Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog
Each week, Dr. Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.
The NIH Senior Health reports that one in three people over the age of 65 experience a fall each year. Because of the non-porous, easy clean surfaces, more than 80% of these falls happen in the bathroom. The proper equipment will help to keep everyone safer. Be sure to check your loved one’s for the following:
Grab Bars. One of the simplest solutions to preventing bathroom falls is to install grab bars. Choose bars that have a grip-like surface and contrast to the color of the shower, so they are easily visible. Anchor these bars to the studs behind the wall for the best support. Have your loved one step into the tub and show you where the best place to install a safety bar is located. Adding a grab bar next to the toilet is another simple way to prevent falls.
Non-Skid Surfaces. Placing a non-skid floor mat in front of the shower and sink soaks up excess water and prevents slips. Adding a non-skid shower mat to the bathtub will prevent your loved one from sliding on the slippery tub surface when bathing. For additional safety, place non-skid adhesive strips around the sink and vanity area.
Raised Toilet Seat. Adding a raised toilet seat prevents your loved one from losing her balance and falling while trying to sit on the toilet or get up. It is also helpful for those who are losing strength.
Lighting. Many seniors lose depth perception, having brighter lighting will help your senior to judge distances better, such as stepping into the bathtub. Adding motion lights on the path to the bathroom, as well as in the bathroom, will help your loved one to see where she is walking. Having plenty of lighting will help your loved one to locate toiletry items quicker and easier as well.
Declutter. Because many older people end up needing to use a walker or cane, it is important to make sure walking paths are clean and clutter-free. It is important to keep items such as towels off the floor and out of the way as much as possible. The less items your loved one can get hooked on, the safer the home will be.
Preventing a fall from happening is ideal. However, there are times when accidents happen. Consider getting your loved one a medical alert system as an additional layer of safety. The best systems offer waterproof pendants, so they can be worn while bathing. If your loved one does fall, she can press the button and get help immediately, which may save her life.
Running a marathon is one of the toughest things that you can do. Doing the full 26.2 miles requires grit, determination and a bit of luck. Luck in the sense that it reaches a point along the marathon whereby your will to run is gone and all you can do is hope that your body doesn’t give in. You require a lot of energy to run a marathon but the fact that it is a competitive event makes it difficult for stop and snack up. You, therefore, have to do with the food reserves stored in your body. The problem with this, however, is that the body can only store a limited amount of food reserves. This reserve is depleted way before you complete the marathon and it is at this point that the “wall” appears.
To provide you with the energy to run, food is broken down to supply you with this energy. The primary food item that broken down to generate energy is carbohydrates since it requires very little oxygen to do so. When you are running, you let in very little oxygen into the blood stream and that is why carbohydrates are broken down first. The body can hold about 2000 calories of carbohydrates at any given time and this reserve can only last up to the 20th mile. From this point, the body turns to the fat deposits in the body for energy generation. Breaking down fats to produce energy generates a lot of waste products and this contaminates your interior. It also requires a lot of oxygen but since you are not taking in enough air, the body resorts to burning your muscles to generate the needed oxygen. This has the effect of making you feel like you are pulling a heavy load with your feet. Since your body is concentrating on generating energy, your focus shifts from running to this activity. You, therefore, find it difficult to concentrate on running and those who are not of strong will find it easy to give up.
Marathon caring and ‘The Wall”.
Aging brings with it a lot of challenges and at some stage in life, we would be expected to take care of our loved ones. It could be our parents, grandparents or other family members. Most would think that it will only be for a short period of time but the truth is that it usually stretches several years and this is what makes it a marathon. Taking care of another person is very challenging and it will overwhelm even those claiming to be strong willed. It requires that you feed, clothe as well as clean up the person under your care. You are in charge of their medication as well and this means that you have to monitor their pills to make sure they never run out. See how overwhelming that can be?
When compared to a marathon, all these responsibilities represent the various stages of a marathon. It is easier at the beginning since you are all psyched up and full of energy. It gets difficult with time as your ‘energy reserves’ are depleted and your enthusiasm fades. At this point, it is only a matter of time before you ‘hit the wall’.
The wall of a marathon caregiver.
The wall to a marathon caregiver represents that point when you see your dependent as a burden. This is that point when you are no longer excited to see those in your care. The wall is a very difficult point since it could see you neglect those in your care.
Keeping the wall at bay.
There are a few things that you can do to keep the way at bay. The first thing is to understand the course and this entails understanding your dependents better. If they have any illnesses, get to understand them as this will make it easy for you to manage them. Learn how to take care of old people and you can do that by checking out care homes near me. This will make you a better care giver and better equipment to avoid the wall.
Have you felt like your increasing age is taking a toll on you? As men increase in age, their normal hormone levels decrease and result in different types of male hormone imbalances. One of which is andropause or “male menopause” – a decline in a man’s levels of testosterone, their primary male sex hormone.
A gradual but significant decline in a man’s testosterone begins at age 30 at a rate of 1 to 2% per year. By about age 70, a man’s testosterone levels may have declined by 50%. Because testosterone plays a huge role in a man’s overall health, low T levels may produce different adverse effects.
Andropause and senior health
Here are the most common symptoms and changes you can expect from andropause in your senior years:
- Sleep disturbances: Sleeping difficulties or disturbances in andropause men include insomnia, sleep apnea, night sweats, and restless leg syndrome (RLS).
- Emotional changes: Different changes in emotions during andropause often result to a lack of motivation, depression, forgetfulness, and lack of concentration.
- Sexual dysfunction: During andropause, a man’s sexual function also weakens and lays low, which may result in low sex drive, infertility, and erectile dysfunction.
- Osteoporosis: With declining testosterone levels, men become more susceptible to osteoporosis. Low levels of testosterone lead to loss of bone tissue and mass.
- Physical changes: Other physical manifestations of andropause in men include increased abdominal fat, decreased muscle mass, hair loss, and swollen breasts.
Dealing with andropause
Although andropause can’t be escaped, it can be managed. Men can deal with the different symptoms and risks brought about by andropause with these simple steps:
- Weight management: Stored extra fat, especially in the belly, can convert testosterone to estradiol. Healthier lifestyle choices such as proper diet and regular exercise are greatly recommended.
- Physical activity: Engaging in physical activities can help alleviate unpleasant symptoms of andropause, such as mood swings and sleeping difficulties, while helping manage your weight.
- Proper nutrition: Practice eating healthier food choices including fiber-rich foods, omega-3 fatty acids, lean meat, and fruits and vegetables for overall health, increased energy, and strength.
- Getting checked for depression: Depression is one of the symptoms of andropause that you should keep an eye on. Beware of signs of depression or have your primary care provider screen you for possible depression.
- Expert consultation: The best way to deal with andropause is through an expert doctor’s help. Be honest about your symptoms for proper diagnosis and treatment. For some, testosterone replacement therapy can be given as an effective treatment.
Get equipped and be ready for the andropause battle!
The younger generation may think that all of today’s technology is reserved only for their use, but that’s simply not the truth. Many areas of this digital age can greatly benefit senior citizens, and here are just five ways that older folks can use technology to enhance their lives.
1. Cellphones: Today’s seniors aren’t typically sitting home in rocking chairs or baking cookies. Active senior citizens may enjoy travel or fast-paced social lives, and this makes a cell phone the perfect way to keep in touch wherever you roam. While many phones are difficult to use and feature tiny buttons, there are some very easy to use cell phones for seniors that utilize large, easy-to-see buttons that are just perfect for the older population.
2. Advanced Recliners Nothing beats a hot massage at the end of the day. New technologies in recliners are ready for the 21st century. Today some power lift recliners heat, massage, and much more. They can even help you get up after your snooze.
3. Medical Alert Systems: If you’re a senior citizen who has been afflicted with health issues, then you can still live alone in your own home without fear. Many companies offer medical alert systems that allow you to wear a pendant-style device that can summon help with the press of a button. Others are programmed to call for assistance if a fall is detected, and there are even companies that track your movements through GPS so that you can be helped even when you’re away from home.
4. Computers: Internet companies are keeping senior citizens connected throughout the world. It’s a wonderful method of making new friends, joining groups with those who share your favorite hobbies and keeping up with local and worldwide news. Seniors may also keep up with their extended family and see related pictures through social media, shop online, research medical concerns and arrange for local services online.
5. Electronic Readers: Aging eyes can lose the ability to read normal-size print, and this is a great loss to those who have loved to read their entire lives. With the help of various tablets and e-readers, senior citizens can download books, newspapers and magazines, which can be read at any size that the individual requires. These e-readers can also change the brightness to suit your visual needs.
As automotive technology has improved, increasingly more consumers are seeking out that technology during the car shopping process. Every year, the rate at which technology changes personal transportation accelerates. As a matter of fact, NY speeding violations lawyer http://www.zevgoldsteinlaw.com/ quotes General Motors CEO Mary Barra; “We’re going to see more change in the next five to ten years than we’ve seen in the last 50.”
For baby boomers, who are hoping to stay on the road for as long as possible, this is more important than ever. The question many consumers find themselves asking, however, is what technologies will make their way into the mainstream market and which ones will remain in the realm of science fiction. In the very near future, there are 25 advanced car technologies that we expect to see making their way into showrooms.
- Intelligent Brake Lights are being developed that indicate whether a driver is stopping quickly or simply decreasing acceleration.
- Smart Windshields will use augmented reality to help display key information about what’s happening on the road.
- Night Vision Enhancements make it easier for seniors and others with night vision troubles to see when they’re out on the road at night, removing obstacles that might create an earlier curfew for seniors.
- Automated Parking Systems make parking easy. Simply put the car into parking mode and it will slide itself into the parking space—perfect for those who have started to see their motor skills deteriorating.
- Lane Departure Warning Systems don’t just help distracted drivers who might have wandered out of their designated lane. They’re also designed to help elderly drivers who may struggle to keep their car inside the lane when they’re driving.
- Crash Notification and Avoidance Technologies recognize the conditions that can lead to an accident, from someone running into the road to a car slamming on its brakes ahead. Some of them are designed to notify drivers so that they can react. Others may even slam on the brakes or have another reaction to help avoid the collision.
- Blind Spot Detection and Back-Over Prevention Systems note any time there’s something behind the car or in a blind spot, making it easier to avoid accidents.
- Fatigue Warning Systems analyze driver behavior and notify them when they are becoming fatigued, letting drivers know when it’s time to pull over for a while.
- Forward Collision Warning with Auto Brake notices when accidents are going to happen and puts on the brakes to avoid them.
- Self-Driving Cars were the technology of the future just a few short years ago. Now, however, they’re becoming a very real possibility, removing the responsibility of driving the car from the senior’s shoulders.
- Driver Override Systems recognize when drivers are accelerating faster than the driver intended, such as when the gas pedal is slammed instead of the brake. The unsafe response is then overridden.
- Biometric Vehicle Access offers an even greater level of safety and protection, pulling together the safety systems needed by an individual driver based on biometric scans.
- Comprehensive Vehicle Tracking lets you know where your car is at any moment. It’s a fantastic resource for children who might worry about their elderly parents wandering off.
- Active Window Displays bring GPS and other apps straight to the windshield, removing the need to look away in order to effectively use those apps.
- Remote Vehicle Shutdown allows a car to be shut down from a distance—especially effective in conjunction with the GPS tracking that will let adult children know if their parents are out of the geographic area where they should be traveling. This feature is one of 10 advanced car technologies predicted by Forbes contributor Karl Brauer by 2020.
- Active Health Monitoring is something nearly everyone is now familiar with. Active health monitoring in a vehicle allows drivers to know when their health isn’t adequate to safe driving.
- Reconfigurable Body Panels change the shape of the car, making it possible to use a single vehicle for many purposes.
- Tablet Transforming Steering Wheels use gesture control, similar to what’s used on a tablet screen, to make cars easier to maneuver—even for those with joint problems.
- High-Tech Car Seats with Stress Gauges help drivers stay calm behind the wheel, shifting responses to help create a safer driving experience.
- Dashboard Safety Integration provides safety information on the dashboard, where it’s easy to view while driving.
- Augmented Reality provides warning messages and other key information on the windshield, making it easier to see obstacles and other concerns.
- Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell Cars combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce the power for fuel cells that run the car—truly the car of the future.
- Rotating Motorized Lounge Chairs provide an increased level of comfort for drivers who might otherwise have trouble in the car.
- Eye-Tracking Holographic Dashboard technology uses gestures and eye movements to allow apps to be accessed without needing to touch the screen.
- Autopilot systems, like self-driving car technology, provide drivers with the safe travel they need without reducing their independence.
These new technologies have helped make traveling by car safer than it ever has been before. This is particularly true for older drivers who may need additional assistance behind the wheel. This offers a significant improvement in quality of life for aging baby boomers who may no longer feel safe behind the wheel. New technology, however, prepares the way for them to drive longer.
Most people don’t realize just how big of an impact architecture can have on the lives and well being of elderly individuals. For many years, innovative designs for care homes and retirement living have gone a long way in helping to both support and reassure elderly residents so they feel comfortable in their surroundings, and will do for many years to come. Here are three key ways in which architecture benefits the elderly.
Exposure to sunlight
One of the first architectural considerations for any residential project is ‘how does the building sit in relation to the sun?’ This can influence many factors such as the garden, conservatories and large windows, all because we want residents to have the best exposure to natural light as possible. Designs for many care homes ensure that there are no rooms that face exclusively north, so all residents receive direct, natural sunlight into their room at some point during the day. Not only are there psychological benefits of enjoying the sunshine, but exposure to the sun in moderation provides a healthy dose of Vitamin D, absorbed into the body to help strengthen bones which is a huge boost for the elderly to starve off the effects of frailty with age.
Residential architecture is not just about the building, but landscaping the garden area too. Retaining some green outdoor space is important for elderly residents for whom it may not be possible to venture to the nearest public park whenever they wish, so they can relax outdoors without completely leaving their home. For more mobile elderly residents, gardens also provide the opportunity to continue with a relaxing gardening hobby, or to even take it up. In care homes, gardens are kept in pristine condition all year round by qualified gardeners, and when the months begin to get warmer, residents can enjoy the various plants and colorful flowerbeds – some of which they may have helped to plant themselves.
Built to adapt
When it comes to care home facilities and retirement housing, architectural designs must cater for the ever-changing needs of the residents. Therefore, it has to be built to adapt. Many elderly who use wheelchairs will require spacious rooms with height adjustable surfaces, particularly in the kitchen, and ramps fitted on all entrances and exits. These features take even more prominence in care homes with more residents present, with designs also incorporating wide corridors to allow residents in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters to pass one another with ease, and interior walls within a resident’s living space fitted as panels that can be easily knocked out to create a larger open plan floor space if necessary.
Author bio: Mick Goode is a co-founder and co-director of Croft Goode Architects, based in Lancashire, UK. As a BIM-focused practice of chartered architects, we have a vast range of experience designing for all kinds of projects, including those for retirement living and healthcare buildings for the elderly and disabled.