About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

Three “Silent Killer” Diseases Seniors Should Be Aware Of

Written by Joe Fleming

Many seniors want to take care of their health and prolong their lifespans. But, they don’t always know what signs and symptoms they should be looking out for.

There are a number of totally preventable diseases that seniors suffer from without even knowing it. When these diseases go untreated for too long, they become difficult to manage and can lead to serious disabilities and even death. Because of this, these diseases are often referred to as “silent killers.”

Read on to learn more about three of the most common “silent killer” diseases and the symptoms that seniors (and caregivers) should be aware of.

  1. Hypertension

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is one of the most well-known “silent killer” diseases out there. Approximately 75 million adults in the United States suffer from hypertension, and the likelihood of developing it increases as you age.

Elevated blood pressure is a precursor to hypertension, but, other than that, the disease usually does not come with any symptoms. The only way to know if you’re affected is to test your blood pressure regularly.

A blood pressure monitor — also known as a sphygmomanometer — is a great tool to have on hand. Check your blood pressure regularly and keep an eye out for a reading that is greater than 140/90 mmHg. If this reading consistently comes up, talk to your doctor about ways that you can lower your blood pressure.

It’s also important to cut back on behaviors and limit situations that increase your risk of developing hypertension, including the following:

  • Stress/anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Using birth control pills
  • Frequently consuming painkillers
  1. Diabetes

Approximately 371 million people all over the world have diabetes. But, according to the International Diabetes Federation, half of them don’t know it.

This lack of knowledge is what has branded diabetes as a “silent killer” — it’s no wonder health experts are calling diabetes one of the world’s fastest-growing health issues.

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst and hunger
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Sores and cuts that are slow-to-heal

Some people are genetically predisposed to diabetes, but lifestyle factors like obesity, a lack of exercise, and a poor diet also contribute. A poor diet is especially problematic, as it can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes that occurs when the body is no longer able to use insulin to remove sugar from the bloodstream.

Seniors, especially those who are overweight or obese, should be on the lookout for signs of diabetes. They should also have their blood sugar checked regularly.

  1. Coronary Artery Disease

Also known as CAD, coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. CAD occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries and prevents blood from efficiently flowing through them. Over time, this plaque buildup can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure.

Like hypertension, coronary artery disease usually does not come with any obvious symptoms. Some people experience chest pain or shortness of breath as a result of CAD, but many people don’t know they have the disease until after they’ve had a heart attack.

To avoid finding yourself in this position, it’s important to have regular check-ups from your doctor. This is especially true if you have a history of CAD in your family. Other people who face a great risk of developing CAD include:

  • Those who are overweight or obese
  • Those who eat a poor diet
  • Those who smoke
  • Those who a sedentary

To minimize your risk of developing CAD, you should focus on cleaning up your diet, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that reduce your CAD risk.

Conclusion

People of all ages should be on the lookout for signs of and risk factors that contribute to these three “silent killer” diseases.

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to these diseases, and they are more likely to have a difficult time managing their condition. Because of this, they should keep this information in mind and be extra vigilant about maintaining their health and minimizing disease risk factors.

Four Most Common Injuries in the Elderly and How to Prevent Them

Written by Joe Fleming

Every year, millions of seniors are sent to the emergency room. Of those millions, nearly 30 percent are there to be treated for some kind of injury.

While often necessary, these trips can be traumatic and often cause seniors a lot of extra stress. The first step to avoiding them is to understand the most common injuries that affect elderly adults.

Listed below are four injuries that often send seniors to the emergency room, along with tips on how to prevent them.

  1. Fractures

Fractures are highly common in seniors. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that seniors lose bone density as they age. This makes their bones more fragile and prone to fractures.

Fractures, especially hip fractures, are often the result of a fall. To prevent them, one of the first things you can do is invest in tools that reduce the risk of slipping and falling. Good ones to start with include:

  • Grab bars and handrails
  • A shower chair for the bathroom
  • Walkers and canes
  • Stair and porch lifts

To decrease the risk of fractures, it’s also important to make sure seniors are getting plenty of vitamin D and calcium. Seniors should exercise regularly to strengthen their bones and improve their balance, too, and also avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption (both of these weaken the bones).

  1. Wrist and Ankle Sprains

Many falls can result in wrist or ankle sprains. Over time, the tissues of the joints wear down in seniors and become less flexible, which increase their risk of a sprain. Wrist sprains are often caused when someone throws out their hand to catch themselves when they fall. Ankle sprains, on the other hand, can occur from falls and from simple actions like standing up out of a bed or chair.

Many of the precautions mentioned for preventing fractures are also applicable for preventing ankle and wrist sprains. Increasing consumption of vitamins and minerals(in the form of a multivitamin), as well as proteolytic enzymes, can help reduce inflammation and speed up the body’s healing process in the event that a sprain does occur.

  1. Head Trauma

Head trauma is another common injury among seniors. In fact, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) account for approximately 80,000 emergency room visits each year.

Falls cause most TBIs in seniors (about 50 percent). This is because an older adult’s reflexes are often slower and they often lack muscle strength. Both factors limit seniors’ ability to catch themselves when they fall and leave them vulnerable to trauma when their head hits the floor or another object like a cabinet or stair.

Car accidents are the second most common cause of TBIs, accounting for about nine percent.

One of the best ways to prevent head trauma in seniors is to get rid of clutter and objects like loose rugs that could serve as a tripping hazard. It’s especially important to get rid of these items near stairways and sharp-edged pieces of furniture.

Arranging transportation for seniors who are no longer competent drivers is also a good step to decrease their risk of sustaining a TBI while behind the wheel.

  1. Shoulder Dislocations

Shoulder dislocations can be caused by a number of issues, including falling on an outstretched arm, repetitive use from activities like tennis or golf, and overextending when reaching for an object. It’s also possible for seniors to sustain a shoulder dislocation when someone is pulling on their arm to help them stand up.

To prevent shoulder dislocations, seniors should work on improving the range of motion and mobility of their shoulder. They should also work to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder joint to help protect it from injuries.

Rearranging cabinets can be helpful, too, in preventing seniors from having to overexert themselves when reaching for objects. Caregivers should also exercise caution when helping seniors up to avoid accidental dislocations.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to keeping seniors safe and happy in their homes, injury prevention should be a top priority. Taking simple steps to improve stability and minimize accident risk can make a huge difference and give seniors (and their caregivers) peace of mind.

6 Ways Seniors Can Use Technology to Better Their Health

Written by Nurse Susan

Curious how technology can give your health and wellness a boost as a senior? Don’t miss this quick guide:

Talk to a Doctor

If an after-hours run to an urgent care clinic or a visit to the doctor during peak flu season has you hunkering down at home even when you feel ill, it may be time to check out telemedicine. The latest in the evolution of mobile health technologies, telemedicine is providing convenient access to licensed and board-certified medical professionals via live video chat on your computer.

Some health insurance providers already offer telemedicine portals for patients to connect with doctors online, but other online services like Doctor on Demand also let you live video chat with a doctor who can assess your symptoms, evaluate your condition, and even order some tests and prescribe medicine.

Organize Medicine Schedules

Did you know that roughly 50% of people with a chronic illness do not take their medicine as prescribed? An estimated 4 out of 5 seniors live with at least one chronic illness too, many of which are managed with medicine. Coordinating medicine schedules when there are different prescriptions, dosings, and frequencies not to mention multiple providers can get complicated.

Smartphone apps like MediSafe, Pillboxie, and CareZone can lend a hand in helping seniors and their caregivers set up alerts for taking pills as well as remind you when it’s time to refill prescriptions and when you have upcoming doctor’s appointments.

Order Groceries

While quick, packaged meals save seniors time when it comes to preparing food to eat each day, they are notoriously unhealthy. For example, one frozen lasagna entree may have over half of your recommended daily allotment of sodium in one serving. Same goes for some canned foods, processed meats, and cereals.

Accessing fresh, whole foods can be a challenge for seniors who can’t always get transportation to the grocery store. That’s where online grocery delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Prime Now can help. Seniors can order the groceries they want online and have them delivered straight to their door. More nutritious meal options can make a huge difference in your own health (and your waistline!).

Set Up Your Medical ID

Did you know you can securely store important health information in your smartphone? In the case of an emergency, if you are hurt or ill and unable to speak with emergency workers, they are often trained to check your smartphone for important personal and health data including:

  • Birthdate
  • Known health conditions
  • Weight
  • Blood Type
  • Allergies
  • Emergency contact number

Both iPhones and Androids now come with “Health” applications where you can enter this information and it can be accessed from your lock screen by emergency personnel without having to enter a passcode. It’s essentially like a clearer, more informative “medical ID bracelet”.

Make Money

Is financial stress taking a toll on your emotional wellbeing? Sticking to a budget in retirement is a stark reality for many seniors, as is continuing to work into your 70s or finding part-time jobs to supplement social security income. Technology can come in handy in this respect, helping seniors earn extra cash from the comfort of their own home.

Seniors can list and sell nicer, gently-used items online with sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist. You can also teach lessons or tutor a child via live video chat or set up a work-from-home consulting business contracting with clients in the industry in which you spent your career. Helpful tools like laptop desks let you work in bed, in your favorite recliner, standing at the kitchen counter, you name it.

Video Chat with Family

If you are one of the millions of seniors experiencing loneliness, social isolation, anxiety, or depression, your doctor may have recommended getting out more and trying to connect more regularly with friends and family live. If mobility issues or other conditions prevent you from frequently leaving the house, perhaps technology can help you connect with friends and family far away.

Free, digital tools like Skype, Google+ Hangouts, and Facetime allow you to speak with other people over WiFi using your computer or another mobile device with a webcam and speaker. Seniors can see their loved ones essentially face to face which also makes it easier to carry on conversations if you are hard of hearing.

Technology can also equip seniors with tools that indirectly benefit their health, like apps for streaming stress-relieving music (Spotify, Pandora, etc), or usability features like being able to magnify text and brighten screens to better read books, online newspapers, and so forth.