Seasons of Change Blog Archive
Three Proactive Moves to Fix Your Posture as You Age
Think of an aging person and picture his or her posture. What comes to mind? Does it include slumping, a forward head, or stooped shoulders?
Aging brings with it physical changes. Bone density drops, muscle strength declines and yes, posture will change. However, there are proactive measures your loved one can take to ensure that postural changes are halted or even reversed.
1. Wear comfortable shoes and stretch your calves
Modern footwear is, unfortunately, awful for our feet. This is especially true of workplace footwear, which is often narrow and has some sort of lift in the heels. Yes men, that one-inch heel at the back of your shoes, while not as high as the heels many women wear, is still placing your feet in a bad anatomical position and placing stress on your calves.
Our feet are not meant to be jammed into shoes and years of adhering to workplace guidelines have likely caused plenty of stress on your lower legs. However, relief is within reach! First, opt for more comfortable footwear, preferably shoes that have a wide enough space for your forefoot and toes. Try to walk around barefoot (so long as this does not cause pain) as often as you can. Second, perform a standing calf stretch. Roll up a towel near a wall or chair you can hold onto for balance. Place the forefoot of the leg you want to stretch on top of the towel. Step forward with the opposite foot and bend the knee of the leg you are stretching slightly forward. You should feel a stretch in the calf of the leg you are stretching. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then perform the stretch on the other leg. Repeat this three times.
2. Sit down properly
Sitting down is so simple we don’t really think about how we sit until weakness makes it a struggle to sit down and stand up. Sitting down is a matter of using the right muscles, specifically hinging our hips properly, which ensures that we use the glute muscles on our backside to perform the hard work of lowering ourselves down.
To make sure you are hinging your hips properly, consciously practice sitting down by starting the movement by pushing your hips back first as if you were using your butt to close a door. Hold your arms straight out in front of you for balance if necessary. Once your hips are hinged properly allow momentum to carry you down to your seat. Make sure when you get into the seated position you sit balanced evenly left and right and that you avoid slouching. If you tend to lean one way or the other, especially on a couch or in an easy chair, you should consciously focus on making sure you are not leaning to one side or the other but balanced evenly.
3. Tuck your neck back
Forward head position has become an epidemic as a result of our constant use of computers, smartphones, and even from reading books. You can tell if you have a forward head position if, from a side view, your ears line up forward of your shoulders. Luckily, forward head position can be fixed with a move that can be practiced anywhere.
The move is simple: tuck your chin down toward your chest and push your head back. Hold this position for three seconds. This will lengthen your neck and you should feel a tension in the muscles just below the base of your skull in the back of your neck. Practice this move regularly: in line at the market, at home while sitting on the couch, or when you’re in front of the computer. The practice will strengthen the posterior neck muscles and help you hold your head in a more erect, and correct, position.
December's blog written by guest author, Adam Wheeler, Certified Personal Trainer.
Be Proactive – Maintain a Comprehensive Health Record
In our October blog I addressed the need to be proactive. The dictionary tells us that being proactive means, “to plan ahead by creating or controlling a situation and by causing something to happen.”
Our health is one such area where we can take control in a variety of ways. Seasons of Change has developed a way to keep the “details” of your health in order. Getting your health information correct is crucial for your own knowledge as well as for your care providers. As a Nurse, Aging Life Care Specialist and Patient Advocate, I felt the need to create a tool in which individuals could record the myriad of details that contribute to and paint a picture of their health and wellness. To that end, the Comprehensive Health Record (CHR) was created.
This copyrighted publication is ideal for the user to take with them to the physician’s office, the emergency room, on trips, or to their winter home. By accurately completing the CHR and presenting it in the healthcare environment, individuals greatly decrease the risk of mistakes by giving the health care provider a snapshot of their health history. Hospital systems electronic health records do not always share information across systems or even in the same system. I have come across this more than once when scheduling appointments for clients or accompanying them. YOU must EMPOWER yourself; take charge of your health record and keep it accurate.
When it comes to yours, or your loved one’s health, you are the strongest advocate. The CHR empowers you by cataloging information on your health status including medications, current and past diagnoses, physician contact information and much more to present a comprehensive health picture of you, the patient. It is designed to be a dynamic document and will best serve you it is kept updated. Additionally, when kept in a binder with pockets, you can add printed test results and keep them together.
The CHR comes complete with a refrigerator magnet* that provides a "Quick Snapshot" of your health status for First Responders as well as the information to direct them to where your CHR is kept in the event of an emergency.
Don't be caught unprepared, an accurately documented health record aids doctors and hospital staff in their care and reduces your risk for life threatening mistakes.
Contact us for pricing information on multiple quantities.
* When ordered as a digital download, please provide your mailing address, we will mail the refrigerator magnet under separate cover at no additional cost.
Proactive. What does that mean to you? In the dictionary, it means to plan ahead by creating or controlling a situation and by causing something to happen. We plan ahead for vacation, for our weekly meals, we budget for a “rainy day.” We take control of the situation. With that in mind, how much planning ahead have you done for your senior years? How proactive have you been? How have you empowered yourself through education and action?
When we are not proactive we are forced to become reactive. As an Aging Life Care Manager, I typically hear three excuses from folks who weren’t proactive.
“Why should I do anything now, I have plenty of time.”
This is an ignorant approach. We cannot control what the day may bring, but we can control how we will respond should our day go sideways.
“I will let my children worry about it.”
Stop and think, do you really want someone else controlling your future without a road map in place? Proactively plan what may happen if such a time comes that we cannot be active agents in our own behalf?
“I’m just too busy.”
We take time for everything else, why then do we not believe it is important to take time to proactively plan what may happen if such a time comes that we cannot be active agents in our own behalf?
Below is a “To Do” list that I share when I speak to senior groups. You will see that there are no difficult tasks on the list, but by accomplishing these tasks you will be taking charge of your life and what happens as you move into, or continue in your “golden years.”
Attend educational seminars. Empower yourself, time well spent-then apply that new knowledge!
Surround yourself with a good team which may include:
Aging Life Care Professional*-Like Seasons of Change!
Elder Care Attorney*-Advance directives
Financial Planner*-How can I best protect my money? I worked hard for it, now let it work for me!
Health Care Insurance Broker*- Make sure you have the best and most cost effective coverage choices!
Trusted Family Member-Emphasis on trusted
Trusted Neighbor/Friend-In case of emergency
______________________________-Who else is part of your team?
Do something with all of this information, don’t let it sit and “collect dust.”
Consolidate all pertinent information-Obtain and complete the Comprehensive Health Record
Make a plan, share it with those trusted individuals that you have identified
Tour facilities, ideally with a professional who knows what to look for.
I welcome the opportunity to speak to Baby Boomers and senior groups about being proactive, if you would be interested in having me out please contact me at 440-503-1279.
Grandparents Day and the Impact of Bringing Generations Together
September 9th is National Grandparents Day in the United States. Grandparents Day became a formal holiday in 1978 and is recognized in other countries as well, although on different days. This year I am taking note as a new “Nana.” I have a beautiful five month old grandson named Nash. So, happy Grandparents day to me and to you if you have grandchildren.
You may ask, “Why do we celebrate this day?” Skeptics may say that we celebrate the day so that Hallmark can sell more cards. Actually, the purpose of the holiday, as stated in the preamble to the statute, is "to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”
Across the world we are seeing, on average, 10,000 individuals turn 65 every day. One would also speculate that many of these individuals are also grandparents. And, while in part the purpose stated is to recognize these individuals and the fact that grandparents can impart wisdom and guidance to their grandchildren, we should note that this is a two-way street.
Inter-generational programming, such as the award winning inter-generational program at Kendal of Oberlin, creates an atmosphere daily where the generations can interact. New friendships develop, lives are enriched and overall quality of life is enhanced by little ones as young as three interacting with older generations.
A new word has been created and adopted to recognize this interaction between the generations. Grandfriends, are defined as people who are equal to or older than your parents. At the Kendal at Oberlin, toddlers, as well as high school and college students, interact with the residents. These programs are in place across the nation, and are an excellent way for the generations to meet with each other and benefit from sharing knowledge and joy. Further, as people are living longer these programs provide a way for seniors to meet and overcome some of the challenges of retirement by providing a purpose, allowing for social interaction, and providing an opportunity for them to give back by way of sharing a life’s worth accumulation of knowledge. The younger generations in turn share their enthusiasm and joy for life as well as to help guide and educate the seniors that they have come to know and “adopt.” This two-way street often proves to be advantageous for all involved.
So, as we acknowledge Grandparents Day this year, let us realize that while this is a day where we thank and acknowledge our grandparents for their contribution to us and society, we must allow for a two-way sharing of knowledge and joy which benefits not only the individuals involved but in the long run has a positive impact on society as a whole.
The Benefits to Proactive Planning in the Aging Process
As the founder of Seasons of Change Aging Life Care Management, I have seen the composition of my clientele change to some degree over the 5+ years I have been in practice. The shift has been in the approach that my clients are taking to the aging process. Aging does not have to be scary IF we prepare for the process properly and with professional assistance. As a society we are living longer and we want to “age in place.” The clients that I have been dealing with more and more are those who understand that the recipe for success is in approaching the aging process PROACTIVELY.
Several weeks ago, a gentleman client said to me, “I wish we had called you weeks ago, we could have avoided this mess.” He is not the only client who has expressed this sentiment or something similar. And in reality, the process would have been more cost effective had Seasons of Change Care managers been involved earlier; the time taken to “untangle the mess” would have been avoided. Quite literally we could have transitioned his loved one from point A in their life to point B much more smoothly. So, what is the lesson here? Engaging a professional at the onset of the event, or ideally before an event happens, is not only cost effective but results in far less emotional and physical stress on all individuals involved. This leads to a better aging process whether you are 50, 60, 70, 80, or 90. PROACTIVE involvement with a professional Aging Life Care Manager also reduces the risk of medical or hospital error. As nurses, my care managers and I bring our clinical backgrounds in hospital care, skilled care, long term care, and home care, to the table. We are not only clinically strong but know and understand the systems and work with those systems in your best interest.
Aging Life Care Managers approach their client and the families holistically. This graphic, generated by the Aging Life Care Association, of which I am an Advanced Professional Member, allows us to visualize the approach that we take. When we team up with you and your loved one we address any immediate needs first, then we explore further to provide support, education and vetted referral information to assist in those areas that are outside our expertise, including health care providers, elder care attorneys, financial planners, home care companies and other appropriate resources that you may need and that you can trust to keep your best interests at heart.
I encourage a call to Seasons of Change. Let’s talk, and let me advise as to how my care managers and I, can be of service to you in your unique situation. The initial call is free and allows me to ascertain how our expertise can be best put to use to serve your needs. Isn’t it worth your peace of mind?