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.

Five Health and Safety Mistakes Seniors Commonly Make

Written by Nurse Susan

As you age, it becomes more important than ever before to take responsibility for your overall well-being.

Unfortunately, many seniors don’t prioritize things like health and safety — some willfully and some because they don’t know any better — and put themselves at risk for serious illnesses and injuries.

In order to maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible, make sure you’re not making any of these five common health and safety mistakes.

  1. Not Being Honest with Your Doctor

Many seniors are reluctant to discuss intimate health problems, such as urinary or sexual difficulties, with their doctor. They may also avoid bringing up problems that they deem trivial, such as stomach pain, jaw pain, or constipation.

By refusing to bring up concerns, or by waiting until they become unbearable, you’re setting yourself up for a more difficult healthcare journey. The longer you wait, the longer and more intense your treatment will need to be.

In addition to not addressing concerns, some seniors are hesitant to ask for clarification when their doctor gives them instructions. Often, it’s because they’re embarrassed to admit that they didn’t hear or understand the first time.

Don’t let embarrassment stop you from getting the clarity you need, though. When your health is on the line, a few minutes of awkwardness are absolutely worth it.

  1. Neglecting Health Aids

Whether it’s out of pride or due to forgetfulness, many seniors are guilty of neglecting health aids like walkers, canes, hearing aids, glasses, and medical alert devices.

These tools aren’t always fun to use, and nobody likes to be reminded that they’re getting older. But, these health aids can bring you and your loved ones safety and peace of mind.

If you find them uncomfortable or awkward, remember that it takes time to get used to using a new device. Use them regularly for a couple of weeks. If the discomfort continues, talk to your doctor to get an adjustment or replacement.

  1. Not Managing Medications

It’s important to take the time to put a system in place to manage your medications properly.

It’s very common for seniors to miss doses or accidentally overdose. Things get even more confusing when they’re working with more than one doctor. To avoid confusion and accidental noncompliance, seniors should make sure they have one primary care physician who oversees their whole medical plan.

When they have one person handling all their medications, they’re less likely to accidentally take two or more prescriptions that interact negatively with each other. They should also figure out a system that helps them keep track of their prescriptions. Daily alarms or pill boxes are all good options to avoid accidentally missing or doubling up on doses.

  1. Not Taking Advantage of Preventive Care

Many seniors forget to take advantage of the preventive care options available to them. Most insurance plans will offer free or low-cost health screenings that can help seniors learn about and avoid a number of common illnesses and conditions.

It can be tempting to skip these screenings, especially if you’re feeling fine when they’re scheduled. Remember, though, that you could have a condition but not be showing any symptoms. The earlier you catch something, the easier it is to treat.

  1. Disregarding Limitations

Many seniors are hesitant to acknowledge their limitations. Like it or not, though, you’re getting older and some things that used to be easy for you might be a little more challenging.

For example, you might need to start moving a little slower to avoid falls. Plan ahead and give yourself time to prepare for appointments so you don’t feel rushed. You also need to evaluate your ability to drive safely. It can be hard to give up driving and the independence that comes with it. But, you need to think about the safety of others and be willing to admit you need help getting around.

Are you guilty of any of these common mistakes? If so, it’s time to make some changes.

Small adjustments can make a big difference. Start by committing to just one change, and you’ll be living a safer, healthier lifestyle before you know it!

How to Deal With 5 Common Skin Conditions Affecting Seniors

Written by Nurse Susan

Aging causes a number of changes throughout the body, and the skin is no exception. When you get older, the skin tends to become thinner and more sensitive.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the most common skin conditions that affect seniors — and what you can do to prevent and treat them.

  1. Wrinkles and Movement Lines

Wrinkles are the most obvious sign of aging skin. The skin loses its flexibility after years of sun exposure. You may also notice movement lines — also known as laugh or worry lines — around the eyes and mouth.

You can’t remove wrinkles completely (at least without cosmetic surgery). But, you can reduce their appearance with products that contain tretinoin.

You can also try dry brushing, which helps smooth the skin and minimize wrinkles by exfoliating and improving blood flow.

  1. Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are the result of improperly functioning veins. When the valves of the veins don’t close all the way, blood pools and causes them to swell and twist. Varicose veins are typically not dangerous, but they can be painful.

Varicose veins are not entirely preventable — some people are genetically predisposed — but maintaining an active lifestyle and avoiding sitting with the legs crossed for long periods of time may keep them at bay.

If you’re already suffering from varicose veins, it helps to wear compression stockings to improve circulation and reduce their appearance. Dermatologists can also perform a variety of treatments for varicose veins, including sclerotherapy, endovenous thermal ablutions, and vein stripping.

  1. Dry Skin

Dry skin is another relatively harmless but still irritating condition that affects approximately 75 percent of seniors. Aging results in the loss of oil glands, which means that the skin is more likely to become dry, itchy, and cracked.

The dryness that comes with aging can’t be prevented, but there are many ways it can be treated. Some simple solutions include:

  • Using soap that is specially formulated for dry skin
  • Regularly using a high-quality body lotion
  • Avoiding high water temperatures, which dry the skin out
  • Increase water consumption
  • Avoiding caffeine (it can cause itching)
  • Using humidifiers and vaporizers for extra moisture
  1. Pressure Ulcers

For elderly people who spend many hours confined to a chair or bed, pressure ulcers — also known as bedsores — are a common, unpleasant occurrence.

Pressure ulcers occur when a limited amount of blood is sent to a particular area. This leads to cell death, then skin breakdown, and, eventually, the painful open wound that is recognized as a pressure ulcer.

Pressure ulcers are most often located on the tailbone, hips, shoulder blades, elbows, and heels.

To prevent pressure ulcers, those who care for bed or chair-limited seniors should turn them over every few hours and use barrier creams to prevent skin breakdown. They should also make sure that their mattress is not too firm. Gel and alternating air pressure mattresses help reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.

Proper wound care from a nurse or other wound specialist can help heal existing pressure ulcers, and massage may also be beneficial for improving circulation. This can help treat existing sores and prevent new ones.

  1. Skin Cancer

Finally, skin cancer is probably the most serious skin ailment that seniors face. While skin cancer can affect people of any age, seniors are particularly susceptible, in part because aging diminishes the skin’s ability to heal and protect itself.

To prevent skin cancer, seniors should take care to wear sunscreen before spending prolonged periods of time outdoors. They should also avoid going outside between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M., as this is considered the most UV-intense time of day.

Seniors should also be sure to check moles twice a year for the following signs:

  • Changes in size, shape, and color
  • Moles with irregular borders
  • Moles with multiple colors
  • Asymmetrical moles
  • Moles that bleed, itch, or ooze

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with a dermatologist to rule out cancer. Many skin cancers are highly treatable, but they need to be caught early.

From wrinkles to pressure ulcers, age-related skin changes aren’t fun to deal with. However, many conditions are easy to prevent and treat. Keep these tips in mind so that your skin can stay happy and healthy.

Finding Pet Friendly Senior Housing

Written by Lori Thomas

Transitioning to a senior care community can mark a big change in the life of any senior. However, this move can be even more complicated when seniors have pets that they want to bring along with them. The good news is more and more nursing homes and assisted living facilities are becoming pet-friendly to accommodate seniors and their furry friends.

Why Pet Friendly Facilities Are So Important

Moving to senior care marks a major change of the life of any senior, and as seniors and their families start to look for the right community, it may not seem as though pet-friendliness should be a major “must-have” on the list of top features. However, finding a pet-friendly nursing home is actually very important to many seniors and for good reason.

There have been countless studies on the positive impact that pets can have on elderly individuals, especially those who may be suffering from dementia or the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Many times seniors who already have pets do not develop dementia and memory loss as quickly thanks to the constant routine and responsibilities that come with pet ownership.

However, studies aside, above all things, pets provide seniors with love and companionship. They can enrich the lives of seniors, especially those who are home-ridden and no longer able to get out as much as they want to. The presence of a pet can greatly decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation in seniors and prevent the onset of depression.

When seniors have pets already and need to move to an assisted living home, it is important to consider taking their pet with them. The move to assisted living can already be a stressful experience for any senior. While moving to assisted living is typically ultimately a positive experience, many seniors feel overwhelmed by the process of moving from their home to an assisted living community. It can bring about feelings of depression, sadness or even anger. Taking a senior’s pet away during this transition, unless it is ultimately necessary can only perpetuate these feelings.

Tips For Seniors Transitioning to Pet Friendly Facilities

Seniors who do decide to bring their pets to their new assisted living facility, may find they need to take a few extra steps to ensure a smooth transition to life in a senior community with their pet.

  • If seniors don’t currently have a pet, it isn’t recommended that they adopt one before moving to their new community. Many senior care facilities are wary about welcoming new and untrained pets.
  • Think of the needs of the pet. Some smaller, older and lower-energy dogs may do well in senior living communities. However, larger, younger and more energetic dogs that are used to having a yard and plenty of space to roam may not do as well with this new life.
  • Try to keep pets on the exact same schedule in their new home to help make the transition easier. Keep eating times, bathroom times and exercise times all the same.
  • Give pets at least a week or two to transition to their new home before introducing them to new animals or people. This is also a difficult transition for pets, they need time to settle as well.

Simple tips like this can really go a long way in helping both pets and seniors feel more comfortable with their transition to their new life in their new home.

Different Types of Pet-Friendly Facilities

There is no shortage of different pet-friendly senior communities in our world today. Some senior living homes, such as Keystone Villa at Douglassville in Pennsylvania not only allow pets inside the rooms but they also allow pet visitations for seniors who may have trusted their beloved animal to someone else but still want to see them from time to time. The same rules apply in Florence Alabama’s Merrill Gardens. Other nursing homes such as Barrington Terrace of Naples or the Woodlands of Middletown in Ohio allows small pets only, meaning seniors with cats, small dogs, birds or caged animals can bring their furry friends with them.

Not all assisted living facilities are welcoming of pets and each may have their own rules. It is important to check not only on size restrictions and types of pets allowed, but on breed restrictions as well. There are numerous breed restriction rules placed on rental facilities in many states around the country. Boxers, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Huskies, Pit-Bulls and Pit-Bull mixes are all restricted breeds in some areas, with some renters being banned from owning these dog breed in their apartments. The same laws may apply to senior living communities. When seniors have these types of dogs, they may need to do a great deal of research on a facility first if they plan on bringing their dog along. Dogs that are also service dogs may be exempt from these rules.

The best thing seniors can do before ever visiting a pet-friendly assisted living facility is to call ahead, explain the situation and see what types of accommodations they can make for that specific pet and that specific situation. It is important to remember that even some pet-friendly senior communities may not accommodate all animals due to safety concerns for all of their residents.

Even if seniors decide not to bring their own pets to one of these facilities, they will find that more and more nursing homes and senior assisted living communities are incorporating animals into their facilities. Pet therapy programs and visiting pets have all been proven ways to boost the mood of residents and even help seniors fight depression and decrease their cholesterol levels. Seniors who are interested in animals but may not need a home for a pet of their own, may want to consider facilities such as this as well.

From charming senior living communities like The Heritage at Northern Hills in Sioux City, Iowa to the sprawling Park Terrace Care Center in Corona, New York, more and more senior assisted living facilities are adopting a pet-friendly policies and the list of communities jumping on the trend is only growing. As more research into the positive effects that pets can have on seniors continues to come out more and more assisted living facilities are becoming more pet-friendly as a way to help improve the lives, and the care, of their senior residents.

SeniorAdvice.com is a leading online advocacy site and information source for seniors and their caregivers.