Archive for August, 2010

Skin concerns by seniors in Joliet

No matter what, skin ages because of too much cold weather, too much sun, and too many years. Most people make a point of taking care of their skin, using moisturizers and creams to keep inevitable damage at bay as long as possible. But as aging takes place, skin dilemmas happen to nearly everyone.

According to the Mayo Clinic wrinkles happen due to many years of ultraviolet rays and gravity. The skin becomes less elastic and subsequently sags and wrinkles. Habits like frowning and smoking can cause wrinkles around the mouth.

Seniors are prone to dry skin which is rough and scaly skin that appears on the lower legs, elbows, and lower arms. A few causes of dry skin include:

  • Dehydration due to not drinking enough fluids
  • Staying in the sun for long periods of time
  • Being in very dry air
  • Smoking
  • Experiencing stress
  • Losing sweat and oil glands which happens naturally with age
  • Some health problems like diabetes or kidney disease
  • Using excessive amounts of soap, antiperspirant, or perfume
  • Taking hot baths

Dry skin can lead to itching, bleeding, and infection. It can also contribute to sleep problems. Such problems can be treated by medication, so it is encouraged that one seek medical attention before itchy skin leads to more serious conditions. Men and women can also use lotions and ointments, take fewer baths, use milder soap, use cooler water when bathing, or use a humidifier in order to treat dry and irritable skin.

Age spots, which are sometimes referred to as liver spots, are brown spots that can appear on the hands and body. They are harmless signs of years of sun exposure.

Skin tags are flesh-colored growths of skin that can grow anywhere, but the neck is a likely spot.

Although these age spots and skin tags are harmless and are simply due to aging, it is important to alert the doctor as it may be difficult for those without medical training to discern between these and irregular growths. A dermatologist can remove both of these types of growths if they are bothersome.

With age, men and women can bruise more easily and take longer to recover from bruising. Seniors with excessive bruising should see a doctor.

Psoriasis. This skin condition is marked by a rapid buildup of rough, dry, dead skin cells that form thick scales.

Thyroid disorders. Hypothyroidism, a condition that occurs when the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormones, reduces the activity of sweat and oil glands, leading to rough, dry skin.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and is mainly caused by exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or UV light in tanning booths. People with fair skin are more at risk for developing skin cancer. If diagnosed early, skin cancer can be cured.

According to SeniorAdvice.com , some ways to prevent skin conditions are as follows:

  • Sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the brightest, should be limited. Cloudy skies or staying in water does not mean you are not being exposed. UV rays travel through these translucent surfaces to reach the skin.
  • SPF15 sunscreen and higher should be reapplied at least every two hours with long periods of sun exposure.
  • Hats and sunglasses can help protect the face and eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Purposefully exposing the skin to direct UV rays without protection is discouraged.
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Seniors in Joliet take a ride on the information superhighway

It’s a fact that many seniors are intimidated by computers, the Internet, Facebook, etc., but that number is growing smaller every day as more and more older adults embrace a whole new world of communication.

Computer use can help seniors connect in ways that older generations simply couldn’t imagine. The Internet helps make and maintain vital relationships with family, friends and grandchildren. Think about it – computers are available 24/7. The Internet can rekindle confidence and independence, and improved contact with others can ease isolation.

As Gill Adams, of Digital Unite says, “The internet is curiosity’s best friend.”

The latest survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 42 percent of individuals 65 years and older actively access the Internet; 53 percent live in a setting with Internet access. The 42 percent statistic represents a 50 percent jump in Internet use among this age group since 2000, when only 21 percent of 65+ individuals were actively online.

The U.S. Census Bureau goes on to report that many older adults use the Web for three specific reasons:

  • to read e-mail,
  • to use a search engine to find information, and
  • to access news items.

According to nielsen.com, online visitors 65 and older participate in a variety of activities, from e-mail to bill paying. Neilsen found a slight variation for online activity:

  • Personal E-mail
  • Maps online
  • Weather online
  • Pay bills
  • View or post photos
  • Read general news
  • Researched personal health sites
  • Planning travel
  • Searched recipes
  • Read business/financial news

The No. 1 online destination for people over 65 in November 2009 was Google Search, with 10.3 million unique visitors. Windows Media Player and Facebook were No. 2 and No. 3, with 8.2 million and 7.9 million visitors, respectively. Interestingly, Facebook, which came in at No. 3, ranked No. 45 just a year ago among sites visited by senior citizens.

Top online destinations for adults age 65 and older:

  1. Google search
  2. Windows Media Player
  3. Facebook
  4. You Tube
  5. Amazon

Seniors who are ready to jump in and learn about computers and the Internet can contact SeniorNet. The mission of SeniorNet is to provide older adults education for and access to computer technologies to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom.

SeniorNet classes are offered in communities throughout the United States.

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