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Diabetics at Higher Risk of Falling at Home. But Why?

Diabetics at Higher Risk of Falling at Home. But Why?

The American Diabetes Association estimates some 25.2% or 12 million seniors live with diabetes. If you are one of them, you have likely heard how the condition can make you more likely to experience a fall. Have you ever wondered why, though? What about the disease of diabetes increases your risk of falling? Read on to find out…

Nerve Damage

The condition of diabetes causes the body’s glucose rates to increase. This can and often does cause nerve damage within the body. The medical term for this is neuropathy. According to experts, almost half of all diabetics will develop some sort of neuropathy as a by-product of the disease. Nerve damage, especially to the nerves in the toes, feet and spinal cord can cause a loss of muscle tone and sensation in the ankles and feet. This in turn can make it harder for you to walk and increase your chance of losing your balance. A study published in the PLOS One Journal found those individuals with neuropathy or nerve damage had a much greater risk of falling than those without such damage.

Functional Disabilities and Vision Issues, Also a Problem

Neuropathy isn’t the only problem linking diabetes with an increased risk of falling. If you have diabetes, you are also at a greater risk of developing functional disabilities. This can make tasks like climbing stairs arduous and even walking for extended periods of time problematic.  Diabetes can also result in retinopathy, which happens to be the top cause of vision loss in diabetics. Of course, reduced vision and functional disabilities, along with muscle loss only add to your fall risk.

Low Blood Sugar Another Factor

Although diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose measurements, when you take medication and/or insulin in an attempt to lower your increased levels, this can result in another problem altogether, that being low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. This condition can cause you to become woozy, and lose your balance, which of course increases your risk of falling. According to the Medicine journal, diabetic patients who have a history of hypoglycemic episodes were at an increased risk of falls.

Medications, Yet Another Factor Leading to Falls

Another strike against you as a diabetic when it comes to your fall risk is your medication regimen. As a diabetic, you likely take an abundance of medications. Many experts feel taking several medications can increase your fall risk. Some studies even suggest your risk of falling goes up 7% with the introduction of each additional medication.

Why Falling  is so Bad

As the information listed above proves, being diabetic can increase your risk of falling in a variety of ways. Though taking a fall might sound innocuous, you should know that it is the most common factor that causes traumatic brain injuries in older adults according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also can cause bone loss and a loss of independence so it should be avoided when possible.

Diabetes is a common disease and as such is often considered a minor one. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, though, especially when you consider how much simply having the condition can increase your risk of falling.

 

 

Sources:
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
https://www.healthandwellnessalerts.berkeley.edu/alerts/diabetes/Why-Diabetes-Raises-Your-Risk-of-Falling_7805-1.html

The Traveling Senior – Staying Safe and Healthy Away from Home

The Traveling Senior – Staying Safe and Healthy Away from Home

Taking time to see the world, traveling at your leisure, is one of the perks of reaching your retirement years. Of course, ensuring you travel safely is important, no matter your age but even more so as you grow older. Therefore, the following tips are especially applicable for you as a senior as you travel:

  • Consider Insurance: When you leave the comfort of home, you also leave your insurance coverage behind, in some cases. There is nothing worse than falling, hurting yourself, or needing some sort of medical intervention when you are away from home and finding out your health insurance isn’t accepted. One way to ensure you get the care you need, though, when you are away from home or out of the country is to buy travel insurance.
  • Get a Well Health Visit: Before embarking on a vacation, go see your doctor. This will ensure you are in good condition for traveling. This is especially important if you plan to travel outside of the country or to travel in the air or on a ship.
  • Secure And Duplicate Travel Documents, Prescriptions: Before leaving, make sure you have copies of your driver’s licenses, passports, bank cards, emergency contacts, etc. stored online in iCloud or in a Dropbox. This will allow you to replace these items quicker if you should lose them while away. Keep a digital copy of your health record and prescriptions on your iPhone as well.
  • Take Along Plenty of Medications: If you take regular medications, make sure you carry them along, in their original containers, which show the prescribing physician’s name. Make sure you bring along an amble supply of your medication to ensure you don’t run out.
  • Don’t Show Off Your Resources: At this stage in life, you likely have a lot of nice possessions, including jewelry. Though it’s understandable to want to wear these items and to enjoy them when traveling, you might want to leave them behind. Wearing nice jewelry or even appearing to have money when traveling can make you a target for thieves. In the same way, revealing you’re carrying money can make you a target. It’s a better idea to abstain from carrying a large wad of cash and instead opt for using a credit card for all travel related expenses.
  • Tell Trusted Individuals Your Plan & Keep Them Updated: It’s important that you let a trusted individual or few individuals know where you plan on being each day throughout your journey. Check in with them regularly, so they will know if something bad happens.
  • Don’t Advertise Your Plans: While the above is true, you don’t want “everyone” to know your plans, only a trusted few individuals. For example, your Facebook friend group has no business knowing when you will be leaving and how long you will be away from home. When this information gets into the wrong hands, your home and the possessions you leave behind could be put at risk.
  • Invest in a GPS Mobile Medical Alert System: Unfortunately, bad things can happen when you leave home. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live your life to its fullest and enjoy countless adventures. Instead, invest in a good GPS medical alert system to ensure you stay safe, even when away from home. Complete our form for more information on the best available medical alert systems.

Traveling is a great way to spend your retirement years. Just follow the tips listed above to make sure you stay safe in the process.

How to Gracefully Retain Your Independence as You Age

How to Gracefully Retain Your Independence as You Age

Youth may be wasted on the young, as they say, but valued elders are living longer and more vibrant lifestyles.

The average life expectancy of someone living in the United States now exceeds 78 years. But longevity is only half of the equation. Seniors and their loved ones are now tasked with taking steps to improve their quality of life. The golden years can only shine brightly when your independence and dignity are fully intact.

That’s why many people are opting for medical alert systems in the event of an emergency. With such safeguards in place, our valued elders can focus on ways to age with improved grace. Consider these tips to extend healthy living.

Lower Stress

Many people would top their list of healthy living practices with good nutrition. Arguably, that may make sense. But stress has a tremendous impact on our bodies, emotional health, and outlook. It’s difficult to be graceful when you are overwhelmed by stress.

While it may be easier said than done, lowering stress can provide a tremendous uptick in daily living. Start by rooting out negative things such as cable news or electronics.

Consider creating a positive action plan for yourself that includes a set morning routine designed to improve mindfulness and reduce stress. Many people rise early when things are quiet, practice meditation, yoga, stretching or light exercise depending on needs and abilities. The point is to start your day off mindfully and foster a positive outlook.

Wake Fully Rested

Sleep and stress are intertwined. Without a full 7-8 hours nightly, the body cannot reset its cortisol levels. These are responsible for helping us deal with everyday physical and emotional stress.

Dark circle, bags under your eyes or a feeling of exhaustion may be indicators that you are not fully rested. If you are in bed and asleep for a full 8 hours, consider speaking with a medical professional about potential causes of interruption. Rest remains a key to physical and mental wellbeing.

Keep Learning

An active mind is a healthy mind. And a healthy mind fuels your personality and engagement with the others.

There are numerous ways to stay mentally fit including taking online courses, programs at local libraries or taking up lessons. Your golden years can be a wonderful opportunity to learn a musical instrument, draw, paint, discover photography or start writing. Exercising your brain is equally as important as exercising the body.

Keep It Simple . . .

The simple life is definitely the good life. That’s because the more stuff you have, the more time you spend tending to it. This is not to say that you should purge everything and become a minimalist.

Focus on the things that have special meaning or bring you some level of joy. By gradually ridding yourself of the unnecessary clutter, you may experience an inner sigh relief. Too much stuff tends to weigh us all down. Unclutter, be happy.

Maintain In-Home Safety

It’s common knowledge that hard falls and health hazards are acutely significant to our elder community members. Additional support rails in key areas are excellent ways to avoid a fall. But if one occurs, cell phones are not the most reliable way to call for assistance.

Fortunately, organizations such as US Medical Alert Systems offers a personalized emergency response that works 24 hours, 7 days a week. Knowing support will arrive in just minutes, allows you to focus on the positives, put worry aside and enjoy your independence.

Popular Discounts to Enjoy as a Senior

Popular Discounts to Enjoy as a Senior

Along with accumulating the kind of wisdom that can only be derived with experience comes additional benefits of getting older. For example, while your body might be fighting the advancement of years, you can take advantage of many discounts now that you weren’t qualified to enjoy in your younger days. Read on to learn about some of the best discounts you can get as a senior and what you need to know to take advantage of them:

When Are You Qualified to Enjoy Senior Discounts?        

Establishments set their own age requirements for their specific stores, restaurants or services. There are some general rules utilized by most of the industry, though, and learning these guidelines will ensure you know about all possible discounts to which you are entitled.

  • Auto Insurance Companies: Often, auto insurance companies will offer senior discounts to clients over the age of 50.
  • Restaurants: Generally dining establishments have some sort of discounts to customers over the age of 55.
  • Retailers: Many retailers offer discounts to shoppers over the age of 60.

Helpful Tip: If you don’t know, ask. There is no reason not to ask if a senior discount is available for any experience, service, or product you purchase. The worst they can say is no, they don’t offer a discount.

Popular Discounts For Seniors

The following is a collection of some general savings you can take advantage of as a senior:

Retail Savings

  • KOHL’S: This family department store that sells jewelry, clothing, shoes and more, offers seniors a 15% discount to enjoy each and every Wednesday.  Keep in mind, the KOHL’S discount cannot be used in conjunction with other discounts.
  • Walgreens: Take advantage of 20% off in store and 10% off online purchases, including discounts on beauty products and prescriptions on their monthly Senior’s Day. Contact your local store to inquire about their specific date. You must have a Balance Rewards card to take advantage of Walgreen’s senior saving’s day.
  • RiteAid: You can take advantage of a 20% senior discount at RiteAid as part of their Senior Wellness program the first Wednesday of every month.

Restaurant Discounts

  • McDonalds: Many McDonalds offer seniors a cup of coffee at a deep discount. You can also enjoy a discount on drinks as well. Ask your local restaurant about their specific savings.
  • Chili’s: You can get up to 10% off your bill if you are over the age of 55 at Chili’s.
  • Wendy’s: This establishment offers a variety of discounts to seniors. Most Wendy’s locations provide seniors from 5 to 10% off or a free or deeply discounted drink. The age requirement and specific discounted products are up to each Wendy’s establishment, so you have to inquire about what type of discount you could enjoy.
  • Golden Corral: This buffet style eatery offers seniors a significant discount. If you are over the age of 60 years of age, you can opt for Golden Corral Senior’s Buffet for either lunch or dinner. You can save even more if you dine from 11 am to 4pm Monday-Saturday and enjoy the Senior Early Birth Special.
  • KFC: You can enjoy a small drink with any meal purchased at KFC.

Keep the above locations in mind when looking for a deal, but remember,  you can ask for a discount at anywhere you dine, shop or do business, so always inquire about available discounts.

Embracing Thanksgiving as a Senior

Embracing Thanksgiving as a Senior

Celebrating Thanksgiving with your friends and family is usually a time of joy. However, as a senior, it might present some challenges as well. The following are some tips to follow that will ensure you enjoy your Thanksgiving celebration thoroughly:

  • Make Alternative Plans if Travel or Family Celebrations Are Impossible: Consider yourself lucky if your family members live close enough for you to celebrate with them, easily. When you are alone in your area, be sure to make alternative Thanksgiving plans. You don’t want to wait till the day of and then feel the isolation and loneliness of a Thanksgiving alone. Many local organizations like churches or senior centers will provide a holiday meal for seniors who are away from family and friends. You can even volunteer to help decorate or set up these meals for more engagement.
  • Don’t Overindulge: If you have strict dietary restrictions, make sure to adhere to these, even during holidays like Thanksgiving. Even if you have no such restrictions, keep in mind that high-calorie, high-fat overload can make you feel sluggish and can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate. Sure, you can cheat a small bit during Thanksgiving, but just make sure your indulgences are limited.
  • Skip The Alcohol: As a senior, you might want to forego any alcohol this Thanksgiving. Alcohol can cause irregular heartbeat, depression and pancreas inflammation among other negative results. You also need to remember that consuming alcohol can cause you to become intoxicated, making driving and even just walking difficult. Of course, you know your own limits, and if you are planning on staying at the location in which you are eating, this isn’t as much of a concern. However, alcohol should be something you generally avoid overindulging in for the most part.
  • Make Sure You are Prepared For Anything: If you plan on traveling to your family’s home, hours or states away, you want to prepare well. Make sure you have ample supply of the prescription medications you take on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to go visit your doctor before making such a trip to ensure you are in good enough health to make the trip successfully, without aggravating any existing medical conditions. Be sure to make a list of your medications along with their dosage in case there is a medical emergency while you are away from home. This will ensure your family members have the information needed to get you the right kind of help. An app like Medical ID makes storing this information much easier.
  • Remember, It’s Temporary: Admittedly, being in a house with dozens of your family members under one roof, for hours or days on end can be trying. This is especially true if you are used to being alone most of the time. The noise and activity of a bustling household and constant conversation can be exhausting and overwhelming. Give yourself some grace and remember it’s temporary. If you find yourself getting frustrated, perhaps go to a room alone for some time alone to settle your nerves. Just be sure to communicate your needs to your family in a nice way that doesn’t insult them or make them feel you don’t want to be with them.

Follow the tips listed above to embrace Thanksgiving as a senior.