses’ foray into residential services. The staff focuses on the importance of keeping our residents active mentally and physically, while offering the best in senior care.

We offer classes, seminars and talks with local groups that keep our resident’s minds sharp. Gardening, music, culinary, and dramatic programs keep bodies vital and energized. The idea behind the Cottage is to build a vital community that will engage our residents, keeping them positive and healthy.

Running a marathon at 100 might not be a life goal for everyone, but at Capital City Nurses, we know that a good attitude is a great first step to healthy aging.

Tis the season for gift giving. We crowd the malls or browse online looking for the perfect gift for everyone on our list. This year, if you have aging loved ones on your gift list, shop smart and give the gift of safety.

If your loved one plans on aging in place (remaining in their current home instead of transitioning to a health care facility), consider helping them make over their home to create a senior-friendly environment. There are consultants that can help you give a home an aging-in-place makeover, but there are some basic features every home with a senior should have.

Quick upgrades can make life easier for an aging loved one without disrupting their lives. These upgrades can often prevent accidents and enable easy independent living. Make sure all stairwells have handrails that are secure. Change doorknobs to lever handles, so that it requires less dexterity to open or close doors. Make sure that the hot water heater is set to 120 degrees or lower to prevent any accidental burns. Finally, ensure bathroom safety by installing grab bars that can prevent or lessen the severity of a bathroom fall.

If you’re loved one has mobility problems, or a condition that may cause mobility problems, it may be time to consider more extensive upgrades to their home. Make sure all doorways will accommodate walkers or wheelchairs, in case the need to use one should become necessary. It may also be beneficial to install wheelchair ramps or shallow steps to entryways. Installing chair lifts on stairwells eliminates many of the dangers that stairs pose to aging loved ones with tenuous equilibrium. A curbless shower complete with shower seat can also help loved ones stay safe when in the bathroom.

At Capital City Nurses, we know that buying grab bars may seem like an odd holiday present, but helping your senior loved ones upgrade their homes is one of the best gifts you can give this holiday season. Making the changes to the home before they’re needed allows your loved one to become familiar with new equipment before it becomes a necessity. By planning ahead and making a few simple upgrades, you might be able to give your loved ones a gift that will keep them happy and healthy for years to come.

Happy holidays from our family to yours.

When we think of the dangers of aging, often we only see the physical. It is easy to overlook another risk facing aging Americans: scam artists. According to the FBI, seniors are an attractive target to con artists because they are more likely to have a nest egg, or savings. Seniors tend to be more polite and trusting than younger generations, which also makes them attractive prey. Finally, older Americans aren’t likely to report fraud one it’s been discovered because they aren’t sure where to report the crime and sometimes fear that their family members believe the crime to be evidence of fading cognitive abilities.

There are whole industries dedicated to swindling seniors out of their savings. The best way to fight these con artists is by keeping yourself and your loved ones informed. There are three basic types of scams that target seniors: Phone, Internet and Identity Theft. Speak with your older loved ones about each scam.

Phone

Scammers will attempt to get your credit card information over the phone. A common ploy is to call a senior and inform them that there is a problem with a household account. The caller will tell their victim that an essential service will be cut off if they do not give credit card information. Make sure your senior loved ones know to never give out credit card information over the phone unless they are sure to whom they’re speaking. If unsure, seniors should just hang up the phone. It is also a good idea to register your senior loved ones for the Do Not Call list, which will eliminate the dubious phone solicitations of some companies.

Internet

Because many seniors did not grow up with computers, some may find navigating the internet a bit tricky. It is important to talk to seniors about internet vigilance. Remind them not to give out or post personal information on line (as that can lead to identity theft), to be careful what links they click and to never give money to Nigerian Princes who are looking for a way to get their inheritance out of the country.

Identity Theft

Any documents that contain personal information including social security numbers, account numbers or other identifying information should be shredded before it is thrown out. Make sure seniors know that these documents are fodder for identity thieves. Seniors should know not to give out this data on the internet or via phone as well.

To ensure your loved ones stay safe from fraudsters, it may behoove you to take the lead. Talk to your loved ones about common scams, encourage them to be skeptical of those they don’t know and help them carefully monitor their financial accounts and credit. At Capital City Nurses, we know that growing older can be a beautiful experience, as long as you’re prepared for some of the common risks that come with aging.