Suppose you are a person of a certain age, no longer living with a spouse, no grandkids planning to visit. Why should you decorate for Christmas?
Why not? Decorations give a lot:
* They make a house a home. Even if you are only keeping a house for yourself, keeping holiday traditions makes your home part of the world.
* Decorations can cost little but give a lot. A simple, pre-lit table-top tree is inexpensive, easy to set up, and the lights give a lot of pleasure during the dark winter. If nothing else, splurge on a sparkly poinsettia.
* You might want to avoid the more messy materials, like real pine branches or tinsel if you don’t want to do a lot of clean up.
* Keep the traditions of your faith and culture. Christians may want to remember the birth of Christ. It doesn’t require anything elaborate, but everyone can bring their faith into their home.
* A reminder of holidays past. Indulge yourself with some good nostalgia for the excitement of Christmases past. If you don’t have any happy memories, it’s high time you made some.
* It’s welcoming to visitors. A nod to the holidays puts everyone in a happy mood.
* Your cat will love it. Especially if you put a couple of dangly decorations on your tree. Word to the wise: Don’t make them expensive dangly decorations.
How to prevent knee pain as you age
For many, knee pain is seen as an inevitable part of aging. However, it doesn’t have to be. Here are four things you can do to keep your knees healthy and preserve your mobility as you get older.
1. Strengthen your muscles
Strengthening your upper and lower leg muscles, including your hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors, can help reduce stress on your joints.
2. Maintain a healthy body weight
Being overweight can put significant stress on your knees. In fact, for every excess pound, you carry, you put about four extra pounds of pressure on your knee joints. Therefore, maintaining a healthy body weight can be a significant factor in remaining mobile and preventing knee pain.
3. Choose low-impact exercises
Regularly engaging in low-impact activities like walking, cycling, swimming, Pilates, and yoga can help keep your knee cartilage healthy and prevent injuries.
4. Wear the right shoes
Properly fitted shoes that offer adequate support will keep your knees in alignment and reduce unnecessary impact. For this reason, wearing the right shoes can prevent knee pain and injuries.
If you’re suffering from knee pain, don’t ignore it. Talk to your doctor immediately to find a solution.
Buying the right device for folks unfamiliar with computers
Connect a laptop to the Internet and you’ve got a portal into the World Wide Web. Whether you want to communicate with friends and family, do some shopping, look up information on practically anything or whatever else, the Internet and computers offer myriad opportunities.
Yet tech can be a bit tricky, especially for someone who’s not technologically inclined, such as an elderly relative. Fortunately, users now have more options than in years past and computers are also more affordable than ever before. When purchasing a laptop for folks unfamiliar with tech, ease of use and security are arguably the two most important factors.
Mac laptops, offered by Apple, are well-known for their ease of use and security. Traditionally, cybercriminals have focused on Windows devices, as they account for a larger share of the market.
Some cybersecurity experts also argue that the Unix-like Apple OS is fundamentally more secure than Windows, according to Pensar.
If there’s one major drawback with Apple, it’s price. Their cheapest laptops start at $1000. You could opt for a cheaper iPad and get a keyboard to go along with it. However, the screens are small, making text hard to read. And touch screens are problematic for some users (cough, cough — the elderly).
If you want security, simplicity, and an affordable price, consider a Chromebook. You can now get a powerful Chromebook for $400 or less. These laptops run on ChromeOS, which is offered by Google. ChromeOS is a lightweight operating system and can run on computers with basic specs.
The software options on ChromeOS are a bit more limited compared to Mac or PC. Fortunately, Google offers many free software services, such as Google Docs, that work great even if they’re not as robust as, say, Microsoft Word.
Is your knee pain coming from your back?
The bad pain in your knee could be telling you something.
It could be telling you that you have a bad back.
These are two parts of the body that may seem totally unrelated, but they are not. The lower back has all sorts of nerves that control muscles around the knees. When these nerves in the back misfire, they can cause pain in the knee.
A back that feels tense or tight could result in mild pain, but it could be the cause of worse pain in the knee, according to Regenexx.
Another notable symptom is pain and tightness in the hamstrings. Tightness in the hamstrings that can’t be relieved by stretching could be a sign of back problems. The L5 nerve runs from the lumbar spine to the outside of the hamstring muscle. A nerve problem in the back can cause inflammation in the hamstring, which causes damage to the meniscus, a cartilage pad in the knee. The knee can swell and stay inflamed and painful.
One other unusual sign that pain in the knee is coming from the back is bunion formation.
The back has separate nerves that support the inside and the outside of the foot. When these nerves are stressed or injured, the muscles don’t move the foot correctly. The foot unnaturally tilts the big toe, creating a bunion and probably knee pain, too.
5 ways to prevent high blood pressure
As you get older, your blood pressure may become difficult to control. High blood pressure is especially dangerous because you can have it for years without kno¬wing. Unfortunately, this health condition can lead to stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, and many other issues. Here are five things you can do to maintain healthy blood pressure as you age.
1. Exercise regularly
Routinely engaging in low-impact activities, such as walking and swimming, can lower your risk of high blood pressure. It’s therefore recommended that you engage in moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes every week.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet
Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help control your blood pressure. In particular, foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium have been shown to decrease elevated blood pressure.
3. Reduce your sodium intake
Eating too much salty food can cause your body to retain fluid, which can raise your blood pressure and force your heart to work harder. Therefore, monitoring your sodium intake can help keep your blood pressure in check.
4. Quit smoking
Smoking can put you at an increased risk for high blood pressure. The tobacco in cigarettes can constrict your blood vessels and cause your heart to beat too fast. Remember, it’s never too late to quit.
5. Maintain a healthy body weight
Being overweight can significantly increase your risk of high blood pressure because it forces your heart to work hard to pump blood through your body. Consequently, maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your blood pressure under control.
If you want to make changes to your diet or start a new exercise routine, be sure to talk to your doctor first.
Rock out with headphones that can fit over hearing aids
It’s your music. It’s always going to be your music. And you want to rock on.
Two problems. You don’t want to blast the neighbors (very thoughtful) and you wear hearing aids.
Well, here’s something to celebrate. You can wear headphones over hearing aids and it’s not going to further injure your hearing (when used properly).
According to Consumer Reports, audiologists advise keeping headphone use to 80 percent of maximum volume for no more than 90 minutes per day.
Overexposure to loud sounds is the top cause of hearing loss, but it won’t hurt to check with your doctor.
Choosing the right headphone is key.
For Behind-the-Ear hearing aids and Receiver-in-Canal aids, over-the-ear style headphones are an option. The headphone speakers should be at least one centimeter or more from the aid microphone to avoid feedback.
Noise-canceling headphones are best for people who have a harder time hearing over background noise.
Consumer Reports recommends the Bose QuietComfort35, a pricy headphone at $330 that functions using Bluetooth and an audio cable. These deluxe headphones can wirelessly connect to your phone or to a larger stereo system with the cable.
Cheaper is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x for $150 and the Monoprice HiFi DJ-Style Pro — a very modest $15.
These models would work with In The Canal hearing aids, too. But ITC users can also use on-ear models such as Plantonics BackBeat Sense.
For people who, like President Bill Clinton, wear Completely-in-Canal aids, headphones that are either on-ear or over-ear work. Even some earphones that work inside the ear canal could work.
Try Bose SoundTrue Ultra ($80), a wireless earphone that is both comfortable and delivers good sound.
One good rule is to try out the devices at a store, if possible.
4 tips for preventing hair loss
As you age, the pigmentation and texture of your hair change. It also gets thinner. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help minimize hair loss and keep your locks healthy as you age.
1. Avoid styles that pull
Over time, consistently wearing your hair in cornrows, tight braids, top buns, and ponytails, can damage your hair follicles and lead to permanent hair loss.
2. Limit your use of hot tools
Hairdryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons can all damage your hair by excessively drying it out and, consequently, making it more likely to fall out.
3. Wash your hair less often
As you age, your scalp produces less sebum, resulting in your hair becoming drier. Therefore, you should avoid washing your hair every day. You should also use a mild shampoo that won’t strip your hair of its natural oils.
4. Eat a nutrient-rich diet
Protein and iron deficiencies are linked to hair loss, so make sure you incorporate enough of these nutrients into your diet. Also, make sure to eat lots of leafy greens, as they’re packed with an array of vitamins and minerals that promote healthy hair including folate and vitamins A and C.
In addition, taking certain medications can lead to hair loss. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if the prescribed drugs you take might be causing your hair to thin.