Eye Care Recommendations from the Experts

morningstar general 12The American Academy of Ophthalmology says that early signs of disease or changes in vision can start years before they become a real problem.  This is why they recommend “adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease should receive a baseline comprehensive eye evaluation at age 40.”

They also advise that individuals without any risk factors should have an eye exam by an ophthalmologist every 2 to 4 years.  People age 55 to 64 without risk factors should be examined by an ophthalmologist every 1 to 3 years.  Seniors 65 years and older without risk factors should be examined by an ophthalmologist every 1 to 2 years as the incidence of unrecognized ocular disease increases with age.

Getting regular eye exams and being aware of any changes to your vision is important as many age-related eye problems do not show early symptoms.  Furthermore, common health problems including diabetes and hypertension can cause eye-related issues as well as some medications.

A thorough eye exam will check your visual acuity and peripheral vision, coordination of eye muscles and the pupils’ response to light and color testing.  The ophthalmologist also examines the interior and back of the eye along with the inside and outside of the eyelid.  In addition, eye fluid pressure is measured with a tonometer, which blows a puff of air onto the eye.  The test is used to check for glaucoma and other diseases.

You will additionally be monitored for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) disease.  This test uses special instruments to examine the back of your eye to detect and monitor conditions affecting the macula.

Since many eye conditions do not develop symptoms until they are quite advanced, it is important to follow the eye exam recommendations.   Also, the risk of glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration increases as we get older.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please consult with your health care provider if you notice any changes in your vision.

MorningStar at Arrowhead represents the best in senior living with a unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” We have built our foundation on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve…all of which contributes to creating a true home for residents amid a beautiful, serene setting. Please schedule a visit to experience firsthand our beautiful community.

Source: aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/eye-exams-101

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Learn More About Osteoporosis

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While one in four women 65 years and older (one in two women over the age of 80) have osteoporosis, it is not a disease that only affects women.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in ten men older than 80 also have some level of bone loss.

So what is osteoporosis?  Experts state that the disease is the gradual weakening of the skeletal system and causes bones to become weak and brittle.  This results in an increased risk of fractures from falls or mild stresses as the bones thin (a decrease of bone mass and density) and become depleted of bone calcium and protein.

To diagnose the disease, patients are screened using a dual X-ray absorptiometry, also called a DXA or DEXA.  Doctors use the test to measure the bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine, hip or total body to help evaluate a person’s risk of fracture.  The noninvasive scan is painless and usually takes only 10 or 20 minutes.

While there are risk factors associated with a greater likelihood of developing osteoporosis, some people develop it without any of them.  Gender, family history, age, body size and ethnicity are risk factors you cannot change but there are other things you can change.   Bone loss can be caused by a lifetime diet that is low in calcium and vitamin D as well as the long-term use of several medications such as glucocorticoids. Lack of exercise, cigarette smoking, and excessive consumption of alcohol can also lead to osteoporosis.

Many doctors would like to see more adults tested at a younger age so if there are any signs of the disease, it can be identified early and treatment and lifestyle changes made years before bones become brittle.  Right now bone mineral density screening is recommended for all postmenopausal women and for men age 50 years and older based on risk factors and on the advice of their health care provider.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand the best memory care in Colorado Springs.

 Sources:

agingcare.com/articles/an-overview-of-osteoporosis-133147.htm

webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20150813/1-in-4-senior-women-in-us-has-osteoporosis-cdc#1

 

 

Look for Your New Medicare Card in the Mail

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Several months ago, Medicare sent out a notification saying they would be issuing new cards to all Medicare recipients.  The new cards started mailing in April 2018, and to meet the statutory deadline, all cards will be replaced by April, 2019.  The schedule for delivery is based on your geographic location.  Medicare explains that your new cards will not contain your Social Security number as a way to help protect against identity theft and prevent fraud.  The new red, white and blue insurance cards will instead have a unique 11 digit number on them.

This is a good idea but we want you to be aware that Medicare has issued a warning to seniors to be on the lookout for fraudsters trying to exploit them.  One way they are doing this is by posing as Medicare representatives and calling recipients asking for the 11 digit number from their card.  Please Note that Medicare states they do not and will not call recipients.  They strongly advise against giving out your new number over the phone to anyone and remind recipients that Medicare only operates via the US Mail.

Furthermore Medicare asks that you help to get the word out by warning family and friends that they may be at risk for these scams.  Reiterate not to give out any information over the phone to anyone claiming to be a representative of Medicare.

Your new card will automatically come to you and you do not need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, go online or give them a call.  Also keep in mind that your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s as mailing takes time.  Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.

MorningStar at Arrowhead represents the finest in senior living with our unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Arrowhead’s foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve, all directed at creating a true home for our residents. Contact us to schedule a tour to fully experience the finest senior living the Peoria & Glendale AZ area has to offer.

Good Oral Hygiene is Very Important for Seniors

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Good oral hygiene is an essential part of maintaining one’s overall health and quality of life.  Even though seniors are living longer, it does not mean that they cannot keep their natural teeth.   Brushing at least twice daily, flossing, and regular visit to your dentist can prevent problems from occurring.

Seniors are at a greater risk for developing periodontal disease which is the inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria or plaque that forms on the teeth.  It is very common and one of the leading causes of tooth loss.  Signs of periodontal disease are bleeding gums, receding gums, bad breath, and shifting or loose teeth.  There is evidence to suggest that periodontal disease is linked to heart disease, stroke, and perhaps increases the complications of diabetes.

Dry mouth is another problem faced by some seniors. It can be caused by over 400 commonly prescribed medications such as those for high blood pressure, heart problems, and depression to name just a few, and also from radiation or chemotherapy treatments.  The danger with dry mouth is that it increases the chance of tooth decay or gum disease.  You need to take extra care that you are drinking plenty of water and stay away from caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and sugary foods.  There are some over-the-counter medications that can help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth.

If you do have dentures, be sure to take good care of them as they will last longer.  The average life of dentures is five to seven years and it is important to follow good cleaning procedures.  Brush your dentures daily with mild soap or denture paste, and if you are not going to wear them at night, soak them in water or denture cleaning solution (be sure to rinse them thoroughly afterward).

Receding gums caused by periodontal disease or the result of aging can increase the chance of tooth decay occurring at the gum line which causes serious problems to the roots.  Good dental care is the best tool in preventing further damage.  See your dentist at the first sign of any bleeding or pain in your mouth.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand our exceptional memory care in Colorado Springs.

 Sources: seniorsoralhealth.org/

webmd.com/oral-health/guide/caring-dentures#1

Seniors and Bruising

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You may have wondered why it is as you have gotten older; you seem to bruise more easily and find bruises that you do even remember getting.  There is a scientific explanation for why the problem occurs more commonly in the elderly, and generally bruises do not require treatment and are not serious.   However please keep in mind that significant bruising can be a sign of medical problems and should be discussed with your health care provider.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a bruise, know in medical terms as a contusion, occurs “when small blood vessels (capillaries) near the skin’s surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury — often on the arms or legs.”   This impact causes blood to leak out of the vessels and look like the black-and-blue-mark we are all familiar with.  As we age, our skin becomes thinner and loses some of the fatty layer that protects our blood vessels from injury, thus making it easier to bruise.

While most bruises do not require a doctor’s care, Dr. Aarthi Anand, a board certified geriatrician and family medicine practitioner in Los Angeles, suggests applying a frozen compress for up to twenty minutes at a time.  Also if you elevate the bruised area higher than your heart during the first 24 hours of the injury, it will help to reduce swelling and inflammation.

There are several steps you can take to try to eliminate getting bruised in the first place.  To start, make sure your living space has a clear path to move around in so you can avoid bumping into things as well as help prevent falls.  Another thing you may want to do is to use a cane or walker if you are unsteady when you stand up or while walking.

This post is for informational purposes only, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand our exceptional memory care in Colorado Springs.

Sources:mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/easy-bruising/art-20045762

aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/elderly-bruising

 

 

Cataracts are a Common Problem for Seniors

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As we age, it is more important than ever to get regular eye exams.  The American Optometric Association recommends that every person over the age of 60 have an annual eye examination.  They also advise that if you notice any changes in your vision, see an eye doctor immediately.

Cataracts are a common eye problem in older adults and develop as the tissue in the eye’s lens breaks down and clumps together causing cloudy or opaque areas.  Aging or an eye injury can cause cataracts as well as other conditions such as diabetes and the long-term use of steroid medications.

The size and location of the cataract determines how much it interferes with your vision.  If the cataract is only affecting a small part of the eye, you may not even know you have one.  Noticeable symptoms occur as the cataract grows and starts clouding more of the lens and distorting the way light passes through the lens.

The Mayo Clinic says that cataract symptoms include:

  • Clouded, blurred or dim vision
  • Increasing difficulty with vision at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision in a single eye

Once a person cannot clear their vision with prescription glasses and the cataract is interfering with normal daily activities including driving at night and reading, surgery is the only effect treatment.  The procedure involves removing the damaged lens and replacing it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, which becomes a permanent part of the eye.

The surgery is done on an outpatient basis and the person experiences a few days of discomfort.  The complete healing process takes about eight weeks.  If a patient needs surgery on both eyes, the second one is done once the first eye has healed. 

This post is for informational purposes only, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand our exceptional memory care in Colorado Springs. 

Sources:

aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/adult-vision-19-to-40-years-of-age/adult-vision-over-60-years-of-age?sso=y

mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/symptoms-causes/dxc-20215129

 

 

Seniors Need Good Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle

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Even for older adults, good nutrition is important for a healthy lifestyle.  A study from the National Institute of Health (NIH) states that “a good diet in your later years reduces your risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart diseases and certain cancers. As you age, you might need less energy. But you still need just as many of the nutrients in food.“

As a part of their findings, they recommend avoiding foods loaded with empty calories such as potato chips, cookies, soda and alcohol to ensure you get your proper amount of daily nutrients.  Instead they advise eating wholesome, nutrient-rich foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated or trans fats.

One of the benefits of eating well is that it may help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type II diabetes and bone loss as well as some types of cancer.  In fact if you already suffer from one of those diseases, maintaining a healthy diet along with staying physically active can help you to better manage them.  Additionally adopting a healthy diet can help to reduce your blood pressure and lower your cholesterol.

Wholesome, healthy foods help keep muscles, bones, organs, and other body parts strong and vitamin-rich food can boost immunity and fight against illness-causing toxins.  Furthermore, a healthy diet can help you feel better as well as give you more energy.

At MorningStar Senior Living of Billings, we wholeheartedly agree that good nutrition is important for seniors.  This is why our residents are served meals that are not only very healthy but also delicious.  Each of our meals are served restaurant-style in a beautiful dining room and prepared by our Executive Chef.  Please contact us to learn more about our wide range of services and programs offered by MorningStar.

This post is for informational purposes only.  Please consult your medical provider regarding any health concerns or questions. 

MorningStar Senior Living of Billings represents the finest in senior living with a mission “to honor, to serve, to invest.”  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting team members with a felt calling to serve.  Dedicated to creating a real home for residents, we encourage you to visit to see for yourself our exceptional community for independent and assisted living.