Journaling is a great activity for people of all ages, but it can be a particularly powerful tool for seniors. In fact, if you have a senior loved one in your life, there is no better time to start encouraging them to journal. They don’t have to worry about the subject or the quality of their writing—they just need to participate in the activity of journaling.
Here are some of the benefits.
Journaling Can Help Seniors Preserve Memories-Whether seniors simply re-read their journal entries later on, or decide to share them, journaling is a great way for aging adults to preserve important moments in time. Whether seniors want to write about a big family event, or just a nice day they spent with their spouse—this is a great way to preserve memories.
Journaling Can Help With Memory Skills- Most seniors know that memory can fade as we age, but journaling can help. Writing something down helps you remember it, and regular journaling can help seniors keep their memories sharp.
Journaling Can Help Seniors Create a Routine- Routines are very important for seniors. It can help them get better sleep, help them get on a healthy eating schedule and even help with the symptoms of early depression. Journaling can really help create a routine for seniors. Encourage them to journal every night before going to bed as part of their routine—it can really help.
Journaling Can Act as a Stress Relief- Many seniors struggle with the daily stressors of their life—and journaling is a safe and healthy way to help seniors deal with that stress. In fact, many mental health experts encourage people to keep journals as a way to transfer their overwhelming thoughts to paper and it can help many seniors with overwhelming emotions as well.
Journaling Can Help Improve Coordination Skills- The more seniors use their senses, the better it is for their mind and body. Writing is a great way to help seniors keep and improve their motor skills and coordination, at a time where some seniors start to see a decline with these skills. The simple act of holding an using a pen can help seniors with their coordination.
Journaling Can Help Keep The Brain Sharp- Seniors need to be staying as active and as engaged as possible as they age to help keep their mind sharp. Journaling is a great way to keep the mind active, which can help delay the symptoms of early dementia.
If you are looking for a gift for your senior loved one, why not give them a journal and encourage them to start this practice? It can be a great addition to their daily routine and one that comes with a myriad of benefits.
A mattress is one of the biggest and most important investments that you can make and this is particularly true for seniors. We spend about 1/3 of our lives on our mattress—and the right mattress is one of the biggest indicators of your ability to get a quality night of sleep. Simply put, the better the mattress, the better the sleep.
However, the average senior does not get enough sleep, and most seniors don’t get the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep per night that they need to stay their healthiest. This is why seniors who haven’t replaced their mattress lately should consider investing in a new one—it may make all of the difference in their quality of sleep.
However, when it comes to buying a mattress, every senior is different and everyone has their own unique preferences when it comes to their mattress. Here are a few tips that will help seniors find a mattress that meets their specific needs so they can get the quality night of rest they are looking for.
For Seniors Who Prefer a Firm Mattress…
Memory foam mattresses are great for seniors who want to sleep on a firm base. They are great for this because the foam offers density, and not so much spring—and will help make sure seniors don’t sink into their mattress. They can do this without being too hard that it makes it impossible to sleep. Not sinking into the mattress also makes it easier for seniors to get in and out of their bed without issues.
For Seniors Who Want a Little Bounce…
Even in the world of foam mattresses, many people still like having a little bounce when they sleep. For seniors like this, there are innerspring mattresses. These mattresses are made of interconnected, extra-durable pocketed coils. Each are covered with fabric and provide that bouncy support, without the bouncing effect that many seniors don’t like.
For Seniors Who Want a Plush Sleeping Experience
Innerspring mattresses with a plush top are great for seniors who want to sleep in a super soft environment. It is important that when looking for a mattress with a plush topper to not be turned off by the thick looking pillow-toppers. They tend to compress over time.
For Seniors Who Like to Change Sleeping Conditions…
Air-filled mattresses are a great option for seniors who like to switch up their sleeping situation. There are plenty of seniors who may want plush one night, firm the next, or a different sleeping environment depending on how they are feeling. Air-filled mattresses like Sleep Number beds are great for this, and also great for seniors who sleep together in their beds but have different sleep styles.
A good night of rest is truly invaluable—especially for seniors. Keep these tips in mind as you start to look for a new mattress, knowing that they can help any senior get the quality rest that they need to stay their healthiest.
There have been several positive changes in Medicare benefits over the past few years—many of which come with great benefits to seniors. Seniors are able to access free health screenings, prescription drug coverage and other great benefits. However, one of the most helpful of these benefits for many seniors is the Medicare wellness visit benefit.
If seniors aren’t already taking advantage of these Medicare wellness visits—there is no better time to start. In fact, here is some information that can help any senior make sure they are making the most out of these wellness visits.
So, What is the Medicare Wellness Visit Benefit?
This Medicare Wellness benefit was introduced as part of the 2011 Affordable Care Act. Seniors who are enrolled in Medicare can get yearly wellness visits with their primary care physician and no additional cost. These appointments can help the primary care physician to evaluate the senior’s overall health and wellness and make sure they are staying on track.
This is also a great benefit to help seniors assess their current risk for future problems and work with their doctor to create a preventative plan that can help them stay as healthy as possible.
This program is available to all Medicare recipients who have been enrolled in the program for at least a year.
How Is the Medicare Wellness Visit Different From the Welcome to Medicare Visit?
When seniors are first enrolled in Medicare, they will get what is known as the “Welcome to Medicare Visit.” While this is a similar exam to these annual wellness visits, it is not exactly the same thing. The “welcome visit” is a one-time exam and seniors must go to this visit during the first 12 months of their enrollment in Medicare part B.
The Medicare Wellness Visit, on the other hand is a yearly benefit that seniors can take advantage of.
What to Expect During the Medicare Wellness Visit
Wellness exams are pretty painless and straightforward. During these exams, physicians will do the following:
Evaluate the senior’s weight, blood pressure and body-mass.
Assess the senior for possible cognitive problems.
Test reflexes and functional abilities.
Discuss family history to look for potential genetic risk facts.
Take down information on smoking and alcohol consumption that can impact personal health.
Screen the senior for depression.
Coordinate any necessary preventative screenings based on the exam, including colonoscopies or mammograms.
Of course, if you want to make the most of a Medicare Wellness Visit, the best thing that you do is to make sure that you are going to these exams each and every year so you can really benefit from what it has to offer.
A home alert system can be a major asset for seniors who are living at home alone and choosing to age in place independently. Even seniors who are living independently may need additional help from time-to-time. This is where this technology can come in and help.
Medical alert systems allow seniors to live at home with ease—knowing they can easily get the help they need if they fall or experience a health-related emergency while home alone. With these systems, seniors can wear a call button on their body which puts them in touch with a dispatcher that can summon emergency help.
There are so many seniors who can benefit from systems like this. But if you are a senior who is looking for an alert system, how do you know which one to choose? Here are a few tips on how to find the best home alert systems.
Determine Whether You Prefer Home-Based or Mobile Systems
The original medical alert systems were designed to work inside your home with your landline and there are still many of these systems available today. However, there are many companies that still offer the option of home-based systems that work over cell networks. This allows you to put on a wearable call button to speak directly with a dispatcher.
There are also mobile options available that not only work when you are inside your home, but those that will work with your cell phone as well for when you are out in public. These systems also work with GPS technology and are great for seniors who may be prone to wandering.
Both systems have their benefits, depending on each person’s individual need.
Most experts would recommend using what is known as a monitored system. This type of system will connect a senior with someone at a 24/7 dispatching center. There are also non-monitored options as well. These allow seniors to press a call button so that the system simply calls different people on their contact list.
This allows seniors to set up their buttons to call friends, family or neighbors. When members of the call list don’t answer—then the systems will typically call 9-1-1 on behalf of the senior.
This is another great feature that every senior should consider when they are looking for a monitoring system. These systems are relatively new and while the technology isn’t fully refined—they can greatly help seniors who are prone to falls in the home. These devices can sense falls when they occur and will automatically contact a dispatcher once the fall happens—same as it would when the senior pressed the button.
This is a great extra layer of protection for seniors who are more prone to falling.
The right home alert system can be a major asset to any senior who is living at home alone. Keep these tips in mind in order to make sure that you are finding the right system for you.
Summer is a popular time to get outdoors, but it is also the time of year where the weather can get quite warm and unfortunately quite dangerous. While most people know that being hot is uncomfortable, what many people don’t realize is that this warm weather can also come with some heat related illnesses.
While any adult or child can be susceptible to heat-related illnesses, seniors are even more prone to these heat related illnesses. Heat related illnesses can occur after intense or prolonged exposure to hot temperatures. Common heat-related illnesses include heat exhaustion, heat stroke (or sun stroke), extreme dehydration and heat cramps.
Unfortunately, just getting indoors and trying to cool down typically isn’t enough to get over these heat related illnesses. This is because as the body works to cool itself off—blood can rush to the surface of your skin, and cause less blood to reach your muscles, brain and other vital organs. This can lead to serious issues, weakness, fainting, serious dangers and hospitalization.
There are three main types of these illnesses that seniors need to be particularly aware of:
Heat Exhaustion- This happens when the body loses a lot of water and salt through sweating. This is most common after exercising outdoors or being in a prolonged situation with excessive labor or sweating. When the body loses essential fluids, it can impact circulation and eventually brain function. It is even more dangerous for seniors who have heart, lung or kidney problems or those who are on low-sodium diets for other health concerns.
Heat Cramps- These also happen when the body loses too much water or salt. When heat cramps occur, they are not only painful, but they typically indicate the body is losing other essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium. It is most common during excessive sweating periods or periods where seniors are exerting themselves in the heat.
Heat Stroke- This is the most serious of the heat-related illnesses and occurs when the body has been exposed to heat for long, intense periods of time. Heat stroke occurs when the body is no longer able to cool itself mostly because the part of the brain that regulates body temperature starts to malfunction. The body is unable to sweat and eventually unable to cool down. Seniors with certain medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis or those on certain medications may be at a greater risk of suffering from heat stroke.
Being out in the sun can also put seniors at risk for sun burn, sun rash and serious dehydration. Of course, the best way to make sure that seniors aren’t falling victim to heat-related illnesses like this is to stay hydrated, always wear cool, light layers in the summer and to avoid the heat whenever possible. Seniors should try to stay indoors in the middle of the day in the summer and make sure they are drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day when the heat is at its highest.
With summer in full swing, many seniors understandably start to get frustrated by the constant heat. However, even as we enter into the dog days of summer, there are still plenty of things for seniors to do to make the most out of this time of year. Here are some tips for inspiration.
Just because it is hot out, it doesn’t mean that seniors need to stay indoors the entire summer. When venturing outside, seniors should make sure that they wear protective clothing like sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats and wear sunblock. They should also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
It is best for seniors to do outdoor activities early in the morning before it gets to hot or right before the sun goes down. Here are some options to consider:
Drive to a walking trail for a leisurely walk.
Go fishing at a local pond.
Bird watch in your neighborhood.
Have a picnic.
Find a drive-in movie theater.
Hit the links and play some golf.
Plant in your own garden or start a new garden.
Go to a grandchild’s outdoor game or concert.
Hit the local pool or park.
Try a water aerobics class.
The key with outdoor summer activities is to always make sure you aren’t overdoing it and aren’t getting dangerously hot.
In the middle of the day, or on days when it is just too hot to be outdoors, it is always smart to stay in the cool air conditioning. Even if you don’t plan on going outside, it is still important to hydrate all summer long for safety. Here are some great indoor activities for seniors to do this summer:
Plan a stay-cation and stay in a local hotel or Bed and Breakfast.
Be a tourist in your own town and visit local museums and destinations.
Volunteer with a local organization.
Do a puzzle.
Have friends over for an afternoon of cards and games.
Try a new recipe and make it for someone special.
Invite friends and family over to bake cookies.
Take a trip down memory lane and look through old photos and films.
Catch a movie at the local movie theater.
Take a class at the local gym or senior center.
Take a pottery or art class nearby.
Indoor activities are a smart way to beat the heat in the summer. Remember, it is important to stay active during the summer, so even when seniors are spending their time indoors staying safe from the heat—they should still be doing activity or exercise every day to stay healthy.
This season can be hot and uncomfortable—but it can be fun too, with these senior-friendly activities to help you get through the dog days of summer.
Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, and summer is officially here, it means that the Fourth of July is right around the corner. This fun and patriotic holiday is a great opportunity for friends and family to get together, spend quality time with one another and celebrate our nation’s independence.
While there is no denying that the Fourth Of July can be fun, it can also be quite overwhelming for some seniors. This is why, if you have a senior in your life, that you make sure you have some fun, senior-friendly activities planned for Independence Day. If you are looking for some ideas and inspiration for more senior-friendly things to do, take a look at our list of fun Fourth of July activities for seniors.
Decorate Fourth of July themed cookies for your upcoming BBQ. It is a fun activity for seniors and the entire family to participate in.
Take a trip down memory lane and look at photos and videos from past Fourth of July family celebrations.
Decorate the home inside for a Fourth of July party. While a lot of people like to go out and BBQ, it is also good to have some indoor activities planned as well, especially for seniors who can get easily overheated.
Go to the local Fourth of July parade. Almost all towns and cities have their own Fourth of July parades, where families from all over the community can come celebrate the holiday.
Make sure to check the schedule for your community’s Fourth of July fireworks. Not every town does their fireworks on the actual Fourth of July.
Give your senior loved one some meal prep activities to enjoy during your holiday cook outs and celebrations.
Think outside the box, and plan for Fourth of July festivities specifically at a time that works for your senior’s schedule. You don’t have to do an all day activity or nighttime celebration, especially if it will interfere with the senior’s schedule—there is nothing wrong with a Fourth of July brunch.
It is also important to make sure that seniors are staying safe when they are celebrating the Fourth of July. This means being aware of seniors overheating when outdoors, keeping them hydrated and covered with sunscreen and keeping seniors safe and away from fireworks, sparklers or other potentially dangerous Fourth of July activities.
The Fourth of July can be a really fun holiday for the whole family, especially if you make sure to include these senior-friendly activities in your weekend itinerary.
Entering your golden years should be a stress-free, exciting time full of lifelong realization, relaxation, and hobbies. However, for many seniors today, that’s no longer the reality. Healthcare, in particular, is leading to growing concerns for our aging population and their loved ones.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s predictions, by the year 2030, older people are expected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. Despite a growing number of births, there will be fewer deaths to offset this number.
At the same time, the costs of healthcare are also increasing rapidly to the point where the average American is struggling to afford the right healthcare. In this article, we’ll examine how the rising healthcare costs will directly impact seniors not only today but into the near future.
Out of Pocket Costs
Medicare is a federal program that helps make healthcare more affordable those over 65 years old. While Medicare Parts A through D offers solutions to a growing problem, they’re not free of out of pocket costs. Many people have a lack of understanding about how Medicare works, especially Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C.
If you learn about Medicare Part C, you’ll discover that it’s likely the most flexible solution that allows seniors to get more coverage when they need it most. Otherwise, they’re on the hook for around 80% of their costs.
TheHealth Services Research journal anticipates that by 2035, the average senior will spend one out of every seven dollars of their retirement fund on medical care. This is a significant increase from past years. As the cost of medical care goes up for everyone, seniors are forced to pay more out of pocket, despite government programs.
This means seniors will need to plan more throughout their lives to save more money for retirement in anticipation for these costs. For those with lower incomes or who don’t have the means to excessively save, this will lead to an inability to get the right medical care even with Medicare.
More Assistance Needs
Another growing concern with the rising cost of healthcare is the new types of assistance needed by the aging population. In the past, it was more common for the elderly to live with their family as they age. Today, this isn’t nearly as commonplace.
In addition, the advancements in modern medicine are keeping people around longer. They’ll now need to prepare for a significant increase in retirement years as more people are living to 100 (and beyond). As people get older and older, they also face more expensive medical problems and are more likely to need hands-on care. This doesn’t come cheap.
The advanced assistance needs not only cost an arm and a leg, but we simply don’t have enough medical workers to meet the demand. In a world where our older population outnumbers the youth, we’ll need a new wave of medical staff to meet the demand. Without it, seniors face the reality of medical and retirement facilities that are understaffed, poorly maintained, and unsafe.
In the next few years, we need new changes to our healthcare system in order to help not only seniors but the entire population. As you can see, out of pocket costs are on the rise even for those with Medicare. Beyond this, the needs of seniors today are growing rapidly, and we simply don’t have the workforce to meet this demand safely.
What can be done? First, we need additional federal spending. While Medicare is a very beneficial system, it’s simply not doing enough for the populations who need it. We also need more medical advancements that not only are successful, but that actually cost patients less. Luckily, we’ve seen huge strides in telemedicine and other modern solutions that are more cost-effective.
Only time will tell the full extent of the rising cost of healthcare. This is a problem everyone can feel, but seniors are hit excessively hard by these issues. Hopefully, as younger people enter leadership roles, we’ll see more innovative solutions that help everyone lead a healthier, more affordable life.
There are so many potential healthcare concerns that today’s seniors need to be aware of. One of the many conditions for seniors to be on the lookout is vascular dementia. If you aren’t already familiar with vascular dementia—here are all of the basics about this condition that every older adult should know.
What is Vascular Dementia?
Vascular dementia, also known as multi-infarct dementia, is the second most common cause of dementia in older adults. While it is not as widely known as Alzheimer’s, many people may not be aware of the signs of vascular dementia when they are faced with the signs and symptoms. However, it does attribute to 15 to 20% of dementia cases in older adults.
Unfortunately, vascular dementia is difficult to diagnose because it is rather complex in nature.
How Does Vascular Dementia Compare to Alzheimer’s disease?
With Alzheimer’s disease, the brain’s nerve cells break down. Vascular dementia is different—it occurs when part of the brain doesn’t get enough blood, which carries the nutrients and oxygen the blood needs.
This can happen when the vessels that supply blood to the brain become narrowed or blood. While some people suffering from a stroke will get vascular dementia—it doesn’t happen with every stroke patient.
More typically, vascular dementia can develop over time, after someone has several “silent” strokes.
What are the Symptoms of Vascular Dementia?
While vascular dementia can be relatively difficult to diagnose, there are some significant signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for.
Issues with short-term memory
Laughing or crying at inappropriate times
Getting lost in familiar surroundings
Trouble planning or doing everyday activities
Issues managing money and everyday tasks
Inability to follow instructions
Loss of bowel control
Inability to control bladder
Delusions or hallucinations
However, these symptoms can be similar to those presented in Alzheimer’s related dementia. One of the biggest differences in these two types of dementia is that it most noticeable impairs coordination or balance. Typically, people with vascular dementia will have issues walking or balancing, especially early on. While this can be a symptom with Alzheimer’s dementia, that typically doesn’t occur until much later in the progression of this disease.
These symptoms often get worse during a stroke. Typically, when diagnosing this type of dementia, doctors look for symptoms that progress noticeably and quickly, while dementia associated with Alzheimer’s tend to progress at a slow and steady pace.
All seniors and their caregivers should be aware of these signs and symptoms of vascular dementia—so they can pay attention to the signals of this common type of dementia.
Now that the weather is starting to heat up, for many seniors living around the country, it means it is about to get hot and sunny where they live. And while some sun and a healthy dose of vitamin D may be a huge welcome for many seniors, it doesn’t mean that there still aren’t some safety concerns regarding the sun—especially for elderly and older adults.
So, whether you are planning to spend some time outdoors, are a full-time beach bum in Florida or if you have some tropical vacations in your future—it is important to know some sun safety tips that will keep any senior well protected during this time of year.
Always wear sunscreen. Even if you are someone with a darker skin tone that doesn’t burn easily—it is important to wear sunscreen…at all times. Even when it is isn’t hot out. Senior skin is thinner and more susceptible to burn and seniors are more susceptible to skin cancer as well.
Protect the eyes. Seniors already have fragile eyes and need to be taking steps to maintain proper eye health. This not only means going in for regular appointments and screenings, but also means protecting the eyes from sun damage. Prolonged sun exposure can also cause the eyes to deteriorate at a faster rate. The best way to stay protected is with a pair of quality, polarized sunglasses.
Stay hydrated. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly hot, sitting out in the sun can cause you to become dehydrated. This means drinking water (not sugary drinks) and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration then younger adults and medications can also have an impact on a senior’s hydration as well.
Check medication bottles. Seniors who are taking medications should be checking for warnings on the bottles of all of the meds. What many seniors don’t realize is that the efficacy of certain medications can actually be impacted by that user’s exposure to sunlight.
Avoid peak hours- Being safe in the sun doesn’t mean staying indoors at all times. In addition to seeking shade as often as possible—seniors should also make sure that they are seeking shade or taking a break during the peak hours of sun. The sun tends to be at its hottest and brightest (and at its highest risk for causing damage) between the times of 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Know when your skin is about to burn. Even if you don’t feel hot, if your skin is starting to feel warm or looks pink or feels itchy or sensitive—then it is time to go inside and get out of the sun. While paying attention to heat is important for hot weather safety—knowing the signs of sunburn is equally important.
Remember, even if it isn’t hot, sun exposure can actually do some damage, and seniors are even more susceptible to the sun than younger adults. Keep these tips in mind if you are looking for the best way to enjoy the sun—without being damaged by the sun.