• September 27, 2016 /  Miscelleaneous

    Keep Your Positivity When Confronting Driving IssuesDespite many people’s assumptions, growing older doesn’t mean that you’re no longer able to drive safely. However, at a certain point it’s a subject you’ll need to think about. There are several questions you should pose to yourself. Let’s go over them so that you can prepare for the future while easing your mind about this important subject.

    How important is driving to you? First and foremost, you need to assess whether or not this is a big deal for you. Many seniors don’t care to drive very often, for a multitude of reasons, and so aren’t too concerned about the day they’ll need to give it up completely. It’s more common, though, that the thought of being unable to drive oneself around is distressing to some degree. This can be seen as one of the last vestiges of one’s independence. Without the ability to drive, you become more dependent on others. By examining your feelings, you can begin to emotionally and mentally prepare for this.

    If you were unable to drive anymore, what would be your plan? Another crucial step in allaying your fears is having a plan. It’s helpful to include your family in this discussion. Very likely, they’ll play a part in helping you get around. They can also assist you in finding transportation services. You might be surprised at the variety of choices available to you. Here are just a couple options.

    Even before you reach the point of being unable to drive, you might enjoy taking advantage of errand services. Someone can be hired, whether independently or through an agency, to pick you up and take you to places like the doctor and the grocery store. They can use your car or their own. This is a really convenient and often quite affordable option. They can be hired for regular events or simply as things arise. It’s also a good way to ease into a life of less driving.

    A popular service is paratransit. Public transit, non-profit aging organizations such as Seniors First (see the resource page for contact information), and private agencies provide door-to-door or curb-to-curb transportation using mini-buses or small vans (vehicles for less than 25 passengers). Paratransit service often requires users to make advanced reservations but still offers a degree of flexibility and personalization in scheduling. Curb-to-curb service provides for passenger pick up and delivery at the curb or roadside; door-to-door service offers a higher level of assistance by picking up passengers at the door of their homes and delivering them to the doors of their destinations. Paratransit and van services offer reduced fares for older adults and persons with disabilities, and some providers may operate on a donation basis.

    If your adult children are going to be helping you out, then developing a schedule is a must. Open communication will prevent misunderstandings. Your family will have their own daily concerns: work, time with their spouses and children, and certain responsibilities. It will take coordination to make it work. Most seniors end up using a combination of outside services and family help.

    What issues will affect your ability to drive independently? With age comes medical issues, many of which will greatly affect your driving skills. You have to be honest with yourself. Do you have any eye or hearing problems? It’s dangerous to ignore the possibility that these are hindering your safe driving. Cataracts, hearing loss, and reduced reflex times should be taken into account. Talk to your doctor openly and honestly. They’ll help you determine what your best course of action is.

    Addressing the possibility of losing your ability to drive is understandably difficult. With emotional and practical support from family and friends, you can successfully accept this eventuality, while focusing on what you can do in the here and now. A positive attitude will go a long way!

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • September 14, 2016 /  Miscelleaneous

    Dating In Your Golden Years: How to Address Common ConcernsThe realm of dating and romantic relationships can be a tricky one for those in their golden years. If you’re single or widowed, you may have considered the prospect of dating but feel unsure for a number of reasons. Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

    • Are romantic relationships important to me as I grow older? Why or why not?
    • Who do I currently turn to for social support? Is it enough?
    • If not, what can I do to improve that? How do I strengthen my current relationships?
    • If I’m widowed, how can I address the issue of dating with my children?

    In this post, we’ll consider two common issues facing seniors who want to date: the concerns of their adult children, and how to cope with the complications of senior dating.

    Addressing Your Children’s Concerns

    In a survey conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care® network, only 28% of adult children surveyed would be comfortable talking with a parent about sex if the parent became single. Approximately 39% would be comfortable talking about dating.  This doesn’t need to be a source of contention or awkwardness, however.

    As their parents age, many adult children can be resistant to any romance in their parent’s lives. Consider why they might struggle with this idea. For example, your children probably grew up viewing you and your husband/wife as a team that made their lives complete and happy. Seeing you alone can be difficult for them. In addition, they might see your desire to date as a betrayal of their other parent.

    Oftentimes they’re resistant to the concept because they want to protect you. Perhaps you were extremely heartbroken when you divorced or when your spouse passed on. One of the worst things for children to experience is seeing their parents devastated. It is only natural that they want to prevent this from happening again.

    Don’t be afraid to talk candidly with them. Acknowledge their concerns, but remind them that you’re an adult who is allowed to make your own decisions. They’ll likely appreciate that you understand their feelings, which will help them worry less.

    The Difficulties of a New Relationship – and How to Face Them

    Even if you have a strong desire to form new relationships, you might think, “I’m too old for this!” You’re not alone, though. Others are going through the same thought processes. And the people you’re looking for will understand what it means to be a senior interested in dating. You already have that in common! Camaraderie is important to a happy life, and having a romantic partner who knows the same struggles can bring you a lot of peace.

    Remember, you don’t need to go out and immediately find someone to remarry. Many senior daters would be quite happy to have someone to go to restaurants with, and have companionship when they want it, but are satisfied to keep their lives just as they are. You set the parameters of what you really want.

    Creating strong social support is the first step, and an important part of your life, whether it leads to romance or not. Get out of the house, make new friends, and try new things to build your confidence. You never know what sort of joy you might feel when you end up finding a new hobby!

    Your age and that of a potential partner plays an important role. If you have health issues that could affect the relationship, then be honest about it. It’s natural for health to deteriorate as we age, and they’ll understand that. Likely they have some health concerns themselves! You can both agree to focus on the positive and enjoy getting to know your new companion.

    Practical matters do need to be considered over time. If things get serious, you should discuss with them their feelings about facing upcoming challenges together. Start the conversation early. Who will care for both of you when you can no longer do so yourself? Where will you live? By planning ahead, you greatly increase your chances of happiness and satisfaction.

    Senior dating can be a wonderful thing for many people. It helps them remember that despite age and health problems, they’re still here and there’s plenty of life to enjoy yet! Don’t be afraid to consider the possibility.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • September 1, 2016 /  Basics

    How to Face Health Issues with PositivityWhile changes that occur with age may prevent your life from being what it was in your younger years, there’s a lot you can do to improve your health and longevity and reduce your risk for physical and mental disability as you get older.

    So how do you give yourself the best possible chance for a long, healthy life? Although you aren’t able to control every factor that affects health as you age, many are in your hands. Some keys to living a long, healthy life include:

    • Make healthful lifestyle choices—don’t smoke, eat right, practice good hygiene, and reduce stress in your life.
    • Have a positive outlook.
    • Stay as active as possible.
    • Take safety precautions.

    One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to maintain your sense of purpose by staying connected to people and things that matter to you. However, this isn’t always easy—especially in a society that all-too-often views older people as a burden.

    Try visiting your local senior center. Spend time with at least one person—a family member, friend, or neighbor—every day. Volunteer in your community, attend a local event, join a club or take up a new hobby. For example, Seniors First has a “Friendly Visitor” program where they match up volunteers with a home bound senior.   http://seniorsfirst.org/sf-programs/friendly-visitors/

    Stress can have an enormous impact on your health and your quality of life at any age—and even more so as you get older. As you age, you’re also more likely to experience emotional trauma associated with loss—the deaths of people close to you (friends, family members, spouse), your own health, and/or your independence. For many seniors, dealing with the loneliness caused by multiple losses can lead to a diminished investment in life—especially when combined with other issues, like financial concerns.

    Try these tips to help deal with difficult changes:

    • Focus on being thankful. Appreciate and enjoy your life.
    • Acknowledge your feelings and express them. Try writing in a journal.
    • Accept that some things are out of your control.
    • Try to keep your sense of humor!

    Seniors are at increased risk for depression. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or unable to deal with stress, it’s important to reach out to family, friends, caregivers and health care providers.

    The risk for a number of medical conditions increases with age. In fact, some studies show that the average person 75 years of age has three chronic medical problems—ranging from minor to serious. If you have concerns or questions about your health, talk to your doctor.

    At this point in your life, it’s more important than ever to eat healthy. However, good nutrition is a challenge for many seniors. You may even experience changes in your sense of taste, which can affect your appetite. Slower digestion and metabolism can change how your body processes food. You may have difficulty shopping for, purchasing or preparing nutritious foods and meals.

    If you’re having trouble maintaining a healthy diet, talk to a family member or your doctor. Many communities have programs that provide healthy meals to seniors and take the guesswork out of the equation. Again, Seniors First offers the My Meals program that serves delicious hot meals. http://seniorsfirst.org/sf-programs/senior-nutrition/

    Exercise is an important part of a good health at every age; however, many older adults don’t get the recommended amounts of physical activity. Staying active can boost vitality, help maintain strength and flexibility, improve mental function, reduce your risk for health problems, and even help relieve chronic pain. Be sure to talk to your doctor, however, before beginning an exercise program.

    Find an activity you enjoy and begin slowly. Try to incorporate endurance activities, strengthening exercises, stretching and balancing exercises into your exercise program. Good choices include walking, swimming, biking, gardening, tai chi and exercise classes designed for seniors.

    One of the most important ways to stay healthy as you age is to seek the care of a geriatric physician, also called a geriatrician. Geriatric physicians are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and disability in older adults. They are specially trained in the aging process and provide comprehensive health care.

    With careful consideration, planning, and an open attitude to trying new things, you can stay positive in the face of health changes!

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,