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Heart attacks are responsible for one in five deaths. Although not all heart attacks are fatal, there are factors that can increase your risk of dying. However, it is not impossible to survive a heart attack, and appropriate steps may help you avoid one entirely. You can increase your chance of a longer, healthier life.

What Is A Heart Attack?

Myocardial infarction occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle is suddenly lost. This generally occurs when a blood clot creates a blockage in a coronary artery. When this artery cannot supply nutrients and blood to the person’s heart muscle, it results in the death of the muscle.

Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

Many people believe excruciating pain is the main, if not the only symptom of heart attacks. While chest pain can occur, it is not the only symptom. You can experience a heart attack with or without chest pain. In fact, women are less likely than men to experience chest pain during a heart attack.

Men and women alike can experience other unusual symptoms in their chests. A common example is a sense of pressure. You may feel as if something very heavy is on your chest. You may also feel an aching, squeezing, or tight sensation. You may feel these sensations spreading to your back, neck, arms, or jaw.

Heart attacks are often accompanied by unusual perspiration. You may break out in a cold sweat. You may feel pain in your abdomen, or experience heartburn, indigestion, or nausea. You may experience sudden lightheadedness, dizziness, or fatigue. Shortness of breath is another common symptom of a heart attack.

In some cases, heart attacks occur suddenly, with no symptoms or warning signs at all. Many individuals, though, do experience symptoms. You may have one or more warning signs days or even weeks before a heart attack happens. Often, recurring chest pain is the first sign that something is terribly wrong. You may feel pain after physical exertion, and it may disappear after you rest. As this can be the first sign of an approaching heart attack, never ignore this symptom. Obtain medical help immediately.

What To Do If You Have A Heart Attack When You Are Alone

What you do when you are having a heart attack can save your life. If you are alone, immediately call for an ambulance. Surviving a heart attack is only one reason you should have a fully-charged cell phone or a medical alert device with you at all times. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital, and do not seek assistance from a neighbor. Only a trained paramedic or EMT can provide the medical assistance you need on the way to the hospital.

If you experience a heart attack while driving, stop the car immediately. Unconsciousness can occur quickly.

If you are not taking medication that interacts with aspirin, slowly chew one aspirin tablet. Aspirin works as a blood thinner and can stop the blood clot from growing. Use a non-coated aspirin, and take it with a cool glass of water. The aspirin will get into your bloodstream faster if you chew or crush it. If you swallow it whole, it will take longer to work. You cannot afford to waste time when you are having a heart attack. Do not forget to inform the paramedics that you have taken an aspirin.

As heart attacks progress faster when you are physically active, relax your body. Cooling your body temperature is another important step to increase your chance of survival. You can place cool cloths on your wrists or in your armpits.

Risk Factors For Heart Attacks

Anyone can experience a heart attack, but you should know if you have issues that increase your risk. While not all risk factors can be changed, there are some that you can change.

  • Age increases your risk of a heart attack. Men who are over 45 and women who are over 55 are in a higher risk category.
  • Tobacco smoke is a risk factor. This includes smoke from your own cigarettes and second-hand smoke from other people.
  • High blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure both damage your arteries.
  • Diabetics have a higher risk than non-diabetics.
  • Your family history can be a risk factor. This includes a grandparent, parent, or sibling who had an early heart attack. If a close male relative had a heart attack before age 55, or a female relative had one before age 65, you are in a higher risk category.
  • Obesity, in general, increases your risk, but your risk can be even higher if the excess weight is on your abdomen.
  • A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk. Another risk factor is difficulty coping with stress. Individuals who use illegal stimulant drugs are also at a higher risk of heart attacks.
  • A diet that is high in salt, cholesterol or saturated fats can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Heart Health: Heart Attack Prevention For Seniors

Often, it is not impossible to prevent a heart attack. Prevention can begin by reducing risk factors that are within your ability to control. You should not wait until you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack to make healthy changes in your life. Now is the time to make heart health a priority.

Take an active, responsible role in your own health care. If you do not have any health problems, make and keep annual appointments with your personal physician. Visit more often if he advises you to do so. Cooperate with tests and medications, and take time to do your own research. As family history is second only to age as a risk factor, make sure your doctor knows if anyone in your family had a heart attack.

If you smoke, give up the habit. Make your home smoke-free so you are not exposed to second-hand smoke.

Choose a diet that is good for your heart. Restrict the sodium in your diet. It is not enough to avoid adding salt to your food. Many foods that are ready to heat and serve are high in sodium. Read labels before buying canned, boxed, or frozen foods.

Reduce foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fatty acids. Your heart will be healthier if your diet is not based on fast foods, whole-fat dairy products, and red meat. Instead, choose dairy products that are low fat or fat-free, poultry, and fish. Fish provides the extra benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids. Cold water, oily fish are especially good for your heart.

Have plenty of foods that are high in nutrients and fiber. Build your diet around legumes, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruits. Eat oatmeal and whole-grain foods.

Too much sugar is bad for your heart. Avoid snacks, desserts, and beverages with empty calories. Instead of sugary treats, snack on nuts and seeds. Drink fresh fruit juice instead of carbonated beverages.

Avoid alcohol unless you drink in moderation. Women should not have more than one drink each day, and men should have no more than two.

The way you prepare and serve meals matters, too. You may be adding unhealthy fat and calories to your diet without realizing it. If you normally use fat for cooking, choose olive oil or vegetable oil instead of butter, margarine, or grease. You can avoid fat for cooking altogether by changing your cooking methods. Bake, broil, or boil the food instead of frying. If you use mayonnaise or butter at the table, replace it with fresh lemon juice.

A heart-healthy diet is nutritious, but it can also help you lose weight. Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart attacks. If a balanced diet that is low in fat and calories does not help you achieve your weight loss goals, ask your doctor for advice. Avoid diet pills and fad diets, and focus on nutrition. When you reach and maintain your ideal weight, it can keep your heart healthy.

Daily exercise is essential for seniors who want healthy hearts. If you are not accustomed to exercise, it does not need to be extreme. Walking is an easy form of exercise. You can walk outdoors, or around the mall. The key to making exercise work for you is to do it every day. Devote at least one-half hour each day to physical activity.

Reduce the stress in your life. If you think about it, there are situations that cause anxiety, anger, or worry that you can actually avoid. As it is impossible to eliminate all stress, stress-reduction techniques can be useful. A warm bath, reading, and yoga are some examples.

If you have a health condition that increases your risk of a heart attack, cooperate fully with your physician. Common examples include high blood pressure or cholesterol, and diabetes.

If you are a senior and live alone, consider hiring a home care aide. There are many ways an aide can help you stay healthy and happy during your older years.

Non-medical aides are excellent companions for seniors. This is especially important if you do not have family members or close friends nearby. Talking to your aide about anything that is bothering you will relieve much of your stress. Your aide will enjoy hearing about you and your life, including your past. You can relive joyful times and sad times with someone who listens and cares. With an aide, you will not have the burden of loneliness. You can have a more active life, and participate in the community. You will love to share good times with your home care aide.

Aging in place is easier with a home care aide, too. Even if you are healthy, your aide can assist with chores. She can prepare tasty, nutritious meals for you, and make sure you have a well-balanced diet. Your aide can remind you to take medication on time. If you need help with light housekeeping, you will see your home is neat, clean, and fresh. Your aide can also help with errands, such as picking up items at the grocery store, or taking mail to the post office.

While all of these factors can help you stay healthier and happier, there is an additional reason to consider hiring a non-medical home care aide. The worst time to be alone is when an emergency situation occurs. It can also be the most dangerous time. If you have a heart attack, for example, you may panic and not know what to do, or you may lose consciousness before you can call for help. In a situation where fast, appropriate action is needed to save your life, surviving a heart attack can depend on your home care aide.

Your aide is trained to deal with medical emergencies. However, while prompt care can help you survive a heart attack, there are other reasons it is beneficial to have an aide present during an emergency. She can call for an ambulance, and she can help you stay calm and comfortable until the ambulance arrives. You will have a better chance of surviving, and a heart attack will not be such a frightening experience when your home care aide is with you.

Enjoy Your Senior Years With A Healthy Heart

When you are healthy, you can enjoy your life. Heart health is a top example. When your heart is healthy, you can be more active. You can have peace of mind instead of constant worry.

Whether you are elderly or in your early senior years, you should not hesitate to take steps to become healthier. Many of the health risks you currently have can be changed. Only a few changes in your everyday life can make a difference.

A home care aide can make a difference, too. When you have an aide, you can avoid loneliness, and chores will be completed when you cannot do them yourself. Equally important, you will have someone with you if you do experience an emergency. You will know you are with a capable, responsible person who cares about you and will help in any emergency situation.

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Dementia is basically an umbrella term that encompasses a group of disorders characterized by misperception, memory problems, disorientation, mental confusion and in some cases, behavioral problems. At this point, it is important to note that dementia is not a normal sign of aging. According to researchers, there are more than 50 underlying causes of dementia, including diseases such as stroke, head injuries and Alzheimer’s disease. While each dementia type has its own unique features, they all cause brain cells to die quicker than normal. As a result, dementia patients often suffer from judgment, personality and memory problems.

Dementia typically progresses slowly in three stages (early, middle and late stage). As it slowly damages the brain, it causes substantial impairment in cognition and thinking, interfering with a patient’s ability to live independently.

According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million patients suffer from dementia worldwide. Out of these, about 35 million suffer from Alzheimer’s dementia, which is the sixth leading cause of death among seniors in the US. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association says that one out of every three seniors in America dies with dementia. Even worse, the WHO expects this number to double and triple by 2030 and 2050, respectively. What’s more, dementia is the main cause of dependency in seniors, putting a severe strain on the nation’s healthcare system. Currently, dementia costs the US healthcare system an estimated $600 billion annually. With that in mind, here is a detailed look at dementia.

Types of Dementia

As mentioned above, dementia is a collective name for a group of mental disorders. The most common types of dementia include:

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)

Caused by the accumulation of a toxic protein called prion in the brain, CJD is a fatal but rare type of dementia that affects only about 300 seniors (age 60 and older) annually in the US. Prions damage the brain, causing it to shrink. CJD progresses rapidly, moving from the initial stage to the final stage within a year or so of onset. The disease can be spread through direct contact with infected body fluids.

Symptoms

Some of the most common CJD symptoms include:

• Poor balance and coordination
• Personality changes
• Visual impairment, cognitive impairment and inability to make judgments
• Muscle jerks (myoclonus), which can eventually cause blindness

In the late stage, patients experience loss of mobility and can become comatose.

Treatment Options

There is currently no treatment for CJD.

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic disease that causes progressive brain damage, causing the loss of physical, intellectual and memory abilities.

Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms associated with Huntington’s disease include slurred speech personality changes, significant weight loss, mood swings, depression, forgetfulness and impaired judgment, anxiety, depression, myoclonus, and difficulty swallowing. It is worth noting that these symptoms typically appear between the ages of 30 and 50 and get progressively worse over a 10 to 15 year period. Moreover, the common causes of death from HD are an inability to swallow, slip-and-fall injuries and pneumonia.

HD Risk Factors

Because HD is an hereditary disease, a child born to parents with HD has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease.

HD Diagnosis

To diagnose HD, doctors typically review a patient’s family medical history, perform a neurological and psychiatric exam, as well as ask the patient certain questions in order to judge the patient’s mental status, coping skills, reflexes, mood, and memory.

Prevention

You can prevent HD through genetic testing and taking the necessary preventative measure if you or your partner carry the Huntington’s gene.

Frontal Temperal Dementia (FTD)

This disease affects the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain. These are the parts of the brain responsible for processing sensory input and memories, as well as cognitive skills, such as problem-solving skills.

Symptoms

Patients often exhibit antisocial behavior, impulsiveness, speech impairment and memory problems.

Treatment

To lessen the undesired behaviors associated with FTD and ease FTD symptoms, doctors often use behavior modification therapy and antidepressants.

Alzheimer’s Dementia

Caused by the accumulation of a snipped protein called amyloid-ß (amyloid beta) in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory, Alzheimer’s dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that damages brain cells, leading to cognitive decline and memory loss. In particular, this condition interferes with a specific type of neuron synchrony called gamma rhythm. It starts mild and gets progressively worse. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans currently have some type of Alzheimer’s disease, making it the most common type of dementia in the US. Worldwide, about 60 to 70% of patients who have dementia have Alzheimer’s disease, too, according to figures from the WHO.

Causes

The main causes of Alzheimer’s disease include stroke, head injuries, brain tumor, infections to the brain, lifestyle and environmental factors.

Symptoms

Alzheimer’s symptoms generally depend on the stage of the disease. More specifically, the early stage of the disease is typically characterized by confusion and short-term memory loss. The symptoms of the middle stage of Alzheimer’s dementia include constant questioning, slurred speech, communication and language difficulty, tremors and difficulty performing regular tasks. The final stage is characterized by long-term memory loss, emotional and physical instability and major personality changes.

Treatment

Currently, there are no effective treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease because researchers do not yet know enough about the underlying biology of the disease. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, researchers are yet to understand how amyloid-ß plaques and tau tangles accumulate in the hippocampus or why the progression of the disease varies from one patient to another. Secondly, Alzheimer’s symptoms typically develop slowly over time, preventing the timely diagnosis of the disease before the brain undergoes irreversible neurodegenerative changes. Thirdly, Alzheimer’s may coexist with types of dementia such as vascular dementia. Finally, researchers are yet to manufacture Alzheimer’s drugs that can effectively cross the blood-brain barrier.

Vascular Dementia

Caused by both large and small strokes in the brain, this is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s dementia. In essence, this condition occurs when the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen-rich blood are damaged, depriving the brain of enough oxygen. This means that brain injuries, tumors, and brain infections can also cause vascular dementia.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis typically involves MRI screening as well as assessments of a patient’s cognitive functions.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for vascular dementia include age (seniors age 60 and older are at a greater risk), gender (men are at a greater risk compared to women) heart disease, stroke and vasculitis.

Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of vascular dementia include communication and language difficulty, confusion, disorientation, trouble understanding speech, emotional instability and partial vision loss.

Treatment

Similar to other types of dementia, there is no cure for vascular dementia now. However, there are medications that improve a patient’s quality of life.

Parkinson’s Dementia

Caused by the accumulation of a protein called alpha-synuclein, Parkinson’s dementia manifests symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s dementia and can occur after years of having Parkinson’s disease. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, about 1 million Americans are currently living with Parkinson’s dementia. Out of those, 50 to 80% will Parkinson’s disease dementia. Moreover, the Alzheimer’s Association says that patients with Parkinson’s disease are six times more likely to develop dementia compared with patients without Parkinson’s dementia.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for Parkinson’s dementia include gender, ethnicity, age, genetics, head injuries and environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins.

Symptoms

The common symptoms of Parkinson’s dementia include declining memory functions, tremors, slow shuffling gait, muscle rigidity, gait disturbance, bradykinesia, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, trouble interpreting visual information, sleep disturbances, and personality and behavioral changes.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia involves MRI screening and lab tests and a thorough physical examination.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for this condition currently. However, certain medications including cholineesterase (acetylcholinesterase) inhibitors, L-opa, antidepressants (SSRI) and Clonasepam can help stop the progression of the disease and the symptoms.

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)

LBD is a Parkinson’s-like condition that often causes hallucinations, balance problems, and confusion. In other words, it causes function and cognitive impairments. It is worth noting that LBD is the second common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. This condition is characterized by the presence of Lewy bodies in the cerebral cortex.

Lewy bodies are essentially small clusters of proteins, mainly alpha-synuclein protein, which occurs naturally in the brain and other body tissues and organs including the heart and muscles. In nerve cells, alpha-synuclein protein plays a role in the release of neurotransmitters, allowing nerves to communicate with each other effectively. This means that it perfectly healthy to have small amounts of alpha-synuclein in your body. However, when this protein is deformed due to mutation or damage, it clumps together, forming Lewy bodies, which eventually cause Lewy body dementia.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms associated with LBD include confusion, concentration problems, hallucinations, tremors. stiffness and difficulty in walking, declining memory functions, sleep disturbances, and personality and behavioral changes, communication and language difficulty and bradykinesia.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of LBD involves a thorough physical examination.

Treatment Options

Similar to other types of dementia, there is no current cure for LBD. Moreover, LBD patients tend to have a severe sensitivity to most antipsychotic drugs, which are used to manage hallucinations.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for LBD include age (seniors are at a greater risk for LBD than young people), gender (affects more men than women), and genetics.

How to Cope With a Loved One Suffering from Dementia

Because dementia gradually diminishes a person’s mental and cognitive abilities, a dementia patient typically has difficulty understanding others, as well as expressing thoughts and emotions. Here are some tips to help you communicate with a loved one sufferings from dementia.
• When communicating with your loved one, always ensure you create a “kind voice.” To do this, speak gently and smile while you talk. At the same time, be sure to talk slowly and clearly.
• To orient your loved one and get his/her attention, always call your loved one by his/her name. To avoid startling your loved one, always approach your loved one from the front. Additionally, always tell your loved one who you are, even if your child or spouse.
• Avoid asking your loved one multiple questions at a time. Instead, ask hi/her one question at a time. At the same time, use short phrases and simple words, refrain from using reason and logic and more importantly, avoid asking, “Do you remember when…?” type of questions. Additionally, do not get impatient if your loved fails to respond to your questions immediately. Instead, be patient and allow him/her extra time to process your question. If he/she fails to respond after a reasonable amount of time, you may repeat your question, but be ensure to use a gentle voice and friendly tone.
• When having a conversation with your loved one, don’t interrupt, criticize, correct or argue with him/her. At the same time, let your loved one know you are listening and trying to understand the message. To do this, always maintain good eye contact and show the person you care about what he/she is saying.
• In case your loved one says something mean to you, do not take it personally. Instead, focus on your loved one’s feelings, not the negative information. You should understand that dementia may cause your loved one’s personality to change, causing him/her to be emotionally unstable and exhibit antisocial behavior. Because of this, your loved one might say some hurtful things to you. When this happens, simply let it go.
• As a home care aide, always allow your loved one to think about and describe whatever he/she wants. If he/she uses the wrong word or cannot find a word, try guessing what he/she wants. If you’re unable to understand what your loved one wants, ask him/her to gesture or point.

Some of the things you should avoid when caring for your loved one with dementia include:

• Avoid overstimulating your loved one. This could be in the form of too much physical activity without rest breaks or other activates such as quizzing. Overstimulation is a problem because it could easily overwhelm your loved one’s ability to cope, causing your loved one to become combative and more resistant to you. Additionally, it makes your loved one more prone to accident, including slip-and-fall accidents.
• As a caregiver, you should avoid being overprotective of your loved one. In fact, unless it’s a big safety issue, allow your loved one to do what he/she wants. This is particularly important because your loved-one may have lost his ability to make good judgment. However, if you treat your loved one as a child, he/she may see you as the unreasonable and become argumentative, combative, or resistant to you.
• Do not force your loved one to do things that he/she does not want to do.
• Avoid giving your loved one multiple choices. This is important because your loved one may have lost his/her ability to make decisions, as well as intellectual and cognitive abilities.

Current Research

Although currently available medications, including acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and glutamate (memantine), temporarily manage the symptoms of dementia, they do cure the disease. Because of this, new treatment options are focused on slowing or reversing the disease process itself, by targeting the underlying biology. Fortunately, researchers have made promising breakthroughs in this area in the recent past. Current research in this field includes:

Optogenetic Stimulation

Optogenetic stimulation is a non-invasive procedure that uses flickering light to destroy amyloid beta protein, preventing brain damage, particularly in the hippocampus region. Previous research on light-therapy as a treatment for dementia has not produced the desired results. However, in late 2017, Dr. Li-Huei Tsai of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT and her team used optogenetics to correct the gamma rhythm in the hippocampus of genetically modified mice with Alzheimer’s disease. By stimulating brain neurons in the 40 Hz range, at the optimal gamma rhythm amplitude, the researchers were able to correct the gamma rhythm in Alzheimer’s mice by activating genes in brain cells called microglia. Microglia are part of the brain’s immune system and function in part to ingest or clear away microorganisms that might cause disease.
Optogenetic stimulation (flickering light to restore the gamma rhythm and reduce the levels of amyloid beta) at the 40 Hz range activated microglia to promote the clearance of amyloid beta.

The 40 Hz flickering light caused enhanced gamma rhythm neuronal activity and reduced amyloid beta levels by over 50% in the visual cortex. In addition, the 40 Hz flickering light treatment caused microglia in Alzheimer’s mice to become more active and dramatically increase in size by engulfing amyloid beta.

Antisense Oligonucleotides

Researchers at the Washington University have developed a compound called tau antisense oligonucleotides that, according to the researchers, stops the producing of tau protein in the brains of dementia patients. The researchers claim that this compound could possibly prevent and reverse the side effects caused by the tau protein. When present in the brain in large quantities, tau protein causes the brain to undergo neurodegenerative changes.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy involves creating antibodies that bind to the protein clumps in the brain, including amyloid-ß and tau proteins, marking them for destruction by a range of mechanisms. For example, a synthetic antibody called aducanumab that targets amyloid-ß has shown promise in clinical trials. Currently, this antibody is in its third and final clinical trial phase.

Ultra Sound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy entails using ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier temporarily, allowing doctors to introduce therapeutic antibodies into the brain. This is important because, according to researchers such as Jürgen Götz of the Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the University of Queensland, only about 0.1% of antibodies (both natural and synthetic) enter the brain.

Researchers at the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the University of Queensland have successfully used this technique in lab mice. Using this treatment technique, the researchers were able to clear toxic plaque buildup in the brain of test mice. According to the researchers involved in this study, combining an antibody fragment treatment with ultrasound is more effective in eliminating plaque buildup from the brain and improving dementia symptoms than either treatment option alone.

Conclusion

Dementia is not one disease but a collective name for a group of mental disorders that characterized by the destruction of brain cells. These disorders include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Huntington’s Disease, Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD), Alzheimer’s Dementia, Vascular Dementia, Parkinson’s Dementia and Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). Although dementia is commonly associated with aging, it is not a normal stage of aging. In fact, dementia can affect virtually anyone irrespective of a person’s age. Some of the common causes of dementia include brain injuries, brain infections, accumulation of certain proteins in the brain, certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and brain tumors. Because there are different types of dementia, it is important to know which type of dementia a patient. This information helps to identify the symptoms and make a timely diagnosis. To manage the condition effectively, doctors recommend seeking medical advice as soon as the symptoms start to develop.

The risk factors for dementia include age, genetics, gender, and ethnicity. The common symptoms of dementia include communication and language difficulty, confusion, disorientation, trouble understanding speech, emotional instability. Dementia is a progressive condition that starts with short-term memory loss. Its rate of progress varies from one individual to another. Additionally, different stages of the disease manifest different symptoms. Currently, there is no cure for dementia, but there are medications for easing the symptoms. Because of this, dementia is one of the leading causes of death among seniors in the US. Additionally, dementia is a big burden on the nation’s healthcare system. Thankfully, researchers have made breakthroughs in finding a cure for dementia. Some of the possible treatment options that scientists are currently testing include ultrasound therapy, immunotherapy, antisense oligonucleotides and optogenetic stimulation, a non-invasive technique that uses flashing lights to reset the gamma rhythm to its optimum frequency.

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Diabetes is a term used to refer to a number of diseases that develop due to high levels of blood sugar in the body. The common cause of this occurrence is low or lack of production of insulin by the pancreas. In certain cases, individuals may develop diabetes when their bodies do not respond appropriately to insulin. It is worth pointing out that insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating the conversion of sugar and fats into energy. There are different types of diabetes with the most common being type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Understanding insulin and its functions

Insulin is a hormone produced by a gland located at the lower back side of the abdomen. The gland is called pancreas. Production of insulin begins immediately the pancreas detects a rise in the level of sugar within the body. This hormone facilitates absorption of sugar into cells which then use it as energy for various functions within the system. When sugar levels in the body reduce production of insulin also goes down.

Type 1 Diabetes

In the past, the condition was referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. The condition occurs when the human body produces little or no insulin from the pancreas. In most cases, the group of people that are affected by this condition is either children or adolescents. However, it is possible for adults to also develop the condition. Research is still ongoing to find a possible cure for this condition.

Common symptoms

Once an individual has developed type 1 diabetes he or she may end up experiencing a variety of symptoms with some of the most common being an abnormal increase in thirst and frequent urination. Individuals with the condition may also feel hungry most of the times. Other symptoms include:

1. Bed-wetting by young children who did not have the habit in the past

2. Unexplained loss of body weight within a short time

3. Fatigue and general body weakness

4. Eyesight problems or development of blurred vision

5. Irritability and other types of mood-swings

Causes of type 1 diabetes

Despite multiple pieces of research having been conducted it is not clear what the exact cause of this condition may be. However, there is a general consensus that most cases of type 1 diabetes are a result of the body’s immune system mistakenly destroying insulin-producing cells. Genetics, exposure to certain viruses and environmental factors may also play a role in the development of this condition.

The risk factors

Family history – if a parent or sibling has been diagnosed with this condition it is possible that you may also develop it in the future.

Genetics – researchers believe that people who have certain genes are at a higher risk of developing this condition when compared to those who lack the genes.

Geography – research has shown that individuals are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes as they move away from the equator. Countries that are closer to the equator report lower cases of the condition when compared to those that are located farther away.

Age factor – while just about anyone can develop this condition its first peak is noticeable in children that are aged between 4 to 7 years old. The second peak is common in children aged between 10 and 14 years old.

Possible complications

Individuals that do not receive timely or proper treatment may end up developing several other complications that may become life-threatening.

Nerve damage – Uncontrolled sugar levels in the body can quickly cause damage to the fragile walls of tiny blood vessels responsible for nourishing nerves. If not treated individuals may lose their sense of feeling in the limbs that are affected.

Heart and blood vessel disease – people that have this condition are likely to develop complications that may include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and narrowing of the arteries.

Nephropathy – this is a condition in which the kidneys get damaged. Worth noting is that the kidneys play an integral role in getting rid of toxins from your body. If they are damaged you may end up needing kidney transplants.

Vision complications – this condition may damage the vessels that lead up to the eyes causing the individual to have eye problems. In some mild cases, the individual may not be able to see properly while severe cases may lead to blindness.

Problems during pregnancy – a pregnant woman supplies just about every need to the unborn baby. A lack of balance in her blood sugar is likely to impact negatively on the unborn baby. This may increase the risks of miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects.

Diagnosis

If you notice the development of the symptoms mentioned above it is prudent for you to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. At the health facility, the doctor is likely to record your medical history and carry out the physical examination. To ascertain the condition your doctor may carry out one of the following tests:

Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test – this is a blood test that is done to determine your average blood sugar levels for the past few months.

Random blood sugar test – the doctor may have to take a random blood test which will then be confirmed by taking a repeat test. Random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher allows the doctor to ascertain that you have diabetes.

Fasting blood sugar test – your doctor may give instructions to the effect that you do not have anything to eat overnight. A blood sample will then be taken in the morning and subjected to analysis. Fasting blood tests that return a result of 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate occasions suggest you have diabetes.

Treatment of type 1 diabetes

Treatment of this condition largely depends on the maintenance of blood sugar levels. As a result, your doctor will give a prescription for insulin administration which you will then be given instructions for use. Insulin can be administered through injections or an insulin pump. To be safe it is prudent for you to follow instructions as closely as possible. Other treatment techniques include:

1. Monitoring of blood sugar levels

2. Consuming select foods that make for an ideal diet

3. Watching your weight so that you do not become obese

4. Engaging in regular exercise to keep the body fit and boost the immune system

Type 2 Diabetes

In the past, it was referred to as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependant diabetes. This condition occurs when the body is unable to metabolize sugar correctly. The disease may develop if your body is resisting the effects of insulin or when the pancreas does not produce the hormone due to one reason or another. Unlike type 1 diabetes this condition is commonly reported among adults. Type 2 diabetes does not have any cure. However, doctors are able to prescribe certain medications and lifestyle adjustments to ensure that you continue enjoying quality living.

Common symptoms

Vaccination Needle Ouch Diabetes Flu Shot Medical

It is possible for individuals to have this condition without realizing it. This is because the symptoms take time before they start showing. Signs and symptoms usually begin with heightened thirst and frequent urination. Because insulin is responsible for absorption of sugar into cells a lack of it causes low energy levels in the body. As a result, your brain will determine that you need more food which is why you are likely to feel hungry most of the times. Other symptoms may include:

Rapid weight loss – since your body is not able to get energy from the primary source which is sugar and fat it will start using alternative sources of energy and this will cause a loss in weight.

Fatigue and body weakness – because your cells do not have the adequate energy you will end up feeling tired most of the times.

Blurred vision – heightened levels of blood sugar can result in draining of the fluids that are present in your eyes. This inevitably leads to poor vision.

Dark patches on the skin – individuals that develop the condition due to a resistance to insulin effects often develop dark patches on the skin around the armpits and neck.

Weakened immune system – individuals that have this condition usually have a weak immune system. That is why they are likely to experience an increase in infections and longer healing times with regards to wounds and sores.

Causes of type 2 diabetes

The condition develops when the human body mistakenly rejects the effects of insulin or the pancreas is unable to produce the hormone. Excess weight and an inactive lifestyle are contributing factors in the development of this condition.

Risk factors

Family history – if a member of the family has this type of diabetes it is possible that any other member may also develop it.

Lack of activity – research shows that this type of diabetes is more common in people that do not practice an active lifestyle. Exercise or activity ensures that the body uses blood sugar properly. It also makes it possible for the body to react positively to the effects of insulin.

Excessive weight – individuals that are overweight are likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Fatty tissues in the body play a huge role in resistance of insulin effects.

Age – individuals that are advanced in age are more likely to develop this type of diabetes as compared to younger citizens. This may be a result of inactivity during old age, weight gain and poor dieting.

Complications

People that have this condition must seek immediate medical assistance. However, because the signs and symptoms are often minor in the first stages most people tend to ignore their condition altogether. Without proper treatment a variety of complications may occur with some of the major ones being:

1. Development of Alzheimer’s disease

2. Hearing impairment

3. Kidney damage

4. Eye damage

5. Occurrence of foot and skin conditions

6. Heart diseases

Diagnosis

People are advised to report to the nearest health facility for a professional checkup in case they notice the symptoms mentioned above. At the facility a professional doctor will take a medical history, carry out a physical examination and administer any of the following tests:

1. Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test

2. Random blood sugar test

3. Fasting blood sugar test

4. Oral glucose tolerance test

Treatment of type 2 diabetes

Insulin therapy is one of the most common ways of treating individuals that have type 2 diabetes. Other techniques may involve proper dieting, regular exercise, and monitoring of blood sugar levels.

Gestational Diabetes

This is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. The condition may have a negative impact on both the mother and her unborn baby which is why it must be treated as soon as it is detected. This type of diabetes hardly ever registers signs and symptoms making it necessary for pregnant women to pay regular visits to medical facilities for screening.

Risk factors

Age – women that get pregnant at the age of 25 or above are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Family history – individuals that come from families with a member who has developed type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of getting gestational diabetes.

Excessive weight – pregnant women that are overweight are more likely to develop this condition when compared to pregnant women that fall within healthy weight ranges.

Prevention of all types of diabetes

Prevention of all types of diabetes can be done using standard techniques meant to promote healthy living.

Healthy eating – consuming a balanced diet is key to preventing any form of diabetes. With the right nutrients in your body, your immune system will be strengthened.

Regular exercise – engaging in regular exercise allows your body to process blood sugar in the right way. It also gets rid of unhealthy fats that may put your health at risk.

Loss of extra fats – if you are overweight it is advisable that you get into a program that can help you lose some pounds.

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It is that time of the year again. Hanukkah, Christmas New Years eve are here. Love and celebration are in the air. You can see the character of Christmas in the colorful decorations, the smiles on the faces of people and the bright-colored clothes they are wearing. You can hear the voice of the season in the Christmas carols. If you live a Jewish neighborhood in Florida, you might notice a double celebration in the air. This is because the Christmas season sometimes coincides with the Hanukkah. The Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication. This festival goes with eating oil-based foods and playing “dreidel” clearly, there is love in the air and this is a season of happiness. Unfortunately, some elderly people do not enjoy this season because they suffer from holiday season blues. For some elderly people, this season brings back painful memories and causes depression. Below are of the factors that lead to holiday season blues and some pragmatic solutions for seniors.

Empty Nest Syndrome

Human beings are social beings. We were not created to endure loneliness or live in isolation. The ideal way to spend the holiday season is to share the joys of the season with your family and friends. Many seniors have adult children who are living their own lives. Some of these children probably live in a different state and do not visit often. Now, it is holiday season and you expect a few of your children to visit with their children but all you get are excuses. This is depressing and demoralizing.

Death of a Close Relation

We all know that we cannot live forever. We know that death is inevitable but we just cannot accept the death of a loved one. If you have ever lost someone you really love, the holiday season brings back all the pain and the acute sense of loss. You remember all the things you used to do together and the pain and grief become almost overwhelming.

Divorce

A marriage is meant to last “till death do us part” but sometimes, irreconcilable differences lead to divorce. After a divorce, you try to get on with your life as best you can but the truth is that something vital missing in your life. During the holiday season, you remember your former partner with a mixture of regret and nostalgia and this leads to depression.

Family Conflicts

There is no perfect family because all families consist of individual members with different temperaments and inclinations. Now, you are a senior citizen and the head of a large family. Your most fervent wish is that all the members of the family live in love and unity. Unfortunately, family conflicts and feuds within the family have affected the unity and love you want to see in the family. The holiday season sometimes emphasizes the lack of unity in the family. Maybe some family members have threatened to stay away from the reunion you are planning if certain members of the family will be there. Clearly, this is not what you want for your family and this senseless feud just breaks your heart.

Loneliness

One of the biggest causes of holiday season blues is loneliness. You want to celebrate but you do not have the people to share the celebration with you. Some of your friends are dead, some have moved and some prefer the company of other people. This may sound very harsh but it describes the situation some elderly people face. Loneliness leads to anxiety and depression. These emotions, in turn, lead to holiday season blues.

Lack of Money

Money is an important commodity but many seniors do not have as much of this commodity as they need. Now, you need money to celebrate the Christmas or the Hanukkah. When the holiday season comes around and you do not have as much cash as you need, this makes you unhappy and frustrated.

Now, we know some of the causes of holiday season blues. Let us look at some ways to cope with it.

Be Grateful

One way to cope with holiday season blues is to develop the attitude of gratitude. Do not focus on the negative events in your life. Concentrate on the positives and celebrates the good things you have experienced in your life. Be a grateful senior citizen and you will defeat holiday season blues.

Be Reasonable

Life is not perfect and many situations are far from ideal. As a senior citizen, you should know this. There is no point in having unreasonable expectations from other people. This will only lead to disappointment. For instance, if some of your family members cannot stand each other; you should do what you can to solve the problem. Your duty is to set a good example for other family members but do not sacrifice your happiness for them.

Get Busy

As a senior citizen, it is safe to assume that you are retired. Now, if you are retired but not tired, you have no reason to laze around and bemoan your circumstances. Get busy and get involved in the celebrations. Get busy and you will be happy.

Do Not Compare

One reason people experience holiday season blues is that they compare their circumstances (unreasonably) to the circumstances of other people. There is no profit in this form of comparison. People are different and they are in different situations. Accept your own situation for what it is and try to change some things for the better. This way, you will enjoy contentment and peace of mind.

Take Care of Yourself

You should look great and come across as a happy person during this season of love and celebration. Take care of yourself, dress well, look good and radiate optimism and confidence. Be the person you admire and other people will admire you during this festive season.

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Seniors who maintain an active lifestyle are healthier and happier. There are many opportunities for you to have fun in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Senior Living In Boca Raton

Aging does not need to mean leaving culture behind. There is no shortage of cultural experiences at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. You can watch artists create their work, see documentaries and films, take a tour, and listen to live jazz. You can create your own artwork, listen to a lecture, and even participate in puzzle activities or sign up for a class. You can buy souvenirs at the museum store. The Museum is open every day except Mondays and holidays.

When you want to be surrounded by nature, plan a visit to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. You will love the four different outdoor marine aquariums, solar exhibit, butterfly nursery, tortoise exhibit, sea turtle garden, and more. You can adopt a sea turtle, hike the nature trails, or walk through the new Boardwalk trail.

Florida’s sun and sand appeal to senior citizens. The Red Reef Park and Sugar Sand Park offer plenty of both. Red Reef Park is set on 67 oceanfront acres. You can enjoy the great outdoors on the beach, have a picnic, snorkel, swim, or fish. There are lifeguards present year round. You can enjoy birdwatching, too. Sugar Sand Park offers a community center, exhibits, events, and athletic facilities.

Sugar Sand Park is not only about nature and the beach. When you want a relaxing experience, you can visit the Willow Theatre. Whether you prefer family entertainment, Mainstage shows, dance productions or music productions, there is something for you.

Active seniors will love the Swim & Racquet Center. You can play tennis, swim in the large heated pool, or relax in the spa. The center is open every day.

You have a wide range of choices for meals in Boca Raton. Fine dining, bars and pubs, buffets, grilles, and more can all be found in this city. You can enjoy every type of cuisine imaginable. One example is the V & S Italian Deli. You can have a tasty cold sub sandwich at a reasonable price.

Fun For Seniors In Boynton Beach

When you want to mingle with other seniors, try the Senior Center. The center offers meals, computers, pool, and the chance to make new friends.

At the Civic Center, you can join a square dance club, or stay strong and healthy with jazzercise.

Highland Beach For Seniors

This tiny town is a nice place to unwind, relax, and meet people. Approximately 80% of its residents are retired individuals. Stop in at the Latitudes Restaurant for seafood or American cuisine. It is a nice restaurant to visit when you want a burger or a sandwich.

Senior Citizens In Delray Beach

One of the best places in Florida to enjoy peak health during your senior years is the Delray Community Wellness Center. You will find social activities such as gardening, games, puzzles, art classes, musical performances, movies, and outings with other seniors. The center offers fitness programs, spiritual programs, and services focused on health and wellness.

Lake Worth Seniors

The Poinciana Golf Club is ideal if you play golf or want to learn. The golf course can also be used for walking if you do not play the sport.

There is a huge range of activities at the Mid County Senior Center. Arts and crafts, Bingo, fitness classes, wood carving, singalongs, and dances are only a few examples. The center also offers defensive driving classes, luncheons, and day trips to seniors over age 60.

Lantana, Florida

For something different, try the Sons and Daughters Farm and Winery. You can sample wines, and have inexpensive snacks.

You can make the most of the Florida sunshine at Lantana Public Beach. It is like year-round summer when you can relax on the beach.

Palm Beach, Florida

The Flagler Museum is a must-see in Palm Beach. There are special programs, exhibits, and guided tours at this National Historic Landmark.

Stay active and have a great time at the Breakers golf course. It offers special amenities such as outdoor dining, practice greens, and golf lessons. You do not need to be an experienced golfer to play at the Breakers.

Seniors In West Palm Beach

As the county seat, the city has much to offer. Spend a day at the Palm Beach Zoo, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, or see an exciting concert at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre.

Check out the Norton Museum of Art, or stroll through the Clematis Street Historic Commercial District. Stop for a meal at one of the many restaurants, such as Morton’s the Steakhouse. The Morton’s menu ranges from tuna tacos to filet mignon. Whether you want an inexpensive lunch, or to splurge on a superior-quality dinner, you can have exactly what you are looking for at Morton’s.

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

If you are 55 or older, the Lakeside Center has a Seniors club. It is a nice place to make new friends, socialize, and stay active. As a senior, it is important to have friends in your age group. When you visit the center, you can join the club.

The GreenMarket is open every Sunday. There are homemade breads and other baked goods, fresh vegetables and fruits, cheeses, herbs, and other healthy foods. If you are not familiar with farmer’s markets, you will want to visit the GreenMarket. After you have tried some of the foods, you will want to return nearly every week.

The Gardens Recreation Center offers fitness and wellness classes, an Aquatic Complex for swimming, and the GardensArt exhibit.

The Aladdin Mediterranean Grill, the Waterway Café, and the Original Pancake House are some of the top-rated restaurants in Palm Beach Gardens. All of these restaurants serve delicious foods at reasonable prices.

Have Fun In Wellington

Although it is a small village, senior citizens find much to do in Wellington, Florida. One example is the Panther Ridge Conservation Center. You will see many gorgeous Big Cats at the center. However, you must make an appointment for a guided tour.

Fun for seniors includes a Green Mountain Sedgway Tour. You will have a great time riding a safe, exciting Sedgway. You will need your sunglasses, sunscreen, and sneakers.

Every senior deserves a day at the spa. In Wellington, it is the Sandra Gane European Day Spa. You can choose from a variety of facial treatments, body treatments, and massage treatments. The spa is open every day of the week, so every senior can schedule time to visit. It is not only for the ladies. Senior gentlemen will appreciate it, too.

The Wellington Conservation Center is another special attraction for seniors who love animals. The center has exotic animals, farm animals, and birds. From owls and cows to toucans and porcupines, the center has them all. If you truly love animals, you can interact with many in the animal nursery.

Specialty salads, hotdogs, burgers, soups, and appetizers can be found at Gabriel’s Café and Grille. The PDQ is another good choice for a quick lunch. You can have a fresh salad with homemade sauce, or a delicious sandwich. PDQ also offers freshly-made beverages, side dishes, and homemade cookies.

Activities For Seniors In Greenacres

Greenacres may not be as well-known as many other locations in Florida, but the city has plenty to offer to senior citizens.

You can start at the Greenacres Community Center if you are 60 or older. If you are like many seniors today, and prefer music from decades past, the senior dances provide the chance to dance to live bands. The dances are held every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

You can take a senior trip to the Broward Stage Door Theater to see a show. The shows include transportation to and from the community center.

If you have ever wanted to learn swing dancing or the Lindy Hop, you have the opportunity. There are four weeks of dance classes, year round. After you learn to dance, social dancing can become a regular part of your life. After you have gained confidence in your dancing skills, you will look forward to dancing for many years.

Tai Chi classes are held year round, too. The classes are free for seniors. If you do not think you are prepared to learn martial arts, you will be pleasantly surprised. Tai Chi is relatively simple, and it will benefit your health.

If you drive, consider an AARP Driver Safety Course. You can brush up on your driving skills, and may even save money on your car insurance. The class is held once each month. You can become a better, safer driver by taking this one-day course.

The community center is not the only fun place in Greenacres. Plan to spend some time at Hoffman’s Chocolates. Hoffman’s is much more than a store that sells chocolate. You can take a tour of the chocolate factory, and even take a class to make your own chocolate product. Hoffman’s is not only fun, it’s delicious, too.

When it is time to eat, try the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant, the Saigon Tokyo Restaurant, or the Eagle Grill & Oyster Bar, all located in Greenacres. If you have a hearty appetite, and want a quick meal at a reasonable price, visit Sonny’s BBQ. In addition to big BBQ sandwiches, Sonny’s has salads, side dishes, desserts, appetizers, and beverages.

Palm Beach County, Florida Is For Seniors

Whether you refer to yourself as a senior citizen, a Baby Boomer, or elderly, you are definitely in the right place. There are so many reasons men and women from all around the country choose Palm Beach County when they are ready to retire.

The people are nice and friendly, and the weather is amazing. You may think it is summertime throughout the entire year. While the warmth and sunshine are attractive, there are other points to consider for your golden years.

If Palm Beach County is not your original home, you need to take some steps to ensure your health and safety. You want your house or apartment to be safe, of course, but you also want to be safe when you start to explore your new community and all it has to offer.

You can have safety, excellent health, and peace of mind when you have a home care aide. Aides do not provide medical services, but provide many other important services.

You can make the most of all the attractions and events in your community when you have an aide. You will arrive at your destination safely, be protected from accidents, and return to your home after your day of fun is over. Your aide will even remind you to take your medication if you forget because you are having a good time.

Equally important, a home health aide provides companionship. You never need to feel isolated or lonely, even if you have not yet made any friends in your new city. You will always have someone to talk to, and someone to share your fun.

As you grow older, it is essential to remain active. Your body needs exercise, and your mind needs to stay alert. A good way to start is to take advantage of the opportunities available in and around your community. Sharing these activities with your aide can make every experience even better.

When you have someone looking out for you, and that someone is like a brand-new friend, you can enjoy and appreciate this stage of your life. You can have peace of mind instead of worry, and you can have exciting adventures.

Regardless of the city or town you live in, you can be a part of everything it has to offer. You do not need to stay home, or sit outside in the sunshine, simply because you do not know where to go or do not have anyone to accompany you. You can turn your golden years into some of the best years of your life.

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Yes, it is true that the body naturally degenerates some as we age. However, this need not be as devastating as it is often presented to be. The truth is, with the right habits and knowledge, we can live active, full, and vibrant lives well into our senior years. Of course, health care is central to that vitality and our mobility and sight are key components of good health and daily living. For the purposes of this piece, we will be taking a closer look at our eyes, including the conditions that can affect them as we approach and live through our senior years, as well as how we can take the best care of our eyes so we can continue to comfortably and independently engage with the world around us.Yes, it is true that the body naturally degenerates some as we age. However, this need not be as devastating as it is often presented to be. The truth is, with the right habits and knowledge, we can live active, full, and vibrant lives well into our senior years. Of course, health care is central to that vitality and our mobility and sight are key components of good health and daily living. For the purposes of this piece, we will be taking a closer look at our eyes, including the conditions that can affect them as we approach and live through our senior years, as well as how we can take the best care of our eyes so we can continue to comfortably and independently engage with the world around us.

Seeing Clearly Until We Don’t

For most of us, 20/20 vision and the general good health of our eyes is something we take for granted in our youth and sometimes even middle life. As we continue to age, however, the condition of our eyes can deteriorate significantly as do so many of our other faculties. If we are not careful, soon enough, the vision we took for granted becomes a faded memory. Still, the more we are armed with information, the better the position we are in to take the best possible care of our eyes and to ensure that our eyes remain healthy as possible as we age.

First Things First: Knowledge Is Power

The adage is as true in our senior years as it was in our youth – knowledge is power and ignorance is not bliss. What you do not know can harm you, but what you do know can help you. As we learn more about our eyes and what can happen to them as we age, we are better able to treat them well and preserve our sight. Some of the common conditions of the eyes to be expected during aging include Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Dry Eye, and Diabetic Eye Disease. We will take a closer look at each condition by assessing the causes, symptoms, and treatments of each in the section below.

5 Conditions of the Eyes to Start Thinking About As You Age. Macular Degeneration

One of the most common eyes conditions associated with aging, Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among aging Americans and occurs when the Macular (the center of the eye) deteriorates to the point of becoming blocked – resulting in a blurry vision (sometimes referred to as a blind spot) in the center of the eye. Persons with Macular Degeneration do not usually experience complete blindness. However, they may find it increasingly difficult to read, drive, recognize the faces of loved ones, and perform everyday tasks. 

Causes and Symptoms

This condition typically occurs in older adults, and genetic factors and bad lifestyle habits like smoking play a role in the onset of the condition. Symptoms of Macular Degeneration include:
– Distorted vision evidenced by straight lines appearing wavy and some parts of the grid disappearing altogether
– Slow return to normal vision after exposure to bright light(s)
– Being unable to properly differentiate color due to a reduction in contrast sensitivity
– Central vision is significantly deteriorated while peripheral vision stays intact

 Detection and Treatment:

There are no signs or symptoms in the early stages of the condition. Instead, one’s vision gets gradually worse as time progresses. The condition may affect both or one of the eyes. Currently, there are no treatment options or cure that can help restore vision already lost. Instead, there are treatments such as anti-VEGF medication (that is injected into the eye), photodynamic therapy, and laser coagulation that can be used to slow the deterioration of the eyes. As far as prevention of the condition is concerned, healthy habits such as not smoking, eating well, and exercising regularly all prove to be useful.

Diabetic Eye Diseases

Diabetic Eye Diseases is the name given to diseases of the eyes that stem from having Diabetes or affects those who have Diabetes. As such, there are different kinds of Diabetic Eye Diseases, all of which have the potential to cause full blindness or otherwise significant vision loss. One of the most common kinds of Diabetic Eye Disease is called Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy damages the retina, resulting in vision loss and impairment. Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is another kind that results from having Diabetic Retinopathy. DME refers to the swelling in the Macular (an area in the center of the retina located at the back of the eyes).  Diabetic Eye Diseases can happen at any age and therefore can occur before you get to your senior years.

Causes and Symptoms

Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when the retina (located at the back of the eyes) become damaged by blood vessels in the retina to bleed or leak fluid, thereby distorting vision and in some cases causing full blindness. DME is caused when the buildup of fluid in the retina that causes Diabetic Retinopathy builds up in the Macula region of the retina. DME can happen at any stage of Diabetic Retinopathy but is most common at the worst stages of the disease. The longer a person has Diabetes type 1 or 2, the greater the chance of contracting one of these conditions. Glaucoma and Cataracts can result from living with Diabetes.
Some of the symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy and DME include seeing floating spots which sometimes clear on their own. However, if it does not and the disease progresses undetected, blurred vision becomes the major symptom. If you have Diabetes and are experiencing blurred vision, then it is important to get tested.

Detection and Treatment

Both Diabetic Retinopathy and DME are detected using a dilated eye exam which includes an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), Pupil Dilation, Tonometry, and Visual Acuity Testing. The combination of each method results in a comprehensive exam that allows the doctor to check for a range of symptoms on the retina like leaking blood vessels, damage to nerve tissue, any swelling in the Macula, changes in the lens and damage to nerve tissue.
Once detected, DME can be treated using:• Corticosteroids being injected directly into the eye,• In focal Macular laser surgery, or • Anti-VEG Injection Therapy.

There are also different kinds of treatments available for Diabetic Retinopathy depending on the severity of the condition. For example, surgically removing the vitreous gel located in the center of the eyes (the procedure known as a Vitrectomy) is used to treat the severe bleeding into the Vitreous caused by the condition.

Cataracts

Cataracts is the name used to describe when the eyes’ lens is cloudy. They tend to occur as people age, however, they can occur at an earlier age for those who have Diabetes. Also, persons with Diabetes are 2 to 5 times more likely than those without the condition to contract cataracts. By the time they get to 80 years, about 50% of Americans will either have Cataracts or have already had them removed by surgery. Like many other conditions of the eyes, Cataracts can occur in either one or both of the eyes. They can also increase in size, or grow slowly. As they grow, vision will get worse. Four types of cataract are Secondary cataract, Traumatic cataract, Congenital cataract, and Radiation cataract.

Causes and Symptoms

The lens of the eyes lie behind the pupil and the iris and behaves in a similar manner to a camera lens. The lens focuses light on the retina so that an image is recorded and adjusts the focus to near and far so we get to see. Importantly, the lens is made up of protein and water. Cataracts generally occur when the protein clumps and clouds the lens reducing the amount of light that gets to the retina – and therefore the quality of the image that the eyes see. Cataracts can form after undergoing other kinds of eye surgery (secondary cataract), having an injury to the eye (traumatic cataract), being born with them or developing them after childhood (congenital cataract) or developing after radiation exposure (radiation cataract).

Due to the fact that Cataracts cloud the lens of the eyes, one of the symptoms of the condition is increasingly dull and blurry vision. The clear lens become brownish/yellowish in color with age and vision may take on this said discoloration. Other symptoms include:• Faded color• Seeing a halo around bright lights and a constant glare• Having poor night vision• Having double vision in one eye• Needing frequent prescription changes for prescribed contact lenses or eyeglasses.

Detection and Treatment

As is the case with Diabetic Eye Disease, a comprehensive eye exam is needed to detect the presence of cataracts. This comprehensive eye examination includes a visual acuity test, a dilated eye exam, and using a tonometry. Once detected, a cataract can be treated in several different ways depending on the size of the cataract and the kind. For example, in the early stages, cataracts can be improved using anti-glare sunglasses, brighter lighting, and new eyeglasses. Should these options be ineffective, surgery to remove the cloudy lens to replace it with an artificial lens is the next step. As a rule, cataracts should only be removed when loss of vision begins interfering with daily activities like driving, reading, or watching television.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of diseases that damages the nerve fibers that connect the eyes to the brain. This bundle of nerve fiber is known as the optic nerve. There are various types of glaucoma. When left untreated, Glaucoma can result in irreversible damage to the optic nerve. Unsurprisingly, Diabetes can significantly increase the risk of glaucoma-causing it to occur earlier and more intensely.

Causes and Symptoms

Glaucoma has many causes, the most common of which is elevated eye pressure. That is, the eye produces a fluid known as the aqueous, and that fluid must drain from the eyes in order to maintain healthy eye pressure. Once this is affected and the eye pressure becomes elevated, one can develop Glaucoma.

Detection and Treatment

Admittedly, there is usually no noticeable symptoms for Glaucoma at the onset making it difficult to detect before the condition progresses. However, a comprehensive dilated eye exam can be used to detect early changes in the optic nerve and is consequently a good exam to help detect Glaucoma in the early stages. As we age and are consequently at a higher risk for Glaucoma, it is recommended that one does a comprehensive dilated exam every one to two years. This exam is especially important if you also have other risk factors for Diabetes.

Once detected, glaucoma can be treated using a variety of different methods including pills, eye drops, laser or traditional surgery. Depending on the individual case, a combination of these methods can be used to treat the conditions. As is the case with all eye conditions, any vision loss stemming from Glaucoma is irreversible.

Dry Eye

Dry Eye is a condition that is as the name suggests – a lack of sufficient lubrication in the eyes. It occurs when the quantity or quality of the tears in the eyes’ tear film is inadequate for keeping the eyes lubricated. In normal eyes, blinking cause tears to spread across the cornea of the eyes (the front surface), providing lubrication and reducing the risk of infection while protecting vision. Dry Eye is often chronically common among older adults.

Causes and Symptoms

Dry Eye is caused by not producing enough tears or from producing poor quality tears. Tear production diminishes with age and environmental factors can affect the production of the same. In some cases, if one of the three layers of tears (oil, water, and mucus) is produced in inadequate amounts, then Dry eye can result. Dry Eye most commonly happens when the water layer of tears production proves insufficient. In addition to age and environmental factors like smoke and dry and windy climates, the use of certain medications, medical conditions and even gender (women are more likely to develop Dry Eye) are all factors that can cause the condition.

If you have Dry Eye, some of the symptoms you may experience include scratchy, burning, gritty, or otherwise irritated eyes. In its advanced stages, Dry Eye may impair vision due to damaging the surface of the eyes.

Detection and Treatment

As is the case with most eye conditions, Dry Eye can be detected through a comprehensive eye examination that emphasizes the tear production of the eyes. Components of this exam include:• The patient’s history• Examining the blink dynamics and lid structure of the eyes• Evaluating the cornea and eyelids regarding how it responds to bright lights• Measuring the quality and quantity of the tear productions.

For the Good Health of You

As we age, it is important to maintain healthy habits. Eat well, exercise as vigorously as is safe a few times a week (daily if you can), rest and take care of yourself. Keep stress levels at a minimum and pay attention to changes in your body. Use the information above as a guide only, and should you notice any changes in your vision – even if it is not yet significantly affecting your daily life – be sure to contact your physician immediately for a checkup.

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Osteoporosis is a serious concern for older individuals. It increases the risk of bone fractures, and broken bones are slower to heal. While it is more common in women, men can also develop it. Aging is the main risk factor.

What Is Osteoporosis?

This condition is characterized by weakened bones. Bone loss is a natural part of aging. Your bones are not as strong and dense as when you were younger.

Causes Of Osteoporosis

In addition to aging, there are other risk factors that cannot be changed or corrected. One example is the hormonal deficiencies that occur as you grow older. In men, lower testosterone levels can contribute to osteoporosis. In women, lower estrogen levels can cause loss of bone density. Women’s estrogen levels decrease after menopause, but it can occur sooner if the ovaries have been surgically removed.

Osteoporosis can have genetic causes. If you have a family history of this condition, your risk is between 25% and 80% higher than a person who did not have direct blood relatives with the condition.

Some medications can increase the risk of low bone density. Anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, glucocorticosteroids and proton pump inhibitors are a few examples.

There are other risk factors that are easier to control. Excessive drinking increases the risk of both low bone density and fractures. Individuals who drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day have a greater risk of bone issues.

The groups of cells responsible for bone remodeling are affected by smoking. Smoking can also result in earlier menopause and a lower body weight, both of which increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Exposure to heavy metals can cause bone density loss. Lead is only one example. Cadmium can also cause bones to soften.

Too much animal-based protein in the diet, a sedentary lifestyle, being underweight, and lack of adequate nutrition can all increase your risk of poor bone health.

In the past, bone issues were accepted as a natural part of aging. With many medical advancements, seniors today can look forward to healthier lives. Physicians can diagnose osteoporosis, and recommend appropriate treatment. Seniors can take steps to prevent osteoporosis, and reduce the risks that accompany weakened bones and loss of bone mineral density.

How Osteoporosis Is Diagnosed

Seniors should never wait until they are elderly, or have experienced broken bones. While you may show noticeable signs such as changes in your posture, loss of height, a curved back, sloped shoulders, or back pain, the early stages of osteoporosis do not always produce symptoms. You should ask your doctor to evaluate you for loss of bone density. The test is simple and painless.

Although women who have reached age 65 and men who have reached age 70 should be tested, all seniors who have special risk factors should have the test at age 50.

Osteoporosis is diagnosed by x-rays. As standard radiography is not as effective at diagnosing the condition in its earliest stages, the preferred method is Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DXA.

There are other diagnostic methods that can detect osteoporosis. Your doctor may choose to perform quantitative computed tomography, or QCT.

Blood tests may also be performed to determine whether there are any underlying problems that need to be corrected or treated.

All of these diagnostic tests are completely safe. If you have not been tested for osteoporosis, make an appointment to discuss it with your personal physician. He will choose the test that is appropriate for your particular situation.

How Osteoporosis Can Be Prevented

A healthy lifestyle throughout childhood and the young adult years is the best way to prevent bone issues in later life. This does not mean there is nothing seniors can do to keep their bones healthy. Regardless of your age, you can strengthen your bones.

A nutritious diet is one of the easiest ways to avoid bone issues. Replace the animal-based proteins with plant-based proteins. Legumes, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds, spinach, soy products, peas, beans, and lentils are all rich in dietary protein.

You need a wide range of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K are especially important. Do not consume soft drinks, and reduce the sodium in your diet.

Although obesity is unhealthy for many reasons, avoid becoming underweight. If you need to lose weight, avoid restrictive weight loss diets that do not provide adequate nutrition.

Exercise is beneficial for bone strength and bone density. You can lose less bone in your hip and spine, and also reduce your risk of fractures. Weight-bearing exercise is especially useful. Depending on your current health and preferences, you can try jogging, walking, hiking, and climbing stairs. You can dance or play tennis. When you participate in these activities, your body is working against gravity.

Sleep can improve bone health. When you do not have adequate sleep, the cortisol levels in your body increase. If your cortisol levels are too high, calcium is leached from your bones. It is only a myth that seniors do not need as much sleep as younger people. Eight hours of restful sleep each night can keep your bones strong and healthy.

Stress also causes cortisol levels to increase. As much as possible, reduce the amount of stress in your life. As you cannot eliminate all stress, learn some stress-reduction techniques to help you relax. Devote some time each day to reading, meditating, practicing yoga, or relaxing in a warm bath.

Increase the Vitamin D in your body with natural sunshine. You can have multiple benefits if you exercise outdoors. When your body absorbs this vitamin from sunlight, it helps your body absorb calcium.

Common lifestyle habits can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. One example is the amount of caffeine you may be consuming every day. When caffeine increases your output of urine, your body is losing calcium. Switch to naturally decaffeinated beverages, or switch to calcium-rich dairy drinks. Milk enriched with Vitamin D is the ideal beverage for bone health. If you do not like dairy products, you can find Vitamin D enriched soy milk.

Whether you want to prevent osteoporosis or reduce its effects and risks, avoid tobacco smoke. Do not smoke, and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke. Whether you are actively smoking or passively smoking, it increases bone loss.

Limit your alcohol consumption. New bone formation can be decreased if you drink more than two beverages per day. Have only one drink, or none at all. Your risk of breaking bones in a fall also increase when you have been drinking.

It is not difficult to incorporate these prevention tips into your daily life. It is much easier to avoid osteoporosis than to deal with it after it has developed. This does not mean you must live with the potential complications and risks if you have already been diagnosed with this condition.

Treatment For Osteoporosis

There are numerous options for treating and managing osteoporosis. In some cases, it can even be reversed. If you have been diagnosed by your personal physician, he will recommend the approach that is right for you.

For some seniors, a nutritious diet can be helpful. Place special emphasis on calcium. Include other bone-building nutrients in your diet. You need Vitamin K, Vitamin D, trace minerals, and magnesium.

Exercise can increase your bone mineral density and strengthen your bones. Resistance exercises, weight-bearing exercise, and aerobics are the best options.

You may have heard of natural or alternative treatments for osteoporosis. However, you should not consider herbs and supplements appropriate treatments without your doctor’s approval. You do not want to waste money, and have your condition worsen, by purchasing useless products. Some natural products may help but talk to your doctor first.

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is a controversial treatment for osteoporosis. As seniors lose bone density after the normal hormone levels start to decline, some doctors prefer hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen can be replaced in women, and testosterone can be replaced in men.

While bone density can be maintained with HRT, this method has disadvantages. Women who use estrogen therapy have a higher risk of breast cancer and endometrial cancer. The risk of heart disease and blood clots may also increase. Discuss these issues with your doctor if he has recommended hormone replacement therapy for your osteoporosis.

Seniors with a high risk of bone fractures may be prescribed medication. Bisphosphonates are the most common type of medication. They can be especially useful for individuals whose osteoporosis has already contributed to broken bones.

The medications are available in both oral and intravenous forms. Both options can cause side effects. Oral medication can produce heartburn, abdominal pain, and nausea. The intravenous medications may produce lingering muscle aches, headaches, and fever.

In most instances, bisphosphonates should be limited to five years or less. When they are used on a long-term basis, serious complications may occur. While some of these risks are rare, they can be avoided altogether. An additional reason to limit the use of medications is the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research has stated low-risk seniors do not need long-term medications.

This organization recommends oral medications be stopped after five years, and intravenous medications be stopped after three years. Men and women in higher risk categories can use oral medication for ten years, or intravenous medication for six years.

As some seniors cannot tolerate the side effects of bisphosphonates, and may want to avoid the health risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, there are additional options for treating osteoporosis. You may wish to consider one of these other options, and discuss it with your doctor.

Denosumab can improve bone density. It provides the most benefits to postmenopausal women. This drug is administered twice annually by injection.

Teriparatide is also beneficial for aging women. It stimulates bone growth while reducing the risk of fractures. The daily injections are generally given for two years. After treatment, the bone growth is preserved with another medication.

Similar to other medical conditions, there is no one treatment that is equally appropriate for everyone. Every senior should discuss options with their doctors, and make an informed decision. If you disagree with your doctor’s recommendation, you can request a second opinion. Treatment should be effective, yet not cause unnecessary side effects.

Osteoporosis Research

There has been much progress due to research. One example is the Osteoporosis Research Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Some of their conclusions include Vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent fractures, five different medications for treating osteoporosis, the relationship between osteoporosis and gene mutations, and investigations into bone biology.

During recent years, other research has been conducted. They include new methods of treatment, assessing causes and risk factors. Strategies have been developed to promote healthy bone density during childhood.

Osteoporosis research in recent decades has resulted in hope and help for today’s aging seniors. Osteoporosis can be prevented, but it can be effectively treated if it has already developed. Better health and better lives are possible for this generation’s aging population.

In the past, elderly persons risked serious complications from osteoporosis. Hip fractures, especially, could result in life-threatening complications. Limited mobility after a hip fracture could lead to pneumonia. Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis were additional risks. Even a vertebral fracture could result in chronic pain. An elderly person’s overall quality of life was reduced.

Today’s seniors do not need to experience these complications. Whether you are male or female, visit your doctor and ask to be tested for osteoporosis. Make changes in your lifestyle so your bones stay strong and healthy.

You can also make changes in your home to reduce your risk of falls. Install railings in your bathtub or shower. Replace rugs with carpeting in the rooms and stairways. Stairways and walkways should be well-lit. Consider LED lighting strips so you do not have to reach for light cords.

Osteoporosis does not need to be a fact of life, but you can live with it if you take proper precautions and cooperate with treatment. You never need to cope with broken bones during your elderly years. Seniors today can enjoy healthier lives.

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The older generations today tend to live longer than generations in the past. Today’s seniors are often healthier than seniors in previous generations, too. This means elderly persons today have more opportunities for fulfilling, happy lives. Seniors can enjoy many benefits from aging at home.

What Is Aging At Home?

In the past, there were two common options for elderly persons. Some seniors lived with their adult-aged children. Others were placed in long-term care facilities. However, more seniors today prefer to remain in their own houses or apartments.

Why Aging At Home Is The Best Choice

There are practical reasons elderly persons should remain at home whenever it is possible. Adult-aged children today often have more responsibilities than their counterparts in the past. The senior’s son or daughter may have a full-time job and children of their own. Even loving families may not understand the special needs of elderly people.

A long-term care facility should only be the last resort for elderly persons with serious health or medical issues. Unless the senior requires round the clock supervision or consistent medical care, there is no reason to place the person in a facility. Everyday life in a care facility means a senior is looked after by strangers. Seniors have virtually no independence or privacy.

Aging at home is different and better. Independence is an important example. Unless the senior has restrictions due to health issues, nearly every aspect of his daily life will be based on his own personal choices. Eating, sleeping, entertainment, and other activities will be his own decisions.

When he makes decisions for himself and his life, he feels good about himself. Aging at home means he does not feel that someone else is in charge of his life.

Familiarity is another reason seniors want to age at home. If he has lived in his house or apartment for years or decades, he does not want to leave it. When a senior lives in a familiar environment, he is happier and more secure.

Familiarity also extends to his personal possessions. Elderly persons who move into their children’s homes, or long-term care facilities, find there is much they must leave behind. Possessions that mean a lot to a senior are disposed of or put into storage. In many cases, the pets they cherish are given away.

Seniors who age at home do not have to experience these losses. From his favorite books to possessions he has collected over the years, he can keep what he has in his own home. He will not have to give up the pet that provides love and companionship.

Aging at home also provides more opportunities for an active life. If he wishes, he can continue to be a part of his community. Depending on his personal preferences, seniors can even find opportunities to volunteer or take part-time jobs.

These opportunities benefit elderly persons in many ways. He will not feel isolated at home when he can interact with other people in the community. He can gain a sense of satisfaction and personal worth when he works or volunteers. Elderly individuals who remain active in the community are happier and healthier. They have a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.

Seniors can also have opportunities to explore and enjoy their personal interests. The senior may enjoy a special hobby, going to the movies, or attending cultural events in his city. He does not have to miss any of these opportunities when he ages at home. Whenever he wants to participate in an activity, he will be able to do so.

How A Senior Benefits From A Home Care Aide

While a senior can appreciate all of these advantages to aging at home, it is a wise decision to hire a home care aide. Even healthy seniors benefit in many ways when they have assistance from non-medical aides.

Non-medical home care aides do not provide skilled nursing services, but they provide many other services that are helpful to elderly persons. One example is assistance with ADL, or activities of daily living. Elderly persons who live at home may need help with certain tasks. Some examples include assistance with bathing, dressing, personal grooming, or using the toilet. An elderly person may need help washing or brushing his hair, or choosing clothing that is appropriate for the weather.

An aide can assist with other activities in a senior’s daily life. He may need assistance with shopping, banking or other errands, or light housekeeping. He may need someone to help him feed his pet or walk his dog. These are a few examples of how a senior’s daily life can improve when he has a home care aide. He does not have to hire someone, try to do it all himself, or allow these activities to remain undone.

Home care aides look after the senior’s health. Seniors occasionally forget to take prescription medication or eat meals at mealtimes. Aides remind seniors to take medications on time and can prepare nutritious meals for the seniors, too. Aides make sure seniors have appropriate exercise to stay in good health. Aides also make sure medications, diet and exercise are compatible with the doctor’s instructions.

Home care aides usually record a senior’s activities and progress. This helps supervising nurses or physicians. They will know if the senior is doing well, or if changes need to be made. Depending on the situation, aides may share this information with the senior’s family member. You will know how your loved one is doing, even if you do not live nearby.

Family members are often concerned about an elderly person’s safety and security. Seniors who live at home do not need to be at risk of accidents or other dangers. There are steps aides can take to ensure safety and security.

Doors and windows will be secure to eliminate the risk of a break-in. An aide can periodically check the phone to be sure seniors can make and take phone calls. The senior’s home will be clean and tidy so he stays healthy. From keeping the home free of debris to making sure there are no loose rugs on the floor, elderly persons will not be at risk of fire or slip and fall accidents. His health, safety, and security will be priorities whether the aide is present or off-duty.

Home care aides help seniors stay active. In the home, this can mean playing games to keep his mind alert and sharp, assisting the senior with exercise routines so his body is limber and coordinated, playing a musical instrument while the senior sings, and many more enjoyable examples.

With an aide, an elderly person can stay active in the community. Not only is it easier and safer to participate in the community with an aide, it is more fun. An elderly person will not worry about having an accident, not arriving on time, or finding his way home. His aide will take care of these details so he can focus on having a good time. Every excursion will be more fun when he can share it with his home care aide.

Transportation and safety are not the only reasons seniors need home care aides. Both outside the home and in the home, elderly individuals benefit greatly from companionship. While outings are more enjoyable when shared with a special friend, companionship at home is also essential for a senior’s health.

An elderly person who lives at home can have serious risks from isolation and loneliness. It can be harmful to his state of mind, his mental health, and even his physical health. Seniors who experience isolation and loneliness on a regular basis have a higher risk of depression and medical issues.

With a home care aide, a senior never needs to experience isolation and loneliness. He will feel good about himself and know he counts as a person when he knows someone cares about him. He will have someone to talk to about his concerns and wishes, and he can share his lifetime of memories with his aide.

Companionship can decrease his worries, and also help him realize he is a valuable person. The joys, sorrows, and accomplishments he has experienced throughout the years can be shared with his aide. He never needs to feel alone, or feel that his life has not mattered. Companionship is an easy way to ensure his peace of mind and his mental health.

Home care aides can also provide encouragement to seniors who are unmotivated or sedentary. While a senior will not be forced to do anything he does not want to do, encouragement can make a difference. If he has developed the habit of spending the entire day watching television, or sees no reason to get out of bed in the mornings, his aide can encourage him to find activities he will truly enjoy.

Whether the senior takes up a new hobby or enrolls in a class at a senior center, he will be healthier and happier when his daily life is productive. As a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to an elderly person, he will benefit from this encouragement. He can do much more with his older years than watch t.v.

Home Care Aides For Seniors: Choices, Decisions, And Opportunities

It should not be surprising that many seniors do not want to leave their homes. They do not want to give up their familiar surroundings and personal possessions, and they do not want to give up their independence and freedoms. Elderly persons who have home care aides do not have to give up anything that matters to them. Aging is not a reason to leave home.

Individuals who have been active and independent throughout their lives are not well-suited to the alternatives. They do not want the decisions for their daily lives to be made by someone else, nor to live by someone else’s rules. From the few possessions they can keep to when they must go to bed, elderly persons do not like these restrictions. Many seniors who were the adults in their own households can also experience problems when they live with their adult-aged children.

Maintaining independence is only one reason aging at home is the best choice, but it is a very important reason. Growing older should not mean a person is no longer in charge of his life. When he ages at home, he will continue to be independent, and continue to make his own decisions.

All of these points are extremely important when you are considering care for your elderly loved one. The priorities should be his health, safety, security, and happiness. A home care aide can ensure these priorities in your loved one’s everyday life.

Your parents deserve the best as they grow older. Their aging years do not have to consist of unnecessary restrictions, loss, or loneliness. Regardless of your parent’s age, condition, or personal preferences, a home care aide can make his life healthy, happy, and meaningful.

You can have peace of mind knowing your parent is cared for by a trained, experienced aide. Even if you live in a different city or region, your worries can be over. Your loved one will not be overseen by strangers in a restrictive facility, nor will he face the risks of isolation and loneliness at home.

Seniors today have more opportunities than elderly persons had in the past. Advances in the medical field and healthier lifestyles mean more seniors are living longer and enjoying better health in their older years. Along with these improvements come opportunities for personal satisfaction, productivity, and meaningful lives. Seniors can have full lives, regardless of their age.

In most cases, seniors do not have to give up these opportunities. They can live in their own homes, and have assistance from home health aides. When you help your loved one to hire a home care aide, it is a decision he will surely appreciate. You can have peace of mind and confidence, knowing your parent is healthy, happy, and safe.

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These days many seniors adopt the positive view that reaching the age of 60 means the beginning of the rest of their life, rather than something to be dreaded. More experience, more wisdom and more knowledge about how the world works are some of the benefits that come with getting older, although they aren’t the only ones.

Discounts on Entertaining and Dining Out

Many restaurants offer a free cup of coffee or various other freebies or discounts to older customers and these discounts can help to offset the high cost of dining out. Visiting the movies, taking in a concert or show, playing a round of golf and even theme park tickets can all be less expensive to seniors, and aging Americans can also take advantage of discounts at museums and art galleries.

Save Money At the Shops

It often pays to go shopping during the week when things tend to be a lot slower than at the weekend, and price reductions of up to 60 percent are often offered to entice customers. And many people aged over 60 can save even more at pharmacies and warehouse clubs by joining a 60 plus program or a frequent shopper club.

Lower Insurance Costs

If you are a senior you have the advantage of having plenty of experience driving and this experience can often get you a discount on your car insurance rates, unlike teenage drivers who incur high auto insurance premiums. Most insurance companies will also give further discounts to military veterans, aging drivers who have completed a safe driver course, and those who belong to AARP. If you are an older driver and just don’t drive as much, ask your car insurance company about lower rates for lower mileage.

Travel Savings

Many seniors like to take advantage of all that extra time on their hands by traveling whenever possible, and there are plenty of travel discounts available to older Americans. Airlines, car rental companies, hotels, and cruise lines all typically have a range of discounts that seniors can take advantage of, and if you are retired you can enjoy learning opportunities offered by organizations such as RoadScholar.org. The world is your oyster if you want to travel and learn at the same time.

Healthcare Savings

Medicare provides free or reduced rate health care for older Americans and is arguably one of the best things about getting older.  The agency advises that over 52 million older Americans rely on Medicare, and without this help, they would be struggling with the high cost of health insurance. And seniors can save on prescriptions, hospital stays and doctor consultations by taking advantage of Medicare.

Save Money on Legal Advice

Free legal advice is just one of the many benefits that seniors can enjoy when they join AARP. If you need legal advice you can have an initial 30 minute consultation at no charge, and you can use the services of a network attorney and receive a 20 percent discount. If you are 60 or older, many states provide a free legal helpline.

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According to the National Weather Service, one or two hurricanes make landfall on the US East coast during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November, peaking from August to September. Out of these, about 40% hit Florida. This year, 2017, Floridians are bracing themselves for Hurricane Irma, a category 5 megastorm packing winds of 185 mph, which makes it one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the US, reports the National Weather Service. In other words, Hurricane Irma is likely to cause more damage than Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane that made landfall in August 2017. Because powerful hurricanes and tropical storms typically leave a trail of death and destruction in their wake, it is wise to prepare adequately for these inclement weather events. Here are some tips for preparing for a hurricane.

Stock up on Essential Supplies

To keep your family safe, comfortable and healthy during a severe weather event such as a hurricane, you should stock up on essential hurricane supplies. Some of the items you should stock up on, according to FEMA, include:

Food and medicine – This includes water, prescription medicines, baby food or formula and canned food.
Safety items — Examples of these items include fire extinguisher, flashlights, sleeping bags, blankets, first aid kit and water purification tablets.
Personal care items — This includes items such as toothpaste, tampons/pads, soap, wet wipes, hand sanitizer and diapers.
Emergency car kit — This will come in handy if you have to evacuate in a hurry. For this reason, your emergency car kit should include non-perishable foods and snacks, maps, a first aid kit, battery-powered flashlights, extra batteries, flares and sleeping bags.

Create a Hurricane Preparedness Plan

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), it is vital to prepare a hurricane emergency plan long before a hurricane makes landfall, especially if you have a family. Ideally, you should hold a family meeting so that everyone family is not only involved in creating the plan, but also aware of the details of the emergency plan. This means you should discuss and write down the things you would need and the steps you would take to keep everyone safe and comfortable before and during a hurricane. In essence, your plan should cover everything from emergency supplies to shelter options, from emergency contacts out of the hurricane zone in case you have to evacuate to safe evacuation routes.

Seniors, Sick or Disabled — Special Arrangements

If you or your loved is old, sick or disabled, you should ensure your emergency plan caters to the special needs of such a person. For instance, if you require oxygen supplies or undergoes routine treatment, such as dialysis, you should plan how you are going to continue receiving the medical services you require during a storm. If you have a disability, on the other hand, you would need to choose the right Special Needs Shelters for you. This is because Special Needs Shelters can make reasonable modifications to accommodate a person with disability in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At the same time, place identification labels on any medical equipment you will take with you to the shelter. If you have a service animal, ensure it has a collar with identification. Additionally, ensure your animal’s vaccinations are up to date and create a care manual for your animal, which should contain detailed instructions on how to care of your service animal.

Hurricane Preparedness – Know the Lingo

Hurricanes and tropical storms occur frequently in Florida, so you should know the common terms associated with these weather phenomena. This is particularly important because it would allow you to follow events as they unfold and more importantly, act at the right time. Such terms include:

Hurricane watch — Issued 48 hours in advance, a hurricane/storm watch simply means that hurricane conditions (extreme winds with speeds exceeding 74 mph) are possible within 48 hours in an area.
Hurricane warning — This is issued 12 hours after a hurricane watch, meaning hurricane condition expected within 36 hours.
Storm surge — This refers to wind-driven water that is pushed onto the shore. This abnormal rise of water often leads to casualties and fatalities.
Storm surge watch — This signifies the possibility of catastrophic flooding from a storm surge moving inland from the shoreline in the indicated areas within 48 hours.
Storm surge warning – This signifies the possibility of catastrophic flooding from rising water advancing inland from the shoreline in the indicated areas within 36 hours.

Know Your Shelter Options

In the event of a surging storm warning, your local officials will likely issue evacuation orders for your area. If this happens, you should evacuate your home and live either at a shelter or with family/friends outside the hurricane zone. The state of Florida provides two types of emergency shelters: Special Needs Shelters and General Population shelters. The former is a statewide program run by the state of Florida through the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Preparedness and Response. The program provides shelters for the vulnerable and special needs populations, including the old, sick and disabled, under emergency conditions. To be accepted into this program, you need to pre-register and meet the set eligibility criteria. The latter, on the other hand, is open to all and does not require pre-registration. However, you should find out in advance from FEMA or your local city government where the emergency shelters will be since such shelters may be set up in the days ahead of a hurricane. In addition, if you have a pet, you should look for a pet-friendly shelter. While at it, you should also find out the available transportation options to the shelters.

It is worth noting that shelters typically do not provide essential items such as personal hygiene items. For this reason, you should carry a shelter kit or go-bag with you. In essence, your go-bag should contain the essential items you require to live comfortably including personal hygiene items, extra change of clothing, non-perishable snacks, water, needed medications, flashlight and identification documents. If you have a baby, ensure you carry ample amounts of baby supplies including baby formula, food, wipes and diapers. Similarly, if you will be going to a Special Needs Shelter, you will require all your vital supplies such as oxygen equipment, nebulizer, syringes, special foods, prescriptions, and sterile swabs .

Register with Your Local Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Program

Florida law requires the state to provide evacuation assistance to people with special needs, including seniors and people with disabilities, in the event of a hurricane should such people need it. This means that it is good idea for senior citizens in Florida, especially the ones with special needs, to register with their local Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Programs (EEAP) before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Hurricane-proof Your Home

Take the following measures to safeguard your home before the hurricane season starts:

Roof — If your roof consists of loose roofing materials such as shingles, tiles or panels, hire a roofing contractor to fasten down the materials. At the same time, have your contractor install braces and hurricane straps to secure roof trusses.
Windows and doors — Install the right storm shutters on your doors and windows.

If you live in a flood-prone area, you should prepare your home for flooding. For starters, ensure your rain gutters and are clean and well secured to allow water to flow freely into the drainage system. At the same time, stockpile plastic sheeting, plywood and sand bags to be used as required. Also, elevate your electric panel, water heater and heating system to heights floodwaters are unlikely to reach. Another option you can consider, albeit a relatively expensive one, is to install sump pumps with backup batteries and a water alarm.

Prepare for a Power Outage

Severe storms usually cause power outages. For instance, Hurricane Harvey caused a power outage that affected about 300,000 people. This means you should prepare yourself for such an event. For starters, have plenty of battery-powered flashlights and lanterns as well as extra batteries at hand. While candles are also a viable lighting option under such circumstances, they create a fire risk, so you should avoid using them if you can. Besides flashlights, you should also have a battery-operated radio so that you are able to receive important updates, such as rescue efforts and emergency instructions.

If you anticipate a power outage, turn your refrigerator/freezer to its coldest setting. To ensure your refrigerated foods remain fresh longer, avoid opening your refrigerator/freezer unnecessarily. However, you should monitor the thermostat constantly. If the temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, you should throw away all the perishable foods such as poultry, milk and meat.

Identify and prepare a Safe Room

A “safe room” is basically any room in your home that would offer adequate protection from the from the forces of extreme winds associated with storms and hurricanes. When choosing a “safe room,” you should ideally choose an interior room on the first floor of your house. A room with only one door and no windows would be the best option. Moreover, your safe room should be firmly anchored to your home’s foundation, easily accessible from every part of your house and more importantly, located in an area least likely to flood. At the same time, ensure your “safe room” is free of clutter in order to allow easy access into the room as well as avoid injuries. Good “safe room” options include a small storage room, closets and bathrooms. Bathrooms are particularly suitable because they have a water supply and toilet. To learn more about safe rooms, visit the Florida Alliance for Safe Homes website at flash.org.

If you must Evacuate

If your local officials issue an evacuation order for your area, you should evacuate soon as possible, preferably during the day. It is worth noting that Special Needs Shelters typically open approximately four hours following an evacuation order. Before you evacuate, you should have a good meal and inform someone outside the evacuation zone where you are going. To reduce the potential the risk of fire from gas line breaks or power surges and to reduce the potential damage to your electrical appliances, unplug your appliances and turn off your gas, water and electricity.

Conclusion

If you live on the US East coast soon, you should take measures the necessary measures to protect themselves and your property from Hurricane Irma, which is expected to make landfall soon. More specifically, you should stock up on essential supplies, brush up your hurricane lingo, create an emergency plan, prepare for a power outage, hurricane-proof your home, register with your local emergency & evacuation assistance program, know your shelter options, make special arrangements (if you are old, sick or disabled) and prepare for possible evacuation orders for your area.

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