Staying Active

Helping Frail Seniors Travel

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

This summer’s family reunion is set for Nova Scotia and your mother, who is on oxygen, lives in Alberta.  Your daughter’s wedding is in Arizona, but your father, who has severe osteoarthritis, lives in Toronto. Do scenarios like these mean your favorite senior has to miss the big event. Not at all.  Help is available from many sources to enable a senior to travel for family events or for recreation. Planning ahead is key to successful travel experiences, no matter what age the traveler. Here are a few things you can do: Call the doctor Before you book a trip, discuss it with the doctor. People with heart conditions need to be certain they are stable.  Diabetics must know how to safely stagger medications while traveling through different time zones. Ensure prescriptions will cover the time away. Some overseas destinations require getting vaccinated well before you leave. Don’t forget out-of-country medical insurance if you are leaving Canada. Call home care agencies For specialized medical needs, such as traveling with oxygen or severe mobility issues, check with home care companies who offer medical aides. Some may even have registered nurses available who could travel with seniors.  These qualified personnel have the training to monitor equipment such as supplemental oxygen, medications and vital signs and symptoms. These services are not generally listed on an agency’s website. Contact them directly to find out if a medical aide is available. Call a travel agent/airline Many airlines offer special fares to a person traveling as a medical attendant. This person can be a family member – even a minor – who accompanies the senior to help ensure they travel safely. Many travel agents will offer additional help with booking hotels and transportation that will work for you and your family member. Use special equipment Seniors with emphysema or COPD can travel with bottled oxygen; however, an oxygen concentrator might be another option. The portable unit does exactly what it says: it concentrates the oxygen around the person into a mask or tube and prevents a decrease of oxygen in the blood. Rent them through medical supply companies. Many devices come with rechargeable batteries and can be used on the ground as well as in the air. Ask for help Take advantage of golf cart transport offered throughout airports, and wheelchairs to help infirm seniors get between gate and aircraft. Advanced boarding is designed for those needing extra time or assistance – including seniors with health or mobility problems. Before and during travel, call on the many resources available to help you have a safe, pleasant journey. Vol. 4, No. 9 © ElderWise Publishing 2008-9. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Fitness with Exercise Bands

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

Most of us know why exercise should be part of our life: reduced weight, toned muscles, and heart health. But exercise can also help with age-related health concerns including: improved balance and coordination, reduced stress, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, and even improved mood.  Research shows that resistance exercise can improve functional independence and also reduce the risk of falls. With all those benefits, elderly persons are wise to include an exercise program in their plan for healthy aging. One easy solution is exercise bands. What are they? Originally developed by physical therapists to help patients recovering from injury or surgery, exercise bands are used for resistance training in the same way people use free weights or some exercise machines. The advantage of the bands is less risk of injury and a gentler, yet effective workout. Exercise bands do feel different than other resistance devices, because their tension is continuous throughout the exercise.  However, you can control the amount of tension – and make the exercise easier – by lengthening or shortening the band. Choose a band with the right resistance. Are all bands the same? Long, thin latex bands, which look like ribbons, are suited to more gentle exercises and stretching.  Other bands are made of rubber tubing and have handles at each end.  Choose these for a more intense workout and to help build muscle.  However, the user must be able to grasp the handles. What can I do with exercise bands? Many popular weight exercises – from bicep curls to quad lifts – can be modified for exercise bands. In fact, you can work your whole body. Many videos, DVDs and books are available on the subject.  Check with your favourite bookstore or library. Before starting any exercise program check with your physician. Where can I get exercise bands? You can find bands at sporting goods stores, home health care stores, and most major department stores. Exercise bands provide a portable, affordable, and reasonably safe way for older adults to exercise in the comfort of their own home. “I watched a TV show for seniors on exercise while sitting safely in a chair. I started using the bands and was surprised by how much strength I gained in my arms.” M.F.  Age 85    Vol.4, No. 1 © ElderWise Inc., 2008 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, 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...

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Exercise for Healthy Hearts

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

Exercise is good for us, right?  Most of us believe physical fitness will help keep us healthy, especially as we age. Some of the benefits are: Combating depression and anxiety Keeping bones, muscles and joints functioning well Improved cholesterol levels Helping to reduce body weight and body fat Helping the cardiovascular system to work more efficiently Reducing the risk of high blood pressure AND…of heart disease!  Exercise has many benefits for the heart and cardiovascular system. But what kind of exercise?  Here are some simple ways to increase your everyday activity and work your heart for healthy results: Increase the amount you walk, e.g., park your car further from the door when shopping. Get up and move every hour. Stretch during commercial breaks while watching TV. Take the stairs – not the escalator or elevator.  Everyday activities you may not think of – like gardening and housework – also qualify  as exercise and  contribute to heart health. You don’t need an hour-long exercise regimen to help your health and your heart.  If you can’t manage 30 to 40 minutes continuously, break that down into ten-minute segments of light exercise such as walking. If you have not been exercising for a while, the Cleveland Clinic recommends that you aim to start at 15 minutes every other day and work up from there. Staying motivated is the key. Make a plan. Don’t just say you will exercise if you feel like it…because you may never feel like it! Read up on exercise and health. Get ideas about new activities to try or new ways of doing activities you already like. Take a course in a new activity.  Spending the money for the course and having a group to support you and to learn with can be inspiring. Start exercising with a friend or neighbour.  Your partner can help you stay the course when your commitment is low. Exercising with a companion can feel more social and less like drudgery. Pick activities you like. Running may provide a good cardiovascular workout, but if you hate it you are far less likely to keep doing it. Make a six-week commitment.  Some exercise specialists believe you will notice results from an exercise program within 6 weeks.  Seeing those results can help keep you going – but you need to get to the six-week mark!  The risks and prevalence of heart disease are too great for mid-life adults and seniors to ignore. Embracing an active lifestyle is one of the best preventive measures we can take.  For more information, visit these web sites: Exercise for your Health: Benefits and How-To’s http://www.clevelandclinic.org/heartcenter/pub/guide/prevention/exercise/exercisehrt.htm Canadian Diabetes Association, exploring links between diabetes and heart disease. www.getserious.ca Try the quiz on heart health and heart disease at http://www.lifeheart.com/patient/quiz/index.asp#8   Vol.3, No. 4 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.ca and subscribe to our...

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Safety for Older Drivers

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Safety Concerns, Staying Active | 0 comments

An aging population means more aging drivers.  The leading edge of the baby boomers is entering their 60’s, and the fastest-growing segment of seniors are the over-80’s. Both groups are experiencing age-related changes that can affect safe driving.  Generally, those over 65 are relatively safe drivers; unfortunately, those over 80 have more collisions. Many of today’s seniors learned to drive the family car or truck in their teens, and did not even take a road test to get a driver’s license.  Some developed driving habits that are unsafe. With age-related changes in vision and hearing, slower reflexes, and reduced flexibility, drivers over 60 need more than ever to depend more on good driving habits.  Are YOU thinking ahead about the day that you may have to give up your driver’s license? Are you willing to take a refresher course to increase the likelihood that you can continue to drive safely for years to come? Here are a few questions to help you check your driving habits:  Do you check and adjust the rear view mirror and side mirrors before starting your car?  Do you know where the headrest should be for the best protection?  Some situations can be especially challenging for older drivers. Are you aware of the safest behaviours when…making a left turn? Merging? Changing lanes? Check your safe driving knowledge: Who has the right-of-way during a merge?  If two drivers arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, who has the right-of-way?  How many collisions are caused by “distraction” (inside and outside the car)? For answers, visit the Canada Safety Council’s website: http://canadasafetycouncil.org/senior-safety/safety-tips-older-driver/    Vol.3, No.2 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. 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 midlife and older adults seeking information and support on health, housing and relationships. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com  and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.  ...

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Eating Out…With Diabetes

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

Your aging parent may be one of the growing numbers of seniors with Type 2 Diabetes. More than 800,000 seniors have this disease and the number will rise as Canada’s population continues to age. Eating out is one of life’s pleasures and it does not have to stop because of Diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, you can enjoy eating out and take care of your diabetes at the same time. It’s a matter of making the right choices, asking for what you need, and balancing your meals out with healthy meals at home. Not everyone with diabetes has the same nutritional goals. A meeting with a Registered Dietician or Diabetic Educator can help sort out what to do when dining out. How to find a restaurant You can help your parent by picking a restaurant that offers a variety of choices. This will increase the chances of finding appropriate foods. You can phone ahead and ask about the menu. Also, make a reservation to avoid waiting and ensure that your parent can eat on time. This is particularly important if your parent uses insulin. How to order The American Diabetes Association makes these suggestions, based on sound principles of nutrition: You might also adopt these guidelines to prevent diabetes and heart disease. Discuss these ideas with your parent. If you do not know what is in a dish – ask. Ask whether food has been prepared with liquid oils rather than solid fats (that can be high in saturated and trans fats). Choose food prepared with minimal salt, no extra sauce or butter Choose dishes that are broiled, grilled or steamed instead of fried. Try to eat the same portion as you would at home.  Share one order if the serving size is large, or take the extra food home. Ask for sauces, gravies, and salad dressings on the side. Order the baked potato – but top it with a teaspoon of low-calorie yogurt or sour cream instead of butter. Limit your intake of sugar, caffeine, alcohol and soft drinks. Need more information? Call the Canadian Diabetes Association’s toll-free information line at 1-800-226-8464  Email a customer care representative at info@diabetes.ca.  Visit the Canadian Diabetes Association’s .website: www.diabetes.ca    Vol. 4, No. 5 © ElderWise Publishing 2008. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’ go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE...

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Keys to Enjoying Later Life

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

Guest author: Patricia Morgan Fred, the oldest known goldfish, lived to forty-one years of age. It’s a mystery how he did it. But, unlike Fred, we don’t need to live inside a fishbowl to enjoy a long, full and vibrant life. Certainly a sense of playful humor seems to be a key ingredient for seniors who live an energetic and meaningful life. For people like my mother, it’s true that aging bodies disintegrate or rust out and health challenges may minimize some choices. Yet an attitude of optimism, good humor and passion can ease the day. Mom’s passion for gardening excites her each morning. Rising to the edge of her bed, she wraps, straps and bandages various body parts before heading out the back door. Her garden has a ceramic bunny village nestled under a bush and one particular flower species is called “stolen”. She secretly stole a snippet at the local park and sprouted it in a glass of water. A fake hand peeks out from her front porch foundation. She declares. “My doors are unlocked and I’ve never been robbed. They think the axe murderer lives here.” Yet, one summer, Mom reported experiencing sexual harassment in her garden. While kneeling down to clean her ornamental pond a jumping frog “came less than an inch from landing in my bra!”  Although many seniors fuss over a failing memory, others lament that “I have a beautiful, young wife and I’m grief stricken because I don’t know where I left her.” One evening Mom sensed she was supposed to be somewhere else. The next morning her friend Peggy called saying her dinner guest did not arrive but she couldn’t remember whom she had invited. Mom asked, “Was that me?” They still don’t know who was supposed to be where. While memory can weaken, an inquiring mind can strengthen. My mother keeps on eye on world events and has sharpened her opinions. “What’s with President Bush’s zeal for war? He needs to be given some estrogen (female hormone) to settle him down.” Many successful seniors have learned that while they have little control over the aging process they do have control over their attitude. Needless worrying and trying to control others is fruitless. Some seniors discover that sinking their teeth into a steak means they stay there. But real staying power comes from a lighthearted approach. As our eighty-something old neighbor and friend, Izora says, “Aging isn’t for sissies or the humorless.” As the years pass we can consciously choose to embrace social activities, maintain an inquiring mind and indulge our passions – silly or serious. One day we will have our own brand of senior smile and feel grateful to live outside the fish bowl. Patricia Morgan, a certified counsellor, speaker and author, helps individuals and organizations lighten their load and strengthen their resilience. For more information visit http://lightheartedconcepts.com   Vol. 4, No. 10 © Patricia Morgan 2008. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge the author’s copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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