Read these 33 Senior Health Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Senior tips and hundreds of other topics.
One of the formost senior health issues of the day is prescription medications. Whether the issue is money or drug interaction, every senior citizen needs to use their head when thinking about medication.
For instance, if your physician prescribes new medications for you, always ask if he has any samples to give you. It's not wise to pay for new medications without knowing you can 'take' them and not have severe side effects. Pharmaceutical companies supply free samples to doctors just for these purposes. Even if getting renewal prescriptions for meds, ask for samples. Make sure you physician knows all of the medication you are taking though, because you want to avoid any drug interaction reactions.
Here's a senior health tip you won't see elsewhere. You know that if any muscle of your body is not active, it begins to lose quality; same thing happens to our facial and neck muscles. Facial and neck exercises are a must to maintain the muscle tone. Without this, the muscle fibers deteriorate and shrink, and the skin covering the muscle can age very rapidly. Funny (or maybe not), but as we age we chew gum less; this act of 'chewing' is a form of exercise for our face and neck muscles.
To exercise your face, exagerate a really wide grin, then begin an imaginative chewing of a wad of bubble-gum...feel the neck and lower jaw muscles working? Hah! You've begun your muscle toning!
Another: Exagertate that wide grin...I mean...REALLY exagerate it WIDE, stay in this position, simulate a 'pucker' and pull lips upward as if trying to 'kiss' your nose; now hold for a count of 10 then relax; repeat this step at least 10 times each day and you'll find yourself toning up that 'chicken-woddle' - the double-chin - in your neck while strengthening your neck and jaw muscles.
Note: you may find a bit of soreness the day after beginning this last exericse, but it will go away...what muscles DON'T get sore when they are used for a first time in a long time.
Keeping the face skin clean is a very important part of preventative senior health care. The outer layer of skin (epidermis) is made up mostly of lifeless cells to protect the layers underneath and to preserve moisture. Washing the face morning and night not only removes dirt, excess oil (if any) and makeup, but also the dead cells. For Normal Skin, water and a mild neutral (transparent type) soap is fine. Oily skin requires a bit stronger soap or rinsable cleanser specifically for oily skin. Dry skin responds best to a rinsable cleanser, not soap. I've read that we should avoid heavy creams that must be wiped off. They not only remove dirt and dead cells, but can leave skin looking dull. Always use a cotton wash cloth, or cotton pads - a 'natural' material. Any use of a tissue (wood product) could produce large pores and damage the skin.
Here's another senior health care tip. When walking for senior exercise, it is important that you keep a normal stride. Over-extending our stride length jolts our joints and actually slows us down. You may also put stress on your joints and ligaments by trying to go very quickly or by lengthening your stride too much. Take it easy! Studies show that walking is just as effective as running for aerobic exercise. It may take you a bit longer, but then you just have more opportunities to stop and smell the roses!
When walking for exercise, senior health, or just out walking for the fun of it, be sure to wear the right shoes. There are shoes designed especially for walking; invest in a good pair for yourself. Comfy shoes extend your enjoyment time! You will also prevent injuries to your feet and legs and you will be less likely to trip and fall if you are wearing a good pair of shoes. Make sure they are supportive of your foot and are made of a breathable material like leather.
There are areas on our feet that develop hardened, thick skin that have come about by excessive pressure or friction over a predominant boney area. They are 'corns' when formed on top or sides of toes, and callouses when formed on the bottom of the foot.
Senior health care consultantas advise NEVER attempt to cut these off with a razor; one slip and you've got more problems! Also take care when using the many over-the-counter remedies, as these often contain acids to burn away the corn. Take extra care when using these products, but they can give near-immediate relief. Good advice would be to buy a larger shoe or one with 'foot-padding' for a more comfortable fit. Invest in a really good pair (or two) of comfortable shoes! If the corn or callous persists, it's time to see a podiatrist, especially if you are a diabetic.
There are times of the year when our feet skin becomes rough and cracked. It's time for special care; here's how to solve this problem. First, soak your feet in a warm foot-bath (tub is fine); after soaking at least 10 minutes, scrub with a loofa to remove dead skin; rinse and dry your feet. Rub a good lotion thoroughly over your feet. Just before getting into bed, rub an excess amount of lotion on your feet, and put on a loose pair of white cotton socks. This is not only soothing to your feet, but will soften the skin and relieve the cracking. Repeat this every night, as often as needed. Caution should be taken when scrubbing with the loofa if you are a diabetic, and report excessive cracking (or sore) that does not heal to your senior health care physician.
Safe driving is a big part of senior health. Subject: Interstate As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on the 280 Interstate. Please be careful!" "Honey," said Herman, "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!" Have a blessed day, given to me by Charles Darby
Senior health care sonsultants warn us that Ninety percent of all skin cancers diagnosed every year are caused by over-exposure to the sun - thus the important need for sunscreens. Here is a smiple A-B-C-D for detecting skin cancer: A - Asymmetry: common moles are round and symmetrical. Most skin cancer moles have unusual shapes. B - Border: skin cancers may have uneven borders. C - Color: Watch for varied shades of brown, tan or black; also red, white or blue. D - Diameter: Watch for moles which grown larger than a pencil eraser - about 6mm or 1/4" in diameter. Any time you detect a change in a mole size, shape or color, or a sore that does not heal, or a skin growth which increases in size, or a spot that continues to itch, hurt and scab, make an appointment with your senior health care physician to have these checked. Most skin cancers are easily treated and cured with early detection.
Skin care and weather: wind, sun, lack of humidity (both outdoors in summer and indoors with heating system running in winter) can be devastating to our skin; a dry, leathery condition can result. Cleansing our skin is important, but too much harsh washing and drying - which can damage the delicate, fat globule-like cells - will do harm to skin texture of the face and neck....and the whole body! Moisturizing lotions are a must in maintaining healthy skin....along with drinking LOTS of water as part of your senior home health care.
As with caring for our facial and neck skin, cleansing and moisturizing is importan to good senior health care. The same holds true the the skin of our arms, legs and body. After bathing or showering, it is important to gently rub a good lotion over our entire body. Good does not mean expensive...I use a nice cocoa butter, hand and body lotion from the Dollar Store; works fine for me, and I love the clean, refreshing scent! And I use this off and on during the day and before bedtime whenever my skin feels a bit dry.
For better senior health your lifestyle should be to do all things with a temperance; that is, don't overeat, don't overbuy, etc. To make it short: don't over 'do'! By following this simple rule, you will ensure your health and safety. Don't be afraid of an occassional indulgence, but good habit make healthy people!
If you take multiple medications perscribed by your senior health care physician or senior health care consultant, the best way to keep track of them is to buy the plastic cases, kind with snap lids for each day. If you take morning and night, buy a white case for morning and blue case for night. Fill with all medications you take daily at beginning of week. Keep these cases visible to you as a reminder to take medications, but safely away from children or pets. When traveling, be sure to take enough medications for your whole trip, and pack them in a carry-on tote...these are the priority things we can't do without.
There are big savings in Texas on dentures and reduced-fee dental care. Contact: The Dental Society/Texas Dental Assoc., P. O. Box 3358, Austin TS 78764-3358, tele#(512) 443-3675. Living in another state? Try writing these people for information, or call any senior health dentist for information in your state.
Ever gotten dizzy or feel weak after taking certain medications perscribed by your physician? Always, when getting medications filled, ask pharmacist for a printout about the medication. Knowledge is the cornerstone of senior health.
This information can tell you what symptoms to expect, but most important it will tell you HOW to take the medications: with plenty of water; before eating; after eating; with NO milk; etc. Then be sure and follow direction to a tee!
If you do this, and problem still exists, you need to call your doctor and explain the problems you are having. Some medications just DON'T agree with you and should be changed; only our doctor can do this for us, so CALL!
I was once overdosed with a second medication for my blood pressure and my B.P. 'bottomed-out' (I had checked it). I called my doctor immediately and he discontinued the new medication... fortunately I had samples of this medication instead of an expensive prescription. Never continue with medications that adversely effect you.
Food is not all there is to good senior health. Drinking plenty of water during the day is a must, especially when exercising or during summer months. It is recommended (and very important) that we drink at least 8 glasses of water each day; increase that to 10 or 12 glasses if you are a very active person, walk or garden outdoors often, or just to avoid dehydration from any outdoor activities. If you have mid-night bladder problems, cut off the liquids at a set time in the evenings to avoid; we'll get a better nights sleep.
Here's a senior health exercise tip. It's important to warm up before exercising...even walking. Walk at a slow pace to a bench or low wall on which you can balance yourself. Slowly stretch your calves, hamstrings, hips and thighs; just a few minutes of stretching does the trick. This also helps to maintain your flexibility and mobility!
Looking for low-cost senior health or dental care? There are many dentists who receive government grants to conduct dental research, and many clinics who receive money for treating gum diseases and performed denture work. For more information contact: The National Society of Dental Research, Research Data & Mgmt. Info. Section,31 Center Dr., Bldg 31 2C35, MSC 290, Bethesda MD 20892-290...tele# (301)496-4261 AARP also has a ton of information on health insurance and available dental plans.
There are things in our normal lives that can be the cause of allergies. One thing for sure, we will have a reaction to those that don't agree with our systems. An allergic reaction occurs when a person's immune system mistakes something harmless as harmful! The mistaken substance is known as an allergen. Allergens enter our body by one of these: breathing dust, pollen, etc; injection of drug or venom; topical contact to the skin; swallowing food or drug. With allergens present, our immune systems release natural histamines (and histamine-like substances) known as allergy mediators. The resulting circumstances being inflammation, hives, itchy eyes, runny nose, swelling...and worse. Be sure to read other tips for more information, and talk to your senior health care consultant.
Food allergies occur mostly in young children, and they can outgrow them. However, allergies can develop later in an individual's life as a serious senior health problem, especially when these allergies tend to run in familes. Point of info: not all adverse reactions to food indicate an allergy (response of the body's immune system), but may be a food sensitivity (an adverse reaction, but not an immune response)
Anytime you find an unusual mole, or notice a change of an existing mole anywhere on your body (face, arms, legs, torso, back), you should notify your physician to have him or her check on this. These changes can indicate skin cancer, something that can be easily taken care of if removed in its early stages. A redness, scaliness, or non-healing spot on your face is another potential sign. It may prove to be 'nothing', but then again a cancer could be detected. Early diagnosis results in better prognosis.
For safety purposes, if you walk in your area alone, think of taking your dog along with you...or at least a walking-cane. You may even want to consider a whistle or other personal safety device depending on your neighborhood. Also, try to walk during the day - and if you need to, drive to a nice park or neighborhood for your walk so you don't have to worry about personal security. Part of senior health care means staying safe!
Senior health care consultants agree. There is no better exercise than taking a brisk walk, especially when recovering from extended illness. Walking assists in weight loss and good respiratory function. Keep a steady pace at all times: slow when beginning, increasing your pace after a week or two. Walk on a level surface, as 'uphill' areas are more stressful as you begin this activity, and places extra stress on your heart. Have someone walk with you when just getting 'out' from an illness or just for company. There is nothing like a long walk to get people talking. You should enjoy your exercise, so find a nice park or boardwalk near a beach.
If you are a senior recovering from an extended illness or surgery, walking will be your best exercise to regain your health. Be sure to walk on a flat area, walk with head held up, body straight, and take semi-deep even breaths to avoid dizziness. Don't walk alone if you feel too weak. Maintaining mobility and fitness is a key component to senior health. If your core strength is solid, you will be able to move around and stay fit into the future.
Many medical papers have been written about the senior health relationship between gum deseases and cardiovascular problems. Medical research has been conclusive on this fact. You should have, at least, yearly oral checkups to avoid possible heart attacks, high colesterol levels, diabitis, and even strokes. Get those checkups by your dentist!!
Seldom can the cause of tinnitus be diagnosed. It could be caused by blows to the head, large doses of certain drugs as aspirin, anemia, hypertension, noise exposure, stress, certain tumors, or wax-impacted ears. Check with your senior health care physician to find if your tinnitis has a specific-cause factor.
If we do have allergic reactions to food, beware of the severity of these. Known as anaphylaxis, this could be a life-treatening reaction which includes: difficulty in breathing, swelling of tongue and throat, increased sweating, and quick lowering of blood pressure. Immediate medical attention should be seeked. If you consistently have the same minor reaction after eating certain food, you're probably allergic, and should see your senior health care physician or an allergist.
First, let's realize why our face, neck, and hands show aging faster than other parts of us:
1. These are the most exposed areas to the weather.
2. Lack of muscle tone of the facial and neck muscles
3. Gravity (ugh!)
4. Lack of nutrients (water, minerals, oils, and oxygen)
5. YOU - your lifestyle, what you eat/drink, and habits.
Something to think about, huh? Check other tips for bettering yourselves AND your skin.
Here's another senior health tip. How easy it is to slide or slip on a throw rug. If you have the type without a rubberized backing, either replace these immediately or buy the double-sided tape to attach to the rug. Be aware of any 'curling' edges on rugs that you could trip on; use the tape here, too.
We can often have allergic reaction to medications. Antibiotics are the leading drug allergens; pain relief meds (even aspirin and ibuprofen) are also linked to allergic reactions. Be sure to ask your doctor about what side effects to expect before taking any new medication. And always remember to notify your senior health care physician of your adverse reactions to meds; especially important when admitted to the hospital.
Most infections from West Nile virus are mild. Symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection may be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and muscle weakness or paralysis. See you senior health care physician ASAP if you feel you have these symptoms.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|