Who would have thought that we’d be talking about extreme heat this week, when we were all wrapped up in blankets last week?! Temperatures could hit 90 degrees tomorrow, so please take a moment to review these important reminders about staying safe in extreme heat.
The Impact of Retirement on Your Health
Q: Does retirement have a positive or negative impact on health?
A: Retirement can have good and bad impacts on health. One study by the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that complete retirement leads to a 5-16% increase in difficulties associated with mobility and daily activities, a 5-6% increase in illness conditions, and 6-9% decline in mental health. But these negative health effects are reduced if the retiree is married, has social supports, continues to engage in physical activity after retirement, or continues to work part-time after retiring. The negative health effects of retirement may be larger if a person has been forced to retirement.
The National Institute on Aging says that health problems have a big influence on the decision to retire early—but less research has been done on how retirement affects your health after you retire. According to the Harvard Health Blog, retirement for some people is a chance to relax away from the daily grind—but for others, retirement can be a period of declining health and increasing limitations. One study ranked retirement 10th on the list of life’s most stressful events. (Losing a spouse was #1.)
U.S Health and Retirement Study data shows that retirees were 40% more likely to have had a heart attack or stroke than those still working. The increase was greater during the first year after retirement, and leveled off after that. Another study from England concluded that retirement significantly increased the risk of being diagnosed with a chronic condition. In particular, retirement raised the risk of a severe cardiovascular disease and cancer.
But there are other studies which link retirement with improvement in health, or a neutral effect on health. One study found that retirement did not change the risk of major chronic diseases, and brought about a substantial reduction in mental and physical fatigue and depressive symptoms among people with chronic diseases.
So the impact of retirement on health may depend on the individual. The Harvard Health Blog suggests that “moving from work to no work comes with a boatload of other changes.” If you loved your work, retirement can bring some emptiness of purpose. If you had a stressful job, retirement brings relief. Either way, researchers offered these tips for a rewarding retirement:
- Don’t ‘retire’ from daily contact with friends and colleagues:
- Maintain Activities like sports or traveling, to keep a purposeful daily life
- Be creative: keep your brain healthy by painting, gardening, or helping other people
- Keep learning: explore new subjects you’ve always been interested in.
Understanding what large group studies say about retirement is interesting, but studies can’t predict how retirement will affect your life. People who retire because of health problems may not enjoy retirement as much as someone who retires feeling healthy. But it makes sense to view retirement as a process, not as a single event, that will bring good changes and bad—just like the earlier stages in your life.
My Life, My Health Self-Management
A 6-week evidence based program being offered at Plainville Council on Aging, beginning Tuesday, April 25th.
A Matter of Balance
An 8-week evidence based program being offered at Canton Council on Aging, beginning Tuesday, May 2nd.
A 6-week evidence based program being offered at Sharon Adult Center, beginning Wednesday, April 19th.
These programs are made possible by funding from the Older Americans Act as granted by HESSCO, and a grant to the Healthy Living Department at Bay Path Elder Services and the Healthy Living Center of Excellence.
Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps an individual to learn to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. MHFAFlyer_Plainville
Q: As I get older, does it really matter to stay physically active?
A: Absolutely. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. There are many benefits from physical activity:
- maintains and improves your physical strength and fitness. Q&A April 2017 Getting Older, Staying In Shape
Q: Is there more to using a drug plan than just selecting one?
A: Yes. Many people select a drug plan and then forget about it. But older adults report that medication costs and not understanding their drug benefits are major challenges. Seniors want simple information on cost, coverage and provider networks to get the most out of their drug benefits.
People on Medicare are receiving their new prescription drug plan materials. It may be a Medicare Part D plan, or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), but you can save money and avoid medication mistakes by understanding your benefit. Q&A ElderCare March, 2017 Getting the Most From Your Drug Plan
Q:What’s the difference between hard of hearing and deaf?
A: Hard of hearing (HOH) refers to people who still have some useful hearing, and can understand spoken language in some situations, with or without amplification. QA Feb 2017 Helping the Deaf Hard of Hearing
Q:What’s the difference between hard of hearing and deaf?
A: Hard of hearing (HOH) refers to people who still have some useful hearing, and can understand spoken language in some situations, with or without amplification. Most HOH people can use the phone and use hearing aids. Deaf people, on the other hand, have little or no hearing. They may use sign language of speech reading, and a hearing aid may help make speech understandable. People who use spoken English to communicate are called “oral deaf.” Most deaf people lost their hearing before they learned spoken language, and they see hearing loss not as a medical condition that needs to be corrected, but as a cultural distinction.
People who are “late-deafened” are those who lost all or most of their hearing during or after their teen years. Most need sign language or speech reading to understand conversation, and cannot use the telephone. In many cases doctors can’t determine what causes deafness later in life, but some common causes include: exposure to loud noise, aging, meningitis, accidents/trauma, virus, Meniere’s disease, and tumors of the acoustic nerve. If you experience a sudden drop in hearing, unexpected dizziness, drainage from your ear, or significant pain in your ear or head—contact your doctor.
Acquired deafness is a traumatic loss, especially for people who lose their hearing suddenly. People who are born deaf never feel this overwhelming sense of loss, because they never experienced hearing. But for adults who become deaf, the sense of loss can be devastating. They may go through a grieving process that lasts months or even years. This loss also strikes people who gradually experience hearing loss.
Newly-deafened people often report a feeling of isolation and loneliness. But deafness does not mean that your recreational or social life has to stop. You can still do many of the same things you used to do, just do them differently.
There are some special concerns for the elderly. The incidence of hearing loss increases dramatically with age. One third of all people over the age of 60 and 50% of people over 80 have some form of hearing loss. Hearing impairment in the elderly can seriously affect their safety, quality of life, and ability to live independently. Some seniors are not comfortable with new technologies like assistive listening devices or close captioned TV. The small controls on hearing aids may be hard to use. Seniors may be anxious about being able to remain living at home, and may be unaware of safety alerting devices and other assistive technology.
The Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing can be used as a central point of contact for seniors and their caregivers. Their website is www.mass.gov/mcdhh. Much of the information in this column is taken from The Commission’s publication, The Savvy Consumer’s Guide To Hearing Loss. This publication lists organizations that offer support services, medical help, financial assistance and benefits programs, communications options, assistive technologies, and real life coping skills. Call 1-800-882-1155, or 617-740-1700 (TTY) to get a copy of this book.
New InfoSAGE app will assist multiple family caregivers coordinate care of loved one
- Hebrew SeniorLife Blog http://blog.hebrewseniorlife.org/caring-elderly-parents-there-s-app
This former journalist helps caregivers get to know who their patients once were, before dementia took hold
This former journalist helps caregivers get to know who their patients once were, before dementia took hold https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/12/15/this-former-journalist-is-helping-caregivers-get-to-know-who-their-patients-once-were-before-dementia/?postshare=3201481836351187&tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.aa37489c6002