Posts Tagged ‘assisted living Plainfield’

Seniors Eat ‘holiday healthy’

The holidays are a time of merriment, family and food – lots of food. It is not unusual for people to gain 5 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Yes the food is part of it all, but holiday eating needn’t be high in fat, sugar and calories and short on nutrition. Just a few minor ingredient changes can make all the difference. Just think – you may not have to have to make the diet resolution this year!

According to HealthDiscovery.net, mulled cider or lowfat eggnog are good alternatives to high fat eggnog. Eggnog can also be diluted with skim milk. Nonalcoholic or de-alcoholized wines are improving all the time and make a great alternative for the holidays.

Skim milk and other ‘low’ or ‘no’ fat dairy products can be used in recipes whenever possible.

All meats should be cooked on a rack so fat can drip away. Another good idea is to baste with low fat broth instead of the drippings from the pan.

Fortunately, most vegetables contain little or no fat. Avoid smothering vegetables with thick creamy sauces or butter. In addition, salads are a great at a holiday meal.

Rather than cooking stuffing inside of poultry or a roast, cook the stuffing in a casserole dish or aluminum foil in the oven. This will reduce the amount of fat in the stuffing.

Making gravy from a low fat broth rather than the drippings from poultry or a roast is a good way to reduce fat. Or add ice cubes to cool drippings. The fat will stick to the cubes and can be removed.

Cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C. However, the canned version looses much of the nutrients. If you make your own, substitute some artificial sweetener for some of the sugar in the recipe.

A good dessert is angel food cake which contains little or no fat when served with fruits such as strawberries or raspberries.

There are many ways in which you can help to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy diet and joining in with the fun and festivities. Here’s a list from PivotalAdvisor.com:

  1. Exercise: Yep, you have to do it, but start slowly. Try a brisk walk before the day takes over. Stretching in the evening helps with relaxation.
  2. Review your cooking methods: Grill, don’t fry. Use spray oils. Lighten up on the sauces.
  3. Invest in lower fat ingredients for cooking: By swapping regular ingredients, foods and drinks for their half-fat alternatives you can make a big cut-back on fat and calorie consumption.
  4. Prepare for outings: If there’s a social function ahead, eat a low-fat, healthy snack before the party. You may not lose control at the party – at least food-wise.
  5. Be wary of sugary foods: Always remember that rich, sugary foods have a nasty habit of making us crave yet more rich and sugary foods.
  6. Stock up on healthy snacks: When shopping, buy some healthy snacks such as raw carrots and celery.
  7. Moderate alcohol intake: Alcohol contains calories and lots of them. Try lower-calorie beers and wines.
  8. Be assertive: If you say “No thanks” don’t be bullied into eating more.
  9. Leave what you don’t want: When you feel full, stop eating. Simple. (Really, it isn’t so simple, but try it.)
  10. Spend extra calories carefully. If homemade red velvet cake is a “must,” don’t eat a mediocre appetizer.

And happy holidays!

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Baby, it’s cold outside

Although the fall weather has been gloriously moderate, one can be certain that cold weather is on the way. It is important to remember that the cold temperatures of winter are especially dangerous for older adults. Seniors may not be able to feel that they are getting too cold, or they may set their thermostats low to save on heating costs.

A drop in body temperature is called hypothermia (hi-po-ther-mee-uh), and it can be deadly if not treated quickly. Hypothermia can happen anywhere, not just outside and not just in northern states. In fact, some older people can have a mild form of hypothermia if the temperature in their home is too cool.

When you think about being cold, you probably think of shivering. That is one way the body stays warm when it gets cold. But, shivering alone does not mean you have hypothermia.

So how do you know if someone has hypothermia? According to the National Institute on Aging, look for the umbles” – stumbles, mumbles, fumbles, and grumbles. These may be clues that the cold is a problem.

Check for:

  • Confusion or sleepiness
  • Slowed, slurred speech, or shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Change in behavior or in the way a person looks
  • A lot of shivering or no shivering; stiffness in the arms or legs
  • Poor control over body movements or slow reactions

According to gericarefinder.com, during each cold weather month, many seniors die from hypothermia.

Wearing more clothes and proper cold-weather attire are necessary for aging adults. Indoors, many seniors may require an extra blanket or thicker socks.

To prevent hypothermia (very low body temperature), a dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition,  ), read these tips offered by the National Institute on Aging:

  • Ask your doctor if you have any health conditions or take any medications that make it hard for your body to stay warm. At increased risk are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition and have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Set your thermostat above 65 degrees; older people are at higher risk of becoming ill during the cold winter months.
  • Try to stay away from cold places. Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder to feel when you are getting cold. It also may be harder for your body to warm itself.
  • Wear several layers of loose clothing indoors and out. The layers will trap warm air between them. Tight clothing can keep your blood from flowing freely, which can lead to loss of body heat. Hypothermia can occur in bed, so wear warm clothing to bed and use blankets.
  • Ask friends or neighbors to look in once or twice a day if you live alone. Your area may offer a telephone check-in or personal visit service.
  • Use alcohol moderately, if at all. Avoid alcohol altogether near bedtime.
  • Eat hot foods and drink hot liquids to raise your body temperature and keep warm.
  • Keep aware of the daily weather forecast and be sure to dress warmly enough, with hat and gloves, if you must go out. In extremely low temperatures with wind-chill factors, weather forecasters may suggest staying inside.
  • Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don’t eat well, you might have less fat under your skin, and fat can help protect you by keeping heat in your body. Also, drink 10 glasses of water or other non-alcoholic liquids daily.

And remember, spring will eventually come. Promise.

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Seniors in Joliet say, ‘Gesundheit’

Ah-choo! With cooler weather on the way, the cold season revs up, and there’s nothing as miserable as a bad head cold. How about this statistic from healthline.com: Americans “catch” an estimated one billion colds every year. Most adults suffer from two to four colds per year.

The common cold causes a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, and, in some cases, coughing and a sore throat. Colds can occur at any time during the year but are most common in the fall and winter months.

A head cold really is a viral infection which settles in the mucus membranes of the nose. A cold is usually harmless, although it can be quite uncomfortable. Typically it resolves on its own after around ten days. Some people experience a mild fever and watery eyes, and people may complain of feeling unwell.

The mucus which drains from the nose is typically clear in color. Some people with a head cold find that they cough and experience hoarseness because of mucus dripping down their throats.

No vaccine has been developed for the common cold which can be caused by many different viruses, but there are some common-sense precautions to slow the spread of autumn viruses:

  • Wash your hands. Clean your hands thoroughly and often. Carry a bottle of alcohol-based hand rub containing at least 60 percent alcohol for times when soap and water aren’t available. These gels kill most germs.
  • Scrub your stuff. Keep kitchen and bathroom countertops clean, especially when someone nearby has a cold.
  • Use tissues. Always sneeze and cough into tissues. Discard used tissues right away, and then wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Don’t share. Use your own glass or disposable cups when you or someone else is sick.
  • Steer clear of colds. Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold.

Drinking lots of fluids, especially warm fluids, can help as can staying in a warm and slightly humid environment. Avoiding dairy is advised, because this tends to increase mucus production. Rest, many people think, helps a cold resolve more quickly.

If a head cold is persistent, a doctor can prescribe decongestants and pain management medications. Saline rinses or sprays in the nose can also help to flush out the mucus and increase comfort. However, patients should be aware that prolonged use of decongestant sprays can lead to an inflammation of the mucus membranes in the nose.

Sometimes a head cold can become a sinus infection. A head cold can also lead to an ear infection. While these infections sometimes can resolve on their own, medical treatment may be necessary especially if the condition becomes especially painful.

Web MD mentions more worrisome situations and complications when it comes to colds. It’s a good idea to consult the doctor for any of these conditions:

  • Asthma and Colds – Living with asthma is no easy task, and a cold can make breathing more difficult.
  • Heart Disease and Colds – Catching a cold for someone with heart disease poses a greater danger, because the cold makes it difficult to take in oxygen efficiently.
  • Diabetes and Colds – For those with diabetes, a common cold makes it difficult to keep blood glucose levels balanced.
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Seniors in Joliet need awareness of glaucoma

It’s sneaky and it’s subtle. It’s referred to as “…the silent thief of sight.” “It” is glaucoma. Most types of glaucoma cause no pain and produce no symptoms. What glaucoma does do, however, is cause damage to the optic nerve. The main function of the optic nerve is sending electrical transmissions to the brain. Damage to it can lead to serious problems with vision that eventually lead to blindness.

Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure in the eye. This pressure is from a buildup of fluid, called aqueous humor, in the front of the eye. The elevated pressure is often extremely subtle with no symptoms until the disease has already caused significant damage.

In the U.S., approximately 2.2 million people age 40 and older have glaucoma, and of these, as many as 120,000 are blind, according to the American Health Assistance Foundation. An estimated 3.3 million of Americans could have glaucoma by the year 2020.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness among African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. Three times as many African Americans have glaucoma than Caucasians, and four times as many are blind. Between the ages of 45 and 64, glaucoma is fifteen times more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Caucasians.

Because people may not know they have glaucoma, a simple and painless glaucoma test, performed by an ophthalmologist, is vital. These tests allow the doctor to measure pressure in the eye, examine the optic nerve, check the visual field and determine the fluid drainage angle in the eye.

According to seniormag.com, there are actually two major types of glaucoma – open angle and closed angle. Typically open angle glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages and vision remains normal. As the optic nerve becomes more damaged, blank spots begin to appear in one’s vision, but such spots can be unnoticeable at first. If the optic nerve is significantly damaged, these spots become large. If all the optic nerve fibers die, blindness results.

Some eyes are formed with the iris too close to the drainage angle. In these eyes, which are often small and farsighted, the iris can be sucked into the drainage angle and block it completely. This is called closed-angle glaucoma. Since the fluid cannot exit the eye, pressure inside the eye builds rapidly and causes an acute closed-angle attack. Symptoms that occur suddenly can include blurry vision, halos around lights, eye pain, nausea and vomiting. Medical attention should be immediate.

Early detection is key

Early detection through eye exams, visual field tests and optic nerve imaging, and management through medications and laser treatments (to relieve eye pressure) are keys to preventing optic nerve damage and blindness from glaucoma.

Be aware

  • Everyone older than age 60 is at increased risk.
  • For certain population groups such as African-Americans, the risk is much higher, and they should have eye pressure monitored before age 30. Hispanic, Asian and Japanese Americans also face an increased risk. The reasons for these differences aren’t clear.
  • If there’s a family history of glaucoma, there is a much greater risk of developing it. A form of juvenile open-angle glaucoma has been clearly linked to genetic abnormalities.
  • Diabetes increases the risk of developing glaucoma. A history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or hypothyroidism can increase risk as well.
  • Severe eye injuries can result in increased eye pressure. Injury can also dislocate the lens, closing the drainage angle. Other risk factors include retinal detachment, eye tumors or eye inflammations.
  • Being nearsighted, which generally means that objects in the distance look fuzzy without glasses or contacts, increases the risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Using corticosteroids for prolonged periods of time appears to increase the risk of getting secondary glaucoma. This is especially true if someone uses corticosteroid eye drops.
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It’s ‘Too Darn Hot’ for Seniors in Joliet

Heat and humidity are a given in mid-summer, but if you’re a senior citizen, hot weather can be much more than just a nuisance. The body’s natural defenses against heat can break down with age, putting seniors at risk for heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other serious disorders.

According to ahealthyme.com, several factors make senior citizens especially vulnerable to hot weather, according to. Older bodies can be slow to sense and respond to changes in heat, so seniors often don’t start sweating until their temperature has already soared. Even when the body’s cooling devices kick in, they probably don’t work as well as they used to. Sweat glands can grow less efficient with age, and other normal changes in the skin slow down the release of heat.

In addition, many common conditions can hamper an older person’s ability to regulate temperature, including diseases of the heart, lung, and kidneys; high blood pressure; diabetes; and other conditions that cause poor circulation. Finally, several medications commonly prescribed to seniors can affect the body’s ability to cool down. These include antidepressants, motion sickness drugs, and blood pressure medications.

For all of these reasons, it’s essential for seniors and their loved ones to understand the signs of dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion, the most common forms of heat-related problems.

Dehydration occurs when a person loses more fluid than he or she takes in, and the body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. There are serious consequences if the lost fluids are not replaced.

Common causes of dehydration include diarrhea, vomiting, fever or excessive sweating. Inadequate intake of water during hot weather also may cause dehydration. Anyone can become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk.

A person can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by increasing the intake of fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment. Of course, the safest approach is prevention. Monitor fluid loss during hot weather, illness or exercise, and drink enough liquids to replace what’s lost.

Heat exhaustion is a condition with symptoms that may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of the body overheating. A cause of heat exhaustion includes exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke.

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a person’s body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke can be brought on by high environmental temperatures, by strenuous physical activity or by other conditions that raise the body temperature. Whatever the cause, immediate medical attention is required in order to prevent brain damage, organ failure or death.

Heatstroke is the escalation of two other heat-related health problems: heat cramps and heat exhaustion. In these conditions, a person develops signs and symptoms that are milder than those of heatstroke. Heatstroke can be prevented with medical attention or by taking self-care steps as soon as problems are noticed.

Heat waves are often deadly for seniors. Older people living in homes without air conditioning need to be checked at least twice a day when the temperature reaches 90 and above, according to ahealthyme.com.

The best way to stay cool during a heat wave is to stay indoors with the air conditioner on high. If there is no air conditioner, consider taking a trip to a cooling center, an indoor mall, library, or movies. A fan can help, but it can’t take the place of an air conditioner. If the temperature reaches the 90s, even the best fan may not protect a person from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Seniors, when you do go outside on a hot day, use common sense. Drink more than you need to quench your thirst, and if you’re sweating heavily, choose fruit drinks or sports beverages to replace lost minerals.

Like the song from Kiss Me Kate says, “It’s Too Darn Hot.”

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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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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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Seniors in Joliet recognize the top 10 health care mistakes

Health care can be a maze of doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, tests, safety measures, etc. As seniors age, the maze becomes even more complicated. What the doctor said is unclear, driving becomes a challenge, and a myriad of additional issues add to the confusion.

Ten areas of concern are outlined below. Some of these concerns are moot when a move to an assisted living community occurs. In a community, systems exist to manage medications, safety measures have been carefully considered and built-in, more help is available, and many seniors give up the car when they move to a community.

According to the Institute for Healthcare Advancement it’s true that many seniors are living longer, but it’s also true that many could improve the way they deal with health problems. To help seniors stay healthier longer, the IHA has identified the 10 most common mistakes older adults make in caring for their health:

  1. Driving when it’s no longer safe
    Seniors often associate mobility in a car with their independence, but knowing when it is time to stop driving is important for the safety of everyone on the road.
  2. Fighting the aging process and its appearance
    Refusing to wear a hearing aid, eyeglasses or dentures, and reluctance to ask for help or to use walking aids are all examples of this type of denial.
  3. Reluctance to discuss intimate health problems with the doctor or health care provider
    Older Americans may not want to bring up sexual or urinary difficulties. Sometimes problems that the individual thinks are trivial, such as stomach upsets, constipation, or jaw pain, may require further evaluation.
  4. Not understanding what the doctor told them about their health problem or medical treatment plan
    Not understanding the doctor or not remembering what he said are typical complaints. Reluctance to ask the doctor to repeat information or to admit that they do not understand what is being said can result in serious health consequences.
  5. Disregarding the serious potential for a fall
    To help guard against falling, seniors should remove scatter rugs from the home and have adequate lighting throughout. They should wear sturdy and well-fitting shoes, and watch for slopes and cracks in sidewalks. Participating in exercise programs to improve muscle tone and strength is also helpful.
  6. Failure to have a system or a plan for managing medicines
    By using daily schedules, pill box reminders or check-off records, seniors can avoid missing medication doses.
  7. Not having a single primary care physician who looks at the overall medical plan of treatment
    Health problems may be overlooked when a senior goes to several different doctors or treatment programs, and multiple treatment regimens may cause adverse responses.
  8. Not seeking medical attention when early possible warning signs occur
    Reasons for such inaction and denial may include lack of money or reduced self worth due to age. Of course, such treatment delays can result in a poorer prognosis.
  9. Failure to participate in prevention programs
    Flu and pneumonia shots, routine breast and prostate exams are examples of readily available preventive health measures that seniors should utilize.
  10. Not asking loved ones for help
    Many older Americans are reluctant to ask for help whether due to a need for independence or because of early signs of dementia. It’s important that elderly people alert family members or other loved ones to any signs of ill health or unusual feelings so that they can be assessed before the problem advances.
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Knee pain nothing to sneeze about for seniors in Joliet

Oh my aching knees. According to senior-fitness.com, in a typical year more than 6 million seniors, age 62 and older, will visit a doctor because of knee pain.

A healthy knee easily can withstand loads equal to more than four times the body weight. Pretty amazing, don’t you agree?

A knee is a joint, and a joint occurs wherever two bones come together. But that definition doesn’t begin to convey the intricacy of joints which provide the body with flexibility, support and a wide range of motion.

The body has four types of joints: fixed, pivot, ball-and-socket, and hinge. Knees are hinge joints which work much like the hinge of a door, allowing the joint to move backward and forward. Knees are the largest and heaviest hinge joints in the body. They’re also the most complex. In addition to bending and straightening, they twist and rotate like a gyroscope. This makes knees especially susceptible to damage which is why they sustain more injuries on average than do other joints.

The knee joint is four bones held together by ligaments. The thighbone (femur) makes up the top part of the joint, and two lower leg bones, the tibia and the fibula, are the lower part. The fourth bone, the patella, slides in a groove on the end of the femur. Ligaments are large bands of tissue that connect bones to one another. In the knee joint, four main ligaments link the femur to the tibia and help stabilize the knee as it moves through its arc of motion.

Over the course of a lifetime, natural lubricants dry-up, and the cartilage wears away. This can lead to arthritis. Then is knee pain inevitable? Many experts think that the human knee can last a long lifetime, provided it’s not abused and receives some basic preventive maintenance. The right lifestyle and activity choices can help make knees stronger, healthier, and more pliant. Most important is to keep moving.

Tips & Warnings from ehow.com:

  • First and foremost, ask your doctor whether knee exercises are safe for you.
  • Walk around for a few minutes before doing knee exercises to give muscles a chance to warm and stretch.
  • Repeat any knee exercise only two or three times in the beginning.
  • Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes to enhance balance and avoid jerky movements when doing knee exercises.
  • Do not hold your breath when doing muscle-tightening exercises.
  • Do not kneel directly on your knees when gardening or doing chores around the house. Seniors should use a low stool or padded kneepads.
  • Do not exercise to the point that you start to feel pain
  • Knee exercises must be done very slowly and gradually increased to avoid putting too much stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments.

The following exercises are recommended for seniors by ehow.com:

To strengthen the quadriceps (front of the thigh):

  • Sit in a chair with your back straight and the balls of your feet touching the floor. If your entire foot lies flat on the floor, sit on some cushions to lift yourself up so only the balls of your feet touch the floor. Your hands can be either resting on your thighs or holding the chair.
  • Bring your right leg in front of you and lift it very slowly until your knee is straight without feeling painful.
  • Point your toes back towards your head while in this position and hold for 3 seconds.
  • Lower your leg back slowly to the starting position, resting the balls of your feet on the floor.
  • Repeat the entire exercise with your left leg. You can repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times if comfortable.

To strengthen the hamstrings (back of the thigh):

  • Sit up straight in a chair with arms that will not move as you do this exercise. Prop the chair against a wall if that will keep it stable. Place legs at a 45-degree angle with heels resting on the floor.
  • Dig your heels into the floor as you hold onto the arms of the chair. Hold that position for 5 seconds. You will feel your hamstring muscles tighten as you do this.
  • Relax for 10 seconds and then repeat 5 to 10 times.
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