Posts by wuerscher

Senior-Friendly Transportation

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Safety Concerns | 0 comments

Many older persons realize that driving safely becomes more challenging and stressful because of age-related changes in vision, hearing, and general flexibility.  These wise drivers adapt by changing their driving habits. They avoid night driving because of limited vision, and the glare of oncoming headlights. They rely on other transportation when weather is bad, and road conditions are poor. But sometimes changing driving habits is not enough. Some seniors stop driving altogether – either by choice or by medical decision – and they must rely on others. Often, this means riding with family or friends, but this is not always practical. That’s when using public transit and other providers becomes part of a new lifestyle. The transition is not always easy, but finding senior-friendly transportation can make a significant difference in their lives. You can help a senior to accept this change by exploring what’s available. Some bus companies may make additional stops to drop a senior near their door. Also, more buses today feature low floors for easy access. Offer to ride with an older person for the first time, then see whether your municipality has a “bus buddy” program. What are other alternatives and how can you get started? Municipal Services: Your local municipal office is your first stop for information on seniors’ transportation. Inquire about special fares, passes and services. Volunteer Organizations: Call local seniors clubs and ask about volunteer drivers. Taxi Companies:  Some taxi companies provide courteous and helpful door-to-door service. Others are more reluctant to respond to the special needs of seniors. You need to check out their service and reputation. Innovative Private Services:  More and more private companies are offering escorted drives for occasions such as medical appointments.   The holiday season is an excellent time to consider transportation vouchers as a gift. It’s a great solution for seniors who have stopped accumulating things and are difficult to buy for. Frugal seniors who are unaccustomed to “luxuries” like taxi rides may find it easier to use this gift rather than to change long-standing habits. And your peace of mind will increase, knowing your family member has access to safe, convenient transportation, particularly during bad weather.    Vol.2, No.25; © ElderWise Inc. 2006. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., your Canadian source for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE bi-weekly newsletter.  ...

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Health Product Buzzwords: Buyer Beware

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Health Signals, Safety Concerns | 0 comments

More people than ever are looking for “health foods” and dietary supplements to help with chronic problems, and to take a more active role in their own health. The exploding demand for these products has spawned many new terms in the media. But what do these buzzwords actually mean? “Organic” means that no synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bio-engineering or ionizing radiation have been used on produce. Organic meat comes from animals that were not given antibiotics or synthetic growth regulators. Producers who market “certified organic” products must meet Canadian government standards to be allowed to use this title. Other products – for example, those described as “pesticide-free” or “free range” – may have positive benefits, but are not  necessarily “organic”. Antioxidants – such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene – slow down or prevent oxidation in the body by destroying free radicals, which are the byproducts of many natural processes in the body.  Oxidation can damage the cell wall, cell structures or the genetic material of the cell, and appears to be one of the causes of many degenerative diseases. Active debate continues regarding evidence that antioxidants can influence aging itself. However, there is growing evidence that antioxidants offer some protection against specific diseases. For many people the words “natural foods” imply that a product or its ingredients have not been processed. But currently there is no standard definition where “natural” appears on food labels.  Recently a soft drink company attempted to attach the moniker “100% natural” to its product because it had removed artificial preservatives from the soft drink. The drink still contained fructose/glucose syrup, a sugar made from highly processed corn syrup. In 2004 Health Canada developed a new regulatory framework for natural health products (NHPs) including: vitamins and minerals; herbal remedies; homeopathic and  traditional medicines; probiotics; and amino acids and essential fatty acids. Products having a Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Drug Identification Number – Homeopathic Medicine (DIN-HM) have been assessed by Health Canada. Currently there are no regulations governing marketers’ use of the term “anti-aging”.  In terms of supplements, Quackwatch.com warns that “anti-aging” has no scientific definition.  The product may help boost or maintain your health, but not necessarily reverse or prevent the aging process.  This area is continually evolving. Before buying,  take into account the agendas of producers, marketers, regulators and other participants in the food and supplement industry. In many cases, it’s still…buyer beware! For further information, visit these websites: BC Health Guide: http://www.bchealthguide.org QuackWatch: http://www.quackwatch.com   Vol.2, No.18; © ElderWise Inc. 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s “go to” place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE newsletter....

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Fall Prevention for Seniors

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Health Emergencies | 0 comments

During the winter “slippery season”, it’s good to be aware of the leading cause of fatal injury among Canadian seniors – falls. Nearly two-thirds of injuries for which those over age 65 are hospitalized, and 40 percent of admissions to nursing homes originate with falls. While slippery conditions outside do pose risks, most falls occur in the home – particularly on stairways and in bathrooms. Fall prevention tips are available from your local health authority. Many communities also offer fall prevention education as part of their seniors’ programs. Vol.1, No.1; © ElderWise Inc. 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s “go to” place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our free e-newsletter.        ...

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Osteoporosis and Bone Health

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Health Signals | 0 comments

 According to Osteoporosis Canada, at least 1.4 million Canadians over the age of 50 – one in four women and one in eight men  – suffer from this disease. What is osteoporosis? This disease has been called the “silent thief” because you may not experience any symptoms until a fracture occurs. Literally meaning “porous bones”, osteoporosis is a disease in which bones lose density, becoming more porous and therefore more fragile. What are the risks? More porous bones can lead to increased risk of fractures, especially of the hip, spine and wrist. Of the more than 25,000 hip fractures reported annually, 70% are caused by osteoporosis. Loss of bone strength also shortens the spine; thus seniors get shorter as they age. (Have you noticed that you or your parents seem to be shrinking?) In addition to aging, here are the other risk factors for decreased bone density: §  Body size: small weight and small bones §  Family history of osteoporosis §  Medical conditions that reduce the absorption of nutrients such as calcium §  Some drug treatments, such as prednisone §  Lifestyle: low calcium intake, excessive caffeine and alcohol use; and smoking. To continue “standing tall”, here’s what you can do to lower your risk:  1.    Consider taking a calcium supplement and Vitamin D if you’re not getting enough from food. Your pharmacist can help you select a supplement that is right for you. Choose a product with a Drug Identification Number (DIN) or General Product (GP) number. This indicates that the product meets Canadian quality standards. If you are curious about the absorption of a specific calcium product, place a tablet in vinegar – it should disintegrate within 30 minutes. 2.    Engage in regular physical activity. Both weight bearing and strength training exercise can help improve bone health. 3.    Talk to your doctor about Bone Mineral Density (BMD) testing. To learn more, visit Osteoporosis Canada to find information on the latest research, programs and to find the center nearest you. http://www.osteoporosis.ca Vol. 2, No. 23; © ElderWise Inc. 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s “go to” place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.        ...

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Dental Health May Slow Aging

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Health Signals | 0 comments

Flossing our teeth is a simple habit, costing next to no time, money or effort, that can add years to our life.  According to www.realage.com, brushing and daily flossing can reduce your “biological” age by as much as 6.4 years – and possibly extend your lifespan by that amount. Gum disease is the most common “infectious disease” in the world. Seven out of ten Canadians will develop gum disease sometime in their lives. Sore, swollen gums and bleeding are among the first symptoms. In advanced stages, receding gums and even tooth loss can follow.  There may even be a link between gum disease and heart disease? The American Federation for Aging Research cites evidence that links chronic gum disease to release of toxic substances and bacteria that enter the blood stream.  This can lead to plaque formation in the arteries, increasing your chances of heart disease.  The Federation states that increased risk of stroke and accelerated aging are also possible. NOTE: The Canadian Dental Association cautions that current evidence is insufficient to be certain gum disease can lead to heart disease.  They don’t dismiss current studies, but say more work is necessary to be positive that links between gum disease and heart disease are not influenced by other factors.  Remember these basics for good oral health: Brush at least twice each day Floss at least once daily Don’t smoke Eat a healthy diet Have regular dental check-ups. Regular exams can help in the early diagnosis of oral cancers, diabetes and even osteoporosis. Vol.2, No.7; © ElderWise Inc. 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s “go to” place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.  ...

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