Learn to Prevent Falls

One of the most dangerous medical issues facing seniors is a preventable one. Each year, seniors are hospitalized, immobilized, and injured in falls. Falls have become the number one cause of injuries and death in Americans over the age of 65. One in three seniors will suffer a fall.

While there is no foolproof way to avoid taking a spill, there are many preventative techniques that can help you lower your risk of falling and injuring yourself.

Check your meds. Medications can sometimes alter your balance or perception abilities. If you are on multiple medications, or have just gotten a prescription for a new medication, it would behoove you to speak to your doctor about the side effects. Make sure you’re aware of the effects medication can have on you, and work with your doctor to find a mix that’s right for you.

Get help at home. If you’ve decided to age in place, make sure your home is equipped to aid a senior who might need fall assistance. Consider grab bars in your bathrooms and non-slip flooring on stairs and in bathtubs. Look around your home and see if there are any areas that need better lighting. A home with lots of light and places to clutch should you feel unsteady is a safer environment for seniors. You may also find it necessary to add chair lifts to your home should stairs become too difficult to navigate.

Dress the part. Make sure you’re dressed in accordance to your environment. Wear comfortable shoes that don’t impede your gait (consider flats over high heels if you have balance issues). If you must go out in icy conditions, wear sturdy boots and multiple layers to help pad you if you fall.

Get moving. Exercise isn’t just for the young. Seniors can not only dramatically improve their health by committing to fitness, they can dramatically improve their balance. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you keep steady footing when you’re in your home. So go for a walk, take a water aerobics class, or find a fitness program that suits you.  

Whether you’re hoping to prevent a fall, or trying to ensure one doesn’t reoccur, simple fall prevention is something all seniors should know.

Help for Young CaregiversOff-time events can derail a young life*

For many of us, there’s a general expectation that at some point in the future, we will be a caregiver for an elderly parent or even spouse. What we don’t anticipate or expect is for that caregiving to start when we are in our 20s, 30s, or even 40s. Those are the years we expect to take care of ourselves (education, career, family), but many are finding they must put their own lives on hold to become a caregiver, and it can create feelings of anger or sadness in the process. There is help out there and we have put some of these ideas together in the hopes that it can help.

The first suggestion given to many of these young caregivers is to join support groups. We know that support groups work, and that many people feel tremendous relief when sharing problems, thoughts and concerns with like-minded folks. However, with young caregivers, the immediate problem is finding peers in the support groups. Often, there is no one under age 55 in an elder care support group for caregivers, but there are others going through the same thing. Reach out to senior centers in your area, contact an Association that deals with your loved ones main issue such as Alzheimer’s Association or Parkinson’s Association, speak with religious leaders or contact a local “Senior Village” to ask about support groups with younger attendees. These resources will know the families that attend and be able to point you to the group that suits you best.

The second suggestion for young caregivers is to hire outside help so the burdens of care can be shared and the young life a little less ‘derailed’. This is the point that those us of over the age of 40 must pay attention. Although long-term planning can be a hard issue to face, basic planning such as: arranging Power of Attorney for your financial and healthcare needs, preparing a living will spelling out your wishes clearly if you are incapacitated, and maybe even purchasing long term care insurance should be one prong in our retirement planning. Taking these relatively simple steps is a prudent decision that may allow a younger loved one to continue his/her life path without the tremendous burden of caregiving for a parent and/or grandparent.

Finally, reaching out for respite care services may be a great choice for young caregivers. There are many church and community groups that can assist with brief respite care situations. Home care companies also offer respite care services so that the young caregiver can attend a university class, book club, or spend a few hours working out. Being a young caregiver may not be ideal, but with some thought and planning by all parties, there are ways to get through it without completely ‘derailing a young life’ while still feeling good about doing all that you can to help a loved one.

Do you have caregiver plans in place? Do you know how you would handle an unexpected illness requiring home care? Please send us an email or share your experiences on our Facebook page.

*Pressed Into Caregiving Sooner Than Expected. The New York Times

Passion After Retirement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retirement doesn’t need to be a time for beach chairs and endless vacations. It can be, but many seniors are finding that they have time to discover their true passions once they bid work adieu. If you’ve always had a hidden hobby, retirement could be time to explore and share your interests with the world.

Robert Wittman made a career investigating art crimes and theft at the FBI. When he retired at 61, Wittman decided to use his decades of historic knowledge to open his own Art Appraisal and Investigation firm. Now, he chases art and history for fun around the world.

You don’t have to continue your career past retirement. You can also find ways to celebrate and explore your hobbies. Join a local crafting circle, offer knitting classes, work with a senior center to impart your technical knowledge to those who may need help. You may even offer up cooking classes, gardening workshops, or carpentry classes at a local community center, helping others to find a hobby they’ll cherish for years.

If you’re not sure what you want to do post-retirement, consider learning. Studies have proven that learning languages, physical skills, and interacting regularly with peers is an excellent way to maintain a healthy mind as you age. Have you always wanted to explore a subject and never had the time? Many community colleges offer seniors the chance to learn for free. Click here for a look at the e-learning resources near you.

Whether you’re looking to spread your knowledge and skills to others, or simply want to keep expanding your knowledge base, retirement offers you an excellent opportunity to spread your wings. Take your free time as a pass to expand your mind and your information base.