A Reason to Get Out of Bed

Sometimes nothing feels better than lying safely tucked in bed under those snuggly warm covers. Peacefully content in the moment you savor a nirvana like freedom from all responsibility. Let the world run its course – you are having no part of it. And if you are one of those lucky retired folk you have the option to enjoy your down time for as long as you want. No job draws you away, no children require dressing, no time sensitive projects burden the calendar. In many ways it is a wonderful thing.

After five years adjusting to and learning to appreciate my retirement I savor my option to rise and shine or remain in place. The best thing about it is I am the decider. I need not get to it until I am good and ready. I do find it interesting that while “on the job” I typically struggled to get started in the morning. Perhaps it was what lay ahead that sucked the motivation right out of my bones. These days I find I am ready to go earlier and easier than ever. Even with nothing on the agenda I cannot resist the sunshine calling me to welcome the new day. Sleeping in these days means seven am. With so much out there I just want to get to it!

Not all retirements are the same. Retirees can find it challenging to get a move on when the new day rings in. With nothing that must be done they lack motivation to do anything. The responsibilities and recognition that came with the job are no more. In its place remains a void, an emptiness some find hard to fill. If your work identity defines who you are, what happens when you no longer have a job?

Now throw into the mix the effects of aging on body and psyche. A tiring yesterday can put a drag on today. Back and knees, neck and elbows – not all of our parts are necessarily excited about participating in a new dawn. Sometimes it takes extra effort to roll out of the sack. Sometimes it feels like just too much.

Why leave the safety and comfort of bed?

We have been watching an entertaining series called Alone where a group of ten people are dropped in the wilderness of Vancouver Island to survive on their own. As things become overwhelming participants tap out and are picked up by boat. The last one standing wins a cool half million dollars. For most of the numerous physical challenges such as bears, cougars, hunger, and cold, the survivors seem pretty well prepared. What ends up causing the most distress and eventually drives individuals to call it quits is the loneliness, the lack of companionship and specifically missing family.

As one season comes to an end the daughter of the winner suddenly appears on camera and sneaks up to surprise her dad. The intense hug that follows as the two silently embrace is a real tear jerker. If the participants learned nothing else each returned home with a new respect and appreciation for their spouse and family. I like to think they will carry these memories forever to help sustain the love they so missed while in the bush.

Getting out of bed is not always just about you. Think about all those who are impacted by what you say and do. Perhaps an aging parent waits in hopeful anticipation for your evening call. A daughter may benefit from your insights in regards to her current life situation. What of that solemn neighbor who lights up when he sees your smiling face. And what spouse wants to regularly find you still in bed after she/he has gotten under way.

I am a list person. As I tell my wife, if something gets on the list it gets done. Creating a list the night before might provide a little incentive to get up and start the next day. The contents do not have to be complex – just putting it in writing can help trigger action.

Sometimes all it takes is a little thing to inspire your start. If I am in the middle of a good book I am often ready to follow where the plot will take me. Changes in the season often require your attention in the garden or about the house. A jigsaw puzzle may call to you as its secret unfolds under your skilled hands.

Even if no specific chore or activity or inspiration requires your attention, starting with a positive outlook can kick you into gear. If you hope for good things to happen you are more inclined to launch the day. If your curiosity stirs to discover what may be around the bend you look forward to a new day. If you believe future moments might hold some special significance you may find yourself more anxious to get started.

I like to think each new day has new potential. How exactly that will look I cannot guess. But I know the best way to find out is to get outta bed and see for myself.

LoveBeingRetired.com

Want to Live Longer? Fall-Proof Your Home Now

Written by James Fleming

Have you heard? A new government study has found that deaths in adults 65+ from falls rose an astonishing 31% in the past decade, jumping from 18,000 deaths in 2007 to 30,000 in 2016. As more and more adults age into the 65+ bracket in the next decade or so, that number could continue to rise dramatically.

Risk Factors for Falling

Don’t think you are at risk for falling? The National Council on Aging reports that a whopping 1 in 4 adults over 65 reports falling at least once a year. Even a minor fall can cascade into serious injuries like hip fractures and other broken bones, sprains, head trauma, and lacerations. From there, a hospital stay may expose you to infectious agents (like hospital-acquired pneumonia) or your mobility can become impaired to a point that affects your activity and independence levels.

Knowing additional factors that put you at risk can help you take early action to protect yourself from falling. Important risk factors for falling include:

  • Age and sex – adults 85 and over are the fastest-growing demographic and the most at risk of falling. Females also typically fall more than men.
  • Chronic illness – seniors with chronic conditions like diabetes, stroke, arthritis, Parkinson’s, and dementia develop symptoms that can affect coordination, mobility, and so forth which contribute to falling.
  • Balance problems – balance problems, dizziness, faintness, and mobility issues can all make it harder to catch and correct yourself when you start to stumble or fall.
  • Fluctuating blood pressure – drastic drops in blood pressure can lead to faintness and dizziness as can some medicine side effects.
  • Hearing or vision impairment – a decline in how well you see and hear can impact the sensory input your brain needs to keep you stable and coordinated.
  • History of previous falling – research shows simply that people who have experienced falls in the past are more likely to have another one.

Fall Prevention Strategies

If you want to live out your retirement in the fun, carefree way you always dreamed, being smart about preventing falls is a must! Keep these help fall prevention tips in mind:

Upgrade Your Home

Simple home modifications can go a long way towards guarding against dangerous falls. Experts recommend installing grab bars in the shower and railings around staircases, ramps, and porches. You should also look at making sure lighting is accessible and consistent between rooms in your home, and that large pieces of furniture and general clutter are moved out of the way to make room for wide, clear pathways throughout the house.

Exercise

In addition to routine cardio workouts, seniors should partake in strength-training and balance exercises. Practices like yoga and tai chi incorporate balance, gentle stretching, weight-bearing poses, and deep breathing and can be easily tailored to all types of mobility levels. And strength-training for older adults is possible (and dare say it, fun) with lightweight dumbbells, resistance bands, and medicine balls.

Talk to Your Doctor

Do you take multiple medications a day? Some studies have shown that this can increase your risk of falling. For example, if you have multiple providers writing prescriptions for you, like a specialist and a primary care doctor, lack of oversight can result in drug interactions or complicated medicine schedules that contribute to bad side effects which increase your risk of falling. Start a dialogue with your doctors about all the medicines you are on and don’t forget to get your hearing and vision checked regularly.

Seek Support

Did you know that simply having a fear of falling can increase your risk of falling? Researchers believe that anxiety about falling can compromise the attention an older adult should pay towards remaining stable and can lead to stiffening behaviors which throw them off balance, specifically during dynamic, high-functioning movements. If you have a fear of falling, talk to your family and care network about better equipping the home to prevent falls and seek counseling as necessary to help deal with your anxiety.

Check Your Diet

Are you filling up with bone and muscle-building foods throughout the day? Are you properly hydrated? Not getting enough proper nutrition and water throughout the day can lead to symptoms like fatigue, lightheadedness, brain fog, and even disorientation that all contribute to falling. In the long-term as well, not eating a diet tailored to helping you both get enough calories for energy as well as consume nutrients vital to keeping your bones and muscles strong, like protein and calcium, can compound muscle weakness and increase the risk of fracture should a fall happen.

Four Best Yoga Poses for Seniors

Written by James Fleming

As they age, many seniors have a tendency to take on a more sedentary lifestyle.

Sometimes, this happens because of an illness or injury. But, other times, seniors simply don’t realize how much time they’re spending sitting or lying down once they retire and have fewer responsibilities to tend to.

Whatever their reason, it’s important for seniors to stay active in order to stay healthy and maintain their quality of life.

In addition to resistance training and cardiovascular exercizes like walking or swimming, older adults can benefit from yoga classes, which will help them improve their flexibility and balance and decrease their risk of injury.

There are many yoga classes available at gyms and senior centers that are geared toward older participants. But, if they’re not able to make it to these classes, seniors can also get just as much out of practicing yoga from the comfort of their own homes.

Listed below are four of the best yoga poses for seniors. These poses are all simple and easy to master without a lot of one-on-one instruction.

  1. Warrior II

Warrior II is a great pose for older adults, especially those who are beginners or who struggle with chronic hip or back pain.

To do this pose, start by standing up straight at the top of your yoga mat. Take a big step back with your left foot, so your feet are about three feet apart and your hips are in line with the side of your mat. Rotate your right foot so that it’s facing forward, then turn your left foot so that it’s parallel with the edge of your mat.

When you feel stable in this position, bend your right knee so you’re in a lunge (don’t let your knee extend past your toes) and extend your arms to the sides to form a “T” shape. Turn your head so you’re gazing over your right fingertips.

Hold for 3-5 breaths, then switch sides.

  1. Tree Pose

Tree pose is a great pose for seniors who need to work on their balance and want to prevent falls.

To do tree pose correctly, start by standing up straight at the top of your yoga mat with your feet together. Slowly shift your weight to your left foot and lift your right foot off the ground. Bend your right knee and bring your foot to the inside of the left leg, letting it rest on your inner ankle, calf, or your inner thigh (don’t put it directly on the side of your knee).

Raise your arms overhead with your palms facing inward. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then switch sides.

It’s easy to modify this pose by holding onto a chair or the wall if you need extra support.

  1. Bridge

Bridge pose is a good option for seniors who want to strengthen their hips and lower back to minimize pain and improve mobility.

To do this pose, start by lying on your back with your feet on the floor, about hip-distance apart. The knees should be bent and the feet should be in line with them, while your arms are flat on the floor at your sides.

Inhale and press your hands down into the floor, then, as you exhale, press down with your feet and lift your hips off the ground. Try to make your body form a straight line from knees to head — don’t let your back arch too much. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then lower yourself back down.

  1. Legs Up the Wall

This is a great restorative post and is perfect for relaxing at the end of a long day. It can also help improve circulation.

Start by sitting with one side of your body against the wall. Then, lower down to the floor and swing your legs up so they’re flat against the wall and perpendicular to the floor.

If you lack the flexibility to get your legs flat on the wall, shift your body back and bend your knees slightly.

Keep your arms to your sides and hold the pose, breathing deeply for 5-10 breaths. Then, slowly swing your legs to the side to bring them away from the wall.