27Nov2017

Healthy Hobbies for Graceful Aging

By Steve Johnson of Public Health Library


/Embracing a healthy lifestyle is paramount for living a long life, but it’s not as simple as just eating well and getting in moderate exercise. Studies show that staying socially active through hobbies helps seniors lengthen their lifespans while improving its quality.

Avoiding isolation through activities that stimulate you both mentally and socially is as important as going to the doctor and being physical in your day-to-day life. Hobbies can especially help seniors who are getting over illness or addiction. They provide structure, social constructs, and help boost self-esteem-- all things necessary for recovery.

Try one of the below hobbies to help you live a longer, healthier life.

Swimming

If moving around isn’t as easy as it used to be, swimming is the perfect hobby to pick up in order to work stiff joints and muscles without straining your body. Swimming puts you in a low-pressure atmosphere, allowing you to glide through motions with ease compared to being on land.

Swimming helps improve strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. It can also help with balance and muscle tension while releasing feel-good endorphins in the brain. Find a senior swimming class in your neighborhood or hit the pool on your own and freestyle.

Gardening

Gardening is a meditative experience that provides gentle physical activity that’s perfect for seniors. It increases mobility and flexibility while getting one outside to soak up natural vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D--or the “sunshine vitamin”-- helps the body fight off disease, reduces depression, and boosts weight loss efforts. Along with proteins and calcium, vitamin D is also necessary for bone density and muscle growth.

Additionally, gardening has psychological benefits. It gives a person a sense of purpose and responsibility. Gardening satiates our desire to nurture something while also easing anxiety and promoting mindfulness.

Yoga

Most yoga classes involve low impact exercises where seniors can modify the poses to make it easier on their body. Yoga helps relieve stress and alleviates hypertension. The stretching and pose-holding also strengthens bones and promotes balance. Perhaps best of all, yoga provides a supportive community of like-minded peers that care about personal growth and health. Yoga studios pop up on every corner nowadays, but most senior centers and community clubs also offer it, since it is so popular with the 50+ crowd.

Visual Art

Many people don’t realize the deep well of creativity they have until they tap into it in their senior years. Creating visual art stimulates the brain, which is proven to help stave off Alzheimer’s. Whether you want to paint, sculpt, scrapbook, or get creative with cross stitch, knitting, or sewing, the benefits of creating art are universal.

Art also provides opportunities for social engagements. Whether you participate in a class or invite friends over to create together, it’s a fun activity where there are no mistakes to be made, so it’s very low pressure for those who may be on the shy or nervous side.

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Those who want to spend their remaining years pursuing a healthy lifestyle may focus on eating a well-rounded diet and getting in enough exercise… but is that enough to truly maintain a high quality of life? Recent studies show that staying mentally and socially active through hobbies helps improve quality of life for seniors.

Gentle physical activities like swimming provide physical movement without being too hard on the body. Gardening is perfect for those who like to spend time outdoors and those who love to nurture. Yoga is popular among seniors because it is customizable and provides community. Finally, creating visual art helps seniors tap into their creativity and stimulate their brains, which can actually help with dementia.

21Nov2017

Finding Financial Assistance as a Senior

By Lucy Wyndham

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Photo by Lotte Meijer on Unsplash

Ask any senior about their main concerns for the future, and many will answer that financial stability is at the forefront of the list. Currently, over 66 million individuals receive social security benefits in order to lower their monthly expenses. Surviving on savings and social security isn’t easy though, especially when you take into consideration elements such as mounting medical expenses, rising care costs, and inflation.

If you’re among the many American seniors who struggle financially, know that you’re not alone. As the baby boomer generation continues to retire, more and more adults are finding it difficult to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Luckily, though, there are assistance programs aimed at helping seniors to afford an independent or semi-independent lifestyle.

Supplemental Security Income

For many seniors, social security but it doesn’t always pay the bills. This year the average worker received just under $1400 in social security benefits, and for many, that’s barely enough to cover rent. Over 60 percent of beneficiaries rely on this income for at least half of their expenses, including food, housing, transportation, and more.

Supplemental Security Income or SSI, is a benefit reserved for seniors over the age of 65 who are struggling to make ends meet. Individuals who are blind or who have a limited income can also apply for aid. As of 2017, the monthly maximum amount for a single individual is $750, while couples can receive up to $1,125 per month.

Housing Assistance

Housing is a significant expense for many seniors, whether they live independently or in a nursing community. The cost of a room can vary greatly between different regions, and it’s important to consider this fact before settling on an area in which to retire.

Medicaid programs in certain states can help to pay for anything from dental care to nursing home services and assisted living situations. Currently, over forty states offer financial assistance for seniors in an assisted living situation. Some regions also include aid for those in residential care, adult foster care, and nursing communities. While some states cover the cost of medical care, others only include the costs of personal care services. The majority of this funding is provided through state Medicaid programs.

Finances are a concern for many within the senior community, particularly those that live on the funds from social security checks. Luckily, there are avenues that low-income adults can take to ensure that they’re able to live out a comfortable retirement.

1Nov2017

Want to Make Electronics More Accessible to Seniors with Mobility Issues?

By Lucy Wyndham

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Photo by Louis Blythe on Unsplash

 In 2014, the United States Census Bureau reported that “mobility is [the] most common disability among older Americans.” Even the most simple of tasks can be next to impossible when walking and moving is impaired. While senior living communities do an excellent job of helping older adults overcome these obstacles, it is crucial to think of ways to help improve the daily experience of seniors with mobility issues.

One commonly overlooked struggle is the ability to use common electronics. Getting up to answer the phone, turning on the TV, or walking to the computer are not always possible for older adults. To help make electronics easier to use for seniors with mobility issues, review three top modifications that can be made to any living space.


Encourage the use of mobile phones

When creating mobility-friendly homes for seniors, it is essential not to overlook considerations for commonly used electronics. This is especially true when it comes to the phone that is selected for an older adult with mobility challenges. For those who consistently have difficulties answering their landline phone, a mobile phone is a wonderful alternative. Seniors can choose to keep their mobile phones by their side at all times, and never have to worry about missing a call. They can also have quick access to a phone in case they need to call for emergency help.

Select an easy-to-use television remote

Being able to control the television without having to stand up or walk is another important consideration. Since many older adults have difficulties with seeing and pressing small buttons, having an easy-to-use remote can be just as important as having a remote. Giving seniors the ability to effortlessly watch television helps foster independence and removes unnecessary hassle.

Switch to tablets or laptops rather than desktop computers

Getting up, walking to, and sitting down at a computer is a major challenge for seniors with mobility issues. Individuals who are unable to easily access their computers may be discouraged from staying in touch with loved ones by email, social media, or video chat. That’s why it is crucial to help make computers as accessible as possible. Some seniors may enjoy the idea of switching from a desktop computer to a tablet or laptop. Tablets and laptops provide all of the same features as a desktop computer, and in most cases, are just as user-friendly.

With more seniors using technology and electronics every day, it is essential to make computers, phones, and televisions more accessible for older adults struggling with mobility challenges. A few simple modifications can make it possible for seniors to access their electronics on a daily basis with minimal effort.

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