As you get older, you may lose the ability to accomplish certain tasks on your own. However, there are several things you can do to remain self-sufficient well into your golden years.
Engaging in physical activity on a regular basis is the best way to maintain your muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, balance, and flexibility. From yoga and water aerobics to cycling and playing golf, an active lifestyle helps reduce the risk of falls and injury. You’ll also have more energy to accomplish daily tasks. However, be sure to speak with your doctor before taking on a new sport or workout regimen.
A reminder application on your smartphone or tablet is a convenient tool that can help you remember to attend appointments and take your medications. Alternatively, you can use a voice assistant like Google Home, Alexa, or Cortana to set reminders, call your loved ones, and control other smart devices in your home. If you’re worried about falling, a medical alert system will ensure you’re able to contact emergency services if you have an accident.
Adapt your home
As your needs and limitations change, various modifications can be made to your home that will allow you to continue to go about your daily routine without the assistance of a caregiver. Hire a professional or ask a loved one to install handrails and grab bars, anti-slip mats, additional lighting, lever door handles, pull-out cabinet shelves, and a seat in the shower if needed.
Rely on services
If you have reduced mobility, various service providers can help you with day-to-day activities you struggle to complete on your own. An in-home nurse can administer medications, change bandages, assist with bathing, and more. You might also benefit from rehabilitation or psychosocial services or simply hiring someone to pick up your groceries and help prepare meals.
For advice on how to adapt your lifestyle and preserve your autonomy, schedule a consultation with an occupational therapist.
Low-fat or full-fat dairy? It’s complicated
Stick to low-fat or fat-free dairy, nutrition guidelines frequently advise and receive all the nutritional benefits of dairy (like calcium and protein) without the saturated fat that can raise cholesterol and lead to heart attacks and strokes.
For decades, that was advice from venerable sources like the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and even the United States Department of Agriculture. But newer research suggests that fat in dairy isn’t necessarily bad — and could offer some useful benefits.
In a 2020 literature review published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, researchers concluded that instead of increasing risk factors for cardiometabolic health conditions like heart diseases or type 2 diabetes, full-fat dairy was associated with neutral or improved outcomes. Another study, published in 2021 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that among 73 patients with metabolic syndrome, eating at least three servings of full-fat dairy each day had no effect on their blood pressure or cholesterol compared to other patients who avoided dairy or consumed reduced or fat-free versions.
Researchers are still trying to figure out how full-fat dairy works and who is most likely to benefit. According to the British Heart Foundation, the nutrients found in milk may work in combination to confer health benefits. According to National Public Radio, the higher fat content may also increase satiety, which can lead to eating less overall.
Fitness gadgets to avoid
The global home fitness equipment market is big business — more than $10 billion in 2020, according to Fortune Business Insights, with years of continued growth expected.
For health-conscious consumers, this means more options than ever before. But exercisers should be cautious — some available gadgets do nothing, or worse, can put their safety at risk. Some of the most famous offenders include:
- Abdominal stimulation belts. At best, these devices will do nothing to slim or tighten the midsection; at worst, they can lead to shocks, burns, bruising, and other injuries.
- Toning shoes. These shoes offer no calorie-burning or muscle-strengthening benefits and can increase the wearer’s risk of injury due to a reduced base of support.
- Sauna suits. These full-body suits retain body heat and force wearers to sweat more, which can lead to dehydration, fainting, and heat-related illness.
- Vibration plates. While vibration training may offer some benefits, these devices often exceed safety standards for vibration intensity and can be dangerous when used improperly or by people with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or joint replacements.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to fitness, so exercisers should be skeptical of any gadget that relies on a gimmicky approach or promises dramatic results with minimal time and effort. And despite what manufacturers may want consumers to believe, fitness equipment — even useful, versatile items like dumbbells and jump ropes — aren’t necessary to get an effective workout. For many at-home fitness enthusiasts, the only necessary items are a comfortable pair of shoes and a good workout playlist.
Are roller coasters safe?
If you wonder how safe it is to ride a roller coaster, you should probably worry less about the hardware and more about the software in your body.
Most accidents, injuries, and fatalities are not from mechanical failure but from medical conditions.
The Formula Rossa roller coaster in Abu Dhabi reaches top speeds of 149 mph in five seconds. That’s the fastest coaster in the world.
You should literally not ride it — or any other roller coaster, for that matter — if you have heart disease.
In fact, a scientific study of roller coaster fatalities in the U.S. found that most deaths were from medical conditions caused or exacerbated by riding a coaster.
Of the 29 patrons who died during the 10-year period ending in May 2004, 18 died from medical conditions, and 15 were cardiac problems or intracranial hemorrhages. Just 11 were from external causes such as falls or collisions.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma found that coasters did not present an immediate risk of acute brain injury (although they didn’t do the test on subjects riding the Formula Rossa). In fact, researchers found that brain strain during roller coaster rides was similar to running and lower than soccer head hits.
Another study suggests that if you have a bad back, you might skip the coaster. Neck and back injuries are not unknown, but it depends on the person, according to a study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
That study looked at roller coaster injuries during a 19-month period in 1992. There were a total of 656 neck and back injuries among the 932,000 riders of the coaster studied. Of those injuries, 72 percent had a cervical disk injury.
4 symptoms you shouldn’t ignore
As you age, you may notice minor changes in your overall health. While some symptoms are a normal part of aging, others require immediate attention. Here are four changes in your health you should never ignore.
1. A wound that won’t heal
Do you have a wound that’s slow to heal? If so, it may be a good idea to see your doctor. If you have a low-grade fever or the injury becomes red and increasingly painful, seek immediate help.
2. An abnormal presence of blood
Unless you have a known medical condition, you must alert your doctor if you notice blood in your stool, urine, or spit. If the bleeding is new or recurring and accompanied by other symptoms, go to the emergency room right away.
3. Unusual stomach pain
Abdominal pain that increases gradually lasts a long time or appears suddenly should be taken seriously. If this is happening to you, visit your doctor. They may refer you to a gastroenterologist for further testing.
4. Increasing shortness of breath
Shortness of breath that prevents you from doing everyday activities like climbing stairs and going on walks should be investigated. This could be a sign of a serious health problem, especially if accompanied by a fever or chest pain.
If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to consult a health care professional.
How a school psychologist can help your child
School psychologists play several roles in your child’s school. They work with various educational departments to prevent dropouts, intervene when students are struggling and develop strategies for their success. Additionally, school psychologists often advise parents and consult with teachers. Here are a couple of reasons your child might benefit from seeing this professional:
• Your child is experiencing stress or psychosocial problems like bullying. School psychologists establish a climate of unconditional acceptance. By building a trusting relationship, they can propose solutions to your child and encourage their progress.
• Your child is differently-abled or struggling to learn. The school psychologist will assess your child, identify their needs, establish objectives and develop interventions. In addition to therapy, they may provide companionship, emotional support, and encouragement.
If a student is in crisis, the school psychologist can intervene. Their reassuring presence makes it possible to soothe the child who sees them as a trusted adult.
In short, you can count on school psychologists to help in various situations. If your child is going through a challenging time, meeting with this professional may be the solution.
Word games boost cognitive health
Millions of people around the world start their days not with a shower or a cup of coffee, but with the latest daily Wordle puzzle. If you haven’t played it, you’ve probably heard of it or at least seen it on social media — a series of green, black and yellow boxes denoting how well players perform with each puzzle. Loyal fans of the game aren’t just showing off their word game prowess — they’re giving their brains a daily boost, too.
In an interview with Healthline, neurologist Douglas Scharre, M.D., says that daily problem-solving challenges like Wordle or crossword puzzles are great for brain health. According to Scharre, a neurologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, puzzles and games keep the brain active and help prevent cognitive decline due to age. New puzzles are even better for giving your brain a daily workout.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, puzzles like Wordle can improve memory, attention, the executive function of the brain, and information processing.
According to The Ohio State University, anyone with cognitive issues could potentially benefit from games like Wordle, including people with conditions like head trauma, stroke, sleep apnea, and conditions that diminish attention.