Archive for July, 2011

Water, water, everywhere … so drink!

Drinking water is a way for seniors to avaiod dehydrationDid you know that older adults need up to 10 percent more fluids than that of their younger counterparts? It’s true that as people get older, they get drier.

Dehydration is one of the most frequent causes for hospitalization for seniors. It can occur quickly, often without notice. But most likely the process of mild, chronic dehydration may have taken hold years or decades earlier.

According to Seniorslist.com, an elderly person should drink a minimum of at least six, eight-ounce glasses of water per day. More would be better.

Interestingly, the process of physical dehydration begins in the fetus. It accelerates at birth, childhood and throughout adulthood. A fetus is over 93% water. Dehydration gradually continues into old age when a person’s water content reaches only 60%. Most of this is water lost from the inside of cells.

What is clear is that many elderly simply do not drink enough fluids especially water, and adequate hydration is a chronic problem for many seniors.

Why don’t older adults drink enough?

  • A major contributing factor for dehydration in the elderly includes a lowered thirst response. “But I’m not thirsty,” is a common response to being asked to drink more. The thirst sensation decreases with age, so basically, it is not reliable.
  • Some medications such as anti-depressants or for high blood pressure are diuretic and may affect a body’s ability to regulate fluid balance.
  • Dry mouth becomes something the elderly get used to. However, drinking more water brings back some sensation.
  • The perceptions of thirst and hunger come from the same part of the brain. Thirst and hunger could become confused in the minds of many seniors. They drink when they should be eating or vice versa.
  • Frail seniors have a harder time getting up to get a drink when they’re thirsty.
  • The loss of thirst is the body’s way of dealing with the information that water is not going to be consumed. Years of drinking less water for our body weight leads the mouth-brain connection to minimize the thirst sensation.
  • When thirst is perceived, too many elderly settle for a few ounces of water or sugary and/or caffeinated drinks instead of water.
  • As we age our bodies lose kidney function and are less able to conserve fluid. This is progressive from around the age of 50, but becomes more acute and noticeable over the age of 70.
  • Illness, especially one that causes vomiting and/or diarrhea, also can cause elderly dehydration.

Some of the signs and symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, fatigue, flushed skin, irritability, anxiety, depressed mood, insomnia, concentration problems, light-headedness or dizziness, darkening of urine, increased weight loss and muscle weakness. Severe dehydration can lead to kidney failure and even death if not recognized and treated.

To prevent dehydration, fluids need to be easily available. Set up a hydration schedule offering fluids every couple of hours. A reminder could include to drink every time urination takes place. Another reminder could be to fill up a bottle of water, place it in the refrigerator with the goal to drink it all by 3 hours before bedtime. The bottle could gradually get bigger as weeks pass.

It is also wise that older adults eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in water such as broccoli, tomatoes, and oranges.
Drink first thing in the morning. Drink two hours after meals. Drink with meals.

Dehydration in seniors can be managed. As people drink more water, some improvements may be experienced immediately. However, it could take weeks for cells to become hydrated, so…

…be patient and keep drinking.

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Concert in the Park features accordionist Bob Doczak

Accordionist Bob Doczak takes the stage for the July Concert in the Park at the Timbers of ShorewoodAccordionist Bob Doczak takes the stage for the July Concert in the Park from 6:30 – 8 p.m. Sunday, July 24, on the outdoor patio at The Timbers of Shorewood, 1100 N. River Rd., Shorewood. The public is invited to the free concert.

Born in Joliet, Doczak grew up in a neighborhood that consisted of Slovenians, Croatians and people of Polish descent so polka music literally filled the streets. With 42 years in the polka business, he is one of the key organizers of the annual Illinois Polka Festival held each February in Naperville.

The popular series of summer evening concerts called “The Timbers’ Concert in the Park” is a favorite event. A few years ago, neighbors with homes near The Timbers heard the music, and they started setting up lawn chairs in their yards. Staff at The Timbers invited them to join the residents, and today, concerts are an amiable blend of residents, neighbors, friends, families, and the public.

The Timbers of Shorewood is a rental retirement community which provides senior independent living 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.

Again, the event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Shelly Goggins at 815-609-0669.

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Yoga for seniors in Joliet

Yoga for Seniors at th Timbers of ShorewoodYoga: a young person twisted up like a pretzel with apparent ease. That image is not necessarily the complete story. In fact, yoga is for all ages; no one is too old or too young for yoga.

One of the great things about yoga is that it is so adaptable to different populations with various physical abilities and needs. Most seniors are doing what they can to maintain and improve a sense of health and wellness. Many of the 36 million or so Americans who are 65 or older (stat provided by: about.com) are turning to yoga to keep them stay agile and in shape.

Although the trend is to become more sedentary, retirement is actually the perfect time to pick up healthy habits that will promote longevity. Yoga is well-suited for seniors, because it is low-impact, and risk of injury is minimal because the discipline does not require any contact with anyone or anything. In addition, yoga’s weight-bearing postures help build or maintain lean muscle mass, and its focus on balance develops coordination.

Yoga also helps combat many of the health conditions that come with age such as high blood pressure, arthritis and incontinence, because it keeps the body toned, strong and flexible..

An added benefit (and an important one) is the sense of community seniors find at yoga classes. As many elders live in isolation, the group setting of a yoga class offers seniors a way to connect.

According to dietsinreview.com, there are many yoga postures that can be safely performed by seniors. Such postures have both a restorative and therapeutic benefit to them. Of course, adaptations and adjustments should be made according to the person’s health status and their physical ability.

  • Easy Pose (Sukhasana): The simple act of sitting down and breathing deeply and fully has an enormous capacity to tone the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems while also lengthening the spine, resting the mind, and cultivating a sense of peace. The beginner can do this posture for a minimum of 10 breaths and gradually work up to maintaining this posture for five to 10 minutes.
  • Cat Pose (Bidalasana): This grounding posture helps tone the arm muscles while also strengthening the core and alleviating tightness in the low and upper back and neck. The beginner can do this posture for a minimum of five breath cycles and gradually work their way to doing more.

Older adults should get clearance from their doctor before starting a yoga practice. This is especially relevant for those who take medications or have a prior or current history of cardiovascular or pulmonary conditions. In addition, individuals should also seek out classes specifically designed for seniors, as they will take into account the unique health issues affecting them

Yoga classes especially for seniors are becoming increasingly available: check local senior centers, retirement communities, religious organizations and even health clubs.

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