Aging brings an increased risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and cancer, as well as an increased risk of falls. However, there are many things that you and/or your loved ones can do to prevent or manage these health conditions.
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one out of four older adults falls each year and 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition.
Falls and chronic conditions can limit an older adult's ability to perform daily activities of living and can limit their independence, which could result in the need for institutional care, in-home caregivers, or other long-term services and supports.
Resources for Older Adults
Top Ten Foot Health Tips
Diseases, disorders and disabilities of the foot or ankle affect the quality of life and mobility of millions of Americans. However, the general public and even many physicians are unaware of the important relationship between foot health and overall health and well-being. With this in mind, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) would like to share a few tips to help keep feet healthy.
- Don't ignore foot pain-it's not normal. If the pain persists, see a podiatric physician.
- Inspect your feet regularly. Pay attention to changes in color and temperature of your feet. Look for thick or discolored nails (a sign of developing fungus), and check for cracks or cuts in the skin. Peeling or scaling on the soles of feet could indicate athlete's foot. Any growth on the foot is not considered normal.
- Wash your feet regularly, especially between the toes, and be sure to dry them completely.
- Trim toenails straight across, but not too short. Be careful not to cut nails in corners or on the sides; it can lead to ingrown toenails. Persons with diabetes, poor circulation or heart problems should not treat their own feet because they are more prone to infection.
- Make sure that your shoes fit properly. Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet tend to be at their largest and replace worn out shoes as soon as possible.
- Select and wear the right shoe for the activity that you are engaged in (i.e. running shoes for running).
- Alternate shoes-don't wear the same pair of shoes every day.
- Avoid walking barefooted-your feet will be more prone to injury and infection. At the beach or when wearing sandals always use sunblock on your feet as the rest of your body.
- Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments; self-treatment can often turn a minor problem into a major one.
- If you are a person with diabetes it is vital that you see a podiatric physician at least once a year for a check-up.
Online Resources for Foot Health
What is blood pressure?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day.
What do blood pressure numbers mean?
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats. If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, “120 over 80,” or write, “120/80 mmHg.”
What are normal blood pressure numbers?
A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg.
What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
American Heart Association: Blood Pressure Categories
What can I do to prevent high blood pressure?
- Eat a healthy diet that is filled with fruits and vegetables, high in potassium, protein, and fiber, and low in sodium (salt).
- The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan is a healthy diet plan with a proven record of helping people lower their blood pressure.
- Be physically active: The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week.
- Keep yourself at a healthy weight by calculating your BMI often.
- Do not smoke: smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at an increased risk for stroke and heart attack. Learn more about all of the benefits of quitting smoking and how you can quit here.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink: alcohol raises your blood pressure.
- Get enough sleep: most adult need at least 7 hours of sleep.
Online Resources for Hypertension
Classes to Prevent/Manage Hypertension
- Register here
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. Falling is not a normal part of aging.
Falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact. A growing number of older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness. You can prevent falls by doing the right exercises, making your home safer, getting regular health checkups, and more.
Resources and Tips to Prevent Falls
- Bathroom Safety: Non-Slip Bath Mats, Grab Bars, and Raised Toilet Seat
- Winter Safety: Sand/Salt on Sidewalks and Driveway and Ice Cleats
- Stair Safety: Handrails
- Night Safety: Night Lights
- Home Safety: Medical Alert System and First Aid Kit
- Floor Safety: Rugs and Cables/Cords
- Personal Health: Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Expired Medications and Vision/Hearing Health
- Foot Safety: Foot Health and Proper Footwear
- Take the Falls Free Checkup Tool
- Complete the Home Safety Assessment
- Fill out a "File of Life" Card
Online Classes for Falls Prevention
Whitney Senior Center Classes: Register Here
- SAIL (Stay Independent for Life)
- Aging Mastery Program
- Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance
- Walk with Ease for Arthritis
- Yoga, Gentle Pilates, Silver Sneakers, Zumba
Juniper Classes: Find a Class Here
What is dementia?
Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Though dementia mostly affects older adults, it is not a part of normal aging.
Isn't dementia a normal part of aging?
No, many older adults live their entire lives without developing dementia. Normal aging may include weakening muscles and bones, stiffening of arteries and vessels, and some age-related memory changes that may show as:
- Occasionally misplacing car keys
- Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
- Forgetting the name of an acquaintance
- Forgetting the most recent events
Normally, knowledge and experiences built over years, old memories, and language would stay intact.
What are the signs and symptoms of dementia?
Because dementia is a general term, its symptoms can vary widely from person to person. People with dementia have problems with:
- Reasoning, judgment, and problem solving
- Visual perception beyond typical age-related changes in vision
Signs that may point to dementia include:
- Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
- Using unusual words to refer to familiar objects
- Forgetting the name of a close family member or friend
- Forgetting old memories
- Not being able to complete tasks independently
What increases the risk for dementia?
Age: The strongest known risk factor for dementia is increasing age, with most cases affecting those of 65 years and older
Family history: Those who have parents or siblings with dementia are more likely to develop dementia themselves.
Race/ethnicity: Older African Americans are twice more likely to have dementia than whites. Hispanics 1.5 times more likely to have dementia than whites.
Poor heart health: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking increase the risk of dementia if not treated properly.
Traumatic brain injury: Head injuries can increase the risk of dementia, especially if they are severe or occur repeatedly.
How is dementia diagnosed?
A healthcare provider can perform tests on attention, memory, problem solving and other cognitive abilities to see if there is cause for concern. A physical exam, blood tests, and brain scans like a CT or MRI can help determine an underlying cause.