Category Archives: Retain vitality at all ages

Yoga for the eyes – eye care

Give your eyes a good workout

Geepers, peepers!  this article from ThinkSmart caught my eye.  From the book Eye Yoga by Jane Rigney Battenberg and Martha Rigney, you can dust off your deep brain and increase your eye muscles, which will help increase your eye’s flexibility, relaxation, ability and stamina…even help maintain or improve vision!   The exercises:  (1) Clock circles – keep your head still and pick a 12 o’clock starting point, sweep your gaze in a clockwise circle.  Reverse and repeat.  (2) Finger push-ups – hold your finger in front of your nose at arm’s length and slowly move your finger closer and farther away, keeping it in focus.  (3) V-in and V-out.  Make a “V” with two fingers, then slightly cross your eyes and focus on a point slightly in front of then slightly behind the V until you see three fingers.  After your eye workout, close your eyes to relax them.

TOP TEN Survival tips for broken collarbone aka clavicle

My broken clavicle. For adults, recovery from this injury is typically a slow. frustrating experience. Use these tips to minimize the pain and inconvenience, and get well soon!

On August 7 I took my niece’s 100-pound golden retriever, Bogie, for a walk. Bogie’s as gentle and mellow as one would expect a ten-year-old dog to be. This time was different, though. He saw a rabbit and launched after it as quickly as his large muscles could propel him.

He jerked the leash so hard I went airborne. From the tug, I suffered separation at the right shoulder. When I landed, almost on my head, I broke my clavicle.

This is a painful, slow-healing break. At three weeks into the healing process, I noticed little decrease in the pain level. Sleeping was torture if I moved in any way beyond laying flat on my back. Getting out of bed, indeed, movement of any sort was painful, even with the considerably strong pain meds.

Here, then, are my top ten tips for survival during the healing process of this difficult break.

10. Don’t go off the pain meds before scheduled. I didn’t like the woozy, out-of-it feeling so I thought I could go off the meds. It was agony. Don’t do it. And don’t accept offers from well-meaning relatives to try their meds! Follow the doctor’s recommendations.

9. Go sleeveless and strapless. Women, get very loosely knit sleeveless tops with stretch lace straps. The looser the better. In the first few days, any movement was torture, and if I could slip the tops on from over the hips instead of over the head, it was much less painful those first three weeks. This loosely woven, sleeveless top worked great with a strapless bra to alleviate any strain to the bones and bruises. Men, go to a bigger size on the undershirts, and putting on standard shirts should be fairly easy.

8. Use ice packs often. Avoid frostbite, of course, but cooling the area helps lessen the pain.

7. Lie down regularly on your back. It relieves the strain because your muscles will be seizing, trying to protect the area. Ten to fifteen minutes makes a big difference, and discourages the urge to collapse.

6. Maintain your posture. Make a conscious effort to stand and sit straight. It hurts but also helps. Because the healing process for adults is so long, protect your posture and this will help protect other parts of your body from getting out of adjustment and adding more problems to your plate.

5. Count on little or no progress for the first three weeks. If you heal more rapidly you’ll be relieved and thankful. If you don’t, you can avoid devastating disappointment.

4. Commit yourself to healing time. Don’t hesitate to excuse yourself and go lie down if the pain is bad. Don’t worry about refusing social engagements, or about making social visits brief. You need to devote your energy to healing and resting.

3. Escape – at least mentally. Get your mind off your woes by finding some good books to read. And make those good books small and light so you can read while lying down as well as sitting. This need not be expensive. Send a friend to a used bookstore, and tell him or her the kind of books and subjects that interest you. This is a perfect time to watch all those back issues of Mad Men or movies you’ve been wanting to see. Take full advantage of their power to take your mind off the pain.

2. Improvise to minimize pain and setbacks. I placed my hair dryer on my bathroom counter, elevated it with a towel and sat on a short stool. This enabled me to dry my hair with one hand. I used a hair dryer-brush combination and moved very slowly when styling because any quick movement hurts. I chose my easiest to button shorts, and didn’t concern myself with fashion at all. Comfort and cleanliness were my only concerns. I didn’t even TRY to cook, either.

1. Find a pleasant response to, “How are you doing?” People ask because they care, and they really don’t want to hear every minute detail of your suffering. Keep your response upbeat, because your subconscious is listening to you, too. If the drill is, “I am suffering so much,” over and over, think of what that does to your psyche, and how much better the response would be if you thought of the progress you had made, no matter how small, and responded, “I am now able to dress myself,” for example, or, “I’m learning to adjust.” These are truths that will make you feel better, as well as your concerned loved one. Protect your attitude as carefully as you protect your injury.

Bonus tips: Even after you’ve graduated from the standard or the “Figure 8” sling, be sure to wear it when out in public so no one accidentally slaps you on the shoulder or enthusiastically hugs you. And thank your spouse or significant other frequently for their help. 🙂

I won’t lie to you. You won’t “feel better in no time.” This is an injury with a longer recovery time but, with patience and kindness, it will happen! Be kind to yourself and others, exercise patience, and know that it will ultimately heal. Good luck and good healing to you!

SEPT. 8 POSTSCRIPT – I located an informative site from a man who had the misfortune of breaking first his left clavicle, then his right.  For the first break, he was in the lucky 90% that heal.  His second break required surgery.  See his site for excellent info, Xrays and surgery options.   http://john.jpy.com/clavicle/

Have tips to share? Find this article useful? Please leave a comment, and take care!

Bad oral health can hurt your heart, bones, kidney….

Links have been bound between heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's and even some cancers.

“Don’t look a gift horse in the teeth,” the old saying goes.  New information about the link between bad oral health and heart disease brings a new slant to this old saying.

Since I have atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), I’m alert for information that affects the heart.  Imagine my surprise when I read that the health of your gums can affect your health.  In a recent  article by Dr. Ranit Mishori,  she explained that in a study published in the International Journal of Cardiology, researchers studied the health of people who had recently suffered a heart attack, and found that those patients had bad oral health than the control group.

How could bad oral health cause heart attacks?  The report didn’t say it caused them, but did show an association between the two.  In periodontitis, the advanced stage of gingivitis, bacteria, or plaque, accumulates in the gums. These organisms release toxins that can circulate, via blood vessels, through the body. 

Multiple studies from the Journal of Clinical Periodontology revealed that, the more advanced the gum disease, the thicker and harder the walls of the arteries.  Even more startling: they found this to be true even for young, health patients with no other heart problems. 

These circulating toxins can cause more havoc in your body. Scientists are finding more links between bad oral health and diabetes, kidney disease, pre-term labor, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even certain types of cancer.

Bottom line:  we need to protect our gums and teeth.  The American Academy of Periodontology says that one in three adults over 30 have periodontal disease.  Avoid being one of these statistics, and you may very well be on your way to a healthier heart.  So — your horse owners out there, is that why horse buyers always check a horse’s teeth?

Gifts of age – an outstanding book

This fascinating collection of portraits and essays will make a great gift for your special women of any age

I’m reading an informative, inspirational book, and wanted to share it with you.  GIFTS OF AGE, originally published in 1983, is a treasury of insights and thoughts from 32 intelligent, successful women. They share their experience with love, family, success, and life in general.

In addition to these wonderful insights, Pamela Valois’ photos add texture and interest.

Julia Child’s segment is fascinating.  Newly intrigued by Julia after seeing Meryl Streep’s excellent performance in Julie and Julia, I was interested to read about her.  She writes of her wonderful marriage, and discusses how much she enjoyed working with all ages of people.  She spoke fondly of her marriage, and her husband, Paul.

Julia, who lived to be two days shy of 92, shared her “recipe” for happiness:  “A passionate interest in what you do is the secret of enjoying life, perhaps the secret of long life, whether it is helping old people or children or making cheese or growing earthworms.”

GIFTS OF AGE would make a lovely Christmas present for that special woman (of any age) in your life.

Don’t buy into the negatives-aging myths

We can break old barriers and accomplish new goals ... at any age

We can break old barriers and accomplish new goals ... at any age

“It beats the alternative,” George Burns said at turning ninety.  Still, author Gene D. Cohen in The Creative Age says it’s hard to get past the grim generalities and myths about aging.

“Over the hill” and “It’s all downhill from here” are sinister words that echo in our brains as we celebrate each birthday after fifty.  Plummeting sex drive, health, and memory, dark, neglected nursing home rooms.  Ugh.  Should we really unquestionably accept all this?

No, Cohen says, and presents examples of people achieving great things in their later years.  Madeline Albright, at age sixty becoming the first female Secretary of State.  Dr. C. Everett Koop, surgeon general from age sixty-five to age seventy-three.  Boris Pasternak who wrote his first novel, Dr. Zhivago, at sixty-six.  Susan B. Anthony, internationally active into her eighties.

Cohen doesn’t stop with celebrities.  He cites regular people he grew to know from his experiences with the National Institute of Health–Robert, who left his law career in his early seventies and turned to documentary photography, completing a thrilling helicopter assignment at age eighty-seven over Alaskan wilderness.  William Edmonson, who lost his job as janitor in his mid-sixties and turned to sculpting, later becoming the first African American to have a one-person show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.  Charlotte, a retired “shrinking violet” secretary who went on to enjoy community theater, acting and singing publicly in her seventies.

While health complications are a reality, so too is the reality of the creative spirit.  Cohen points out that “Dreams, desires, ambition, determination, wisdom and compassion are also among the many effects of aging.”

Next: The Right Stuff

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Over the hill, or suddenly creative?

Dr. Cohen's book dispels aging myths and shows us the more promising aspects of aging

Dr. Cohen's book dispels aging myths and shows us the more promising aspects of aging

Believing as I do that life can become richer with age, I was delighted to discover a book the celebrates the strengths of aging.  Tucked away on the value shelf at the bookstore, it has proven to be a real treasure.  Look for highlights of this book in the coming days, and if you wish to devour it whole, it’s titled The Creative Age, and it’s written by Gene D. Cohen, MD, PhD.

Cohen cites George Bernard Shaw in his first chapter, noting that Shaw wrote Back to Methuselah when he was sixty-six, and was awarded the Nobel Price in Literature in 1925 — at the age of sixty-nine.  Shaw wrote his entire lifetime, and was writing a comedy when he died at the age of ninety-four.

The creative spirit, Cohen says, has the power to change our lives at every age.

This book inspired me to focus on topics about our creative age.

Next up tomorrow:  Not just artsy-crafty – how to live better through creativity

Reject “old age” messages, explore new roads

Handsome, regal Rhett Butler Carey, and old dog who learned many new tricks

Handsome, regal Rhett Butler Carey, an old dog who learned many new tricks

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
I’m having a senior moment.
He’s ready for the rocking chair.

I recall writing an article for Network Magazine in which I visited belittling expressions about women. Terms like babe, chick, hen (and the more crass references we won’t mention here but all of us know) tend to dismiss women, to undermine their intelligence and capabilities.

In fairness, there are similar terms for men: hunk, bull, ox, mule, and so on.

Many such limiting labels have been placed on aging, as well. Old dog, bats-in-the-belfry, put him out to pasture, these and many more expressions leave lingering impressions on our minds, leading us to believe, as we approach and pass retirement age, that the best of our lives lies behind us.

Is that all there is?  Should we now rock our way to our final day?

Not me.  If aging is so devastating, why do we have a Supreme Court peopled with judges over seventy? The average age for a President to take office is 54.8 years old. The median age is 55. Eight men became President in their 40’s, 24 in their 50’s, and 10 in their 60’s.

There are countless examples of people achieving their best life works–in established or new fields of venture–in their seventies and eighties.

Why, then, do such generalities about fading proliferate?

It reminds me of the “dumb blonde” syndrome. There are many blonde-haired women who are bright and successful, but that’s not entertaining.  How much more fun it is to point at the ditzy one and make jokes.  So, humor at the expense of the aging is one answer.

Another reason may be fear. One witnesses the ravages of age in some–the decline in mobility, continence, health, memory–and releases the anxiety through comedy.

The biggest reason, though, may be one of being informed and aware of the whole picture.

While it’s true that age brings health challenges, it’s also true that quality of life can continue if we:
* keep an open mind
* accept adaptive methods that can neutralize some of life’s challenges
* point to one positive trait of aging for every negative we hear
* acknowledge both physical decline and the increased creativity that comes with age
* focus on an individual who overcomes aging challenges and shines in spite of them

There are others, but I have not yet enjoyed my second cup of coffee.
Maybe you’ll add some for us.  I would enjoy hearing from you.