3 Tips for Managing Your Medication

Managing multiple medications is a difficult task, especially for people over the age of 65 who take 2-7 prescription drugs a day on average. As you begin taking more prescription drugs, accidents like skipping a dose, overdosing, or taking it with something you shouldn’t can cause dangerous side effects.

Keeping track of all your medications can get complicated. How and when you take medications, the foods and beverages you consume with them, and even where you store your pills play an important role in your health. Here are 3 essential tips to help you better manage your medication, from Everyday Health:

Know Your Medication Facts:

Educate yourself on the type of medication you have been prescribed. Ask your doctor or pharmacist questions about what you’re taking to get a good understanding on their purpose, possible side effects, how and when you should take them, and anything else that you need to know – even what to do when you skip a dose by accident.

Make a List:

Create a running list of all your prescription medications, over-the- counter drugs, herbal supplements and vitamins you take. Bring it with you to all of your doctor’s appointments, any time you go to the hospital and to your pharmacy. If possible, opt to visit the same pharmacy every time your fill a prescription, so that they can easily find records and be on the lookout for potential interactions or medication side effects.

Don’t Take a Day Off:

It is extremely important to take your pills as prescribed. Using a daily pill case will help indicate if you have taken your medication each day. Another easy way to avoid forgetting is to take your pills at the same time every day. By associating taking your medication with your daily routine, it will become a habit. Try taking your pills right before your daily walk, when you brush your teeth or at the start of your favorite program.

Types Of Retirement Community Care

There are many options out there for your retirement, and it can be confusing to know what choices to make! Many retirement communities identify by lifestyle options and the type of care one may need. You will most often see the terms “Independent Living,” “Assisted Living,” “Rehabilitation,” and “Long-Term Care” through your retirement community research. In this article, we’ll explain the difference between these levels of care so you can better understand what type of community you are looking for.

Independent Living offers the opportunity to continue living an active lifestyle without the burdens of home ownership. In an apartment-style community, you will live near other people of the same age and similar interests! You will experience all the amenities of a retirement community, including social activities and interesting day trips. The best part is not having to shovel all the Iowa snow!

Assisted Living is for those whose medical, memory or aging issues reduce your ability to safely stay in your own home. It is designed for folks who can live on their own for the most part, but who need some help with day-to-day activities such as dressing, bathing, medication reminders or other personal services. Assisted Living still provides personal privacy and autonomy, but offers services for personal care.

Rehabilitation Facilities are a place for individuals to recover after surgery or other illness. On average, people stay at a Rehabilitation Facility for 30-60 days. During their stay, an individual has access to Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy services, along with the other types of care he or she may need during the recovery period.

Long-Term Care Facilities provide a variety of services that help meet both medical and non-medical needs of individuals with chronic illness or disability who cannot care for themselves for long periods of time. Long-term care assists with normal daily tasks like dressing, feeding and using the bathroom. They also receive frequent care from skilled practitioners addressing the needs associated with their chronic conditions.

Lastly, a Continuing Care Retirement Community offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Rehabilitation and Long Term Care options. These communities eliminate the need to look for a new place to live as your health needs change.

Strength Training May Give Boost to Seniors’ Brains

Elderly women noticing the first signs of memory decline might ward off full-blown dementia by engaging in routine strength training, new research suggests.

But while supervised weight-lifting seemed to boost mental functioning among those struggling with incipient memory loss, aerobics-based activity programs did not confer a similar mental health benefit, the study team found.

“Most studies have looked at aerobic training, but this study compares both aerobic and strength training,” explained study co-author Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an assistant professor in the department of physical therapy at the University of British Columbia. “And among people who don’t yet have dementia but are already at a high risk in terms of mild memory and executive function impairment, our study shows that strength training, but not aerobics training, does have benefits for cognition.”

Liu-Ambrose, also an investigator at the university’s Center for Hip Health and Mobility and the Brain Research Center, and her colleagues outlined their findings in the April 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The authors noted that dementia is a huge public health concern, with a new case diagnosed somewhere in the world every 7 seconds.

Among the elderly, mild “cognitive,” or mental, impairment is viewed as an indicator of future full-blown dementia risk, as well as a chance to perhaps intervene with some form of treatment that might lower that risk.

Previously, the study team found that a year of twice-weekly resistance (strength) classes seemed to boost overall cognitive capacity among mentally healthy elderly women.

This time, the team focused on women between 70 and 80 years old who had complained of memory difficulties and were deemed to have “probable” mild cognitive impairment.

For six months, the women engaged in 60-minute classes twice a week. One-third were randomly assigned to a strength-training program that included lifting weights; one-third walked outdoors in an aerobics program; and one-third took basic balance and toning classes.

Seventy-seven women completed the program, which included standard verbal and visual memory tests, and decision-making and problem-solving tasks. Almost one-third underwent functional MRI at the start and end of the study to look for brain activity changes.

After 6 months, compared to those in the balance/tone classes, the strength-training group was found to have experienced “significant” cognitive improvement.

The strength-training group also experienced activity changes in three specific parts of the brain’s cortex associated with cognitive behavior, the researchers found. These changes were not seen among the balance/tone group.

As for the aerobics group, while significant physical improvements were cited relative to the balance/tone group, this group did not appear to accrue the same mental benefits as the strength-training group.

The findings might even be conservative, the authors said, because many women skipped classes.

The team cautioned that their findings may not necessarily apply to women of a different age group, or to men in general.

Catherine Roe, an assistant professor of neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, hailed the effort as a “worthwhile avenue of exploration” while also expressing some surprise.

“There is certainly other work that has also suggested that exercise can be beneficial cognitively,” she noted. “Participation in physical activity definitely seems to help preserve memory and thinking skills.”

To that point, Liu-Ambrose said that for now, her team could only hypothesize.

“It could be that resistance-training requires more learning and monitoring by its very nature,” she said. “If you’re lifting weights you have to monitor your sets, your reps, you use weight machines and you have to adjust the seat, etc. But with walking it’s much more natural for most, so there’s less cognitive involvement. But at this point we don’t have a clear idea of what’s going on at the mechanistic level.”

Liu-Ambrose also acknowledged that longer-term benefits remain unknown. “But I would say that overall physical activity of this sort is a pretty promising strategy, because it’s one of the few interventions that can be delivered globally, and it’s pretty inexpensive compared with other approaches.”

7 Steps to Healthy Aging, Happy Aging

Getting older involves change, both negative and positive, but you can enjoy aging if you understand what’s going on with your body and take steps to maintain your health.

Many different things happen to your body as you age. Your skin, bones, and even brain may start to behave differently. Don’t let the changes that come with old age catch you by surprise.

Here are some of the common ones:

  • Your bones. Bones can become thinner and more brittle in old age, especially in women, sometimes resulting in the fragile bone condition called osteoporosis. Thinning bones and decreasing bone mass can put you at risk for falls that can easily result in broken bones. Be sure to talk with your physician about what you can do to prevent osteoporosis and falls.
  • Your heart. While a healthy diet and regular exercise can keep your heart healthy, it may become slightly enlarged, your heart rate may lower, and the walls of the heart may thicken.
  • Your brain and nervous system. Getting older can cause changes in your reflexes and even your senses. While dementia is not a normal consequence of old age, it is common for people to experience someslight forgetfulness as they get older. Cells in the brain and nerves can be damaged by the formation of plaques and tangles, abnormalities that could eventually lead to dementia.
  • Your digestive system. As you age, your digestive tract becomes more firm and rigid, and doesn’t contract as often. This change can lead to problems such as constipation, stomach pain, and feelings of nausea; a better diet can help.
  • Your senses. You may notice that your vision and hearing aren’t quite as sharp as they once were. You may start to lose your sense of taste — flavors may not seem as distinct to you. Your senses of smell and touch may also weaken. Your body is taking longer to react and needs more to stimulate it.
  • Your teeth. The tough enamel that protects your teeth from decay can start to wear away over the years, leaving you susceptible to cavities. Gum disease is also a concern for older adults. Good dental hygienecan protect your teeth and gums. Dry mouth, which is a common side effect of many medications that seniors take, may also be a problem.
  • Your skin. With old age, your skin loses its elasticity and may start to sag and wrinkle. However, the more you protected your skin from sun damage and smoking when you were younger, the better your skin will look as you get older. Start protecting your skin now to prevent further damage, as well as skin cancer.