Sun Protection is Still Important for Seniors

Assisted Living Phoenix AZ

Now that summer is here, it is important to apply sunscreen if you are going to be outside for any length of time regardless of your age.  Sometimes seniors mistakenly think since they have never had skin cancer, they probably are not going to get it now.  However the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) warns that older adults have already sustained decades of damage from the sun, which increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

The SCF explains that, “Suffering just five sunburns over your lifetime more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma, and each successive tan or sunburn raises the risks further.”  While it is not known how much damage results in skin cancer, we do know it is important to continue to protect our skin.

In addition statistics show skin cancer to be on the rise.  Scientists speculate one reason for this is the earth’s ozone layer has depleted, which is allowing increased levels of UV-B to reach the Earth.  This compounds the negative effects of spending too much time in the sun and can cause the development of wrinkles and premature aging skin.  Wearing sunscreen can also help prevent facial brown spots and skin discolorations as well as reduce the appearance of facial red veins and blotchiness.

The experts stress that sun precautions for seniors is fairly easy.  To start with, stay out of tanning beds.  Use effective sun protection and avoid spending time outdoors between 10 AM and 4 PM when UV rays are the most intense.  Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sun-safe clothing and UV-filtering sunglasses.  Sunscreen should be SPF 15 or higher, and if you intend to be out for longer periods, use a water resistance 30+ SPF.  Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming.

There is no need to worry about a lack of Vitamin D if you always wear sunscreen.  Doctors report you get your vitamin D requirement of 600 IU or 15mcg per day with normal daily outdoor activities of five to 30 minutes two times a week.

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 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.

 

 

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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

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

Stay Well Hydrated this Summer

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Now that summer is here seniors need to remember to stay hydrated.  There are several reasons why the elderly are more at risk for dehydration starting with the fact that as we age, our sense of thirst diminishes so we may forget to drink.  In addition medications commonly prescribed to seniors such as diuretics, antipsychotics and corticosteroids can affect a senior’s ability to maintain fluids.  Also our bodies do not conserve fluids as well as when we were younger.  Lastly it can be difficult for older adults to adapt to fluctuating temperatures, which may cause them to overheat quicker.

Dehydration can also occur in individuals with dementia as the disease causes them to forget to eat and drink, and in the more advanced stages, many people have trouble swallowing.  Furthermore, seniors with incontinent problems sometimes purposely limit their fluid intake as a way to avoid accidents.

Whatever the reason, dehydration can lead to serious health problems and as the outside temperatures soar, seniors must take care.  Experts recommend seniors get about 64 ounces of fluids a day, and in hot and humid weather or any changes in medical conditions or medications, you may need to drink even more.

To make it easier to drink more water, try mixing in a little juice or fruit or add a flavored water enhancer.  Other types of foods that help increase your fluid intake include savory broths, fruits such as watermelon, grapes, oranges and cantaloupe, smoothies, and herbal iced teas.

At MorningStar at Arrowhead, we understand the need for seniors to take extra care during the summer months.  Our excellent food service is comprised of lots of fresh foods and healthy, refreshing beverages.  Our community includes 60 assisted living suites and 25 secure suites in our Reflections Neighborhood for those with Alzheimer’s and other memory impairments.  Please visit our website to schedule a tour of our gorgeous community.

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.

 

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

 

 

Pets are Good Companions for Seniors

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Many studies have discovered that pets can be very beneficial for the elderly.  For example the various tasks that goes along with caring for a dog such as taking them for a walk offers good cardiovascular exercise for seniors.  Additionally petting, grooming and feeding a pet help to keep seniors engaged in life and give them a sense of purpose.

Pets also offer unconditional love and their loyal companionship can help alleviant loneliness.  Research points to evidence that pet and human interactions can help to lower cholesterol levels, fight depression, and reduce stress, which is why it is so beneficial to the elderly. In fact researchers report that “15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.”

It used to be that when someone moved into a retirement community they had to give up their pet.  Now more and more senior living communities have recognized the benefits of pets and allow seniors to bring them.  Pets can even be beneficial to others living in the community and help draw out residents that may not be very communicative.

At MorningStar of Billings, we could not agree more about the benefits of pets.  Our community is pet friendly and we even have a community pet.  Grace, a Golden Doodle, joined our MorningStar family in 2015 and we all think that she is the cutest dog on the planet.  If no one is around to cuddle with Grace, she is content to sit quietly in her corner and chew on her rawhide rope.

Please visit our website to learn about the best senior living community in the west end of Billings.  While we offer a country setting, our community is located near shopping centers and medical facilities. Our community has independent living, assisted living and memory care.

MorningStar Senior Living of Billings represents the finest in senior living with our unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.”  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve in order to provide a true home for residents.  Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.  

Source: aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/pet-friendly-assisted-living     

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