Parkinson’s disease: Three myths and the truth behind them
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is sometimes met with comments that may or may not be accurate. These statements reveal a general misunderstanding of the condition. But like any disease, Parkinson’s shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are three persistent myths about Parkinson’s disease and the truth behind them.
1. Parkinson’s is linked to aging
Older people aren’t the only ones who can be diagnosed with the disease. About one in five of those affected are diagnosed before age 40. In fact, some people have symptoms like depression or progressive loss of smell for as many as 20 years before getting a diagnosis.
2. Everyone with Parkinson’s has tremors
Although trembling is the symptom most readily associated with Parkinson’s, it only affects about 30 to 65 percent of people with the disease. It’s primarily observed in the hands but can also spread to the legs, lower jaw, and head.
3. Parkinson’s only has to do with movement
About 50 symptoms have been linked to this disease, including depression, progressive loss of smell, and tremors. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s include insomnia, anxiety, constipation, and speech deterioration.
Are you worried that you or someone close to you may have Parkinson’s disease? Make an appointment with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Low vision: what it is and what you can do about it
Low vision is an age-related eye condition that makes everyday tasks like driving and reading difficult. There’s no treatment or cure for low vision. However, there are things you can do to adapt and continue doing the things you love.
Symptoms of low vision
Low vision can’t be fixed with glasses, contact lenses, surgery, or medicine. You may have low vision if you have difficulty:
• Recognizing people’s faces
• Telling colors apart
• Seeing your television or computer screen clearly
Besides blurry or hazy vision, you may have trouble seeing things in the center of your vision, out of the corners of your eyes, or at night and in low light.
Causes of low vision
Low vision is a symptom of one of several eye-related diseases, including:
• Age-related macular degeneration
• Diabetic retinopathy
Older adults are more susceptible to low vision because the diseases that cause it are more common in older people.
Living with low vision
If you have minor low vision, using bright lights at home or work may help you see better. Moreover, wearing polarized lenses when bright can help filter glare, improving your vision.
Talk to your doctor or optometrist if low vision prevents you from doing everyday tasks. They may advise using a magnifying glass for reading and other activities or rearranging your home so you can move about easily.
4 tips for staying fit and healthy in a retirement residence
Staying active is a great way to live longer and improve your quality of life. Here are four tips for staying fit and healthy while living in a retirement home.
1. Go for a daily walk
You don’t need expensive workout equipment to enjoy an active lifestyle. Brisk walking is an excellent way to strengthen your body. Moreover, some retirement homes offer excursions and sightseeing tours to help residents get out, move their bodies and experience new things.
2. Participate in community classes
Many retirement residences offer group fitness classes to get your blood pumping. Gentle options like tai chi and yoga can keep you fit without the strain or risk of injury. Meeting new people and staying active in the community are also great.
3. Eat healthy foods
Adopting a nutritious diet is an essential part of staying in shape. Make sure you eat balanced and nutrient-rich meals and drink plenty of water. If your retirement home provides food service, choose a dietary option that meets your needs.
4. Take care of your mental health
You must also take care of your mental and emotional health to stay in the best possible shape. Socializing with others and spending time with family and friends help keep your mind sharp. Some retirement homes offer engaging activities like arts and crafts, which allow you to challenge your mind and express your creativity.
When you’re ready to move, look for a retirement residence that offers a wide range of activities and exercise opportunities to keep you happy and healthy for the years ahead.
Vitamins and minerals for older adults
As you get older, your nutrition needs change. Your body needs more of certain vitamins and minerals. Here’s a list of some essential nutrients for older adults.
• Calcium is found in dairy, tofu, and dark-green leafy vegetables. Older people at risk of bone loss need calcium in their diets. Men between 51 and 70 need 1,000 milligrams daily, while women over 51 and men over 71 need 1,200 milligrams daily.
• Vitamin B6 helps your body form red blood cells and is found in foods like bananas and potatoes. Men over 51 need 1.7 milligrams, while women of the same age need 1.5 milligrams.
• Vitamin B12 is found in meat and keeps your red blood cells and nerves healthy. Older adults may have trouble absorbing this vitamin from food and require a supplement. Aim for 2.4 micrograms per day.
• Vitamin D helps your body retain and use calcium and phosphorus. Only a few foods, like fish, contain it. Your skin also produces Vitamin D in sunlight. Therefore, a supplement may help you get the recommended amount if you live and work indoors. People between 50 and 70 require 600 international units (IU), while people over 71 require 800 IUs.
• Sodium in high doses can lead to elevated blood pressure, which can result in a heart attack or stroke. Men and women over 51 should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day.
Talk to your doctor before taking supplements, as some may have severe side effects.
6 reasons to consider a pet-friendly retirement home
Research has shown that caring for a pet benefits people of all ages, especially seniors. Here are six reasons to consider moving into a retirement home that allows pets.
1. Promotes physical activity. Owning a pet can help you stay active. For example, dogs must be walked several times daily, and cats enjoy frequent playtime.
2. Encourages social interaction. Having a pet encourages you to leave your apartment and socialize.
3. Prevents loneliness. Pets provide valuable companionship and can alleviate isolation and loneliness, especially if your family and friends live far away.
4. Fosters routine. Taking care of a pet requires a structured routine, providing you with a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
5. Improves mental capacity. Mental stimulation is vital for keeping your mind sharp. Caring for a pet can help ward off dementia and improve your cognitive function.
6. Lowers stress. Holding or petting an animal has been proven to lower blood pressure and boost your mood.
If you can’t care for a pet on your own, look for a retirement community that allows family members to bring pets to visit or provides sessions with specially trained therapy animals.
Types of medical equipment available at retirement homes
Retirement homes are intended to be enjoyed by people of all abilities. Therefore, they often provide various medical devices to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. Here’s an overview of some medical equipment you’ll generally find.
• Bathroom equipment like grab bars, grip mats, shower chairs, and raised toilets
• Bedroom equipment like adjustable beds and safety rails
• Lift chairs to make it easier for individuals to get in and out
• Wheelchairs and mobility scooters to help residents get around
• Stairlifts and elevators to assist residents going up and down stairs, giving them access to different levels of the facility
If you have concerns about the type of medical equipment at the retirement home you’re considering, speak with them directly about what accommodations they provide.
4 benefits of using technology in retirement homes
Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in retirement homes. Here are four benefits of embracing technology as you age.
1. Connect with loved ones
Nothing can replace in-person interactions, but video chats, texting, and social networking sites like Facebook can keep you connected with your loved ones anywhere in the world. Studies have shown that social connection is crucial to health and longevity.
2. Stay mentally and physically active
Interactive video games like Wii Golf and Wii Bowling are fun and can motivate you to get your body moving. Physical games can improve your strength, balance, and aerobic endurance.
Moreover, you can play various “brain games” on a tablet or smartphone. For example, games like Tetris and Solitaire help with spatial recognition and memory, while logic games like Sudoku and chess improve problem-solving skills.
3. Increase safety
Personal monitoring devices like smart¬watches can track your steps, heart rate, sleep patterns, and stress levels to keep you on top of your health. Some devices provide emergency support like fall detection, which can immediately contact emergency responders or a trusted contact when needed.
4. Improve convenience
Shopping for groceries and other items online or through an app and having them delivered to your apartment is now possible. This is helpful if you have limited mobility or don’t want to risk going out in bad weather.
Learning to use technology can open doors and benefit people of all ages, including seniors.
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