Senior Health and Fitness

joe's picture

Children, Pets, and a Smile

After twenty years of working with older adults I can make at least one conclusive statement: “there is nothing like a child or furry pet to bring a smile to someone.” While we have all probably witnessed the wonderful interaction between a child or pet and an older adult, we may not have stopped to try and understand how this happens.
Jeff's picture

Cholesterol: the good, the bad and the confusing

Cholesterol. It's been the topic of much debate and controversy for decades. In the 1950s, we learned that cholesterol is bad. Produced in the liver, the waxy, fatty substance clogs our arteries and contributes to heart disease, stroke and other nasty damage.

More recently, we were told cholesterol may not be as bad as we once thought. Turns out, every cell in our body contains cholesterol and we actually need it for some pretty important jobs, including:

  • Helping to make key hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone
  • Synthesizing Vitamin D
  • Building and maintaining vital cell membranes
  • Helping create substances that help us digest food

To make matters more confusing, there are two major types of cholesterol - serum cholesterol, which is cholesterol found in the bloodstream and dietary cholesterol, which is cholesterol found in food. This article is about serum cholesterol.

But even serum cholesterol has two different types:  HDL =  Good.   LDL = Bad.

Jeff's picture

How's your love life?

Dating?  At our age?  Why not! No matter what your age, human connection is essential in keeping a healthy spirit. They don’t call me Meddling Maude for nothing.  So, if you’ve been out of the dating scene for a while, I’m here with some tips for getting back in.

 Let your friends help

Your family and friends know you best and may be able to help  you find someone you can trust and who will appreciate your many great qualities.  If your niece happens to know of a nice person or two  she thinks you’d click with, take a risk!  Agree to meet them!  (One at a time, of course!)  You don’t have to meet someone on a potentially awkward blind date.  Instead, have your helpful family and friends invite both of you to a barbecue or to join them on an outing.

Get active

What interests you? To meet someone you might enjoy, seek out activities you like to do!

Senior centers: Senior centers are beehives of fun activity.  Most offer classes in everything from cooking to Spanish to line dancing. Most also have a plethora of special events, from barbeques in the summer, to holiday parties in the winter.

Jeff's picture

Step lively - how to prevent and treat bunions

I know this isn't a topic many people talk about, but you know me! I'm not afraid to speak my mind!

I hate my bunions. They are ugly and sometimes hurt. And wouldn’t you know it – bunions are much more common in women than men.  And women, of course, tend to care much more about wearing cute shoes – which usually translates to narrow shoes.

A bunion, also known by the appropriately ugly name “hallux valgus” is a boney bump that sticks out at the base of the big toe joint. It’s a structural problem that can worsen over time, as the big toe pushes against the toe beside it – sometimes even crossing over it.

A lifetime of wearing narrow shoes may cause this to happen, but so can foot injuries and conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. The structural conditions that cause bunions are also hereditary.

Bunions, of course, are not life-threatening, but they can impact your quality of life – especially if they cause you to give up active recreation. 

To reduce the discomfort of bunions and prevent them from getting worse:

Jeff's picture

Let’s be clear – cataracts are highly treatable

Has your world gradually gotten a little cloudier (even on a sunny day)?  Is your vision getting more blurry – even with your glasses?  If the answer to either of these questions is “yes” and you’ve been putting off going to the eye doctor, it’s time to make that appointment.  As part of a complete eye exam, your eye care professional will check for cataracts.

In addition to cloudy or blurry vision, other common symptoms of cataracts are:

  • Poor night vision
  • Colors that seem faded
  • Uncomfortable glare and “halos” appearing around lamps or headlights
  • Double vision in one eye

Cataracts are very common.  They tend to start small in middle age, not causing any symptoms at all. But by age 80, more thanhalf of all Americans have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. It’s made up mostly of water and protein.  As we age, some of the tiny protein particles can clump together. Just like a dirty window or camera lens, the cloudier the lens in your eye gets, the harder it is to see through it.

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