Vibrant Vitality

But you probably still need to wear shoes! Sara Schwartz at grandparents.com has terrific tips for choosing the right walking shoe for seniors. She quotes Cary Zinkin, DPM, podiatric sports physician and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) who believes that running shoes are an excellent choice. “Because running shoes are made for all foot types and have extra support, no matter your age, you’re getting cushioning that will prevent injuries.”
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“The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.”
– Novelist Doris Lessing

One of those changes inevitably seems to be how much salt we can consume daily. In her article “Hold the Salt, Please” on www.everydayhealth.com, Michelle Olson shares some excellent suggestions on how to reduce salt intake, especially if someone else is preparing your meals, including calling ahead to restaurants and using fresh herbs or lemon or lime wedges to add flavor and variety.
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“By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.”
– Comedian George Burns

Grace M. Burke, writing on the website lifeseniorservices.org, makes the case that challenging the brain with new activities (e.g. games like checkers, dominoes, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy) “wake up new areas”. Read all of her insights in her excellent article Activities that Slow Cognitive Loss. And if you love puzzles, crosswords and brain teasers, Kathleen Esposito on the LovetoKnow website delves into the best sources for these mental challenges geared specifically for seniors.

Creative Connections

“Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.”
– L. Frank Baum from The Wizard of Oz

Baum’s characters in his classic tale of wonderment set out in search of a brain, a heart, and courage, but if you asked today’s seniors, most would ask Mr. Wizard for new eyes and ears! Here are some resources to help seniors with diminished eyesight and hearing to stay connected.
Large Print Books by Susie McGee from the LoveToKnow website
Aging with Geekitude: Addicted to Audiobooks by Erica Manfred on the seniorplanet.org website
Microsoft Guide for Aging Computer Users on microsoft.com

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.”
– Poet Robert Browning

Many of the seniors we care for are grandparents who welcome the opportunity to share their experiences and memories with their family. Often, though, families, especially grandchildren, don’t know what questions to ask and how to ask them. That’s where legacyproject.com steps in with their Life Interview Questions. So this year on Grandparents Day – always the first Sunday after Labor Day – get your questions ready!

(Did you know… Grandparents Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, first beginning in the U.S. in 1978. It was the goal of Marian McQuade, the founder of National Grandparents Day, to educate youth in her community about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history.)

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
– Writer and Feminist Betty Friedan (1921-2006)

Having trouble holding small items? Use foam from hair rollers to make your toothbrush, silverware and other hand-held items more comfortable. That’s just one of the great tips you’ll find at Bay Alarm Medical, a supplier of medical alert systems, in their Life Hacks for Aging in Place series of infographics. With a clientele comprised of mostly older citizens, their website includes numerous blog articles to help seniors and their loved ones adjust to life’s changes, including Advice for Seniors: How to Ask for Help & Emotional Support.

Accessible Abundance

“We are not limited by our old ages; we are liberated by it.”
– Ultradistance Runner Stu Mittleman

Here in our local area, seniors can feel welcome, cared for and respected. The list below offers a wide range of opportunities and available programs for seniors and their loved ones to take advantage of.
Senior Programs at City of Arcadia
Monrovia Providers Group
Los Angeles County Community and Senior Services
State of California Senior Resources

Nationally, there are both public and private institutions with terrific information, many with local affiliates:
Alzheimer’s Association
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
Department of Business Oversight (protecting yourself from fraud)
E-Medicine Senior Health Glossary
Meals on Wheels
Medicaid / Medi-Cal (government financial assistance)
MD Health (listing of doctors by specialty)
Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits
National Center on Elder Abuse

“If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”
– Actor William Shatner

If you, too, want to go where no man has… paid full price, check out these terrific discounts for seniors. Search by category (restaurants, shopping, etc.) or location and take advantage of the savings offered by retailers in your area.

“Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know “why” I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.”
– Actor and Cowboy Will Rogers

Caring for an elderly parent presents as many challenges as rewards, and it sometimes helps to have an outside perspective. In her article 10 Tips to Keep in Mind While Helping Aging Parents, Valerie Buck from The National Care Planning Council (NCPC) shares some specific recommendations for improving communication with your loved ones and those you care for. The NCPC also has extensive resources for seniors and their families here.

“If you want to do really important things in life and big things in life, you can’t do anything by yourself. And your best teams are your friends and your siblings.”
– Author Deepak Chopra

Chances are, if you have an aging parent, you’re already part of a caregiving team. Your “Team Family” is an incredibly important and essential element in the vitality of your mom or dad, but, just as with any team, there are goals and challenges, losses and victories. Bonnie Lawrence has written a wonderful article for the PBS NewsHour about managing the dynamics of your family caregiving team. Specifically she looks at siblings and suggests strategies for working together for a common goal. “…the challenging role of providing care for elderly parents can be a fulfilling, rewarding experience, which ultimately can bring siblings closer together.” she writes. Read more in her article A Sibling’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents.