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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seniors and Eating Habits

Changing eating habits from the foods of one's youth to the heart healthy foods is a special challenge for seniors. Carbohydrates, starches, sugery desserts, salty recipes, and red meat marbled with fat are some of the foods that many seniors enjoyed when they were younger. In later life, health issues such as heart disease and diabetes make it important to change eating habits to a low carb, low suger, low fat, low salt diet.

It's easy to turn to the comfort foods of younger days but there are other comforts in life that one can turn to instead.

When one has already given up many pleasures of younger years, seniors often feel it's another frustrating blow to give up the foods they like too. They may say "what's left?!" Here are some ideas for rewards to substitute other than food.

Life does still have meaning and pleasures. For instance,, computers provide opportunities for mental challenge, learning, meeting friends online, and sharing emails, photos, and videos. Continuing to learn exercises the brain as well and helps prevent dementia. Games, entertainment, computer armchair-travel, and other activities can help to fill the day.

Socializing with groups is another way to provide healthy activity. Church, health clubs, public pools and spas, volunteer organizations, seniors clubs and special interest clubs help seniors meet needs for social contact and activity.

Changing eating habits is easier when something else is substituted for what is lost. Passing the time or solving a boredom problem by eating is something we've all done, but there are other choices that are more healthy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tips for Handicapped Seniors Traveling in RV's

Handicapped seniors find many creative ways to adapt their RV's for accessiblity and safety. Many "age in place" in their RV's, and use their RV's as a main residence, vs. settling down in a house, condo or apartment.

1. Falls on steps are a major cause of hospitalizations for seniors. RV steps are notoriously shakey or wobbly and often have a shallow place to put the foot. They also lack handrails. Often they are steep as well. First priority: get a sturdy, steady set of steps with handrails, or a set of portable ramps.

An internet search for RV steps, portable steps, or portable ramps will show you many websites where these are available.

2. Adapt your RV for handicap accessiblity as much as possible by having a carpenter build safer steps inside as well. For instance, many people have a fifth wheel trailer with steep steps to the raised section. A recent visit to a friend's RV showed that the steps were 9" tall steps. With an 18" rise to the higher trailer section these steps could be rebuilt with 3 6" tall steps instead of 2 9" tall steps.

3. Remove all throw rugs as these are well known hazards that lead to many falls and hospitalizations for seniors.

4. Be sure floor surfaces are either carpeted or have textured traction to avoid a slip and fall on a wet floor.

5. Having a travel companion is safer than traveling alone as well. Seniors who live alone are at risk since there is no one to get help if someone is too ill or injured to call for help. Reducing social isolation has been shown to reduce the
risk of dementia as well.