Archive for May, 2010

Seniors in Joliet take medication safety seriously

Is it a given that the older a person is, the more medications he or she takes? Not necessarily, but people are more likely to develop one or more chronic illnesses with advancing age. It’s wonderful that appropriate medication can help seniors live longer and more active lives, but there is a safety concern. Taking multiple medications increases the risk for drug interactions, mix-ups, and the potential for side effects.

According to Pfizer, the effects of aging cause older adults’ bodies to process and respond to medicines differently than those of younger people. Age-related changes in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and heart are among the contributing factors causing elderly people to be more vulnerable to overdose and troubling side effects.

Also, age-related challenges like memory loss or poor eyesight can make it harder to follow instructions for taking medication.

If a person is seeing several doctors at once, there’s a chance these doctors may not all be communicating with each other, and the person may not be reporting all medications at each visit. This lack of communication among doctors leads to what is called “a prescribing cascade,” according to AARP. This means a doctor may prescribe medication to treat what he or she believes is a medical condition, when in fact the medication will really be treating a side effect of another drug that the patient has neglected to report.

The more medications the patient is on, the more risks there are for side effects and risky medication interactions. There are two kinds of interactions:

• Drug-drug interactions happen when two or more medicines react with each other to cause unwanted effects or make either medicine’s effects more or less potent. Such interactions may also be caused by alcohol, nutritional supplements or herbal products, and nonprescription medicines as well as prescription medications.

• Food-drug interactions happen when medicines react with foods or beverages. For example, grapefruit juice should not be taken with certain blood pressure – lowering medications. And dairy products should be avoided with some antibiotics and antifungal medications.

Medication Dos and Dont’s from WebMD:

• Do take each medication exactly as it has been prescribed.
• Do make certain that all doctors know about all medications being taken.
• Do let doctors know about using any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and herbs.
• Do use the same pharmacy to fill all prescriptions. Their computers are a boon to accurate tracking.
• Do keep medications out of the reach of children. Use the childproof safety caps.
• Don’t change the dose of schedule with consulting the doctor.
• Don’t use someone else’s medication.
• Don’t crush or break pills unless told to do so by the doctor.
• Don’t use medication past its expiration date.
• Don’t store medications in places that are too hot or too cold. The bathroom cabinet may not be the best place for medications.

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Seniors in Shorewood ask, ‘What’s your hobby?’

Living in a retirement or assisted living community provides precious time to pursue hobbies. But you know what? Sometimes finding a hobby isn’t so easy. Hobbies for seniors need to fit certain guidelines. They need to be entertaining, but they also need to be inexpensive. They need to be exciting enough to be enjoyable but not too strenuous.

The good news is there are hundreds of hobbies out there just waiting for seniors to participate. For example, how about walking? No equipment necessary, no new wardrobe to buy. Walking can be enjoyed anywhere, especially with a walking buddy. You can take a shortie or a long walk. You can walk the halls of the retirement community or you can go around the block. You can go five steps, because chances are in a few days, you’ll be able to go six steps.

According to FutureYears.com, Phyllis McGinley said, “A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” Research shows that seniors who participate in group activities are less prone to depression and health problems. They also live longer than people who are not associated with like-minded friends and acquaintances.

In a nutshell, staying socially active in some kind of group activity helps seniors stay happy, make new friends, and also helps utilize one’s time in a productive and satisfying manner. Besides, it’s just plain fun.

Not that there’s anything wrong with solo hobbies such as reading, watching TV, meditating, or gardening. Each of these hobbies is therapeutic in its own way. After a while, however, boredom can set in. You could always expand a reading hobby and join a book club or a library, exchange books with other book lovers and have interesting informal discussions. In fact there are many reading groups on the internet.

In addition, it has been proved that hobbies are good for the brain. Now who needs any more convincing than that …?

Retirement-Online.com provides some A to Z ideas:

  • Antiques
  • Art
  • Auctions online
  • Beer collections
  • Bird watching
  • Blog writing
  • Bridge
  • Card games
  • Chess
  • China collectibles
  • Coin collections
  • Computers
  • Cooking
  • Crafts
  • Crochet
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Dancing
  • Doll houses
  • Exercise
  • Family scrapbooks
  • Geneology
  • Ham radio
  • Journaling
  • Knitting
  • Longaberger baskets
  • Money
  • Music
  • Paper arts
  • Pen pals
  • Photography
  • Poetry
  • Quilts
  • Radio
  • Scrabble
  • Sewing
  • Solitaire
  • Stamp collecting
  • Theatre
  • Travel
  • Volunteering
  • Walking
  • Wood working
  • Writing
  • Zoo visits
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Senior Expo for Joliet area Seniors

The Timbers of Shorewood will host a Senior Expo from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 26, at The Timbers of Shorewood, 1100 N. River Rd. A Heartland Bood Drive will take place during the expo.

The expo will highlight not-for-profit groups, government agencies, healthcare professionals and businesses providing services to seniors in the greater Joliet area.

Dozens of organizations will provide educational information, wellness consultations, financial tips, and more. Free diabetes testing, blood pressure screenings and chair massages will also be offered.

Organizations will include:

  • ATI Physical Therapy
  • Bank of Shorewood
  • Basinger’s Pharmacy
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Dive Providence
  • Faber Dental Arts
  • First Midwest Bank
  • Groups on the go Travel
  • Heritage Makers
  • Hillcrest Healthcare
  • Home Helpers
  • Ingalls Hospice
  • Investment Solution Services
  • Jewel Osco Pharmacy
  • Joliet Area Hospice
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics
  • Newsome Physical Therapy Center
  • NiCor
  • Pre-Paid Legal
  • Provena
  • Sax Shoes
  • Shaklee
  • Shorewood Family Medicine
  • Signature Agency
  • Sonja
  • Tom Cross
  • Vision Mission Group

The Timbers of Shorewood is a rental retirement community providing independent and assisted living apartments as well as a full schedule of activities and services.

Admission to the expo is free and open to the public. For more information, call Faith Varga at 815-609-0669 or go to: http://www.timbersofshorewood.com.

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Would seniors in Plainfield rather do sit-ups or dance?

Dancing at the Timbers of Shorewood“There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” ~Vicki Baum.

Ms. Baum is right. Dancing also can be a short-cut to health – both physically and mentally. According to Brain Fitness For Seniors.com, dancing is a boon to health because it stimulates different areas of the brain. How? Well, it often requires learning new steps, and it keeps seniors connected to others. It involves balance, coordination, listening, rhythm, motion, emotions, and physical touch.

Present day seniors grew up dancing. There were grand, lavish ballrooms, and people in cities took the streetcars to dance the night away. Ballroom dancing was a popular choice for a date. Big Band orchestras under the batons of Tommy Dorsey or Harry James toured the country playing in these wonderful ballrooms.

Today’s seniors are still dancing. Seniors’ dances are everywhere, and there are even exercise classes of “seated” dancing. If an entertainer performs the “old favorites” at a senior center or assisted living community, the audience instantly responds with toe-tapping and probably a rush of memories.

Health-wise, a dance routine for older adults can improve fitness in a low-impact way. More specifically, the physical benefits of dance from Ehow.com include:

  • Improves cardiovascular fitness – Even light dancing will increase the heart rate and give the heart a good workout.
  • Builds muscles – Through dance, seniors work their muscles and help to combat the effects of age.
  • Improves social outlook – By joining a dance class—no matter what type of dance—they can enjoy the company of being with other dancers.
  • Increases balance and control – The improved balance that comes from dancing helps prevent slips and falls.
  • Increases bone mass – Both men and women begin to lose bone mass as they age, leading to more broken bones when they fall.
  • Improves flexibility – A good dance workout will include stretching time which can help senior citizens increase flexibility and reduce muscle aches.

Again, from Brain Fitness For Seniors.com, by improving the social interactivity of seniors, dancing increases social harmony, understanding and tolerance in the community which is important because aging requires people of sometimes diverse backgrounds to live closer together in retirement homes and communities.

Music and rhythm have measurable effects on the brain and are the subject of multiple studies of brain-fitness benefits in both the young and old. Listening to music itself can have clear effects on the brain, stimulating different areas, changing brainwave patterns, and relieving stress.

Some believe that just watching dance stimulates the brain – mental stimulation that may be almost as powerful as performing the activity first hand. Even seniors who are too physically restricted to move freely can still participate and gain brain fitness benefits from social dance groups.

In summary, the lyrics of country music star Lee Ann Womack’s signature song say it all:

“I hope you still feel small when you stand behind the ocean.
I hope whenever one door closes, another opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…
I Hope You Dance.”

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