Archive for June, 2010

Seniors in Joliet prevent falls and fractures

The commercial, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” is no joke. For seniors, falling rarely just happens but rather results from multiple causes that occur over time. As people age, their muscles and bones can weaken, balance can be affected, and certain medications and medical conditions can make falling and fractures more likely. Seniors who are also more prone to diseases like osteoporosis are more susceptible to experiencing a fall.

According to SeniorAdvice.com, every year more than 1.6 million older adults go to the emergency department for fall related injuries. Falls are the main cause of fractures, loss of independence, hospital admissions and death.

Hip fractures are the most common and serious type fall related injuries. After such a fall, only half of older adults hospitalized with hip fractures can return home and live on their own. About 80 percent of hip fractures occur in women. Women lose bone density at a faster rate than men do. The drop in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause accelerates bone loss, increasing the risk of hip fractures as a woman moves beyond menopause. However, men also can develop dangerously low levels of bone density.

The fear of falling causes older adults to avoid physical activities, such as walking and exercise. But the truth is physical activity can help prevent falls. Some seniors who are concerned with falling go to physical therapy which can help improve balance, maintain physical health and prevent falls.

Bone fractures in senior citizens are not only traumatic but can lead to more serious problems later on, but there are some ways to decrease the probability of falling by following some simple guidelines.

Preventive Measures from the National Institute on Aging:

  • The doctor can perform a bone mineral density test that measures bone strength. Some medications can increase bone strength which can prevent likelihood for falling.
  • Take part in healthy amounts of physical activity which will improve balance, muscle tone, joint flexibility, or even slow osteoporosis.
  • Test vision and hearing since defects in sensory functioning can make one less stable overall.
  • Be aware of the side effects of medications which can affect balance and coordination.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol consumed which can also affect balance and coordination.
  • Use a cane or walking stick if needed, and always be careful when walking on unstable or slippery surfaces
  • Wear the right footwear that has rubber soles or low heels.
  • Hold the handrails when going up and down stairs and only hold items in one hand so that you can keep a hand on the rail at all times
  • Use good judgment – stay away from situations that could cause a fall such as a freshly washed floor, trying to reach something that is too high.
  • Research home monitoring systems that will allow for access to help after experiencing a fracture
  • Install good lighting with light switch access both at the top and bottom of staircases.
  • Keep areas where you walk clear.
  • Be sure that carpets are firmly fixed to the floor or apply no-slip strips to slippier surfaces such as wood and tile.
  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairs or inside the bathroom.
  • Place non-skid mats and strips on surfaces that get wet within the bathroom.
  • Keep night lights for easy navigation in the dark in hallways, near the bed, and in the bathroom.
  • Keep a telephone near the bed.
  • Keep electric cords and wires near the wall and out of paths of travel.
  • Tack down carpets and rugs firmly to the floor.
  • Be careful!
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Life Saving Information about Strokes

The Timbers of Shorewood presents a “Quality of Life” seminar featuring Leslie Barna, RN, BSN. She will provide information about strokes at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, at The Timbers of Shorewood, 1100 N. River Rd., Shorewood. The public is welcome at this free presentation.

Barna is the coordinator of the stroke program at Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet. She will share life saving information including important signs and symptoms of a stroke.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within a few minutes, brain cells begin to die.

Stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment of a stroke is crucial. Early treatment can minimize damage to the brain and potential stroke complications.

The good news is that strokes can be treated, and many fewer Americans now die of strokes than was the case 20 or 30 years ago. Improvement in the control of major risk factors for stroke — high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol — is likely responsible for the decline.

The Timbers, an independent and assisted living community, presents senior-related seminars, programs, and panel discussions on a monthly basis as a part of its “Quality of Life” series.

Again this event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.timbersofshorewood.com or call Judy Malin at 815-609-0669.

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Seniors in Joliet: To drive or not to drive

Giving up driving can be a tremendous blow to an older person. There’s the practical side: how to run errands, get to the doctor, visit friends, etc., and then there’s the emotional side: driving is a key symbol of independence.

Agreeing to forgo driving is in many ways also an agreement to give up one’s independence. It is very tough. Most seniors will drive as long as they can, and many times, it is up to the adult children to decide when driving has become unsafe.

Remember, the issue is safety – both the senior’s and other people. If a person can’t make decisions quickly enough or has difficulty seeing, then it is time to stop driving.

What about driver’s licenses? According to SeniorAdvice.com, many seniors will argue they can still drive, because the DMV is still giving them a license. The DMV, however, only sees them for a short period of time and often there is no road test. There is little basis for determining whether they are adequate drivers in a real world environment, so a license doesn’t really mean that much.

Study after study shows that the mere fact a person is older is not an indicator as to whether they can drive. Just because someone is 65 does not mean they should lose their license automatically. The only exception is once a person reaches the age of 80, because people older than 80 get into as many accidents as teenagers.

People age differently. For that reason, it is not possible to set one age when everyone should stop driving. So, how does one know when to stop?

The website HelpGuide.org tells about unsafe driving warning signs:

  • Problems on the road. Abrupt lane changes, braking, or acceleration. Failing to use the turn signal, or keeping the signal on without changing lanes. Drifting into other lanes. Driving on the wrong side of the road or in the shoulder.
  • Trouble with reflexes. Trouble reading signs or navigating directions to get somewhere. Range-of-motion issues (looking over the shoulder, moving the hands or feet). Trouble moving from the gas to the brake pedal, or confusing the two pedals. Slow reaction to changes in the driving environment.
  • Increased anxiety and anger in the car. Feeling more nervous or fearful while driving or feeling exhausted after driving. Frustration or anger at other drivers but oblivious to the frustration of other drivers, not understanding why they are honking. Reluctance from friends or relatives to be in the car with the senior driving
  • Trouble with memory or handling change. Getting lost more often. Missing highway exits or backing up after missing an exit. Trouble paying attention to signals, road signs, pavement markings, or pedestrians.
  • Close calls and increased citations. More frequent “close calls” (i.e., almost crashing), or dents and scrapes on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, and curbs. Increased traffic tickets or “warnings” by traffic or law enforcement officers.

If some of the descriptions above are apt, it may be time to think about whether or not a senior is still a safe driver.

Some helpful websites are www.seniordrivers.org and www.granddriver.info

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Seniors’ Senior Prom in Shorewood

Joliet area senior citizens are invited to the 6th Annual Seniors’ Senior Prom titled, “A Tropical Summer Night,” from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 25, at The Timbers of Shorewood retirement community, 1100 N. River Rd., Shorewood.

The Jay Mau Orchestra will provide the music of the Big Band era, and the evening will feature dancing, raffles, and all the prom trimmings. A special moment will be the crowning of the king and queen of the prom.

As a part of the South Pacific-themed prom, the Royal Polynesian Revue will present a special show with hula dancers accompanied by the drums and ukulele. The dancers will show off several costumes from the Pacific Islands, and audience members will be taught dances and songs.

For 20 years, the Royale Polynesian Revue has been performing in the Chicago area. The troupe is composed of musicians, dancers, and host Pesi Mauga who is from the island of Samoa. Mauga sings dances, plays the ukulele, connects with the audience with personality and charm. The troupe performs dances from Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand.

The Jay Mau Orchestra

This 10-piece band has been tempting couples onto the dance floor at about 35-40 gigs a year, The Timbers being a favorite.

“It’s a wonderful sight to see so many people enjoying themselves,” said Judy Malin, activities director at The Timbers of Shorewood. “Jay plans an interesting mix of music to dance to – foxtrots, waltzes, Cha-Chas, and all the rest.”

While World War II tunes and Broadway hits were heard over America’s airways, little Jay Mau was slicing through the air with pointed index fingers leading other five-year-olds as the director of his kindergarten rhythm band. The clatter of those crayon-colored xylophones, trumpets, kazoos and tin drums were music to the ears of Jay Mau who would later find his way to instruments, a seat in several bands, and his ultimate beat as leader of his own orchestra.

Mau played trombone and tuba in grade school. As a member of The Jimmy Stevenson Swing Band, he got fellow classmates hopping during school ‘sock-hops” at Lockport High School. The band always wore black slacks, white dress shirts and lace up shoes called “white bucks.”

After two-years in the US Navy, Mau got a job with a polka band, then with The Al Piazza Trio. Mau worked with Donna Rae and The Gentlemen four nights a week, and for a decade, with the Roy Gordon Orchestra. When Roy Carlos “Gordon” died in the mid-1990s, Mau purchased the orchestra, its name and music book. He merged Gordon’s book of ‘30’s and ‘40’s tunes to include dance hits from the next 30 years. Then, he renamed it The Jay Mau Orchestra.

The Timbers of Shorewood is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The prom is open to the public and admission is free, but space is limited. Reservations are required. For more information or to register, call Judy Malin at 815-609-0669 or visit http://www.timbersofshorewood.com.

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Seniors in Joliet, stay safe from crime

Crimes against seniorsIt’s sad but true. There are bad people are out there. While crimes committed against senior citizens are not as common as crimes committed against younger adults, it is every bit, if not more, disturbing. It’s hard to fathom someone hurting or scamming an older person, but it happens.

Below are some suggestions about safety and staying safe from cons. Those who provide elder care should inform seniors of these guidelines.

Tips to Keep Safe from SeniorAdvice.com:

  • Be sure that all doors, locks, and windows are strong and cannot be broken.
  • Keep all doors and windows locked especially when out of the house.
  • Make a list of valuable belongings, with pictures if desired, and keep track of this list by keeping it in a safe place.
  • Ask the local police department to mark valuable property with an I.D. number.
  • When strangers are at the door, check through a peephole or ask for identity before opening the door.
  • Do not keep large amounts of money at home.
  • Know your neighbors. You can watch out for each other.
  • Stay alert in public places.
  • If you drive, lock the doors at all times.
  • Do not open car door or roll down windows for strangers – ever.
  • Park in well-lit parking areas.
  • Carry your purse close to your body when walking outdoors with the strap over the shoulder and across the chest.
  • If you are in the process of being robbed, do not resist and hand over belongings to avoid getting hurt.
  • Avoid a regular banking routine that involved transporting money on the same day of the week during the same times. Note, social security checks and pension can be directly deposited into your bank account.
  • Never carry large amounts of cash on your person, and put credit cards or wallets within inside pockets.
  • Do not keep credit cards and checkbooks together so as to prevent signature forging if the two are stolen together.

Avoiding Cons
Senior citizens can be taken advantage of through telephone, internet, insurance, or home repair scams. Sometimes older adults are taken advantage of by people they know and think they can trust. Here are some tips for avoiding possible cons:

  • Do not feel hesitant to hang up on telemarketers to protect yourself from possible bullying, suggestiveness, or false information.
  • Never give personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or bank account numbers over the phone.
  • Do not take money out of your account when instructed to by a stranger. A common scam involves strangers pretending to be bank tellers and asking people to take money out of their accounts. Real banks never use these methods.
  • Be cautious of deals that sound too good to be true or involve presenting large amounts of money up front with promises of receiving money later.
  • Checking with the local Better Business Bureau for more information about the validity of companies.
  • Be cautious of people going door to door and offering home repair services. They may not be properly trained and can overcharge for services. If you employ someone for this kind of work, check references, get an agreement in writing for the services, and never pay in advance.
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