Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog

/Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog

Each week, Dr. Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.

Five Tips to Surviving Your Husband’s Retirement

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I remember when my father retired at the age of 62 from a busy career as a pediatric surgeon. I thought he would be bored, but he had already compiled a notebook full of chores to do around the house, places he wanted to go, and a bucket list of other accomplishments that had been put on hold. Shortly after his retirement, my Mom confided in me that it was a bit of an adjustment having Dad home all the time. Suddenly, Mom said she seemed to no longer be able to cook right after about 40 years of doing this on her own. Dad had a better way to do things, after all. Once I saw Mom trying to wrap a gift and the wrapping paper seemed too small for the size of present. Dad was trying to give her step by step instructions and after snapping at her, Mom let him wrap the gift himself. Now, while I do concede that Dad was able to wrap the gift absolutely perfectly with the allotted paper, Mom and I gave each other a knowing glance and smiled. Ah, retirement.

So, when my own husband announced that he was going to retire and sell his share of the business at the age of 51, I knew I had to take some action to give our marriage the best chance to survive and thrive against this new challenge. After all, when my father-in-law retired, my mother-in-law had to encourage him to get a part-time job so she could have some “peace”. Even she was a bit concerned when my husband decided to take early retirement. Here I offer my short bit of wisdom, gleaned not only from my own experience but also from many wise women who gave me their sage advice to prepare for this season of life: when your husband retires.

Set the ground rules. I had fortunately learned during a brief period when my husband was working from home that there were certain things that would have to be agreed upon before he ever retired if we were to live peaceably. For example, he was not allowed to take over any of my former responsibilities unless I asked him to. Driving the kids around to activities can be helpful, but trying to wash the shrinkable clothes was not. Taking us out to eat after I worked all day was fine, but trying to take over the kitchen was off limits. Helping the kids with business math (not my area of expertise) was great, but trying to be the full-time homeschool Dad was not going to work for any of us.

Have separate work spaces. Jim and I cannot share a computer. I teach partially online and spend lots of time working from home with consulting. We agreed early on that he would set up a separate place in a different part of the house for his computer and desk. This has created much harmony over sharing the work space.

Allow everyone time to adjust to the change. I must admit that it took me several weeks, maybe even months, to realize that my husband was truly going to retire. Once he was home all the time, the reality gradually set in, but I kept reminding myself to give us all an adaptation period as if we were starting a new job orientation, because things were definitely going to change. Our two teenagers were the most leery of Dad being home all the time. For them, the ground rules (i.e. “please just let us do our work and don’t change our routine”) were particularly essential.

Accept your differences. My husband is a problem-solver and savior. He likes a challenge and wants to fix everything for everyone if he can. While I admire this about him, I didn’t want him to fix the nice structure and functionality by which our home was already running. I learned to embrace his strengths and encourage him to accept my weaknesses (like overindulging in carbs and worrying about things I can’t control). He likes to exercise every day, watch sports, and spend time on the landscaping. I would rather take the kids to the movies and go shopping. And that had to be ok.

Embrace the positives. While I was a bit skeptical about how our lives would change with my husband retiring so soon, there are so many things to celebrate that I am daily embracing the wonderful opportunities and blessings that his retirement has brought to our family. We are free to travel more. He accompanies me on business trips, even to China twice! He is much more relaxed and pleasant. It makes our family happy to see him have the time and resources to do what he enjoys. Jim keeps busy all of the time and yet does not have the daily pressure of work-related stress. We spend more time with family and have plans to move nearer to the grandchildren and to a better climate.

For all the women who are warily facing their husband’s retirement, take heart. I can honestly say that with some forward and deliberate planning, my husband’s retirement is one of the best things that has ever happened to us!

By |2019-05-07T11:49:10-05:00June 1st, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Five Tips to Surviving Your Husband’s Retirement

Chronic Sinusitis

Sinus pain

Background

One of the common health complaints of the elderly is chronic sinusitis. About 14.1% of Americans 65 and older report suffering from chronic sinusitis; for those 75 years and older, the rate is slightly lower at 13.5% (American Academy of Otolaryngology, 2012). Age-related physiological and functional changes that occur can cause restrictions to the airflow. This results from irritants blocking drainage of the sinus cavities, leading to infection.

Warning Signs

Symptoms include a severe cold, sneezing, cough (that is often worse at night), hoarseness, diminished sense of smell, discolored nasal discharge, postnasal drip, headache, facial pain, fatigue, malaise, and fever (Kelley, 2002). The person may complain of pain around the sinus areas, and swelling and redness of the nasal mucosa may be evident.

Diagnosis

Allergies, common cold, and dental problems should be ruled out for differential diagnosis. When symptoms continue over a period of weeks and up to 3 months and are often recurring, chronic sinusitis should be suspected. A CT scan of the sinuses will likely show areas of inflammation.

Treatment

Treatment for chronic sinusitis is with antibiotics, decongestants, and analgesics for pain. Inhaled corticosteroids may be needed to reduce swelling and ease breathing. Irrigation with over-the-counter normal saline nose spray is often helpful and may be done two to three times per day. The person with chronic sinusitis should drink plenty of fluids to maintain adequate hydration and avoid any environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoke or other toxins. Chronic sinusitis is a condition that many older adults wrestle with their entire life. Avoidance of precipitating factors for each individual should be encouraged.

For more information on Sinus Sinusitis, visit The Mayo Clinic at:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chronic-sinusitis/DS00232/DSECTION=risk-factors/

Adapted from Mauk, K. L., Hanson, P., & Hain, D. (2014). Review of the management of common illnesses, diseases, or health conditions. In K. L. Mauk’s (Ed.) Gerontological Nursing: Competencies for Care. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Used with permission.

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By |2019-05-07T11:48:16-05:00May 30th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Chronic Sinusitis

Guest Blog: How Wearable Technology Can Benefit Your Health

It’s no surprise that in the digital age, in addition to apps and online services, wearable technology is paving the way for better health outcomes for people of all ages. What exactly is wearable technology? Essentially any portable device which you can wear on your person, like a necklace, pendant, bracelet, clip, and so on, that serves a technological function like syncing fitness and medical data to the cloud, or sending alert signals to call for help.

Wearable technology continues to evolve and benefit people’s physical and emotional health. Check out how in this quick guide:

Medical Alert Technology
If you have mobility issues, have been hospitalized or gone to the E.R. in the past year, or simply suffer from a condition where you may require fast access to emergency services (i.e. diabetes, Parkinson’s), you may be looking into getting a medical alert system. While stationary medical alert systems in your home are helpful, so are wearable medical alert accessories when you head out the door.

Portable medical alert accessories may range from pendants to clip-ons to bracelets and serve a variety of purposes. Often most affordable but most overlooked is the novelty medical alert bracelets which feature a metal plate engraved with your personal and health information including an emergency contact. More technologically-advanced bracelets, however, come equipped with a discreetly hidden USB drive that stores all your personal health information. Other medical alert accessories feature buttons, on a necklace, for example, that can be pushed to give off loud alarm sounds and ward off potential attackers or call someone for help.

Fitness
Wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit, Bellabeat, and Motiv Ring all continue to be popular accessories among younger generations, however, they have their place with the senior demographic too. A wearable fitness tracker is typically like a watch, pendant, or piece of jewelry you wear that can track important health data based on the activity of your body. More closely monitoring your physical activity can help you better achieve your fitness goals and maintain a healthy weight.

Important information like the number of steps you take in a day, your pulse rate, sleep patterns, calories burned, oxygen utilization, and fitness goals achieved can all be tracked these days with this type of advanced wearable technology. If you would rather not wear anything additional and simply take advantage of the smartphone you carry around in your pocket anyway, looking into the Health app(s) available to you via your phone’s operating system or app library. You can both enter personal health data in there as well as track physical activity and more.

Posture
Are poor posture habits a pain in your neck (literally)? While “sitting up straight” might seem like your only course of action, turns out there are technological solutions designed to help you as well. Apps like Perfect Posture and Posture Zone can be downloaded to your phone and customized to alert you (via vibrations in your pocket) when you are slumping or slouching.

Wearable accessories like Lumo Lift Posture Coach are even more discreet, lightweight solutions you wear near your collarbone. This posture coach tool uses biomechanical motion sensors to track both your activity levels as well as your posture during the day. If you start to slouch or crane your head and shoulders forward, it gently vibrates to alert you to fix your posture.

By |2019-05-07T11:47:21-05:00May 26th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How Wearable Technology Can Benefit Your Health

Guest Blog: Four Top Nutrition Tips for Seniors

 

Colorful fresh group of vegetables and fruits

By Eric Daw

 

For individuals over the age of 60, the benefits of eating healthy foods includes resistance to disease and illness, higher energy levels, increased mental acuteness, faster recuperation times and higher energy levels. Healthy eating does not have to be all about sacrifice and strict dieting. Think of it as a way to enjoy colorful, fresh foods, eating with friends and more creativity in the kitchen.

The road to healthy eating can be a bit confusing for those who are not accustomed to it. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you start your journey into the world of healthy eating and to promote optimal health.

 

1.    Limit sodium content

Because many seniors suffer from high blood pressure, they should make sure to consume foods low in sodium. Restaurant food, frozen, and processed foods are usually high in sodium and should be avoid or used in moderation. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium, so try to incorporate several servings of each throughout the day.

2.    Stay hydrated

Although seniors may not get as thirsty as they once did, their bodies still need the same amount of water. One of the main signs of dehydration is dark urine or excessive tiredness. Try to drink at least eight glasses of fresh water throughout the day. Foods that are high in water content, such as cucumbers and watermelon, may be consumed several times per week to aid in hydration.

3.    Eat more fiber

Eating high fiber foods has more benefits than keeping your bowels regular. Fiber can also lower your risk of developing diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. The digestive system slows as you age, meaning it is important to supplement with foods high in dietary fiber in order to maintain regular bowel movements and overall health.

4.    Eat high quality protein

Consuming high-quality protein has been proven to help boost your resistance to stress, anxiety and depression, and can even help you think more clearly. When combined with a strength-training routine, protein has been shown to reduce muscle loss and maintain physical function. Some examples of high quality protein are eggs, milk, and meat, which should be incorporated in your daily nutritional intake.

 

About the Author: Eric Daw is an active aging specialist and the owner of Omni Fitt. Omni Fitt is dedicated to the wellbeing, health and quality of life of people aged 55 and over. Eric motivates and empowers the older adult population to take responsibility for their independence, health and fitness through motivating and positive coaching experiences.

By |2019-05-16T12:27:57-05:00May 22nd, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Four Top Nutrition Tips for Seniors

Five Eye Health Tips for Maintaining Long-Life Vision

 

As you age, so do your eyes. It is a simple fact of life, however, age related vision problems don’t need to be a lifestyle changer. Knowing what’s to come and how you can maintain your vision for the long haul is an essential first step, according to the American Optometric Association.

As you approach 60 years young, it is vital to pay more attention to the warning signs of age-related vision issues. Vision problems as you get older can be acute or chronic, but knowing how to steer clear of them is probably at the top of your list.

Making significant lifestyle choices and getting regular eye exams will help keep you focused on your eye health. Let’s face it, visiting your optometrist is more fun than seeing your dentist or primary physician. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can keep your vision strong, no matter your age.

  1. Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly for Optimal Eye Health

There are some pretty unfavorable eye diseases you may be at risk for, especially if you skip your eye exams. In order to keep your vision as keen as a 20 year olds, visiting your optometrist regularly is vital.

In fact, an article published in academic journal, American Family Physician (1999) found several common causes of vision loss in the elderly. The vision debilitating eye diseases you may be at risk for include Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Diabetic Retinopathy, among others. Seeing your eye doctor will help you avoid these chronic vision loss conditions.

  1. Eat Right to See Right

What you eat directly affects your health. And the same applies for your eye health. Eating the healthy nutritious meals at least three times per day is one exceptional way to keep your focus on great vision.

Food loaded with nutrient rich vitamins and minerals, such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamin C, and vitamin E may help keep your eyes in superb shape. Those greens, eggs, nuts, and salmon are a great place to begin. You may even see a few pounds shrink away from your waist.

  1. Focus on Eye Health and Quit Smoking

Saving your lungs from smoking is also saving your vision from acute and chronic vision issues in the future. In fact, smoking increases your risk for cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration.

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If quitting your attempt to quit smoking continues to happen, don’t give up. Your vision as you age may depend on it. And if you quit smoking, you will most likely live longer, making it even more imperative to have great vision to see your grandchildren blossom.

  1. Look Cool and Protect Your Eyes with UV Sunglasses

If keeping your eyes healthy aligns with your fashion, even better. Wearing UV sunglasses may help protect your eyes from the sun’s powerful rays. Research suggests that too much UV exposure will increase your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.

Pick up some sunglasses with 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Protecting your peripheral vision is also important, so wraparound shades may be even better. There are even contacts with UV protection these days. However, sunglasses with UV block are best.

  1. Limit Your Screen Time for Better Vision Later in Life

Limiting your screen time is nothing new. In fact, mothers have been saying television ruins eyes for decades. If you want to protect your eyes, taking a break from so much screen time is essential.

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This also extends to tech devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation suggests that the blue light emitted by these tech screens may trigger macular degeneration, among other health issues.

Protecting your eyes today may pay off big time as you begin reaching those golden years. And it is never too late to start living healthy to improve your vision. Most of the suggestions made by professionals can also make a big impact on your overall health. Stay focused when it comes to eye health, because seeing is an important sense to maintain forever.

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By |2019-05-16T12:27:08-05:00May 21st, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Five Eye Health Tips for Maintaining Long-Life Vision