Senior Health

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    A Geriatric Medicine, answered on behalf of
    It is difficult for older adults to give up driving because an inability to drive can lead to social isolation, increased depression and a loss of independence that can be devastating. In our society, older adults lead very active lives beyond retirement, and driving is the primary means of transportation for them to engage in those activities. Driving is the way many older adults access health care, engage in social interactions and ensure adequate nutrition (via grocery shopping or dining in restaurants).

    Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
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    Today's baby boomers have taken a stand to stay in their homes. The aging in place movement is a growing trend, and with new smart home technology, it's now easier than ever. Here are the top reasons boomers choose to stay in their homes and age in place:
    • They love their home. It's where their children grew up. It's where the entire family meets for the holidays. Home is where the heart is.
    • They have friends and family nearby. They love being near the ones they love, who are their support network and ground them.
    • They love their community. Church, book club, bingo nights, a favorite restaurant down the street … community is what makes a neighborhood special.
    • They want to stay independent. Aging in place means living the way they want to. They create their own rules.
    • They want to customize their care. In their home, they're in charge. They get to choose what type of care they want.
    This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.
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    Elderly are especially susceptible to heat-related illnesses. If you must be outdoors, do so during off-peak hours, use sunscreen and wear light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Pace yourself and allow more time to do your usual physical activities.
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    Aging in place is easier than ever. You can make your home safe as you age in place, from easy home modifications to smart home technology, by doing the following:

    1. Prepare your home
    • Install handrails in the bathroom in your shower and next to your toilet. They now make handrails in every type of finish to match your space.
    • Stick down area rugs. Rugs have a tendency to slide around and have corners that stick up. Make sure they aren't a tripping hazard.
    • Turn down the water heater temperature. This reduces the risk of burning yourself in the shower.
    • Replace door knobs with levers. Knobs can be tough to turn for aging wrists.
    • Put in more lighting. Aging eyes need extra help to see. You'll be amazed at the difference a few more lights can make!
    2. Use home health care technology
    • Medication reminders are great for those who tend to be forgetful. It will do all the work to keep you on schedule.
    • A medical alert system with fall detection technology will automatically call for help if it senses that you've fallen.
    3. Make your home smart
    • Smart thermostats keep your home at the perfect temperature without you needing to fuss with the dial.
    • Automatic blinds keep the sun out of your eyes and maintain your home's temperature. The best part? Not needing to fight with those pesky cords.
    • Smart showers allow you to customize everything from the water's temperature to your morning playlist. Every morning you just press a button to be greeted with your perfect shower.
    • Smart doors act like your butler. Just walk up to the door and it opens itself for you -- no keys, locks or handles. A key fob or your smartphone serves as your ID.
    Aging comes with new challenges. With some preparation now, your home will support you as you age in place. You've worked hard -- it's time for your home to work for you.

    This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.
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    Geriatrics is the field of medicine focused on the care of elderly people. Doctors who are geriatricians are typically either internists or family physicians. To be a board-certified geriatrician a doctor must complete a one- or two-year fellowship focusing on geriatrics.
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    A Geriatric Medicine, answered on behalf of
    To help an aging loved one who can’t drive, you can reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging to request a list of agencies or individuals who can help with transportation. You can arrange for having medications delivered to the home. Some grocery stores can deliver to the home. Work with your loved one to create a plan for social outings for which transportation can be arranged through family, friends or church. Reassure your loved one that he or she did the right thing, for both personal safety as well as that of the public, by giving up driving.

    Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
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    Fall-related injuries among older adults can be prevented by making a few practical lifestyle changes.
    • Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Many doctors offer a “Get Up and Go Test” to evaluate a patient’s balance and gait.
    • Be sure to share your history of recent falls with your doctor.
    • Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure there are no side effects that may increase your risk of falling.
    • Have an eye exam every year and update your eyeglasses when needed.
    • Do exercises that focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance.
    • Wear low-heeled, rubber-soled shoes and do not walk in socks, stockings or slippers.
    • Use a cane or walker.
    • Use a medical alert system with automatic fall detection.
    • Talk to family members and enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe.
    This content originally appeared online at Baptist Health South Florida.
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    A geriatrician is a medical doctor who is specially trained to treat older adults. They are trained and board-certified in either internal medicine or family medicine. In addition to their general medical training, they go on to complete specialty training and board certification in geriatric medicine. This provides them with a specialized understanding of how health conditions and treatments affect older adults. Sometimes, geriatricians are confused with gerontologists. While geriatricians are medical doctors who specialize in treating older adults, gerontologists are professionals who study and understand the aging process. Gerontologists may work with patients as counselors or in other health care capacities, but do not practice medicine unless they have a medical degree (MD) in addition to their gerontology training.
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    To help your aging mother eat more at mealtime, introduce her to some new types of food to make meals interesting. Try these tips:
    • Swap recipes with friends or neighbors for new dish ideas.
    • Serve food at the right temperature. Food tastes better when it is the proper temperature. Cold fold should be cold, and hot food should be hot. It not only tastes better, it's safer.
    • Use herbs and spices to add flavor without adding salt, which raises blood pressure. Spices from various cuisines will give her a whole new world of flavor. Try turmeric, saffron, garlic and cinnamon. For even more flavor, add soy sauce, flavored vinegars or hot sauce.
    This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.
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    It's important for your aging mother to eat regularly, and there are ways you can help her. Appetite loss can be normal for seniors, but it can lead to more serious problems. When Mom isn't eating much, eating well becomes even more important. With your guidance, she can combat appetite loss and stay healthy.

    If Mom's stomach isn't growling, it's easy for her to forget to eat. Use these tips to help her get into the habit of eating regularly:
    • Set a regular meal schedule. Whether Mom prefers three big meals or six small meals throughout the day, she should create a schedule and stick to it.
    • Make meals social events. Encourage her to have meals with you and with her friends. It's easier to eat when eating with others. And it's simply more fun!
    • Eat breakfast. Breakfast will wake up her metabolism and stabilize her blood sugar, giving her more energy throughout the day. Does she use lack of time as an excuse? Have her check out meal options that she can eat on the go.
    • Start with a snack or beverage. Even a little bite may wake up her appetite.
    • Have her chew gum or hard candy before eating to combat dry mouth and stimulate hunger signals.
    This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.