Tag: seniors

Safety Renovations for Seniors’ Homes

Feeling safe and secure at home is a priority for any homeowner. But safety is of particular concern for aging men and women who are at greater risk of being involved in accidents at home than younger men and women.

Harvard Health Publishing says that accidents at home are among the leading causes of injury and death in the United States. The chances for fatalities increases as one ages, and by age 75 and older, men and women are almost four times as likely to die in a home accident as people a decade younger.

As people age, their balance, eyesight and general physical abilities can begin to diminish. Furthermore, a fall or incident that may only bruise a younger individual can cause more serious breaks or damage for seniors, resulting in potentially lengthy recovery times.

The Home Care Assistance organization says that one million elderly people are admitted to the emergency room for injuries every year. People concerned about the safety of their homes or the homes of their aging loved ones can retrofit such properties to make them safer.

Falls

According to The Senior Social Club, which offers care and community services to seniors, falls are the most common accidents affecting seniors. One out of every three seniors aged 65 and older falls at least once a year.

In addition to working with doctors to improve mobility and modify medications that may cause unsteadiness, changes around the home can help. Grab bars placed in bathrooms and high-traffic areas can help seniors get stay more stable when changing from sitting to standing positions.

Potential tripping hazards should be assessed. Area rugs without nonskid backings, clutter on floors, extension cords that extend into walking areas, and uneven flooring pose tripping hazards. Anti-slip coatings can be added to floors to reduce the risk of tripping.

Poorly lit staircases and entryways also can contribute to falls. Consider the installation of motion-activated lighting so that dim areas can be automatically brightened when necessary. A nightlight or LED lights placed near molding can help guide seniors to the bathroom during midnight visits.

Physical limitations

Arthritis can impede seniors’ ability to turn on and off appliances, water faucets or handle certain kitchen tools. Kitchen and bathroom modifications can include the installation of ergonomic and user-friendly handles and spigots.

Task lighting can make it easier to prepare meals, and appliances that automatically turn off after a certain period of time can be a safety feature for forgetful individuals. Reorganize kitchen cabinets to make commonly used items as accessible as possible.

Smart Homes

Friends or family members can have greater control over seniors’ homes by installing smart home systems. This way they can remotely adjust thermostats, control lights, view cameras, engage locks or alarm systems, and much more without having to be at the home. This can seniors allow seniors to maintain their independence while offering peace of mind to their loved ones.

Certain home modifications can reduce seniors’ injury risk.

Help Senior Drivers Maintain Their Independence

As men and women age, various factors may affect their ability to drive. In addition to issues with memory, seniors may have failing eyesight and physical limitations, and their reaction time may slow down. In such instances, seniors’ ability to safely operate a motor vehicle may be questioned.

Age alone is not a reliable measure of driving ability, but many ofthe issues that affect one’s ability to safely drive a vehicle tend to appear as men and women near their golden years.

Losing the ability to safely operate an automobile can greatly reduce a person’s independence. That is why periodic driver evaluations may be met with some reluctance. Aging men and women who don’t want to avoid potential conflicts with concerned family members can take their own steps to ensure they maintain their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Schedule a driving safety evaluation

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When drivers’ abilities to operate a motor vehicle become suspect,

a thorough evaluation should be scheduled. The evaluation should not be handled by a family physician or family member, but by an unbiased third party like a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist. This is a therapist who has special certification to assist people with disabilities, including older adults, with driving. They can help individuals with adaptive equipment or techniques if driving issues stem from something that can be addressed.

Figure out if the car “fits” the individual

A program called CarFit can help drivers assess if their car is suited to their abilities. A team of trained technicians and/or health professionals work with participants to ensure their vehicles are equipped for maximum safety and comfort. A properly adjusted vehicle is as important as one’s cognitive and physical abilities. Adjustments can include mirror placement, good foot positioning and sitting at the proper distance from the steering wheel. People can learn about an upcoming event at www.car-fit.org.

Take a senior driver safety course

keys, drive, senior, safetyDriver improvement courses are provided by various organizations, including some insurance companies. AARP also has a Driver Safety Course to lower the risk of traffic violations, collisions and injuries. Completion of these courses can help drivers enhance their abilities behind the wheel and may result in lower premiums for mature drivers. Keep the mind and body fit Regular exercise and a healthy diet can be assets for mature drivers. Mental fitness techniques and brain exercises can improve reaction time, while aerobic and strength-training workouts can keep the body in shape.

Driving is one of the key avenues to personal independence. Strengthening seniors’ driving abilities is a goal of many organizations.

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Make Vacations and Travel a Key Component of Retirement

When the time comes to bid farewell to conference calls, meetings and daily commutes, retirees have open schedules to fill with whichever activities they choose. Travel is one exciting way to pass the time.

Traveling can be a rewarding prospect for active seniors, particularly those who successfully preplanned for retirement and have the income to fund various excursions. Many seniors, both in the United States and Canada, find that travel tops their to-do lists once they retire. According to Senior Travel magazine, new travel options are emerging for newly minted retirees looking for something a little different from the status quo.

The list of destinations retirees have at their disposal is limitless. The following ideas are some of the more popular ways retirees choose to travel.

Road trips rule.

Taking to the highways and byways is an excellent way to see the country. Seniors can customize their routes depending on which places they want to visit. RV travel can be as comfortable or as rustic as travelers prefer. Many seniors spend months traveling in their campers, which offer many of the same amenities of home. Campsites and special RV hook-up sites offer the other necessities of traveling the open road.

Genealogical tourism is popular.

People hoping to trace their ancestry and visit their ancestral homelands are one of the fastest-growing travel segments. Visiting an old church in Europe where ancestors were married or buying food from a market in which a great aunt or uncle once worked leads retirees on many international adventures. Such trips provide travelers with a unique opportunity to understand their roots up close and personal while enjoying some international travel along the way.

Exotic tours can be exciting destinations.

History buffs or adventure-seeking couples may be particularly attracted to exotic travel destinations that are slightly off of the beaten path. Travel tours may take vacationers to destinations such as excavation sites or backpacking through the rainforest. With passport in hand, seniors can go just about anywhere their desires take them.

Enjoy a relaxing seaside trip.

A seaside vacation can be the perfect trip for seniors who want to put their feet up and sip some cocktails while watching the waves lap the shores. Many beach resorts offer all-inclusive packages for different age groups. Meals, excursions and hotel rooms can be bundled into one affordable, confusion-free price.

Go cruising.

Speaking of all-inclusive vacationing, cruising seems tailor-made for those ages 50 and older because it offers the convenience of accommodations, food, entertainment, and transportation all in one. The various activities offered on the ship mean travelers can find ways to spend their time how they see fit. Cruising couples can opt to spend all of their time on the ship enjoying carefully prepared meals and entertainment or disembark and explore the various ports of call along the way.

Now that they have more free time, retirees can gear up for travel adventures to remember.

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Renovations for Senior Safety

As adults approach their golden years, the homes they once thought of as sanctuaries can become unsafe. Families wrestle with the decision to keep parents and grandparents in their homes or move them into assisted living facilities or other senior residences. Modifying seniors’ homes to make them safer is another option. The National Institute on Aging says that families may be able to have a senior stay at home by helping older relatives remain independent but safe. The following are a few ways to do just that.

Remove fall hazards.

The NIA reports that six out of 10 falls happen at home, where people spend the most time and fail to think about their safety. Seniors who want to be independent may overestimate their physical abilities. Because falls can be so dangerous, leading to cuts, abrasions, broken bones, and more, seniors and their families must take steps to prevent falls in homes. Improve lighting, especially at night when sight may become diminished. Install hand rails and grab bars where possible. Pick up clutter and remove tripping hazards, such as slippery rugs or electric cords. Install an electric stair climbing seat to make traversing stairs less risky.

Improve visibility and ability to communicate.

Vision loss may accompany aging, but technology can help mitigate such losses. Use big-button phones, remote controls and even keyboards so seniors can keep in touch. Voice-activated thermostats or smart home technology also can make it easier for seniors to voice their needs.

Modify fixtures and other features.

Dexterity may wane with age, and arthritis can make grasping or turning doorknobs and faucets more challenging. Take inventory of areas of the home that present the biggest obstacles to seniors. Replace knobs in the shower or on faucets with lever handles, which are easier to maneuver. Install new cabinets and doors that freely glide open and self-close. Replace toggle light switches with easier paddle-type switches that can be pushed with a hand or even arm. Motion-sensor lights also can be handy. Push-button oven controls may make cooking easier.

Prepare for medical emergencies.

Invest in medical alert systems, such as necklaces or bracelets, that can be used to contact police or emergency medical personnel directly. Make phones available in commonly used rooms in the home, such as bedrooms, the living room, bathrooms, and the kitchen.

Install ramps and nonslip flooring.

Ramps can make it easier to reach the front door or cross over elevated doorway thresholds. Nonslip flooring also can prevent falls around the house, offering more traction for feet, walkers or canes.

Repair cracks in walkways and driveways.

Safety should also extend to the outdoors. Be sure to repair cracks or uneven pavement. Replace loose patio blocks or bricks with a more stable design or with concrete or asphalt. While outdoors, trim back bushes and make sure there are no tripping hazards outside as well. A few modifications can make it possible for seniors to live comfortably in their homes for many years.

Understanding Health Savings Accounts

Navigating health insurance plans can be confusing. One health insurance product that’s relatively easy to understand is a health savings account, or HSA. This type of account can help account holders save money on the costs associated with their healthcare.

What is an HSA?

HSAs are like any other savings account, except they can be used for medical, vision and dental expenses. HSAs are tax-advantaged, meaning that income can be deposited into an HSA before it is taxed. HSAs can only be opened and used in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance plan, or those with a deductible of at least $1,300 for an individual or $2,600 for a family.

HSA details and eligibility requirements

Although HSAs have contribution limits, they’re advantageous in that the savings accumulated can be used to pay for noncovered, qualified medical expenses, such as copays, vision and dental care and even deductibles.

HSAs may be established through an employer-sponsored insurance plan or through a bank or other financial institution. To qualify, a person must be under the age of 65 and have a high-deducible health insurance plan.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of HSAs?

There are advantages and disadvantages to HSAs. HSA account holders can control how their saved money is spent, and there’s no risk of losing the money at the end of the year because it rolls over. Taxes are not paid on money going into the HSA. In addition, employers can contribute to HSAs, and account holders do not lose their balances when they change jobs.

Disadvantages include the challenge of setting aside money to put into the HSA, especially if finances are tight. One who has certain medical situations that are urgent may find that budgeting for an HSA is impractical.

A retirement saving vehicle

In addition to the other benefits mentioned, HSAs can be used as a way to invest in retirement. The resource NerdWallet, which offers financial tools and objective advice to help people understand their options and make the best possible decisions, says an HSA is a good retirement savings option, especially for high-income earners who can’t make deductible contributions to a traditional IRA or any contributions to a Roth IRA. HSAs can help offset healthcare costs and even help with long-term financial planning.

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Improve Quality Of Life in 2017

Legend states that on April 2, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was the first European to discover modern-day Florida when he traveled on a quest for the mythical “Fountain of Youth.” While modern science has proven that there is no mystical fountain or body of water that can reverse or slow down the aging process, there are many steps people can take to age well and prolong their lives.

Eating the right foods is one way to age well. According to Ralph Felder, M.D., Ph.D., coauthor of “The Bonus Years Diet,” reversing the aging process internally is more difficult than outward cosmetic changes. But the right foods can go a long way toward increasing both life expectancy and quality of life. Those who want to employ diet to increase their life expectancy may want to start adding more of the following foods to their breakfast, lunch and dinner plates.

· Broccoli, grapes and salad: According to Health magazine, researchers have found that compounds in these three foods boast extra life-extending benefits.

· Berries: In addition to their abundance of antioxidants, berries have other benefits. A 2012 study from Harvard University found that at least one serving of blueberries or two servings of strawberries each week may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

· Fruits and vegetables: Produce is good for the body because it’s low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Numerous studies have indicated that diets plentiful in fruits and vegetables help people maintain a healthy weight and protect against cardiovascular disease.

· Whole grains: Whole grains pack a lot of nutrition into a low-calorie food. Whole grains help protect against type 2 diabetes, and researchers at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center found study participants whose diets included plenty of whole grains and fruit cut their heart disease risk by almost half compared to those whose diets favored meat and fatty foods.

· Red wine: A glass a day for women and no more than two glasses daily for men can be beneficial. Moderate consumption of red wine has been shown to slow age-related declines in cardiovascular function, according to the American Heart Association.

· Fiber: Increase your fiber intake for a longer life. Research from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that the more fiber you include in your diet, the lower your risk of coronary heart disease. The daily recommendation is 25 to 35 grams.

While there may be no such thing as the fountain of youth, a healthy diet can help men and women prolong their lives.

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