Stories & Tips

Bruises can be a Sign of Health Problems

Bruises can be a Sign of Health Problems

Bruises are a common part of life, and often times we wonder where they came from. As you get older, bruises can be a sign of health problems and need to be paid attention to. How can you tell the difference between having thinner skin due to age and having a problem with your body?

Bruises can be a Sign of Health Problems

Bruises can be a Sign of Health Problems

 

What causes bruises? They form when an impact breaks your small blood vessels near the skin’s surface. The discoloration is from the blood leaking out of the vessels. Once the blood is reabsorbed into the body, the bruise goes away.

Bruises can be a sign of a serious condition like:

  • Low levels of platelets
  • Abnormally functioning platelets
  • Problems with proteins that help blood clot

Medications can also cause you to bruise more quickly because they reduce your body’s ability to clot blood.

There’s not much you can do to treat a bruise. Sometimes you can apply a topical cream to help with sensitivity or use ice. It takes time for the body to reabsorb the blood, so you’ll have to be patient.

Make sure to see your doctor if you have any concerns.

Read more here.

7 Chair Yoga Exercises You Can Do at Home

7 Chair Yoga Exercises You Can Do at Home

Yoga is a highly suggested form of exercise for seniors, and they can get a lot of benefits from it. Some older adults can’t participate in yoga for a variety of reasons. Balance, in particular, is a common one. Now there are chair yoga exercises you can do at home.

7 Chair Yoga Exercises You Can Do at Home

7 Chair Yoga Exercises You Can Do at Home

 

It’s essential that you start each pose by making sure your butt is firmly in the seat before attempting these exercises.

1. Seated Mountain (Tadasana)

This is a pose that works with your core, fixes your posture, and focuses on your breath.

Take a deep breath and sit straight, extending your spine as far it can comfortably go. As you breathe out, root down into the chair with the lowest part of your tailbone.

Your legs should be at a 90-degree angle with your knees over your ankles. Make sure to have room between your knees.

Take another deep breath, and as you breathe out, roll your shoulders down your back and pull your belly button in toward your spine. Relax your arms at your sides.

You can engage your legs by lifting your toes and pressing firmly into all four corners of your feet.

2. Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)

Start in Seated Mountain and take a deep breath. As you breathe in, lift your arms out to the sides and raise your hands to meet above your head. Lace your fingers together and keep your pointer fingers and thumbs out, so you are pointing to the ceiling.

As you exhale, move your shoulders away from your ears and let your shoulder blades slide down your back. Keep taking deep breaths as you settle into this position, take at least five deep breaths before you release your hands on the exhale.

3. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Start in Seated Mountain and focus on extending your spine and fold yourself over your legs. Start with your hands on your thighs and slide them down your legs as you fold if you need extra support.

Take five or more even breaths in the folded pose. It works your intestines, which helps with digestion, along with expanding your spine and stretching your muscles.

Take a breath as you go back to your original position.

4. Eagle Arms (Garudasana Arms)

Inhale and stretch your arms out to your sides. While exhaling, bring your arms in front of you, swinging your right arm under your left and grabbing your shoulders with the opposite hands. Essentially, you’re hugging yourself.

If you’re more flexible, you can wrap your forearms around each other until your right fingers are in your left palm.

Take a breath and lift your elbows a couple of inches higher. Breath out, and roll your shoulders down, moving them away from your ears.

5. Reverse Arm Hold

Breathe in and stretch both arms out to your sides, palms down. Breath out and roll both shoulders forward until your palms are facing behind you. Bend your elbows and let your hands swing behind your back.

Hold your hands together and pull them away from each other without letting go. Take five slow breaths and then release.

6. Simple Seated Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

Start with taking a deep breath, straighten your spine, and raise your arms up and out to your sides. As you breathe out, gently twist to the right with your torso and lower your arms. Your right hand will be on the top of the chair and help with your twisting. Your left will be at your side.

Look over your right shoulder, after five breaths, release from the twist, and do the other side.

Make sure you don’t twist too much and hurt yourself.

7. Single-Leg Stretch (Janu Sirasana)

Sitting up straight, stretch your right leg out, resting your heel on the floor with your toes pointed towards the ceiling. Put your hands on your outstretched leg.

Breathe in and bend over your right leg, sliding down your leg as you go. Stretch as far as you can comfortably and inhale and exhale five times, going a little deeper each time.

Release the pose and repeat the exercise with your left leg.

Read more here.

Whey Protein Shakes Can Help Seniors Build Muscles

Whey Protein Shakes Can Help Seniors Build Muscles

Older adults start to lose muscles quickly, and it’s nearly impossible to get it back. Many older adults struggle with gaining or retaining muscle through physical activities like working out. Now, a solution could be drinking protein shakes so seniors can build muscles.

Whey Protein Shakes Can Help Seniors Build Muscles

Whey Protein Shakes Can Help Seniors Build Muscles

 

The loss of muscle due to age is called Sarcopenia and can make it hard for people to keep up with their daily activities.

Researchers at McMaster University found that drinking a whey-based protein shake helped increase the overall physical strength in men over seventy. If these men exercise while drinking shakes, they got even stronger.

The study split a group of men seventy and older into two groups. One drank a combination of whey protein, creatine, vitamin D, calcium, and fish oil, while the other group had a placebo for six weeks. After six weeks, the researchers added a twelve-week exercise program and had the men participate while drinking the shake or placebo.

Both before and after the exercise regimen started, the men got muscle improvement. Those who drank the shake gained seven hundred grams in body mass.

Of course, physical exercise is the most crucial part of keeping and maintaining muscle mass. Shakes will certainly help, though.

Read more here.

Why Older Adults are Getting Braces More Than Ever

Why Older Adults are Getting Braces

Braces aren’t just for teenagers anymore. Many older adults are getting braces nowadays. It makes sense because as we get older, our teeth start to weaken, requiring more work to be done.

Why Older Adults are Getting Braces

Why Older Adults are Getting Braces

 

It’s not just practical work that gets done. There is a good amount of cosmetic work being done. Out of 15,000 people, twenty-five percent say they avoid smiling because of how their teeth look. People have also reported that they feel like how their teeth look has affected how they interview for a job.

Technology has played a massive role in why older adults are getting braces. It’s now easier to install braces and maintain them. Plus, you can skirt around the stigma of having braces by using clear braces.

Obstacles for Adults Getting Braces

 

Gum disease can be the biggest obstacle to getting braces. Adults sixty-five and older have it seventy percent of the time. A dentist has to treat the gum disease before they start the braces process.

Another problem is bone loss. Teeth move through bone and anchor themselves after the braces are put in. Thinner bones mean the teeth don’t hold as well, and the results may not last as long.

Read more here.

Not Getting Hearing Loss Treated Can Lead to More Isolation

Not Getting Hearing Loss Treated Can Lead to More Isolation

It’s easy to take the ability to hear for granted, but once a person loses their hearing, their whole world shrinks. If someone doesn’t get it treated, they can eventually cut themselves off from the world because it’s too difficult to communicate.

Not Getting Hearing Loss Treated Can Lead to More Isolation

Not Getting Hearing Loss Treated Can Lead to More Isolation

 

We’ve discussed before about how many older adults don’t get their hearing loss treated and refuse to get hearing aids. To sum it up, the main reasons are money, stigma, and the difficulty of getting them adjusted properly.

Hearing loss affects one in five people and is connected to loneliness. For every decibel drop in perception in people under 70, it increases the odds of becoming incredibly lonely by seven percent.

For a long time, hearing loss was considered harmless in the grand scheme of things. Medicare still treats it like a normal part of aging and not a medical problem. Meaning, they don’t cover hearing aids.

In the last decade or so, researchers have been studying it as a medical problem. It turns out there are consequences that nobody thought about before.

Why Hearing Loss needs to be Treated

 

Hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia by fifty percent, depression by forty percent, and falls by thirty percent over a ten year period, according to a study published in 2018. This is on top of the isolation and loneliness that it causes.

In 2018, John Hopkins scientists did a randomized controlled trial to figure out if hearing treatment could help with cognitive decline. They found that getting treatment could prevent up to nine percent of the more than 47 million dementia cases in the entire world.

The trial is still happening and is expected to finish in 2022. The scientists also plan to see how hearing treatment affects loneliness.

It’s not known why hearing loss contributes to dementia. There are several theories in the works. All that really matters is that getting it treated makes a world of difference for people in so many ways.

Read more here.

Do You Ever Think About How Earwax Affects Your Health?

Do You Ever Think About How Earwax Affects Your Health?

Earwax, also known as, cerumen is a buildup of skin cells, oil, and other particles to protect your body from bacteria. While that sounds helpful, for some people, they may feel like they have too much. For a long time, this was just considered an annoyance, not a health problem. Now, that’s changed. Have you thought about how earwax affects your health?

Do You Ever Think About How Earwax Affects Your Health?

Do You Ever Think About How Earwax Affects Your Health?

 

In a younger person, earwax will come out of the ear naturally, but for seniors, earwax starts to build up easily.  Excessive buildup can lead to the entire ear canal being blocked. Buildup is common among seniors because personal grooming and self-care fall by the wayside. Plus, even if they are being attended to, their ears may not be even thought of among their other conditions.

Buildup can cause loss of hearing and even discomfort from the pressure of the buildup. If there is buildup in just one ear, it can cause balance issues and vertigo. Balance problems lead to falls, which can lead to serious injuries.

Earwax buildup can even affect your mood and brain function. If you already have dementia, it can lead to more bad behavior and confusion.

How to Treat Buildup

 

Do not use Q-tips. It can just push everything back in further. Instead, you should run some warm water in your ear while showering and dry it off. Make sure seniors get checked on regularly when seeing a doctor. Those who wear hearing aids should especially be looked in on.

Read more here.

New Partnership Creates First Rural Geriatric Emergency Department

New Partnership Creates First Rural Geriatric Emergency Department

A new partnership between Dartmouth-Hitchock Health (D-HH) and West Health will be creating the first rural geriatric emergency department in Lebanon, NH. The geriatric emergency department (GED) will have protocols, resources, and specialized care areas.

New Partnership Creates First Rural Geriatric Emergency Department

New Partnership Creates First Rural Geriatric Emergency Department

 

The collaboration is the first in the nation to focus on a rural population. West Health has experience with caring for seniors, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s expertise in health and telehealth will create a world-class telehealth experience for seniors.

West Health will give their knowledge and three million dollars to make Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon a center of senior emergency care. When seniors come to ERs, they usually have complicated problems that can’t be solved in the few hours the average ER can give.

Read more here.

5 Strategies for Handling Resistance to Care

5 Strategies for Dealing With Resistance to Care

Probably one of the hardest conversations to have with an aging loved one is the “needing care” talk. A lot of the times the aging adult feels that help is unnecessary, and see it as a loss of independence. There are so many factors that come with resisting care. It’s important to try to see it from as many angles as possible. They could be scared that this means their life is ending, worried about being a burden, handling loss, and so much more. There are different ways you can handle resistance to care.

5 Strategies for Dealing With Resistance to Care

5 Strategies for Dealing With Resistance to Care

 

If talking it through the idea of care doesn’t work out, there are other strategies you can try.

1. Trial Run

Getting care can drastically change a person’s life, and that can be intimidating. Suggest a trial run and see how they feel after around a month. If there are any glaring issues, you can work together to figure out how to fix them.

2. Stay Positive

When talking about care, make sure to keep it positive. Mention activities they can do or creating a new friend with a home care provider.

3. Explain Why the Care is Needed

It’s not selfish to let them know that you also need the help and that having an extra set of eyes will make you feel better. Explain everything in an honest but considerate way, and they may be more willing to listen.

4. Be Upfront About the Costs

Costs can be a massive factor as to why they’re resisting care. Do research beforehand and explain that different types of insurance can help cover costs or go over the average prices of the kind of care you are hoping to use.

5. Be Patient

Remember, there’s a lot of emotion behind resistance to care. Try to be empathic to their point of view and focus on the big picture. You will have to make some compromises, but it will be worth it in the end.

Read more here.

The Government is Taking on Robocalls to Protect Seniors

Government is Taking on Robocalls

House lawmakers have announced a new bipartisan bill that will fight against robocalls. It’s not just that robocalls are annoying, but that many seniors fall prey to scams from these calls. That’s why the government is taking on robocalls.

Government is Taking on Robocalls

Government is Taking on Robocalls

 

The bill, called Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, hopes to outlaw a wide array of robocall practices that legitimate businesses and scammers use and will allow the government to give harsher punishments to callers who ignore the law.

Robocalls are not only frustrating, but they can overwhelm communication lines. There are five million robocalls a month. It’s not just the general public that has to deal with them; hospitals have reported an increase in robocalls too.

Plus, a lot of personal information is stolen every year from these calls. This is how many seniors end up getting scammed.

The bill would look into large telecom giants like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile and have them implement new tech to authenticate if calls are real or spam.

Read more here.

Active Aging Industry is Allowing People to Age Gracefully

Active Aging Industry is Allowing People to Age Gracefully

Did you know that adults age 50 and over create 7.6 trillion dollars in economic activity? That number will grow even bigger as the number of adults doubles by 2050. The active aging industry wants to help older adults age gracefully.

Active Aging Industry is Allowing People to Age Gracefully

Active Aging Industry is Allowing People to Age Gracefully

 

What is the active aging industry? It’s a relatively new field that entrepreneurs are entering and creating products like safety and smart-living technology, better remote care systems, and health and fitness tech. Basically, it’s whatever seniors need to enjoy their lives to the fullest to the very end.

New startups are appearing every day.

Embodied Labs

Created in August 2016, Embodied Labs created a program that uses virtual reality headsets. When used, they offer simulations that show what it’s like to be an aging adult. Such situations include people facing macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Embodied Labs was created by Carrie Shaw, who cared for her mother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She wanted a way to understand what her mother was going through. The simulations are meant to create more empathy among caregivers and family members.

Intuition Robotics

Intuition Robotics was established in 2016 to help people avoid loneliness and social isolation. Their first product is a robot ElliQ, which we’ve talked about before.

Ageless Innovation

Robotic pets have been popular for aging adults, and Ted Fischer noticed that while working for Hasbro. In 2018, he left and created Ageless Innovation to create robotic pets for seniors. Their goal is to make the pets seem as realistic as possible for their users.

Neuro Lab VR

Established in 2017, this company gives a virtual reality experience for older people going to physical therapy following a stroke, brain injury, or spinal cord injury.

Each experience is tailored to a patient’s needs and abilities. It records physiological and kinematic responses, quantifying the progress of the patient with scores and metrics over time.

Not just that, but it makes therapy fun and more like a game, therefore making it easier for patients to do full sessions.

Toi Labs

Who would have thought that the toilet could be improved upon? Apparently, founder Vik Kashyap did. He realized that what gets flushed away can help detect potential health problems. He created a toilet seat called TrueLoo.

It fits on any toilet and has sensors that can determine who the user is. It then scans the toilet bowl to figure out the size, color, consistency, and shape of bowel movements.

The information can be used to monitor health and can prevent hospital visits.

VitalTech

VitalTech is a cloud-based platform that improves health and wellness. It launched a new product in 2018 called VitalBand. It’s an emergency voice call-out and fall-detection watch. It can also track vital signs and physical activity.

Read more here.