A big fall risk is at a seemingly safe place: the home. Older adults can experience a fall for many reasons, including several environmental factors, according to our resident RN Sharon Roth Maguire. She says fall risks can come from the home environment, both the inside and the outside, along with the individual’s characteristics like physical well-being, strength and mobility and even medications. (more…)
Many adult children tread lightly when it comes to the health of an aging loved one, especially when it could threaten independence. And, sadly, it often takes an incident of some sort before families feel that “enough is enough” and have the confidence to face a health issue head-on. So what can families do for a loved one when it becomes apparent that their health is declining and/or their safety is at risk? With the help of AARP, we have a few strategies that families can try to approach these sensitive situations as delicately as possible. (more…)
Whether it’s sharpening your mind and keeping your body fit, choosing the right vehicle to maximize comfort and safety, refreshing your driving skills or finding ways to get around when driving is no longer a safe option, there are numerous ways seniors can stay active and on the go. (more…)
Whether it’s the hot summer or a bright fall day, the sun can be damaging. So how do you know if you’re avoiding the hazards of the sun? The American Cancer Society lays out some helpful tips on limiting UV exposure that you and your family can use next time you’re thinking about spending the day outside. (more…)
The natural process of aging can affect your vision, hearing, reaction time and mental fitness. As a senior driver, that means it also can affect your driving abilities and even increase risk of a traffic crash. Since these changes can occur very slowly, you’ll want to evaluate then early and often – before putting yourself and others at risk. You can still be active, however. Dealing with these mind and body changes and adhering to a few simple guidelines can make you a wiser senior driver. (more…)
The summer may be winding down, but the potential for hot temperatures and dangerous sunlight is more and more likely every day. That means the risk for skin cancer increases, especially if you spend an excessive amount of time in the sun.
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention provides some risk factors for skin cancer and, while some can be controlled, others, like age, can’t be changed. Read on for some key factors to determine if you might be at risk.
Ultraviolet (UV) light
Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation, which can damage the genes in your skin cells. UV light is thought to be the major risk factor for most skin cancers. Tanning lamps and booths are another source of UV radiation. People with high levels of exposure to UV light are at greater risk for skin cancer.
The risk of skin cancer is much higher for whites than for dark-skinned African-Americans or Hispanics. This is because melanin helps protect against UV radiation. People with dark skin have more melanin. People with fair (light-colored) skin that freckles or burns easily are at extra high risk.
The risk of basal and squamous cell skin cancers goes up as people get older. Older people have been exposed to the sun for a longer time. Still, these cancers are now being seen in younger people too, probably because they are spending more time in the sun without protecting their skin.
Men are two times as likely as women to have basal cell cancers and about three times as likely to have squamous cell cancers of the skin. This could be because they spend more time in the sun.
Exposure to large amounts of arsenic increases the risk of skin cancer. Arsenic is a heavy metal used to make some insecticides. It is also found in well water in some areas. Workers exposed to industrial tar, coal, paraffin and certain types of oil may have an increased risk, too.
Weakened immune system
People with weak immune systems are more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer. For instance, people who have had an organ transplant often take medicines to weaken the immune system so that the body cannor reject the organ. These people are more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer. Skin cancers in people with weak immune systems tend to grow faster and are more likely to be fatal.
Scientists have found that certain people are more likely than others to develop skin cancer after sun exposure. In these people, certain parts of the normal cells are more sensitive to being damaged by sunlight.
We are all looking for low-impact, fun ways to get into shape. Seniors especially need something that’s easy on the joints and doesn’t require a lot of physical challenges. Enter water aerobics. These exercises are done in a swimming pool and do not require swimming skills. (more…)
Did you know that 20 to 30 percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries? These injuries can make it hard to get around or live independently. Also, one in three adults age 65 and older fall each year, yet less than half talk to their healthcare providers. Last but not least, every 15 seconds across America, a senior citizen is sent to the E.R. for a fall-related injury.
“The chances of falling and being seriously injured during that fall significantly increase with age,” said Sharon Roth Maguire, MS, RN, GNP-BC, Chief Clinical Quality Officer of BrightStar Care. “Identifying risk factors with your aging loved ones and taking precautionary measures will increase their longevity and provide peace of mind to families.”
Here are five causes of falls, according to BrightStar Care. (more…)
When used responsibly, prescription drugs can help people lead healthier lives. However, when abused, these same drugs can be fatal, causing more deaths in America than car crashes.
Here are some things you need to know about prescription painkillers and their potentially devastating effects, according to the National Safety Council.
- Since 1999, the number of prescription painkiller deaths has risen by more than 300 percent.
- 45 U.S. citizens die every day from unintentional overdoses on prescription pain relievers.
- Nearly 1 in 20 Americans age 12 and older report using prescription painkillers recreationally in the past year. (more…)
June is the National Safety Council’s Home Safety Month. One important aspect of home safety focuses on preventing prescription drug abuse. While taking the right prescription drug is important, it’s just as essential that medications are managed properly. Even though the pill bottle may simply state, “take once a day,” the specific time of day you take your medications may make an important difference. Modifying the timing of drugs to achieve the greatest benefit with the lowest risk of unpleasant side effects is called drug chronotherapy. Your prescriber or your pharmacist can advise you on best times to take your medications. (more…)