Posts Tagged ‘retirement community Minooka’

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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Seniors in Joliet ‘get it down in writing’

Most seniors, as they age, they think about their Will. They see a lawyer and make decisions about the division of assets among children and/or grandchildren. There’s another kind of asset to leave family members that is historic and incalculably dear – the story of your life.

A granddaughter expressed regret that she never really knew her grandparents on her father’s side. They came through Ellis Island from Finland, and they both were gone by the time the granddaughter was 12. Decades later, as she faced her own mortality, her thoughts dwelled on the couple, and she wished she had asked her dad more details about what his parents were like. But he had died, too, and the unasked questions were haunting. Any stories about the courage it must have taken to come to America are impossible to know.

If only…if only they had written down a personal story or two.

The drama of coming through Ellis Island isn’t a necessity to tell a life story, however. All the remembrances and experiences of a long life are precious and priceless. Life story writing leaves a lasting legacy for future generations. And it can bring enjoyment, satisfaction and even closure in the last stage of life.

Of the many excellent books on autobiographical writing, perhaps the best for seniors is Lois Daniel’s How to Write Your Own Life Story. The author suggests writing in small sketches of a few sentences each. In addition to genealogical and family life stories – circumstances of birth, favorite toys, stories about siblings and grandparents, she suggests topics such as where were you on important days in history, accomplishments of which you are the most proud and inventions of the day.

According to CreativeQuotations.com, Grandma Moses, in her autobiography, wrote, “I have written my life in small sketches, a little today, a little yesterday, all the things from childhood on through the years, good ones and unpleasant ones, that is how they come out and that is how we have to take them.”

Life story writing in a group can be very enjoyable, and it’s an excellent way to build community with others. Sometimes a family member can serve as a scribe while the senior reminisces aloud. Often a grandchild or great-grandchild compiles the stories and self-publishes from his or her computer. With a little computer know-how, the document can have photos to go along with the stories.

Writing your life story: six suggestions for seniors from JournalTherapy.com

  1. Write in small sketches of five or ten minutes on specific topics, such as a favorite holiday, the first job, a memorable world event.
  2. Engage family members in the process. Invite correspondence, or ask nearby relatives to scribe “spoken poems” by writing down everything that is said, in your exact words.
  3. Join a life story or memoir writing group. Ask at your senior center, library, or doctor’s office. If a writing group doesn’t exist, see if you can get one started.
  4. Tell the stories of how you participated in world history. Where were you when you heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor? How did you and your family spend the Great Depression years? Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated? How did you and America react to 9/11?
  5. Write your “ethical will.” What life lessons, personal philosophies, mottos, and core values do you want to leave as legacy to your descendants? How did you learn these lessons or acquire these philosophies?
  6. Ask someone in your family with computer skills to compile your stories into a self-published memoir.
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Seven simple steps for aging well for seniors in Joliet

If only there was a recipe for aging well – a little of this and a little of that, and voila! Perfect old age.

Well, according to the National Institutes for Health’s magazine, “Medline Plus,” there are seven important “ingredients” to aging well. There are no concrete promises that it will turn out perfectly, of course, but these seven steps are everyone’s best shot.

First, quit smoking! It is never too late to quit, especially because smoking is a leading risk factor for lung cancer. Quitting smoking may be challenging, but there are resources to help. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has guidelines for quitting in its Cancer Topics online. The American Lung Association’s “Freedom From Smoking Online” program describes smoking cessation program and offers support from many other smokers and former smokers.

Second, lose some weight! Studies show that being overweight increases the risk of many diseases in seniors including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and other health-related problems. Losing as little as 5 to 15 percent of body weight can significantly improve health. A safe, healthy rate of weight loss is half a pound to two pounds per week.

Third, get moving! It’s a fact that exercise burns calories. Generally, seniors have less muscle mass in the body, but strength exercises can help to restore strength and muscle mass, often fairly quickly. To get started on an exercise plan, talk to the doctor about what is right for you. Working up to exercising 4 to 6 days per week for 30 to 60 minutes will work wonders.

Fourth, control blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems and kidney failure. High blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure of 140 over 90 or higher at two different checkups. What helps is a healthy weight, regular exercise, healthy diet, watch the salt, watch alcohol, and listen to the doctor!

Fifth, control cholesterol levels. The body needs some of this waxy substance, but an excess of it in the blood can clog arteries and lead to heart disease or stroke. To reduce levels of LDL and increase HDL, it’s vital to eat well and exercise. If medications are needed to control cholesterol, they will be used in combination with a good diet and exercise.

Sixth, don’t drink too much. Drinking more than the recommended amount (two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women) can increase the risk of certain cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, problems with the immune system, and brain damage. In other situations, irresponsible drinking can lead to car accidents. The best advice is, if you drink, drink responsibly.

Seventh, practice prevention. Stay with the same doctor if possible, that is if you like him or her. Keep up to date with flu shots, and use sunscreen. Take medicines on time, and stay informed. Trusted, up-to-date information can be found at www.medlineplus.gov and www.nihseniorhealth.gov.

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Long distance grandparenting for seniors in Joliet

Some of us remember when elder grandparents lived in the same household with their children and grandchildren. It’s a rarity these days. Today, many families are scattered and separated by distances both great and small. The website GrandParenting.org says that no matter how far grandparents and grandchildren live from one another, there are two things working in their favor that can help to keep their bond alive and well:

First, young children have the ability to expand time. Remember when you were younger how time moved more slowly, and your house seemed enormous? This means the time you spend alone with your grandchild can nourish your grandchild for quite a while.

Second, technology is a marvelous asset in helping to encourage emotional connections over distance. True, technology can’t go fishing with a grandchild or help out a harried parent, but it can be a godsend to foster ongoing communication

In fact, communication is the most indispensable factor in keeping grandparent and grandchild as close as possible no matter how far apart they live. Today, there are lots of ways to communicate.

About.com reminds us that the “old” ways are still extremely meaningful: letters to an individual grandchild, letters with sketches or drawings, photos of yourself, greeting cards, a note with a stick of chewing gum, packages with several small items, or send something hand-made like a birdhouse or quilt. Young kids like the thought more than the content. Just the fact they receive a letter is more important than what is in it.

Technology has given everyone even more options. Lots of kids are computer literate, and now’s the time to have someone show you the ropes of email. There’s also videoconferencing (you can talk with your grandchild real-time, face-to-face). E-Mail, computer games, and the ability to send notes back and forth (or recipes, jokes,) can keep your contact loving and lively. You can even establish your own home page on the world-wide-web.

Faxes can be fun. One grandmother gave all of her grandchildren fax machines so they could keep in touch on a daily basis. Children can fax jokes, report cards, drawings etc. to their grandparents and vice versa. This grandma faxes her grandchildren individual notes several mornings a week.

Telephone contact is important, too. It’s a live voice. But make sure that you call your grandchild alone. Your grandchild wants to feel special and individual. It’s best to call at a regular time when your grandchild is not rushed or a parent is not harried about getting a meal on the table.

Some suggestions from GrandParentsToday.com:

  • Videotape yourself reading a grandchild’s favorite story. If possible, have someone else record you and your spouse, especially on birthdays or other special occasions.
  • Bake and send favorite cookies. Include the recipe, and videotape yourself making the cookies for a personal cooking lesson.
  • For a far-away grandchild’s birthday, buy party hats, favors, balloons, etc. and send them to the grandchild to use at their party.
  • Create a video family history using old slides and pictures. Narrate it or just set it to music. Or create a scrapbook with copies made from the original pictures.
  • Watch a television show or rented movie “together.” For instance, at Christmas, plan to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and share your thoughts via a phone call, letter or e-mail.
  • Have a prearranged time on New Year’s Eve for you and your children and grandchildren to each light a candle and make a special wish for the coming year.
  • Make up a quiz about you and your spouse. It can be a fun way for your grandchildren to get to know you better.

Most importantly, be there when your grandchild is born and be there for the important events; graduations, religious passages, recitals, holidays, whatever events your family values highly. With a little time and ingenuity, connections can be strong and loving in spite of the miles between you.

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‘Bingo!’ is heard in senior communities all over, especially in Joliet

Bingo is heard in senior communities all over, especially in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportPeople love to play Bingo, and it’s especially popular with seniors. This age group enjoys the game for entertainment and companionship, and added benefits are brain power and enhanced focus. And who isn’t excited to win? Most senior communities have Bingo as part of their weekly activities. Some feature Bingo every day.

Did you ever wonder who invented Bingo?

According to about.com, Bingo’s history can be traced back to 1530, to an Italian lottery game called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia.” Travelers brought the game across the Alps to France where it was called “Le Lotto.” The Germans also played a version of the game in the 1800s, but they used it primarily to help students learn lessons.

Fast forward to 1929 in America. A game called “Beano” was introduced at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. A pitchman selected numbered discs from a cigar box, and players would mark their cards with beans. When they completed a line of beans horizontally, vertically or diagonally, they yelled “Beano” and won a prize or money.

Edwin S. Lowe, owner of a very small New York toy company (two employees), had a sales call near Atlanta. As he drove down the road, he happened upon the bright lights of the carnival. He was early for his appointment, so he stopped. There was a huge crowd filled with people wanting a turn at a game called Beano. Lowe knew his games, and he had never heard of it.

While he was waiting for a seat (which he never got), he noticed that the players seemed addicted to the game. The pitchman wanted to close up, but every time he announced the last game, nobody moved. The game finally shut down at 3 a.m. After locking up, the pitchman told Lowe that he had run across a game called Lotto while traveling with a carnival in Germany the previous year. He thought it would make a good tent or carnival game. He called it Beano.

Returning to his home in New York, Lowe bought some dried beans, a rubber numbering stamp and some cardboard. Friends were invited to his apartment, and Lowe assumed the pitchman’s duties. Soon his friends were playing Beano with the same tension and excitement as he had seen at the carnival. During one session Lowe noticed that one of his guests was close to winning. She got more excited as each bean was added to her card. Finally there was one number left – and it was called. The woman jumped up, became tongue tied, and instead of shouting “Beano,” stuttered “B-B-B-BINGO!” The name stuck.

Lowe realized the game’s potential and started to market it. He hired a math professor to help him increase the number of combinations in bingo cards. By 1930, Dr. Carl Leffler had invented 6,000 different Bingo cards. It is said that Leffler then went insane. Who can blame him?

By 1934 there were an estimated 10,000 Bingo games a week, and Ed Lowe’s firm had 1,000 employees frantically trying to keep up with demand. The company took up nine entire floors of its New York office space, and 64 presses printed 24 hours a day.

According to Wikipedia, the Lowe Bingo Game had two versions; the first a 12-card set for $1, the second a $2 set with 24 cards. Bingo was a huge success. By the 1940s Bingo games were all over the country. Lowe had many competitors, and all he asked was that they pay $1 a year to conduct the games and to use the name Bingo.

Bingo was off to a fast start, and at the same time, it had reserved itself next to baseball and apple pie – thanks to Ed Lowe and the loss of Professor Leffler’s sanity.

Then, a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania approached Lowe about using Bingo as a means of raising church funds. It caught on like wildfire.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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Healthy smiles for seniors in Shorewood

senior teeth and oral health in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportIt’s an old stereotype – You will lose all your teeth as you age, and all seniors have dentures. Not so! Teeth are never too old to be repaired or replaced, and dentures aren’t the only game in town. Dental implants are a new option that many older adults are choosing.

But let’s not talk about repairing or replacing. Let’s talk about keeping the mouth healthy in the first place.

According to WebMD, daily brushing and flossing of natural teeth is essential to keeping them in good oral health.

It’s important for all individuals – regardless of age -to:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Visit the dentist on a regular schedule for cleaning and an oral exam.

The Mayo Clinic says the state of oral health can offer lots of clues about a person’s overall health.

The mouth is normally teeming with bacteria. Brushing and flossing can keep these bacteria under control. Saliva also is a key defense against bacteria and viruses, because it contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in different ways.

But harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and lead to periodontitis, a serious gum infection. This disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, which if not removed through daily tooth brushing and flossing, results in red or swollen gums that bleed easily. And, if plaque remains on teeth too long, a hard deposit called tarter or calculus forms. This deposit is removed by a dental hygienist or dentist when the teeth are professionally cleaned.

Left untreated, periodontal disease can destroy the gum tissues and bone around teeth, and eventually teeth can be lost. Periodontitis also may provide bacteria a port of entry into the bloodstream. Medications or treatments that reduce saliva flow or disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth also may lead to oral changes.

To summarize, oral health is connected to many other health conditions beyond the mouth. Sometimes the first sign of a disease shows up in the mouth. Simply said, oral health is important for overall health and vice versa.

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Age-related macular degeneration in seniors in Plainfield

Age-related macular degeneration in seniors in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportAs 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, diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration. According to the National Eye Institute, by age 65, one-in-three Americans have some form of vision-impairing eye disease.

Often there are no warning signs, so most people don’t know it, or they assume that poor sight is a natural part of aging. It is not. By detecting and treating eye disease early through annual, comprehensive dilated exams, seniors can do so much to preserve their sight.

Let’s focus on just one of the sight-steeling diseases – age-related macular degeneration. The American Health Assistance Foundation tells us it is a common eye disease that causes deterioration of the macula, the central area of the retina, a paper-thin tissue at the back of the eye where light sensitive cells send visual signals to the brain. The macular processes sharp, clear, straight-ahead vision, color and fine detail, and damage to this area results in blind spots and blurred or distorted vision.

Age-related macular degeneration is a major cause of visual impairment in the United States. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness among Caucasians over age 65. Almost 1.75 million Americans 40 years and older have advanced age-related macular degeneration, and another 7.3 million people with intermediate age-related macular degeneration are at substantial risk for vision loss. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 2.95 million people with advanced age-related macular degeneration.

There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Neither causes pain. The dry form of macular degeneration, in which the light sensitive cells of the macula slowly break down, is the most common type, accounting for 90 percent of diagnosed cases.

Wet macular degeneration accounts for approximately 10 percent of cases but results in 90 percent of legal blindness. It is considered advanced macular degeneration (there is no early or intermediate stage of wet macular degeneration). Wet macular degeneration is always preceded by the dry form of the disease.

To help diagnose macular degeneration, an ophthalmologist will perform a dilated eye exam, and it is imperative for older adults to visit their eye doctor at least once yearly.

Mayo Clinic lists the following risk factors for macular degeneration:

  • Age – The number one risk factor is age.
  • Smoking – Smoking increases an individual’s chances of developing age-related macular degeneration by two to five-fold.
  • Family history of macular degeneration – An individual is more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration if someone in his or her immediate family has been affected.
  • Gender – Females are more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration than males. This may be due to the fact that females live longer than males, and thus have more time to develop the disease.
  • Race - Caucasians are more likely to be affected age-related macular degeneration than other races. This may be due to differences in genetic background or pigmentation.
  • Prolonged sun exposure – Ultra-violet (UV) light damages retinal tissue directly and can also lead to the accumulation of products that are harmful to the retina.
  • A high fat diet, and/or one that is low in nutrients and antioxidants – Individuals with diets high in fat, cholesterol and sugar, and low in antioxidants are more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration.
  • Obesity - Overweight individuals are more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration.
  • High blood pressure – High blood pressure, like smoking, leads to a constriction, or narrowing, of the blood vessels that nourish the retina, negatively affecting its health.
  • Eye color – Individuals with light-colored eyes are more likely to be affected by dry age-related macular degeneration. This may be due to the fact that light-pigmented eyes offer less protection from damaging UV light.
  • Inactivity – Individuals who do not follow a regular exercise routine are more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration.

Currently, there is no treatment or cure for advanced dry macular degeneration. However, ongoing research is hopeful. New treatment strategies are being investigated including retinal cell transplants, drugs to prevent or slow disease progress, radiation therapy, gene therapies, a computer chip implanted in the retina that may help simulate vision, and agents that will prevent new blood vessel growth under the macula.

Until an effective treatment is found, a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. The following are recommended by Mayo Clinic: eat foods containing antioxidants, take antioxidant and zinc supplements (check first with your doctor), eat fish, stop smoking, get regular eye exams, manage other diseases by taking prescribed medications, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight.

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Chronic pain can be common for seniors in Joliet

According to the National Pain Foundation, pain among older adults is too frequently left undiagnosed and untreated. Statistics show that as high as 65 percent of older adults living on their own or with family, and up to 80 percent of seniors in long-term care facilities, have pain. Conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease further complicate an older adult’s ability to seek and receive adequate care for his or her pain.

As the baby boomers age, this could become even more of an issue, so the problem of pain in older adults needs to be addressed.

There are many reasons why seniors may suffer pain, from chronic disease to infection to joint and bone conditions. Here at the 10 common reasons why seniors have pain:

  1. Falls/trauma – Falling from lack of balance or weakness can end up a nightmare of pain. Safety proofing the environment is a must.
  2. Arthritis – While there are more than 100 types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common affecting 80 percent of older adults. Other diseases and conditions that cause joint pain include rheumatoid arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States.
  3. Pain after surgery – While most people seem to bounce back after surgery once the worst of the pain is over, many times seniors don’t have that ability. This can result in long-lasting chronic pain.
  4. Osteoporosis – Thinning of the bones causes fractures. The fractures may not be obvious like hip or arm breaks; they can be in the spine, causing chronic and severe back and neck pain.
  5. Shingles – Shingles are an outbreak of rash or blisters on the skin that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox. The pain associated with shingles can be intense and is often described as “unrelenting.” Approximately 20 percent of shingles patients develop post-herpetic neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that affects the nerve fibers and skin.
  6. Face pain – This condition may include severe headaches, jaw tenderness and aching, muscle spasms and strain, dry mouth and toothaches.
  7. Back and neck pain – Back and neck pain can be caused by spinal stenosis, sprain or strain, past fractures, swollen or herniated disks, sciatica or arthritis.
  8. Abdominal pain – Causes include gallstones, appendicitis, bowel obstruction, peptic ulcer disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, or gastroenteritis. Another reason may be constipation.
  9. Circulatory problems – Symptoms include muscle cramps, fatigue and aching, chest pain, leg pain, itchy skin, vein pain or varicose veins, and sores that heal slowly or not at all. Circulation issues frequently affect those with diabetes, a condition that affects nearly one out of five Americans over the age of 60.
  10. Cancer – Pain is one of the most common symptoms of all types of cancer. It is usually classified as one of two types: nociceptive pain, which is described as sharp, aching and throbbing and neuropathic pain, which is described as a burning or numb sensation.

According to About.com, It makes sense that older adults with chronic pain tend to have higher levels of depression and anxiety than those who don’t suffer from chronic pain.

Seniors may already feel a sense of loss, as they gradually lose the ability to function as they previously did. Decreased eyesight may keep them from driving. They may no longer be able to walk through the grocery store. They may resent having to use assistive devices such a walker or a cane. A perceived loss of independence can lead to feelings of depression and despair. These feelings are intensified by the presence of a chronic pain condition.

Chronic pain is not something anyone should go through alone. Seniors are more vulnerable to aches and pains than the average adult, and often these aches and pains do not go away with time. No one needs to suffer quietly.

It is vital to talk with the doctor, and complete honesty is a must. The doctor can help diagnose the reason for the pain and guide an individual toward a treatment that brings relief.

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The future: Hundreds of 100th birthdays for seniors in Joliet?

Centenarians in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportIn 2005, the Social Security Administration redesigned its life expectancy tables to extend to age 119. That says something, doesn’t it?

The New England Centenarian Study (NECS) is the largest comprehensive study of centenarians in the world. Initially this study was a collaboration between Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Now it is under the auspices of Boston University Medical Center.

The study found that Centenarians are the fastest growing segment of our population. The second fastest is the age group 85+. Currently, there are about 40,000 centenarians in the United States; 85% of them are women, 15% are men.

More and more people are now able to achieve their individual life expectancy potentials. This is a dramatic change from the turn of the 20th century, when many people died prematurely especially in infancy. The average life expectancy was 46 years. Families on average would lose a quarter of their children to infectious diseases.

With the advent of clean water and other public health measures, much of this high childhood mortality disappeared resulting in an average life expectancy of 64 years by 1960. Then with marked improvements in medical prevention and intervention for diseases that befall adults, such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart failure and coronary artery disease, life expectancy has climbed to almost 78 years.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century are:

  1. Immunizations and vaccines
  2. Motor vehicle safety
  3. Workplace safety
  4. Control of infectious diseases
  5. Heart and stroke mortality reduction
  6. Safer, healthier foods
  7. Protection of mothers and babies
  8. Family planning
  9. Fluoridation of drinking water
  10. Recognition of tobacco as a health hazard

Life span is the maximum age obtainable for the species, and it is defined by the age of the oldest living individual. In the case of humans, that individual was Madame Jeanne Calment of Arles, France, who was born Feb. 21, 1875 and died on Aug. 4, 1997 at the age of 122.

Madame Calment once said: “I have an enormous will to live and a good appetite, especially for sweets.” (Oh, if only it were that easy…just a daily stop at Fannie Mae)

The New England Centenarian Study found that most centenarians are uncommonly healthy, have emotional resilience, a good sense of humor, self-sufficiency, good longevity genes, resistance to stress (good coping skills), strong connections with other people, low blood pressure, religious beliefs, a zest for life, and an appreciation of simple pleasures and experiences. In addition few are obese, and a substantial smoking history is rare.

“The average person is born with strong enough longevity genes to live to 85 and maybe longer,” said Thomas T. Perls MD, MPH, director of the New England Centenarian Study. “People who take appropriate preventive steps may add as many as ten quality years to that.”

We have great potential to extend our lives, researchers say, if we just take care of ourselves: reduce stress, stay connected with others, cultivate optimism, watch the diet, exercise, increase cognitive capacity by doing crossword puzzles, playing bridge, or experiencing the new and unfamiliar and floss teeth. (That’s right. Flossing may help prevent heart disease. There is preliminary evidence that inflamed gums release substances into the bloodstream that cause clogged arteries.)

On a final note, life expectancy changes as one gets older. By the time a child reaches their first year, their chances of living longer increase. By the time of late adulthood, ones chances of survival to a very old age are quite good. For example, although the life expectancy from birth for all people in the United States is 77.7 years, those who live to age 65 will have an average of almost 18 additional years left to live, making their life expectancy almost 83 years.

And here’s the final proof. Hallmark Cards sold 85,000 100th birthday cards last year.

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