As you get older, the consequences of falls can become more serious, setting up a sequence of events that can have longstanding implications on independence and health. These steps can help prevent falls.
Taking Steps to Prevent Falls
(Family Features) When you’re young, an injury from a fall may sideline you for a few days or weeks, but a full recovery is usually quick. As you get older, the consequences of falls can become more serious, setting up a sequence of events that can have longstanding implications on independence and health.
It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Although falls typically become more common and can be more serious as you age, falls are not a natural part of getting older. In fact, most falls are preventable. Knowing the factors that put you at greater risk of falling and taking proper steps can help prevent falls.
Risk factors for falls in older people include overall health (chronic diseases and physical conditions), environment (hazards and situations at home) and behaviors, such as rushing around or standing on a chair to reach something.
These steps from the experts at the National Council on Aging can help prevent falls:
For more tips and information, visit acl.gov/fallsprevention.
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Administration for Community Living
(BPT) - Everyone knows aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping and lifting weights keeps muscles strong. But when it comes to keeping the brain healthy, most people are unsure what to do.
As you age, brain health and maintaining memory functions becomes a top concern. Turns out, these issues may begin sooner than you think.
"We tend to think about memory decline as an older person's issue, but that's not the case at all," says Dr. Aimee Gould Shunney, a licensed naturopathic doctor specializing in women's health and family medicine. "There was a study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal that examined cognitive function in people age 45 to 70. The researchers did not expect it, but they found evidence of cognitive decline in the 45-year-old participants as well as the older participants."
She notes there are two basic pathological processes that cause degeneration of the brain: oxidative stress and inflammation.
Basically, the standard American diet and lifestyle contribute to those processes. So who is this really an issue for? Men and women of all ages.
No matter your age, you can take charge of your brain health by following these five smart steps from Dr. Shunney:
"A Mediterranean-type diet that focuses on whole foods, good fats and foods high in antioxidants is a great place to start," says Dr. Shunney.
She encourages her patients to focus on getting omega-3 fats from fish and monounsaturated fats from olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds. She also recommends increasing fruits (especially berries) and beans (they're packed with antioxidants). What's more, research shows a little cocoa, coffee and red wine can act as antioxidants and are beneficial in low to moderate amounts.
In addition to a quality multivitamin, Dr. Shunney recommends an omega-3 supplement. "Getting enough omega-3s is one of the most important measures we can take," she says. "DHA is the dominant omega-3 in the brain. Just like we need to make sure babies have enough DHA to grow their brain, we need to make sure older people get enough DHA to keep their brains healthy."
She suggests Omega Memory by Nordic Naturals. It's a DHA-dominant omega-3 formula that also includes other brain healthy ingredients: curcumin, phosphatidylcholine and huperzine A. Learn more at www.nordicnaturals.com.
Poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline. "Studies show both sleep deprivation and sleeping too much impact cognitive performance," Dr. Shunney says. "A good goal is to go to bed around the same time each night, sleep for 7-8 hours, and get up around the same time every morning."
"I recommend anything that keeps your mind working," says Dr. Shunney. "Activities that require things to be arranged or puzzles that have to be put together. Crossword puzzles, word games and board games are all great."
She also notes some activities to avoid: "It's important to limit certain activities. The constant scanning of social media and newsfeeds eliminates creativity and keeps us on edge. Limit the time you spend doing that and instead do things that cause you to explore and think and put ideas together on your own."
"Social isolation has been linked with cognitive decline," says Dr. Shunney. "In one study, people who were lonely experienced cognitive decline at a 20 percent faster rate than people who were not lonely."
Make time to take a foreign language class, join a Toastmaster's Club, take a watercolor class - anything that connects you regularly to other people.
Stay Young at Heart (and in Body and Mind)
Even if you've spent a lifetime practicing healthy habits, your senior years are no time to allow those practices to fall to the wayside. On the other hand, if you put off quality self-care for later in life, rely on your experience and maturity to know that taking care of yourself is as important as, well, life itself.
Eat balanced meals. It's never too late to begin paying more attention to what you eat. Seniors may be prone to poor eating habits for the sake of convenience or because it's not as much fun cooking for one or two when you once had a full house to feed. Actually, as you age, keeping your weight in check and continuing to fuel your body with essential nutrients is more important than ever.
Keep moving. It's true that aches and pains may keep you from being as spry as you once were, but limiting your movement can actually create a snowball effect that results in even less mobility over time. Muscles that aren't used regularly can weaken and restrict your movement even more, so work with your physician to determine an appropriate amount of activity for your condition.
Mind your mind. When you're in the workforce, or while you're tending to the needs of a growing family, you rely on your brain to power through, probably without even thinking about it. Yet over time, most people experience some degree of cognitive deterioration, partially from basic biology and partially from lack of "exercising" that vital muscle. Keep your mind sharp by communicating regularly with your family and friends, and seek out activities that put your brain to use, such as crossword puzzles or word games.
Be a social butterfly. A common lament of middle-age is the lack of time to nurture friendships. With an empty nest and an open calendar, there's no time like the present to strengthen long-term bonds or seek out new companions who share life experiences and a desire to age with grace. Close connections with friends and family members will not only boost your emotional well-being, they can ensure there are others watching out for you on a regular basis.
Do as you're told. When you're younger, skipping an annual checkup here and there seems like no big deal. As you age, those regular assessments are more important. They serve an important role in identifying potential issues and introducing treatments before big problems arise. Honor your regular medical appointments and heed the advice you're given - including taking any medicines as prescribed.
Find more tips for living healthy as you age at elivingtoday.com.
3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription Costs
For 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, the New Year means any new Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plans, or any changes to your existing plans, take effect. If you signed up for coverage, it's important to understand how your prescription drug costs may be affected.
Even if you did nothing to alter your coverage, some features of your plan may have changed for 2017.
A survey by Walgreens shows that even though prescription drug costs are among the top concerns for Medicare beneficiaries, approximately one out of every five beneficiaries lacks a good understanding of their insurance plan. Roughly the same percentage falsely believes that all pharmacies charge the same copay and one-third of respondents didn't know they can switch pharmacies at any time, including outside of the annual enrollment period. To make the most of your benefits and find potential cost savings for your prescription medications under your Part D coverage, here are three easy steps to get started:
Use a less expensive brand or generic. The brand-name drug your doctor prescribed can do wonders for your symptoms but be worrisome for your budget. Many brand-name drugs have generic or other brand substitutes. First, make sure your doctor considers generic options. If those options aren't available, there may be lower-cost brand-name drugs used to treat the same condition. Ask your pharmacist if you have that option then talk with your doctor to see if switching brands makes sense in your situation.
Verify whether your plan has a preferred pharmacy network. Many prescription drug plans have a preferred pharmacy (preferred cost share) network where you can pay a lower out-of-pocket copay for the exact same drug. Walgreens is in the preferred pharmacy network for many of the largest Medicare sponsors and, effective January 2017, offers copays as low as $0 on generic medications for select plans. Filling a generic medication at a non-preferred pharmacy could cost you $3, $5 or even $10 for the same drug.
Seek Medicare's Extra Help program and other ways to save. Medicare offers an Extra Help program to help people with limited income and resources pay Medicare prescription drug program costs, like premiums, deductibles and coinsurance. Make sure you're taking full advantage of your insurance coverage, which may cover non-prescription items, like vaccinations and certain over-the-counter medications.
Medicare beneficiaries seeking help navigating prescription drug costs can find additional resources and a list of Medicare plan sponsors at walgreens.com/medicare.
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Living with diabetes is no laughing matter, but as many would say, laughter is often the best medicine. This is certainly true for comedic actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who offers these five tips for a healthy smile and managing diabetes with a touch of humor.
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