It’s estimated that by 2030, over 20 percent of American citizens will be 65 or older. The growth of the senior population is likely to come with a number of challenges, one of which will be managing the increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among this group.
Seniors and STIs
According to a 2007 study, three quarters of seniors aged 57 to 64 are sexually active, and over half of those aged 65 to 74 are. (The availability of performance-enhancing drugs is likely driving the increase in sexual activity among seniors.)
At the same time, the rate of STIs is climbing in adults who are over 45 years old. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that people aged 50 and over account for 15 percent of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses.
A difficult topic for seniors
There are many factors that make it difficult to address the issue of STIs in seniors. For starters, they typically don’t consider themselves as being at risk for STIs and HIV/AIDS.
Furthermore, some individuals feel guilt or shame when noticing symptoms such as a rash or discharge. Others may mistakenly blame aging for signs of a health problem and therefore disregard them.
Finally, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors may face social stigmas when discussing their sexual health.
Institutional and social barriers
Most concerning is the lack of resources devoted to the sexual heath of the elderly population. According to some reports, seniors are excluded from close to 75 percent of clinical trials related to STI treatment and risk reduction. What’s worse is that healthcare professionals themselves often avoid discussing elderly patients’ sexual health.
Finally, though information is key in fighting the spread of STIs among seniors, there’s a noticeable lack of sexual education programs tailored to them.
Seniors need to practice safe sex and remember to discuss matters pertaining to their sexual health during doctors’ visits. As uncomfortable as it may be, there needs to a change in the way we deal with aging and sexuality. Doing so will ensure that our elders receive the care they deserve.
6 types of exercise for all ages
Physical activity is a key component of healthy aging. It helps you maintain mobility and improve your balance, which reduces the risk of falls and injury. Adequate exercise can also slow or prevent the onset of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Here are six activities to keep you moving at any age.
In addition to relieving stress, golf can improve your concentration. Opt to walk the course rather than rent a cart to get even more exercise.
This low-impact aerobic exercise helps with blood circulation, endurance, and balance. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air and explore scenic trails.
Since it’s a non-weight-bearing exercise, swimming gives you a full-body workout without putting pressure on your hips, knees, and back. For a change of pace, take a water aerobics class.
Activities like Pilates, yoga, and tai chi enhance flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. They’re usually practiced in a group and can be adapted to accommodate reduced mobility.
A cross between tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, this sport is a great way to express your competitive spirit without straining your muscles and joints.
Keep in mind that all of these options have the potential to be great social activities as well.
If you have health or mobility issues, speak with your doctor before starting a new type of physical activity.
Meal prep: the easy way to eat healthier
If you’re looking for an easy way to adopt healthier eating habits, then meal prep is for you. This method consists of planning and preparing your meals a week in advance and is easy to integrate into your routine. Here’s how and why you should do it.
How to do it
Make a menu for the upcoming week that includes healthy, balanced meals that freeze well or can keep for a few days in the fridge. You can either make a few different meals or a large batch of a single dish that you enjoy. Once you decide what’s on the menu for the week, make a list of everything you need and hit the grocery store. Spend an afternoon cooking and you’ll have a week’s worth of food that you only need to warm up.
One of the main obstacles to developing healthy eating habits is that cooking balanced meals takes time. Meal prep solves this issue by making it quicker and easier to eat nutritious meals throughout the week.
The impact of stress and how to manage it
Stress can impact your health and well-being. Understanding where it comes from and how it can affect you are crucial to remaining mentally and physically fit. Here’s what you need to know.
It’s important to be able to recognize if stress has become a problem. The symptoms below are common and not a cause for alarm when they occur occasionally. However, if they get worse or become ongoing, this could indicate that something’s wrong. Watch out for:
• Increase or decrease in appetite
• Mood swings
• Difficulty concentrating
• Irritability or aggressiveness
• Sleep problems
If you realize you’re living with too much stress, you need to identify its source. Think about your relationships, both personal and professional, your home life, your job, and how busy you are. You should also identify daily irritants such as a long commute, as these tend to add up and can impact your mental health.
What you can do
Once you have an idea of where your stress comes from, you’ll be in a position to take steps to improve your situation and health. In some cases, it’s a matter of adjusting an aspect of your life, such as how much work you’ve taken on, or working out a problem in a relationship. Importantly, things like meditation and therapy can help as well.
Whatever you do, don’t let stress take over your life. Over time, it can cause you to develop serious health issues and poor coping mechanisms like the consumption of fatty foods, alcohol, and drugs.
How to maintain your independence as you age
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.
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.
Can VR headsets harm your eyes?
There’s little evidence to suggest that using a virtual reality (VR) headset will harm your eyes any more than using a regular screen. However, they’re not recommended for children under the age of 13. This is because their eyes are still developing and VR use could lead to permanent issues. Unfortunately, there are other health concerns associated with using VR headsets.
Virtual reality sickness
Some people who navigate virtual environments experience what’s known as virtual reality sickness, a condition that resembles motion sickness. It can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea, which typically dissipate once headset use is discontinued. Virtual reality sickness occurs due to a mismatch between what the eye perceives and inner ear experiences (movement versus lack of movement).
Other health concerns
The benefits of VR
Some optometrists have begun to use specialized VR headsets to improve depth perception, visual acuity, and more. These devices can also help people get over motion sickness.
In sum, VR headsets are safe as long as they’re used in moderation. To protect your eyes, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In addition, don’t forget to blink. This will prevent you from getting dry eyes.
The benefits of lavender
Lavender is known for its aroma and distinct violet-gray flowers. It’s also believed to have a host of therapeutic uses. Here’s an overview.
Lavender oil is often used to reduce anxiety and agitation. Infusions of it have been recognized as effective for treating insomnia and improving sleep quality by the German Commission E. This advisory board published a series of monographs on the therapeutic uses of medicinal plants between 1984 and 1994.
It’s important to note that lavender oil can be toxic if swallowed. It can also cause skin irritation in some people and interact poorly with certain medications. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting any type of alternative treatment.
Not all lavender species have the same purported medicinal properties. True lavender, also known as English lavender, is thought to have a calming effect, while lavender aspic tends to be better at treating burns. Aromatherapy experts can help you determine which type is best for you.