Archive for Care & Comfort

Elderly Care Resources: Bunions

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Elderly Care Resources: Bunions

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Bunions can be some of the most painful things a human can get, and can completely throw off your balance, your stride, and even the ability to walk. Normally occurring at the joints of the toes, most commonly the big toe, there can be swelling, as well as significant amounts of pain. Certain things can be done without seeing a doctor, but if the pain is too great, contact your doctor immediately.

Buying the correct types of shoes can help with basic daily function. Shoes with a wider toe box that do not put pressure on to the area where the bunion is will help. Also, seeing your Podiatrist, or Pedorthist, can help point you in the right direction. Pedorthists may offer more ways to help fix your bunions than going a surgical route, although in certain cases surgery may be unavoidable.

Recently we have begun to do some work with those at Summit Pedorthics. They are based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and service anyone willing to travel to their location. In some cases, the owner, and Certified Pedorthist, will travel with prior arrangements. If you ever have questions about your feet, they are the people to ask!

Check out their latest post about Bunions, in their new series titled, “Bunions, Calluses & Corns. Oh My!”

Check back for more articles, soon!

 

 

 

World Scleroderma Day!! What do You Know About this Disease?

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World Scleroderma Day!! What do you know about this disease?

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Many of our readers deal with Systemic Scleroderma on their skin, in patches around their legs, hips, and joints. Many of your hands are inflamed, sore, and taught. Many of you just wish for some relief, minus the piles of pills, heating pads, and ice packs. Minus the breathing machines, chemo meds, and insomnia.

On World Scleroderma Day, it’s everyone’s chance to help spread the word on this autoimmune disease. One of the worst in the list of diseases, this hardens your body often from the inside out, or vice versa- from the outside in. Normally there is no rhyme or reason. Something triggers inside your body, and your body begins attacking its own organs. Over and over. Relentlessly. The only way to stop the attacks are to take massive amounts of steroids, chemo, or other immune suppressants to control the flares. Sometimes those meds cause a whole other list of issues that sometimes, don’t feel necessary to go through.

This blog post is from our friend, Author Skye Falcon. She deals with Scleroderma, and often writes about the tribulations and trials that life throws in her way. She asks for people to help spread the word about this, “excuse the humor…..very HARD disease.” Check out her post.

Please take a moment to like this blog, or share it, if you know someone who has, or is going through, a fight with an autoimmune disease. Comment with the disease that’s stealing days away from your friends or loved ones. Let’s spread the word on all the diseases, and get more accessible endocrine and genetic testing! Consider using this icon on your social media pages to show your support!!

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Winter Safety 2014 Midwest Edition

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Winter Safety 2014 Midwest Edition

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Seriously. If you’re living in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, or Wisconsin, chances are you’re pretty much up to your eyeballs in snow. Better yet? I’m awaiting another foot of snow predicted to fall this afternoon and through the night tonight. So, I thought it a perfect time to remind you of the importance of checking on the elderly and seniors in the winter!!

First and foremost, make sure that they have enough food to get them through the WEEK of predicted bad weather. You don’t want to get a call a Monday, after your store trip the past weekend, declaring that she’s ran out of toilet paper. Better yet, make them a weather care package, and fill it with all the essentials. Paper products, water, medicines, flashlights, radios, hand warmers, and anything else your loved one may need.

Second, make sure to call and check on them, or communicate via social media or email, if that is an option. Many times in high snow totals, and ice, the elderly will stay indoors for weeks upon end, fearing the possible slip or accident if they travel outdoors. Making sure that they have an outlet to the outside world is more important than ever at this time of year. The winter blues come upon even the strongest adults, so it’s only natural that it hits those trapped indoors faster, and harder than others.

Thirdly, ensure that they have some of the proper items to ensure they’ll stay warm, and be as safe as they can being on their own in this horrendous winter weather! The links on the items below will take you to Amazon, which a very safe, and secure site!

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AAA 42 Piece Roadside Kit

This kit ensures that your loved one has what they need in case of a roadside emergency. This compact kit contains the following items: 1 AAA car care guide, 1 AAA membership brochure, 1 8-gauge booster cable, 1 flashlight, 2 AA batteries, 1 emergency poncho, 1 safety vest, 1 roll of duct tape, 1 2-in-1 screw driver, 6 assorted sizes of fuses, 1 shop cloth, 4 cable ties, 1 reusable zip lock bag, 19 pieces of first aid, 1 AAA storage bag, and information. Definitely worth the cost, if your elderly loved one is still driving the town!

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HotHands Warmers- 40 pair box

These are fabulous inventions that work well for the elderly, as well as those suffering from autoimmune issues. I use these regularly to be able to go out in temperatures below 45 degrees. They last for over 8 hours, which is plenty of time for most outings. They work well in pockets, shoes, pants pockets, shirt pockets, hats, and more!

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Safe Paw Non-toxic Ice Melt, 8lbs

This is detrimental for making sure that we don’t have falls on the front porch, or by the back door where they let the pets outside. This brand is wonderful, because it is pet safe, taking away of their worry about hurting Fido’s paws.

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Kiddie Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC 

Many of our elderly relatives that are still living on their own, are in older houses, and electrics and things sometimes go haywire after years. Arming your relative with a chance to save the kitchen, or a bedroom with a fire extinguisher, may save their life! And possibly the residence! However, not just seniors should have these! Every household should have at least one fire extinguisher!

Be safe the rest of this winter, Midwest!

How Seniors Can Ease Their Recovery After Hip Replacement Surgery

How Seniors Can Ease Their Recovery After Hip Replacement Surgery

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Hip replacement surgery is a major event. Choosing to replace a joint is often a last resort, and you may be worried about the road to recovery after surgery. How long will it take? How much pain will there be? How much work will it take to get back to normal? It’s important to do as much research as possible beforehand so that you have a solid plan when you start your recovery.

First Steps
The good news about hip replacement surgery is that you’re almost certainly better off once you’ve had it. The debilitating pain, inflammation and lack of mobility that went along with your worn-out joint will be taken care of, so you should start feeling better very soon.
Before your surgery, be sure to talk to your doctor about which implant will be used. This is important because some artificial hips are more dangerous than others. For example, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem systems have been linked to very serious complications and were actually recalled in 2012. Other metal-on-metal hips are still on the market, however, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about the safety record of your implant.

Therapy and Recovery
After your surgery, you’re hopefully on your way to a better quality of life. After a few days of rest and limited mobility, you should be ready to start physical therapy. Small exercises are the first step. You should work with a professional physical therapist three to four times per week. He or she will give you additional advice and exercises.

To make your recovery easier, you’re going to need help around the house. Hip surgery means no driving for at least 3-6 weeks, so someone will have to help you with errands. You will also be limited in mobility overall; shopping, cleaning, cooking and other everyday activities can get a lot harder when you can’t move around very well. If you have family members who are willing to pitch in, that’s fantastic. Otherwise, you may need a few weeks of helpful home care.

It’s important to increase your level of physical activity and exercise as you gain more mobility and heal from your surgery. Within six weeks, you should be able to return to a full level of activity, which is vital to the recovery process. Push yourself, but not too hard, as falling or straining could damage your hip all over again.

Recovering from surgery is never easy. But if you arm yourself with a plan and prepare in advance, you can make it a little easier on yourself.

Jennifer Mesko is the managing editor of Drugwatch.com, a website that keeps consumers informed about dangerous prescription drugs and defective medical devices. Join the Drugwatch community on our facebook page to find out more.

 

Thanks to our newest guest bloggers from Drugwatch.com!! 🙂

Can Grandma really help You stay Calm? And vice versa?

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Can Grandma really help you stay calm? And vice versa?

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This week this news story has hit many local news programs, as well as the major ones like the Today Show, and Good Morning America. We pulled this article from UsNews.com, and it is posted below for your reading pleasure. I think that this is absolutely right. When my grandma was a daily part of my life, she was there to lean on when I was having a bad day, or was stressed out. She never had the answers to fix my complex issues, but supported me and comforted my crazy times. In turn, I was a phone call, or a car ride away when she was having troubles, too. (Of course, other people helped her, too. Thought I’d better disclose that….as we’re all still paying for some of my first posts!) Nowadays, I miss the every day calls. I miss having that calm, giggly voice to see my troubles through with me. I miss the long talks about the past, the stories of her growing up, and chips & cottage cheese. My kids miss craft time & silly songs. But, we do still have her big smiles, and her hugs. And faces… they just get sillier.

Thanks for always helping me lose my stress, Grandma C. Glad I could return the favor when it mattered most. ?

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Closeness Between Grandparents, Adult Grandkids May Ease Depression

MONDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) — A good relationship between grandparents and their adult grandchildren can provide a psychological boost for both generations, according to a new study.
Researchers from Boston College found this type of close-knit bond was linked to fewer symptoms of depression for both the seniors and the young adults. And the closer the emotional ties, the bigger the benefit, they found.
In conducting the study, Sara Moorman, an assistant professor in the sociology department, and Jeffrey Stokes, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Boston College, examined survey data involving 376 grandparents and 340 grandchildren collected between 1985 and 2004. The grandparents were born on average in 1917, and the grandchildren on average in 1963.
The study also showed the grandparents who provided their grandchildren with tangible support — which included performing a household chore, giving advice, or offering some pocket money — and received similar support from their grandchildren in return had the fewest symptoms of depression. This type of support, however, did not affect the psychological well-being of grandchildren, the researchers noted.
On the other hand, the grandparents with the most significant increase in symptoms of depression received tangible support but did not give it, the researchers pointed out. The authors suggested that grandparents who receive help but can’t return the favor may feel bad or frustrated about having to depend on their grandchildren.
The study authors concluded that strengthening family bonds should go beyond the nuclear family and young children. They added that adult grandchildren who offer tangible support to their grandparents, and allow their grandparents to give them something in return could help reduce their symptoms of depression.
Moorman, who is also with the Institute on Aging at Boston College, is scheduled to present the findings Monday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, in New York City.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Copyright© 2012 HealthDay

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Resources Used:
health day.com (for original article)
Usnews.com-read story first here

Elderly Oral Care Information

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 Elderly Oral Care Information

In all the care giving, appointments, trips, and favors… Oral care always seems to be the thing that’s left out!! There are many things that involve the mouth that people may not think of off the bat. Good oral hygiene doesn’t just give you a pretty, white smile! The care you provide to your teeth and gums really does affect the overall health of ones body! Having an oral infection for long, or any infection for that matter, will eventually equal bacteria in your blood stream, and worse. Don’t neglect your mouth! Check out the information below on oral health, tips, and what to do when it gets bad!~

 

*Gum Disease
Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along and under the gum line. This plaque causes infections that hurt the gum and bone that hold teeth in place. Sometimes gum disease makes your gums tender and more likely to bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can often be fixed by daily brushing and flossing.
A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis, needs to be treated by a dentist. If not treated, this infection can ruin the bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. Over time, your teeth may have to be removed.
To prevent gum disease:
*Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
*Floss once a day.
*Visit your dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning.
*Eat a well-balanced diet.
*Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk for gum disease

 

*Tooth Decay
Teeth are covered in a hard, outer coating called enamel. Every day, a thin film of bacteria called dental plaque builds up on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can begin to harm enamel. Over time, the acids can cause a hole in the enamel. This hole is called a cavity. Brushing and flossing your teeth can protect you from decay, but once a cavity happens, a dentist has to fix it.
You can protect your teeth from decay by using fluoride toothpaste. If you are at a higher risk for tooth decay (for example, if you have a dry mouth because of medicines you take), you might need more fluoride. Your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit. Or, the dentist may tell you to use a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at home.

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*Cleaning your Teeth and Gums
There is a right way to brush and floss your teeth. Every day:
Gently brush your teeth on all sides with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.
Use small circular motions and short back-and-forth strokes.
Take the time to brush carefully and gently along the gum line.
Lightly brush your tongue to help keep your mouth clean.
People with arthritis or other conditions that limit hand motion may find it hard to hold and use a toothbrush. Some helpful ideas are:
*Use an electric or battery-operated toothbrush.
*Slide a bicycle grip or foam tube over the handle of the toothbrush.
*Buy a toothbrush with a larger handle.
*Attach the toothbrush handle to your hand with a wide elastic band.
*You also need to clean around your teeth with dental floss every day. Careful flossing will take off plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can’t reach. Be sure to rinse after you floss.
*See your dentist if brushing or flossing causes your gums to bleed or hurts your mouth. If you have trouble flossing, a floss holder may help. Ask your dentist to show you the right way to floss.

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*Dry Mouth
Dry mouth happens when you don’t have enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet. Many common medicines can cause dry mouth. That can make it hard to eat, swallow, taste, and even speak. Dry mouth can cause tooth decay and other infections of the mouth.
There are some things you can try that may help with dry mouth. Try sipping water or sugarless drinks. Don’t smoke and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Sugarless hard candy or sugarless gum may help. Your dentist or doctor might suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet. Or they may have other ideas on how to cope with dry mouth.

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*Dentures
Sometimes, false teeth (dentures) are needed to replace badly damaged teeth. Partial dentures may be used to fill in one or more missing teeth. Dentures may feel strange at first. In the beginning, your dentist may want to see you often to make sure the dentures fit. Over time, your gums will change shape and your dentures may need to be adjusted or replaced. Be sure to let your dentist handle these adjustments.
When you are learning to eat with dentures, it may be easier if you:
*Start with soft, non-sticky food.
*Cut your food into small pieces.
*Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth.
*Be careful when wearing dentures because it may be harder for you to feel hot foods and drinks or notice bones in your mouth from your food.
*Keep your dentures clean and free from food that can cause stains, bad breath, or swollen gums. Brush them every day with a denture care product. *Take your dentures out of your mouth at night, and put them in water or a denture-cleansing liquid.

*Oral Cancer
Cancer of the mouth can grow in any part of the mouth or throat. It is more likely to happen in people over age 40. A dental checkup is a good time for your dentist to look for signs of oral cancer. Pain is not usually an early symptom of the disease. Treatment works best before the disease spreads. Even if you have lost all your natural teeth, you should still see your dentist for regular oral cancer exams.
You can lower your risk of getting oral cancer in a few ways:
*Do not use tobacco products—cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes, or cigars.
*If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.
*Use lip balm with sunscreen.

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*How to Find Low Cost Dental Care
Sometimes dental care can be costly. Medicare does not cover routine dental care. Very few states offer dental coverage under Medicaid. You may want to check out private dental insurance for older people. Make sure you are aware of the cost and what services are covered. The following resources may help you find low-cost dental care:
Some dental schools have clinics where students get experience treating patients at a reduced cost. Qualified dentists supervise the students. Visit www.ada.org for a list of U.S. dental schools.
Dental hygiene schools may offer supervised, low-cost care as part of the training experience for dental hygienists. See schools listed by State at www.adha.org.
Call your county or State health department to find dental clinics near you that charge based on your income.
Call 1-888-275-4772 (toll-free) to locate a community health center near you that offers dental services, or visit www.hrsa.gov (scroll down to “Find a Health Center”).

American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
1-800-621-8099 (toll-free)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse
1-866-232-4528

National Institute on Aging
Information Center
P.O. Box 8057
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057
1-800-222-2225 (toll-free)
1-800-222-4225 (TTY/toll-free)
www.nia.nih.gov/health
www.nia.nih.gov/espanol

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Resources Used:
Nia.nih.gov
Ada.org

All You Need is Hot, Steamy Lovin’ ….even if you’re 85!!

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All You Need is Hot, Steamy Lovin’ ….even if you’re 85!!

It’s only appropriate to discuss the issues that may arise (errr, or not rise?) for the elderly during sexual intimacy and intercourse on Valentine’s Day! As this is a day, that for millions, will end up in the bedroom at some point during the day. (Or, many points during the day, if you’re lucky.)
Physical intimacy is very important to any human beings life, and sexual intimacy is even better. Although, as one ages, certain aspects may come that make sex and orgasm harder to achieve for those over 60.

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-Normal Changes
There are many normal changes that occur in the human body for both men and women as we age. For women, vaginal dryness will occur. The vagina will also shorten, and the walls will stiffen; which will make sexual satisfaction possibly more difficult to achieve. As men get older, some will experience erectile dysfunction (ED), or become impotent. ED is the loss of ability to maintain or get an erection, and it is a very, very common problem. Once an erection is achieved, it may not be as hard, or as large as it once was. Every now and then a “flare up” of ED may occur, but if it is happening regularly, go talk with your doctor.

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-Common Causes of Other Sexual Problems
Some illnesses, diseases, medicines and other things can cause issues, too. Here’s a small list of common health issues interfering with intimacy.

Heart disease. Narrowing and hardening of the arteries can change blood vessels so that blood does not flow freely. As a result, men and women may have problems with orgasms, and men may have trouble with erections. People who have had a heart attack, or their partners, may be afraid that having sex will cause another attack. Sexual activity is often safe. Always follow your doctor’s advice.
Incontinence. Loss of bladder control or leaking of urine is more common as we grow older, especially in women. Extra pressure on the belly during sex can cause loss of urine, which may result in some people avoiding sex. This can be helped by a change in positions. The good news is that incontinence can usually be treated.
Stroke. The ability to have sex is sometimes affected by a stroke. A change in positions or medical devices may help people with ongoing weakness or paralysis to have sex. Some people with paralysis from the waist down are still able to experience orgasm and pleasure.
Arthritis. Joint pain due to arthritis can make sexual contact uncomfortable. Joint replacement surgery and drugs may relieve this pain. Exercise, rest, warm baths, and changing the position or timing of sexual activity can be helpful.
Chronic pain. Any constant pain can interfere with intimacy between older people. Chronic pain does not have to be part of growing older and can often be treated. But, some pain medicines can interfere with sexual function. You should always talk with your doctor if you have unwanted side effects from any medication.
Dementia. Some people with dementia show increased interest in sex and physical closeness, but they may not be able to judge what is appropriate sexual behavior. Those with severe dementia may not recognize their spouse, but still seek sexual contact. This can be a confusing problem for the spouse. A doctor, nurse, or social worker with training in dementia care may be helpful.
Diabetes. This is one of the illnesses that can cause ED in some men. In most cases, medical treatment can help. Less is known about how diabetes affects sexuality in older women. Women with diabetes are more likely to have vaginal yeast infections, which can cause itching and irritation and make sex uncomfortable or undesirable.

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-Other major contributing factors with Sexual Issues
Medications. Some drugs can cause sexual problems. These include some blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers, appetite suppressants, drugs for mental problems, and ulcer drugs. Some can lead to ED or make it hard for men to ejaculate. Some drugs can reduce a woman’s sexual desire or cause vaginal dryness or difficulty with arousal and orgasm. Check with your doctor. She or he may prescribe a different drug without this side effect.
Alcohol & Street Drug Use.  Too much alcohol can cause erection problems in men and delay orgasm in women. The same can be said for street drugs, as they also alter your ability to focus and think straight.
Surgery. Many of us worry about having any kind of surgery—it may be even more troubling when the breasts or genital area are involved. Most people do return to the kind of sex life they enjoyed before surgery.
Hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman’s uterus. Often, when an older woman has a hysterectomy, the ovaries are also removed. The surgery can leave both men and women worried about their sex lives. If you’re afraid that a hysterectomy will change your sex life, talk with your gynecologist or surgeon.
Mastectomy is surgery to remove all or part of a woman’s breast. This surgery may cause some women to lose their sexual desire or their sense of being desired or feeling feminine. In addition to talking with your doctor, sometimes it is useful to talk with other women who have had this surgery. Programs like the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) “Reach to Recovery” can be helpful for both women and men. If you want your breast rebuilt (reconstruction), talk to your cancer doctor or surgeon.
Prostatectomy is surgery that removes all or part of a man’s prostate because of cancer or an enlarged prostate. It may cause urinary incontinence or ED. If removal of the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy) is needed, talk to your doctor before surgery about your concerns.

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-The Emotional Factor
Many ask if emotions play any part of sexual intimacy, and they absolutely do! Sexuality is often a delicate balance of emotional and physical issues. How you feel may affect what you are able to do. Many older couples find greater satisfaction in their sex life than they did when they were younger. They have fewer distractions, more time and privacy, no worries about getting pregnant, and intimacy with a lifelong partner.
Some older people are concerned about sex as they age. A woman who is unhappy about how her looks are changing as she ages may think her partner will no longer find her attractive. This focus on youthful physical beauty may get in the way of her enjoyment of sex. Men may fear that ED will become a more common problem as they age. Most men have a problem with ED once in awhile. But, if you worry too much about that happening, you can cause enough stress to trigger ED.
Older couples face the same daily stresses that affect people of any age. They may also have the added concerns of age, illness, retirement, and other lifestyle changes, all of which may lead to sexual difficulties. Try not to blame yourself or your partner. You may find it helpful to talk to a therapist. Some therapists have special training in helping with sexual problems. If your male partner is troubled by ED or your female partner seems less interested in sex, don’t assume he or she is no longer interested in you or in sex. Many of the things that cause these problems can be helped.

-What can you do?
There are things you can do on your own for an active sexual life. Make your partner a high priority. Take time to enjoy each other and to understand the changes you both are facing. Try different positions and new times, like having sex in the morning when you both may be well rested. Don’t hurry—you or your partner may need to spend more time touching to become fully aroused. Masturbation is a sexual activity that many older people, with and without a partner, find satisfying.

Some older people, especially women, may have trouble finding a romantic or sexual partner. That’s because women tend to live longer than men. To meet new people, try activities that other seniors enjoy. Some ideas include mall walking, volunteer jobs, adult education classes at a community college, or day trips sponsored by your city or county recreation department.

Don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor if you have a problem that affects your sex life. He or she may be able to suggest a treatment. For example, the most common sexual difficulty of older women is painful intercourse caused by vaginal dryness. Your doctor or a pharmacist can suggest over-the-counter vaginal lubricants or moisturizers to use. Water-based lubricants are helpful when needed to make sex more comfortable. Moisturizers are used on a regular basis, every 2 or 3 days. Or, your doctor might suggest a form of vaginal estrogen.

If ED is the problem, it can often be managed and perhaps even reversed. There are pills that can help. They should not be used by men taking medicines containing nitrates, such as nitroglycerin. The pills do have possible side effects. Other available treatments include vacuum devices, self-injection of a drug, or penile implants.
Physical problems can change your sex life as you get older. But, you and your partner may discover you have a new closeness. Talk to your partner about your needs. You may find that affection—hugging, kissing, touching, and spending time together—can make a good beginning.

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If you have more questions, or would like more information on these topics, please visit:
www.nia.nih.gov
For Spanish speaking friends, try:
www.nia.nih.gov/espanol

More interesting articles:
-Would more sex in nursing homes help health and happiness?
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_sex_issue/2007/09/naughty_nursing_homes.html

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-For statistic on elderly lovin’, check out:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267340/

Resources Used:
Nih.gov

The Importance of Intimacy in our “Older” Years

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The Importance of Intimacy in our “Older” Years

I bet you thought, “oh, my goodness!” when you say the title of this blog post. But, it’s not going to cover only sex. Sex is not the only kind of intimacy people need…sometimes just being touched can be just what someone needs. In this entry, find information on elderly and senior intimacy, and how as a care giver or family member, you can ensure their needs are being meant physically, too.~

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-Age & Physical Capacity does not define how much physical intimacy we need. There are many reasons that someone may be unable to have physical intimacy, and here are some reasons below.
Loss of a partner: Loss or absence of a partner is probably the most common age-related barrier to intimacy.

Disorders: Various disorders that become more common with aging can interfere with physical intimacy. Vascular disorders and diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction; arthritis can limit movements and make them painful. The pain, discomfort, drugs, and worry associated with a disorder can dampen the desire for intimacy. For the partner, the stress and demands of caregiving may interfere with intimacy.
Use of drugs: The elderly are more likely to take drugs (eg, antihypertensives, psychoactive drugs) that can cause problems affecting intimacy (eg, erectile dysfunction, reduced libido).
Age-related changes: Levels of sex hormones decrease, causing changes (eg, vaginal atrophy, reduced vaginal lubrication) that make sexual intercourse uncomfortable or difficult. Libido may decrease.
Reluctance to discuss effects of aging: If elderly people develop problems that interfere with physical intimacy or if they feel embarrassed about changes in their body (eg, wrinkles, sagging flesh), they may not want to discuss these changes with their partner or with a health care practitioner, who may be able to suggest solutions.
Negative stereotypes about sexuality in the elderly: Even healthy elderly people may have internalized negative stereotypes and think sexuality is inappropriate or abnormal after a certain age.
Discrepancy in expectations of partners: One partner may want certain physical expressions of intimacy, but the other does not.

Lack of privacy: Elderly people who live with family members or in a long-term care facility have fewer opportunities for privacy, which are necessary for physical intimacy.
Shift to other forms of intimacy: Passions may mellow after years of living together. Sexual intercourse may become less frequent or stop. Many couples—most without paying much attention to it—grow comfortable with other forms of intimacy (eg, touching, massaging, kissing, verbal expressions of affection) that express familiarity, caring, or engagement with their partner.

Nonetheless, many elderly people continue to have a healthy sexual relationship. Intimacy, particularly physical intimacy, can help prevent depression and improve self-esteem and physical health. If elderly people have a new sex partner, they should practice safe sex. Acquiring sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, is a risk, regardless of age.

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-How to Promote Physical Touch and Ensure Intimacy Needs are Met
Intimacy, that closeness and familiarity that is the hallmark of love and friendship, is critical for humans from the time we are born and our mothers cradle us in their arms. As we age, our need for physical intimacy doesn’t diminish. In fact, for those elderly who require more advanced care, their need for friends and family to express physical intimacy may increase. As the health of your elderly loved one declines they may be more isolated and physically unable to reach out and express their love physically—they need you more and more to reach out to them.

Physical touch and intimacy can strengthen us physically and emotionally. Research is showing that regular, intimate touch can build our brains, muscles, bones, cardiovascular system, and immune systems. As caregivers, family, and friends of the elderly, we have the immense power to help those we care for with a loving and friendly touch.

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Direct Intimacy—All of us appreciate the warm hug of a friend or holding the hand of someone we love. When you are with your loved one, remember to take time to give them that extra hug. Watch for opportunities to embrace them.

Indirect Intimacy—Helping an aging loved one with personal care (such as brushing their hair) or assisting them as they stand and walk provides a great time to reach out to them with a loving touch. They may also greatly benefit from therapeutic touch such as massages and foot rubs.

Bring the Kids—Make sure that the kids in your life get a chance to express their love. In order to help your child overcome any fear they may have (a sick individual or the various medical paraphernalia may intimidate some children), bring them often to help them get used to the environment. The spontaneous and exuberant physical affection that many children have can be particularly uplifting

Personal Attention—When talking with an elderly individual, face them directly to help convey your attention. Not only does this help assure them that you are engaged in the conversation, it also helps those with hearing problems.

Remember, through a simple, friendly, and loving touch we have the power to convey love, compassion, reassurance, and safety. As you care for and visit with the elderly individuals in your life, make a conscious effort to reach out to them in love.

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Resources:
Merck manuals.com
WebMD.com

Are You Sleeping, Brother John? Sleep Issues in the Elderly, and Possible Solutions

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Are You Sleeping, Brother John? Sleep Issues in the Elderly & Possible Solutions

There are so many factors that go in to how good we sleep each night. Sleeping is an even bigger factor for the elderly than it is for the middle aged folks. Their bodies need and become more dependant on rest, but in many cases, the plethora of medicines and natural remedies they take are actually making rest-full sleep impossible!
Many common heart medicines, blood pressure medicines, cholesterol medicines, and diabetes medicines can cause sleepless nights. Not to mention that anxiety prescriptions also carry that same side effect, plus a hundred others. Taking one or two pills may not create the “awake” mix, but when you’re taking 5-10 different pills a day—-which seems outrageous, I know…(but it happens EVERY day with MILLIONS of people)… can create a mix that wakes up your body, and just won’t let you relax.
Although, meds aren’t the only reason for lack of sleep. Stress, hormones, and napping too much during the day can all affect your quality of Zzzz’s at night.

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Here you’ll find some links to articles that address different reasons for sleep loss, and possible solutions and home remedies to change your sleep habits now! As always, be sure to discuss your sleep habits and patterns with your doctor before changing anything too dramatically. Always remember how important sleep is, and you should strive to see that you’re getting enough hours a night!!!

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Article #1- Geriatric Sleep Disorders
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/292498-overview

Article #2: Elderly Sleep Problems linked to hormones?
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20110411/elderly-sleep-problems-may-be-tied-hormones

Article #3: Managing Sleep Disorders in the Elderly
http://www.nursingcenter.com/prodev/ce_article.asp?tid=1003369

Article #4: Breathing Related Sleep Issues
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/291807-overview

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Resources:
Emedicine.medscape.com
WebMD.com
nursing center.com

The Leaky Truth: Ways to Hold Off Incontinence with Kegels!!

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The Leaky Truth: Ways to Hold Off Incontinence with Kegels!

Sometimes getting older means losing bodily abilities, and that can be terribly embarrassing. One of the most frustrating is most likely urinary incontinence…and that can affect us all differently. This blog post will have information on KEGEL exercises, the how to’s, and why doing Kegel’s can length the life if your bladder muscles!
Kegels are not only important for incontinence though. I teach adults about kegel’s regularly in the adult toy parties I do, and teaching the adult “sex ed” classes, if you will. Both men and women have these muscles in their pelvic floors, and when taught to squeeze, can be an intense sexual gratifier. Many adults don’t know about these muscles, and if you’re one of them…I suggest you read on, and try it all!!

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*What are Kegel Exercises??
Kegel exercises involve tightening and holding the muscles in the pelvic floor to control the uterus, bowels and bladder. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, you can gain control over incontinence, a common problem in the elderly.
Practice stopping the flow of urine as you go to the bathroom. It’s those same muscles that you’ll be working on. Stop the urination flow only for a couple times just when you are starting out because continued stopping and starting of the urine flow can actually weaken the pelvic floor muscles. Another technique for finding the correct muscles is to insert your finger in your vagina and squeeze so that you feel the contraction on your finger. Release the squeeze and feel the muscles relax. Men can lubricate a finger and insert it into the anus to help identify the pelvic muscles they need to strengthen.

*The How-to’s, Tips & Tricks of Kegels
Empty your bladder and lie down. Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles and hold for a count of three. Relax and repeat ten times. Perform a set of ten three times a day. Continue breathing as you perform each repetition. Concentrate on squeezing just the pelvic muscles. Do not tighten the abdomen or buttock muscles as you become more proficient in the exercise. Extend the length of time that you hold the squeeze. Count to four and then five until you can hold the position for a count of ten, all the while breathing in and out. As you become more experienced, you’ll be able to do Kegel exercises while sitting or standing with little effort. Get in the habit of doing the routine while you’re doing other activities, such as washing the dishes, sitting at a red light or checking e-mail.
**To change it up; do quick kegels in reps of 10 or 20. With each number you count, squeeze and release. Counting to ten? You’ll have ten quick squeeze & releases.

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*If urinary incontinence is already a problem for you, you may want to try a combination “therapy,” which includes Kegel exercises and bladder training.
“For seniors who have already developed urinary incontinence problems, a combination of Kegel exercises and bladder control training is useful, report doctors at Health Central. Seniors are given a schedule of when to void their bladders and are encouraged to hold their urine until the scheduled time. Ideally, they should build up to eventually waiting three to four hours between bathroom breaks. Crossing the legs when the urge to cough or sneeze arises can help to reduce unwanted leaks as well. Kegel exercises should be performed immediately after emptying the bladder” (lives tong.com).

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–In most cases, childbirth causes most problems in women with incontinence issues from immediately after vaginal birth, through their elderly years.

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*For the MEN. Some of you guys may have just read that, and thought, “nah, doesn’t pertain to me.” Well, that’s just not true. Here’s some info on how you can test, and train your bladder control muscles, too!

In men, urinary incontinence can be caused by a weak urinary sphincter, or a bladder that doesn’t contract (over active). Kegel exercises can help you improve — or in some cases completely regain — bladder control.
Kegels are easy to do, once you know which muscles to target. One of the easiest ways to locate your muscles is during urination.

Here’s how:
-Halfway through urination, try to stop or slow down the flow of urine.

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-Don’t tense the muscles in your buttocks, legs, or abdomen, and don’t hold your breath.

-When you can slow or stop the flow of urine, you’ve successfully located these muscles

Some men find these muscles by imagining that they are trying to stop the passage of gas. Squeezing these muscles gives a pulling sensation; these are the right muscles for pelvic exercises. It’s important not to contract other muscles.
Some men need biofeedback to help them target the right muscles.

*To do Kegel exercises for men:
-Contract these muscles for a slow count of five.

-Release the muscles to a slow count of five.

-Repeat 10 times.

-Do a set of 10 Kegels daily, three times a day.

 *Products to help with learning Kegels:
Ben Waa Balls- around for years, these weighted balls slide inside the vagina while sitting, standing, or moving. (Never upside down) The friction and the weight will give your climax, after you’ve taught your body how to use them. I sell lots of these at work!! They’re available through my online store…check them out!
www.adultretaildirectory.com/shop/?af=318

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(They are available in different styles. The gold balls are the “traditional” style, although we recommend the corded style to beginners.)

And, as always, if the home remedies aren’t working, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor! There are many medicines that can assist with bladder control, as well! There are a wide variety now of thin, underwear like pads and adult undergarments to help with these issues, too! Don’t give up on yourself & good luck in strengthening those muscles!!  🙂

 

 

 

Resources Used:
live strong.com
WebMD.com