Sunday, August 30, 2015

Help Aging Parents: Maintaining Mobility into Old, Old Age-The Dangers of Sitting Too Much

                                  Walk More. Sit Less
How limiting is life for those with curtailed mobility?

Look around…so many people with canes and walkers as our population ages. Based on the Tufts U. publication–reprinted below–it seems their numbers would lessen if the elderly couch potatoes we care about (as well as those of us who now spend hours sitting at a desk), make it a point to take breaks for a brief walk. What could be easier?

The importance of older peoples’ walking is nothing new to longtime readers of my blog.  “If you begin a daily walking program at age 45, you could delay immobility to 90 and beyond. If you become a couch potato at 45 and remain so, immobility can encroach as early as 60.” So says Mark Lachs, author of Treat Me, Not My Age.  

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Aging Parents--Summer Heat: How Often Should Elderly People Bathe?

Summer heat makes daily showering/bathing a necessity for many. But what about  elderly people's more fragile skin?

I remember my Dad's talking about his oldest sister--in her early 90's. She had recently moved to assisted living and her daughters (Dad's nieces) had complained to him that she was only allowed to shower once--or twice (I've forgotten--it was many years ago) a week. I was young then; no doubt overheard the conversation and found it strange.

One wonders if assisted-living administrators require their "residents" to have an aide assist them when bathing or showering?  And/or is the two-day-a-week bathing/showering limit to save money and time? Or is it better for elderly skin not to have too much soap and water exposure?

Sr. Advisor D, now 90,  to the rescue. She went for her annual dermatologist appointment recently and put the question to her dermatologist--a well-known "Top Doc" in Westchester County (NY), who said in essence:

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cleaning Out Elderly Parents' Home After Death: 7 Tips--Part 2 Efficiency, Emotional Considerations


Phase 5. Cleaning Out--Unwanted Books and Valuables. In both homes there were unwanted things that we thought had value. In most cases, upon checking, the value was far less than we thought.

I don't know how "value" affects the donation slips nonprofit organizations willingly provide, where we are responsible for writing in the value of each item. I somehow have wondered for many years how the IRS looks at that.

I do know, since we didn't live close to our parents, keeping unwanted inherited stuff takes up room, can be costly to store or ship. Thus we usually gave it away in hopes someone else or a nonprofit would appreciate it. (Didn't bother with the donation slip.)

Some of my parents' books had religious themes. I took those to the care facility run by the religious institution. They were grateful to have them. Since the famous Powell's Book Store was close, I took some books there. However, carrying heavy books for the small amount of money they generated, wasn't worth it to me. (Powell's link says they cover freight costs.)

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cleaning Out Elderly Parents' Homes AFTER death or moving--Part 1

Family Photos and Memorabilia Two family homes cleaned out in 12 months. Whether this makes me an expert at emptying elderly parents' homes is questionable; but I am experienced and more efficient. Here's what I've learned:

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Aging Parents: How One Elder Lived Independently, Alone and Well To 101--Part 2

Our Role in Combating Social Isolation

As those we care about enter old age, we tend to visit them--in their home; in assisted living; in a rehab center--or nursing home if allowed. Why not make the effort to take them out and give them a change of scenery? Otherwise, doesn't our visit usually go something like this: We visit. We make conversation. They listen and respond. They remain in place. We leave.

It's easier for us for many reasons, but is it better for them? Taking them out provides:

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Aging Parents: How One Elder Lived Independently, Alone and Well To 101--Part 1

Aging Alone and Well. Defying the Statistics

"Do you like being alone?"  This question begins "A Solitary Life Carries Risk" in the NY Times "Well" section. I'd saved it since March. While it's aimed at us, based on research following around 3.4 million people over 7 years, it concludes “Although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, physical health is not among them.” Indeed the lead researcher says  “Social isolation significantly predicts risk for premature mortality comparable to other well established risk factors."

If married or with a partner, it's inevitable one of us will be left alone. How did Sr. Advisor R, who lived alone since being widowed at 50, defy these sobering statistics? A simplistic answer could be that she maintained social connections, which all studies have found is important in aging well. That said, here's the additional--

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