Lloyd discovered hiking in his mid- 50s. For the next 10 years, he enjoyed the daily walks through the cedars behind his house. After a time, Lloyd attributed the initial leg discomfort to simply too much walking, so he shortened his route. But as the pain persisted and increased in severity, Lloyd realized he could no longer enjoy his time outdoors and that maybe it was time for hip surgery. Read more
We do a lot for the people we care about, especially those who spent their early life caring for us. We make sure they eat right, exercise, spend quality time with friends and family, and visit their doctor. We do what we can to handle their changing needs, but one slip or misstep can make their world come crashing down. Accidental falls, or unintentional injuries, are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. The reasons vary, but experts attribute these injuries to diminished balance brought on by medications, poor vision, and the lack of exercise, namely strength training.
There are a number of safety measures a caregiver can take to reduce the risk of injury within their loved one’s home, such as lighting and removing clutter, but older adults can also use daily exercise to improve their sense of balance to better navigate the bumpy road ahead.
Did you know that squatting is the most primitive movement pattern known to mankind? In fact, our ancestors used to perform this type of movement in daily activities such as harvesting, hunting, gathering, cooking, eating, etc.
Scott Dagenais, rehab director at Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehab Center, advises grabbing a chair to hold onto for balance when performing this movement. The first step is to stand shoulder width apart and simply lower yourself down while engaging the core. Make sure to squeeze the glutes, keep your head up, and hold for a couple of seconds. To take the exercise up a notch, raise your toes up and then back down. Repeat this 10 times for three sets. This exercise helps with independent balance as it increases quadriceptive and glute strength.
Single leg stance
Movement can become a bit shaky as we age and especially as we move from side to side or reach up to grab something. The single leg stance is another exercise to improve balance to prevent falling in the elderly. This movement begins in the same stance as the squat, however, instead of dipping down, you lift your leg up to the side and then bring it back. Make sure to squeeze the glute, hold it for a few seconds, repeat, and alternate legs. As you become more advanced, try to close your eyes!
Regular eye check-ups
The Vision Council of America reports that approximately 75 percent of adults use some form of vision correction. According to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), “A rapidly increasing proportion of the aging population experiences eye problems that make simple daily tasks difficult or impossible, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses. Severe eye problems are not just a matter of ‘getting older.’ The risk of severe eye problems has been found to increase significantly with age, particularly in those over age 65.”
Make sure your loved one has a current prescription as directed by a doctor. Remember that tint-changing lenses can be dangerous, so be aware of the changes in the environment from a darkly-lit building to a bright, sunny day. By pausing and waiting for the lens to adjust, a bump or fall can be avoided.
Take your vitamins
By keeping your bones strong, you stay standing. The two key nutrients to defy osteoporosis are Calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is important because our bodies cycle calcium through the bones to keep them strong, while vitamin D aids your body in absorbing calcium and encourages bone growth. Health.com advises that adults up to the age of 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 200 international units (IUs) of vitamin D a day. Adults over 50 should get 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400-500 IUs of vitamin D.
Simplify your home
The older we get, the more items we tend to accumulate and sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to part with items that hold sentimental value. One of the things you can do to help your loved one clean up his or her home is to remove things that could easily be tripped over. This includes a throw rug, low-sitting bench, room heater, or a raised doorway threshold. Another risky item would be an electrical cord or any other kind of clutter, such as shoes.
Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand, except when you’re 65! By encouraging a daily exercise routine, monitoring vision, eating right, and removing dangerous clutter and other hazards from the home, your loved one will be ready to tackle whatever lies on the road ahead by staying on the path to good health and avoiding accidental falls.
Everywhere I look, the green smoothie has overtaken breakfast. My friends are blending for their kids. Our CEO is drinking one during morning meetings. Random people on the street are walking around with them. Read more
It was Henry Miller who once said, “It is a very limited concept of medicine that strives to understand disease, but not the needs of sick people.”
Nowhere is that need greater than the care of our elderly. Fortunately, the healthcare industry is taking steps toward recognizing the unique needs of our senior loved ones by providing specialized care that meets the healthcare needs of the patients as well as the emotional and supportive needs of those who love them.
Commonly known as “comfort care,” palliative care provides a team of specialists who cater to the varying healthcare needs of a patient. That team often includes a physician, nurse, pharmacist, a social worker, chaplain and volunteers. Read more
True or false: Midwives deliver babies at home without advanced medical care available.
The answer? A resounding false! While more than 90 percent of births in the U.S. are delivered by physicians, a growing minority of women rely on midwives to provide their prenatal care and delivery. These women use state-of-the-art technology and best practices in medicine combined with a patient-centric philosophy to give expecting mothers what they believe is the highest-quality healthcare with the best overall outcomes.
I had the opportunity to interview Diana Lee, a certified nurse midwife and a women’s health nurse practitioner at Revere Health to find out more. Read more
What do Loni Anderson, Christy Turlington, King Edward VII, Johnny Carson and more than 12 million Americans have in common? They have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Another 12 million have it but don’t know it. COPD is now the third leading cause of death in America, yet many people are unaware of COPD and its devastating effect on the lungs.
What’s the leading cause of injury in older adults? It’s not what you think…
If I were to ask you, “What is the most likely cause of injury death for older adults?” what would you say? Car accident? Bike accident? Yoga accident?
Falls are surprisingly the leading cause of injury death for adults ages 65 years and older. The Centers for Disease Control reports over 2.5 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries each year. Among those that fall, 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries, such as head trauma and fractures. Read more
There was no small amount of shock at my last column. My father-in-law said to me last Sunday dinner, “Did you really have two Diet Cokes, an Egg McMuffin, and a candy bar for breakfast?”
I have to admit that my confession sparked a renewed interest in healthy eating.
Everywhere I look, the green smoothie has overtaken breakfast. My friends are blending for their kids. Our CEO is drinking one during morning meetings. People on the street are walking around with them.
So, while I initially balked at the thought of spinach for breakfast, I’m sipping a blend this morning and asking myself, “What’s up with the green smoothie?”
1. To eat or not to eat.
When it is a matter of eating the recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetables published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many people have found success in drinking those nutrients versus not getting any nutrition at all.
For example, a standard 24-ounce green juice may contain as many as three apples, three bunches of kale, a cucumber, a whole lemon and a bunch of carrots. Most people wouldn’t consume that amount of produce in one sitting, but they could drink it while on the go and still enjoy the nutritional benefits.
2. Remember the fiber.
How you prepare your juice drink can make a big difference in the amount of fiber you consume and the nutritional value of your juice drink. Those who use a blender to prepare their juice drink are more likely to retain some of the fiber that is often lost when using a juicer machine. Yet both remove a large amount of dietary fiber from the fruits and vegetables.
Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet and shouldn’t be overlooked when preparing juices. Dietary fiber helps regulate digestive functions, helps to lower cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels and aids in weight loss. The only effective way to incorporate healthy amounts of dietary fiber into your diet is through eating the whole fruit or vegetable.
3. Know what you’re eating.
The quality of the output depends on the quality going in. Yes, a juice drink provides a large amount of produce in one serving, but that drink may also contain things you didn’t expect.
For those wanting to control diabetes or high cholesterol levels, juicing has been a popular option. But many nutritionists advocate moderation in juicing as a defense against the hidden carbohydrates and sugars in most fruits and vegetables.
4. Remember to chew your food
For many seeking a kick-start for weight loss, juice cleanses offer a seductive appeal. They are popular, easily accessible, trendy, don’t require exercise and promote quick weight loss. But this notion of drinking your caloric intake on a daily basis has many dietitians and nutritionists concerned.
In a June 2014 U.S. News & World Report article, “Juice Cleanses: Health Hocus Pocus,” Lauren Blake, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, expressed her concerns.
“While cleanses might appear to work in the short term, they are not a long-term solution for weight loss and can be dangerous.”
“There’s not a lot of scientific evidence showing that cleanses work,” she says. “When you’re restricting your calories so heavily, you’re going to lose weight, but people who follow these cleanses tend to put the weight right back on and leave themselves at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies.”
If you can’t recall the last time you chewed your food, chances are you are engaged in an unhealthy weight loss strategy, which most nutritionists agree is neither safe nor effective.
It seems the green juice phenomenon is here to stay, which is a good thing in moderation. By maintaining a balance of whole foods with healthy juicing choices, along with an active lifestyle, you can enjoy the tasty benefits of juicing while optimizing good health.
As the weather heats up, public swimming pools beckon us to leave the comfort of our homes and venture outdoors to take a cool dip. Swimming in the public pool may be considered one of America’s favorite pastimes, but for me, no thanks. My 5 Top Reasons You Should Never Get Into A Public Swimming Pool will give you the extra ammunition you need when kids ask, “Can we go to the public pool?”
"The average bather has about a tenth of a gram of feces in his gluteal fold, which is a nice way of saying butt crack," says Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology and environmental studies at The University of Arizona. That means with five people, "you have a tablespoon of poop in the pool." Moreover, beyond the gross-out factor, without safe levels of disinfectant, you can run the risk of transmitting diseases, he says.
A CDC report of routine pool inspections released in 2010 found that nearly one in eight pools posed serious violations that threatened public health, which resulted in those pools being closed immediately.
One in 5 adults admit to peeing in a pool. Even Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps confessed, “I think everybody pees in the pool,” Phelps told The Telegraph in 2012. “It’s kind of a normal thing to do for swimmers. When we’re in the water for two hours, we don’t really get out to pee. Chlorine kills it, so it’s not bad.”
When urine (and other waste, such as sweat) mixes with chlorine, it creates an irritant called chloramine, which is what causes red, stinging eyes when swimming and can also irritate your respiratory tract, Michele Hlavsa, an epidemiologist and chief of healthy swimming for the Centers for Disease Control of Prevention explains. "It's really important to not use the pool as a restroom," she says. Chloramines are also what causes that "chlorine smell," which is a red flag for contamination.
Cryptosporidium — or Crypto, for short — is a parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. In a new report, the CDC noted 1,788 water-associated illnesses were reported between 2011 and 2012, including 95 cases that required hospitalization and one death in 32 states and Puerto Rico. Of those, the agency said Cryptosporidium was responsible for more than half the cases stemming from treated water in pools and hot tubs. While most bacteria can live in treated water for only a few hours at most, Cryptosporidium can hang on for up to 10 days. It’s protected by an outer shell that allows the parasite to survive for up to 10 days even in chlorine-treated water, so even well-maintained pools can spread Crypto among swimmers. To be safe, the CDC advises checking to see when the pool you're using was most recently inspected. Be sure you or your children don't swallow water while swimming. Also, to make sure you're not contributing to the problem, the CDC advises against swimming when you have diarrhea and for two weeks afterward, especially if you know that Cryptosporidium was the cause. Take young children to the bathroom frequently (and talk to them about not peeing or pooping in the water).
Bacteria - E. Coli
The CDC released a new study about what's lurking in the pool water. Water sampled from 161 pools in the Atlanta area showed signs of E. Coli — the bacteria most commonly associated with fecal matter.
When you forgo rinsing with soap and water before entering the pool, you introduce fecal matter into the water. A simple shower with soap before entering the water can significantly cut the risk of contamination. Check out this article on Why you SHOULD shower before you use the pool.
Be sure to change diapers in the bathroom or designated diaper-changing area — not poolside, which increases the risk of germs getting into the water.
Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs that are spread by swallowing contaminated water present in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, lakes, and oceans. According to the CDC, there has been an increase in the number of RWI outbreaks in the past two decades.
The most common RWI is diarrhea (caused by Crypto or E-coli). Other RWI infections include:
Chlorine and other disinfectants don't kill germs instantly. Also, the mixing of chlorine with pee and sweat uses up the chlorine in the pool that would otherwise kill germs. That's why keeping chlorine at recommended levels is essential to maintain a healthy pool. If you notice a strong odor of chlorine at a public pool, it's not a good thing. It indicates a maintenance problem. A well-chlorinated pool should, in fact, have little odor.
Summer is not much fun if the water you swim in makes you sick. So be advised, if you decide to take a dip in the pool – you’ve been warned!
Emily Woll writes for North American Healthcare Inc. and drosmond.com.