The Kenosha County Aging and Disability Resource Center offers two virtual support groups to help family caregivers caring for someone with dementia. Join others committed to helping loved ones manage daily life, relax, chat, and learn helpful tips and strategies.
The Caregiver Coffee Club meets the first Wednesday of every month from 10-11am, the next meeting will be on Wednesday.
To accommodate employed caregivers, as well as those at home, the Family Caregiver Lunch Bunch meets from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. The next Lunch Bunch meets on Thursday.
Sessions are available by videoconference or telephone and are facilitated by Susan Johnson, Dementia Care Specialist with ADRC Kenosha County. To register, call 262-605-6646.
5 tips to improve your quality of life as you age
The secret of a long life
Interviews with people celebrating their 100th birthday always include a question: what is the secret to your long life?
The answers are not always consistent with science. For example, in 2020, a Chinese centenarian responded with questionable advice: “Smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and eat junk food.”
From there, we can probably assume that sometimes living a long life is just a matter of luck and good genes. The rest of us may have to work a little harder to live well into our old age. Are there certain things that can help?
To find out, we contacted Dr. Suzanne Salamon, associate chief of clinical geriatrics at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. We asked her for advice on how to live longer and, more importantly, how to live well. Here are five of his tips.
Protect your brain
Dementia is one of the diseases people fear most as they age. While your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is largely out of your control, other types of dementia are preventable, says Dr. Salamon. Your brain health, like your heart health, is largely a product of your lifestyle habits.
“There are many things we can do to prevent vascular dementia, which has the same risk factors as heart disease,” she says. Preventive measures include a healthy diet, regular physical activity, not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, and keeping cholesterol and blood pressure within recommended limits, among others.
“It’s important to start these practices early in your life, but it’s never too late,” says Dr. Salamon.
Walking is an easy way to stay active. You don’t need to take 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy — up to 7,500 can do the trick, says Dr. Salamon.
A 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study found that walking just 5,000 steps was associated with better health. Even women taking as few as 4,400 steps per day had a 41% lower risk of death than women who walked 2,500 steps per day or less. And they didn’t need to go for a brisk walk – they just had to move around the house.
Many seniors who didn’t grow up with computers and other gadgets might be hesitant to embrace electronic tools. But learning how to use them can have health benefits, says Dr. Salamon. During the pandemic, telemedicine has become a valuable way for people to connect with their doctors and keep tabs on their health. Computers can also help people stay in touch with friends and family.
“For many older people, especially octogenarians and octogenarians, the computer opens up the world to them,” she says. They can use it to quickly access information, read about anything and everything, communicate by email and videoconference with friends and family. Many senior centers today offer assistance to people who want to learn more about using technology, which can give you an easy place to learn the ropes. Don’t be afraid to try it.
Keep an eye on the meds
As people get older, their pill organizer often gets bigger. Many people take multiple pills each day, some of which were prescribed many years ago. This increases the risk not only of harmful drug interactions, but also of dangerous side effects. Prescriptions should be updated regularly, as your body may react differently to medications if your weight or metabolism changes.
It is good practice to review each of your medications with your doctor or pharmacist every six months to make sure you are still taking them, that the dose is correct, and that your medications are not interacting with each other. , explains Dr. Salamon. Making the necessary adjustments can help you avoid side effects, such as dizziness, which can lead to a fall.
Use mobility tools
Developing good habits and knowing when to accept help can help you stay healthy and independent longer.
Many people are hesitant to use a cane or walker, even if they feel unsteady when walking. This can lead to a fall and a serious injury that affects their quality of life.
“A walker can really help you stay from falling and also allows you to move more. You will no longer be afraid to move and walk longer distances,” says Dr. Salamon.