For 30 years, the United Nations has recognized October 1 as International Day of Older Persons. It’s an annual opportunity to highlight the valuable role of seniors in society. While many have retired from the workforce, they tend to dedicate more time and money to volunteer work than any other demographic. Here are some ways seniors contribute to their communities:
• As caregivers for an ailing spouse, with responsibilities ranging from managing household tasks to offering emotional support and providing medical care.
• As babysitters for their grandchildren, whose parents are productive members of the workforce.
• As organizers for events hosted by religious groups and other types of community-based organizations, which often struggle to attract younger participants.
• As donators of time and money to charities, foundations, and non-profit organizations that support members of the community.
• As mentors for the next generation, passing on family legacies, a lifetime of experience, and a career’s worth of knowledge.
• As part of a support system for other seniors, such as by planning activities at their seniors’ residence or running errands for someone with reduced mobility.
In addition to recognizing the generosity of seniors in your community, October 1 should be a time to reciprocate and thank these caring members of society. Whether it’s a phone call to an older relative, a day spent volunteering at a retirement home, or a donation to an elderly rights advocacy group, there are numerous ways to give back to the seniors in your life and community.
How to help a loved one who’s suffered a stroke
Has a loved one of yours suffered a stroke? You may feel at a loss for how to support their rehabilitation. Here are some suggestions for helping them regain their autonomy.
Learn about strokes
Document the physical and emotional changes that may be affecting your loved one so you can better understand their needs. It’s possible they may suffer subsequent strokes. Therefore, knowing how to intervene quickly will help both of you. Learn how to recognize signs and symptoms, like speech difficulties or weakness on one side of the body, so you’ll be prepared if the need arises.
Go with them to rehab
Your loved one’s rehabilitation begins as soon as their condition becomes sufficiently stable. It includes tasks and exercises recommended by the various healthcare professionals overseeing their recovery. Join in on those activities to make it a little more fun and keep your loved one motivated.
Take care of yourself
Helping a stroke survivor can take its toll on your well-being. It may even become a physical, emotional, and financial burden. Although your role in your loved one’s rehabilitation is essential, it’s also crucial that you not neglect yourself. You can unburden yourself of some worries simply by confiding in a friend. Seek extra help from another family member or community organization. Even spending time on a hobby can be restorative.
Visit heart.org to learn more about stroke, join a support group for caregivers and get more self-care tips.
Audiobooks: Rediscover the pleasure of storytelling
Have you always loved reading but now find it difficult to see the words on the page? Do you find it hard to hold heavy books? Regardless of whether your reading ability has diminished, you can still experience the magic of audiobooks.
What’s an audiobook?
An audiobook is a publication — be it a crime novel, fantasy series, or biography — recorded in an audible medium. The reader may be a volunteer, celebrity, professional reader, or the book’s author. The intonations may enhance your listening experience in the reader’s voice or whether the recording includes sound effects.
What does it look like?
The audiobook may be in the form of a digital file or a compact disk. You may need to download it to a device to enjoy it if it’s a digital file. A simple internet connection may work as well.
How do you listen to an audiobook?
If the audiobook is on a compact disk, insert it directly into an appropriate reader and press play. It may take a few steps to listen online or via an app downloaded to your tablet or smartphone for a digital file.
Where do you get them?
Digital audiobooks are available on several online platforms, like online libraries or e-reader businesses. You can get compact disks from your local library. A library is a great option if you’re on a tight budget. Whatever format you select, make sure you choose one compatible with your device.
Four tips to help seniors stay warm in winter
Seniors are sensitive to the cold due to metabolic changes that make it difficult for them to generate enough heat. Here are four tips for staying warm this winter.
1. Adjust the heat
Set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature. If you want to keep your electricity bill down, increase the heat in rooms you frequently use and lower it everywhere else.
2. Dress appropriately
Wear wool clothing as much as possible. This material keeps you warmer than fabrics like cotton and polyester. Don’t forget to keep your hands, feet, and head covered too. This is where you lose most of your body heat. Plus, wearing thick socks and slippers will prevent your feet from touching cold floors.
Wear several layers of clothing to ensure you stay warm when going outdoors.
3. Eat well
To stay warm, your body needs to burn a fair amount of calories. Consequently, eating a balanced diet can help you fight the cold. Be sure to eat hot, hearty meals and drink plenty of water. Sipping herbal tea throughout the day is a great way to stay warm and hydrated.
4. Use accessories
If necessary, use a heated blanket when watching TV or put a hot water bottle in your bed a few minutes before you go to sleep.
If, despite your best efforts, you still struggle to stay warm, make sure to consult your doctor.
What you need to know about age-related hearing loss
Hearing problems can affect people of all ages. However, age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, affects nearly half of all people who are 75 and older. Here’s what you need to know about hearing loss as you get older.
The tiny hair cells inside your ear can become damaged or die as you age. Unfortunately, this causes progressive hearing loss.
However, hearing issues can also develop if the nerve pathways that carry information to your brain become less efficient. This can occur due to hereditary factors, various health conditions, and taking certain medications.
In addition, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease can accelerate hearing loss.
Cell degeneration mainly affects the part of your ear responsible for hearing high-pitched sounds. Consequently, if you have presbycusis, you may be able to hear low-pitched noises but not register high-pitched ones. Your brain will therefore need to work extra hard to fill in the information gaps, which can make communication difficult.
Regrettably, age-related hearing loss is permanent. However, solutions like wearing hearing aids can improve your quality of life.
To have your hearing tested, consult an audiologist.
Five benefits of stretching
Regular stretching provides numerous health benefits as you age, and when combined with other types of exercise, it can add years to your life. Here are five reasons to stretch regularly.
1. Improve flexibility
As you age, your muscles shorten and lose elasticity. Stretching keeps you flexible and helps you maintain your mobility.
2. Avert injuries
Stretching improves your balance and strength, which can reduce your risk of falling. This will likely help you feel more confident when moving around and performing your daily tasks.
3. Boost blood circulation
Stretching stimulates blood flow and increases the oxygen supply to your muscles.
4. Prevent diseases
Maintaining an active lifestyle and stretching regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
5. Reduce soreness
Stretching can help minimize aches and pains. Ask a health professional for advice on which exercises to perform to target specific areas of your body.
To reap these benefits, stretch at least several times a week or as much as every day to reap these benefits.
Reduced mobility: Four tips for choosing a walk-in bathtub
Walk-in bathtubs are designed for people with mobility issues. They come with a watertight door and tend to be equipped with a bench and grab bars. Here are four tips to help you choose the right model for your needs.
1. Consider how it opens
The door to a walk-in bathtub can open either inward or outward. If you’re in a wheelchair or use a walker, look for a model with a door that swings outward.
2. Think long-term
When choosing a bathtub, keep in mind that your mobility may further diminish as you age. Therefore, you may want to select a model with safety features that will come in handy later.
3. Discern your needs
Determine whether you’ll use your bath daily or only occasionally. If you plan on using your tub often, ask yourself if you prefer sitting or lying down and if you want jets for a therapeutic experience.
4. Reflect on the filling system
Walk-in bathtubs often take a long time to fill and must be completely emptied before you can get out. Consequently, you may want a model with a quick-fill system and two drains.
Before making your choice, consult a professional to help you evaluate your needs.