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.

Is It Ever Too Late for Plastic Surgery?

Written by Sally Perkins

If you want to look younger during your golden years, you may want to do what 68-year old Maria Vargas did, and this is signing up for cosmetic surgery. Maria told a Washington Post reporter that she missed being alluring to the opposite sex, as she had been when she was younger. She made the decision to get a neck lift, with a mind to feeling better about herself. She was thrilled with the results. These days, plastic surgery among older adults in a hot trend. So, it may not ever be too late for plastic surgery.

Seniors are Getting More Plastic Surgery

Men and women aged sixty-five or older are now choosing cosmetic eyelid procedures and face lifts in ever-greater numbers. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that the demand for these procedures by senior citizens has doubled over the past twenty years. Most of the patients who pay for these elective procedures are sixty-five to seventy-five years old. Seventy-five percent are getting their very first cosmetic procedure.

What Are the Pros and Cons?

Plastic surgery has the power to change the way that seniors feel about themselves, for the better. In this sense, it may be very empowering. However, it’s still surgery. Surgery always comes with risks. In terms of pros, plastic surgery may create a more youthful look or change the look of body parts that patients aren’t happy with. In terms of cons, a plastic surgery procedure may not turn out the way that a patient hoped it would.. Another drawback to be aware of is the risk of complications, such as infection or bleeding.

What About the Cost?

Well, to give you a sense of what you’ll need to spend on the most popular plastic surgery procedures for seniors, let’s look at median average prices of cosmetic eyelid procedures and face lifts. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website, getting your eyelids done will set you back $3,026, while a face lift will typically cost $7.448. These prices don’t include the cost of operating room facilities, anesthesia and related expenses.

How to Choose a Plastic Surgeon

If you want to improve your appearance, you should choose your cosmetic surgeon with care. While some seniors are opting for lower-priced plastic surgery abroad (this is known as medical tourism), it’s smarter to pay a bit more for a board-certified plastic surgeon in your home country. Medical tourism adds to the risks of plastic surgery.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, patients who do go for plastic surgery in other nations often find communication to be difficult. Problems with communication may heighten the risk of misunderstandings which may negatively impact quality of care. Also, medications may not be genuine, or they may be of inferior quality. Another issue is that resistant bacteria is more prevalent in countries outside of America. Lastly, taking a flight after a procedure may boost the chance of blood clots.

When seeking out a plastic surgeon, look for the right credentials and a strong reputation. A Self.com article advises seekers of cosmetic surgery to check out online reviews of plastic surgeons in their regions. It’s also vital to inquire as to whether a plastic surgeon has an affiliation with a local hospital. Dr. Anthony Youn says that hospital privileges are imperative. Cosmetic surgeons who don’t have them should be avoided.

Are You a Good Candidate for Plastic Surgery?

Good candidates for plastic surgery (at any age over 18) should have expectations which are reasonable. They should also be aware of the risks of the procedures that they want to get. According to the WebMD website, cosmetic surgery may not be right for you if you suffer from hypertension, heart disease, depression or diabetes. As well, if you smoke, overdo it with alcohol or are obese, plastic surgery may not be a good fit.

Is Plastic Surgery Safe for Seniors?

The good news is that a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery report determined that seniors aren’t at greater risk than younger patients. Researchers found that there was no real difference in frequency of major or minor complications between older adults and younger ones. Recovery times will vary based on procedure, patient medical history and other variables. Patients of all ages will need some time to recover, unless they choose non-invasive plastic surgery procedures, such as Botox or fillers. Results from invasive plastic surgery last longer than results from invasive cosmetic surgery.

An eyelid lift (upper blepharoplasty) is usually permanent, so you’ll only need one of these plastic surgery procedures. Results from a full face lift will generally last for at least five years. Now that you know the facts, you’ll be able to decide if it’s too late for plastic surgery. For many American seniors, the golden years are prime time for cosmetic procedures which boost self-esteem.