Posts Tagged ‘aging’

Quality of Life program explores the eyes

William G. Grant. M. D. of Vision Mission GroupWilliam G. Grant, O.D. of Vision Mission Group will present a ‘Quality of Life’ health seminar about the eyes at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 26, at the Timbers of Shorewood retirement community, 1100 N. River Rd., Shorewood. The public is welcome to join the residents for this free presentation.

As the economic crisis continues, some seniors may believe it’s reasonable to skip their annual eye exam. But for the older population, it’s critically important to keep tabs on the silent stealers of sight – cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease.

By age 65, one-in-three Americans have some form of vision-impairing eye disease.

By detecting and treating eye disease early through annual, comprehensive dilated exams, seniors can do so much to preserve their sight.


A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging and are very common in older people. In fact, by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.

The symptoms of early cataracts may include fading colors, poor night vision, cloudy or blurry vision, double vision, or frequent prescription changes. These symptoms can be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If such remedies don’t help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. The visual results are typically excellent with modern surgical techniques.


Glaucoma is a disease that can damage the eye’s optic nerve. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and the most common cause of blindness among African-Americans. More than three million Americans have glaucoma, but half do not realize it because there are often no warning symptoms.

In most cases, there are no symptoms during the early stages of the disease. However, as glaucoma progresses, it slowly damages the optic nerve fibers of the eye and the peripheral field of vision narrows which can create “blind spots.” Anyone age 60 or older are at risk and especially so if there’s a family history of glaucoma

Medication in the form of eyedrops or pills is the most common early treatment for glaucoma. Laser procedures or surgery are available options when needed.

Age related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 50 years of age and older. ARMD is a disease that blurs the sharp, central vision you need for straight-ahead activities such as reading, sewing, and driving. ARMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail.

ARMD occurs in both a wet and dry form of the condition. Slow occurring or “dry” ARMD affects 90 percent of those with the condition. Fast occurring or “wet” ARMD affects 10 percent of ARMD cases. Slightly blurred vision is the most common symptom of ARMD. Other symptoms may include wavy lines or a blind spot in the center of the field of vision. Those at risk are people over age 75, women, smokers, those with a family history of the disease, and people with elevated cholesterol.

Medication and/or laser surgery can aid some cases of wet ARMD. At the present time, there is no effective treatment for advanced dry ARMD, however treatment can delay and possibly prevent intermediate ARMD from progressing. More ways to slow the progression is to take a good multi-vitamin, stop smoking, wear UV protective sunglasses outdoors, and eat plenty of green leafy vegetables.

Diabetic eye disease

Approximately 16 million people in the United States have diabetes and one-third of them do not know it. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind. With early detection and proper treatment, severe visual loss can usually be prevented.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. Laser procedures and surgery are available options when needed.

People with diabetes should have a professional eye examination as soon as their diabetes is diagnosed and at least once a year thereafter. It is also extremely important to monitor and manage blood sugar levels. By detecting and treating diabetic eye disease early through annual, dilated eye exams, people with diabetes can preserve their site.

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.

For more information, call Shelly Goggins at 815-609-0669 or visit


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 , 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.

Mastering the art of aging well in Joliet

Seniors Aging Well in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportToo often, the term “aging,” invokes negative images which can stigmatize older adults. But more and more, leaders in the healthcare field, the media, and seniors themselves are focusing on the positive elements of healthy aging over a lifetime. Perhaps the aging Baby Boomers have wrought this change, but it is indeed refreshing to think of post retirement years as a time to consider new roles, new relationships and creative ways to communicate.

Let’s think of the advantages older adults have. At last there is time to stay engaged in one’s social life which can lead to greater health and longevity. I’m convinced isolation and loneliness age people faster than the years going by. Remaining social, especially being helpful to others, promotes wellness by keeping older adults physically active and mentally connected.

Another advantage is a senior’s vast accumulation of experiences, skills and knowledge. It’s like a very deep toolbox. From showing a grandson how to use pliers to adjusting, yet again, to setbacks and losses, older adults have the benefit of knowing they have coped before and will again. Many seniors have developed solid confidence because of this wisdom. It’s almost as if they now truly believe, “If I got through that, I can get through this!”

More older adults see their lives as valuable resources that should not be wasted by passivity. Even older adults with physical limitations can find activities and social events that suit their needs and challenge them to remain engaged.

In conclusion, thinking of aging in positive terms can help prevent the well-known pitfalls of lost ability, relationships, and autonomy. By remaining engaged socially, mentally, and physically, older adults can make post retirement some of the “best days of their lives.”

Visit The Timbers of Shorewood web site to learn more about how we engage our residents.

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