Mind & Body
Sage Advice on Aging
9/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Sage Advice on Aging

As Americans live longer, growth in the number of older adults is unprecedented. In 2015, 14.9% (47.8 million) of the US population was aged 65 or older and is projected to reach 23.5% (98 million) by 2060. Along with these numbers comes a desire for older Americans to not only age but to age well. And what does that look like? Of course, it is different for everyone, but basically, older Americans want to be physically healthy, financially stable, and live independently for as long as possible. In this special section geared towards seniors, you’ll find information on aging at place (ie home), when to give up the car keys, dealing with caregiver burnout, taking care of your skin, and tips to help you remain financially secure for the rest of your life.

More SeniorsMake the Choice to Age at Home

The majority of seniors want to stay at home as they age – about 94 percent, according to research from Home Instead, Inc. But what it means to age in place has been changing. Today, one in four older adults plan to move to a new home to age in place.

The majority of seniors want to stay at home as they age – about 94 percent, according to research from Home Instead, Inc. But what it means to age in place has been changing. Today, one in four older adults plan to move to a new home to age in place.

To help seniors make plans for where to age, the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Lake Charles and surrounding communities has introduced new resources to navigate options and select what "home” means for individuals.

"We know how important it is for older adults to feel a sense of independence as they age,” says George Cestia, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care in Lake Charles. "For many, that means staying in the same home where they raised children and created a lifetime of memories. But now we also see a growing number of seniors who choose a new home to live in as they age; one that is better suited to their wish to remain independent. Whatever their wishes, we want to provide the resources to help with that decision and to help them make a plan.” 

For some seniors, the decision to look for a new home as they age is a practical one, with the top desired features including single floor living (85 percent), easy maintenance (84 percent) or low cost of maintenance (83 percent). For those who want to continue to age in their current homes, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) have also considered age-friendly modifications, such as adding grab bars to bathrooms or other safety measures. 

While many older adults have given thought to how they will age in place – and know they want to stay at home in some way – many still have work to do when it comes to finalizing plans. Just one in four seniors surveyed report having specific plans for where they will live as they become older. That’s where Home Instead wants to help.


Their new "Home Your Own Way” program offers free resources for seniors and families to assess needs and options, and to determine what aging in place might look like for them. 

"There are so many factors to consider when talking about where you may want to live as you age and what makes sense for you,” says Cestia. "The conversation needs to include not only the physical space, such as accessibility and safety precautions in the home, but also emotional elements such as memories, companionship and sense of community. We want to help seniors think through both these areas to determine what best fits their needs.” 

For older adults who want to stay in their homes – either a current or new home – some seek assistance to make it possible. A professional caregiver can help address the physical demands of aging, such as personal care or Alzheimer’s care, as well as the emotional aspects, like companionship.  

Whether seniors age in their current home, downsize, move to a senior living community or choose to live with relatives, the goal of the Home Your Own Way program is to help them make an informed choice about where to live as they age. 

To learn more about defining home your own way visit www.HomeYourOwnWay.com or, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office or visit www.homeinstead.com for details on how seniors may navigate this important life decision.

Skincare Secrets for the Over-Sixty Set

by Emily Alford

Most age-based beauty secret stories begin with tips  for people in their twenties, move through the thirties, forties, and fifties, then drop off, assuming that from there on out, most people’s routines are pretty much set. The truth is, women can be beautiful at every age. So here are some of the experts’ top skincare tips for those over sixty! 

Use an oil-based cleanser before bed

Most of us have been told since we were teenagers that one of the secrets to great skin is never, ever sleep in makeup. Even if you choose to forego makeup altogether, washing away the day’s dirt and other pore-clogging pollutants is a good idea. 

But where younger people are also often trying to prevent blemishes with facial soaps that control oil, more mature skin actually needs all the oil it can get. While excess sebum production causes acne, oil also keeps skin supple. So it’s a good idea to replace a harsh cleansing soap with gentler, and more nourishing oil cleansers as skin ages and pimples become less of a concern. 

Switch bath oil for bubbles

Speaking of things that dry out already thirsty skin, long soaks in the tub can be a major culprit for making skin look parched. Soaking too long in hot water actually dries out skin, as do some of the harsh ingredients commonly found in bubble bath. Look for bath oils containing calming ingredients, like lavender, and try not to soak too long. 

Be careful with Retinol 

Retinol is a wonderful ingredient that can keep skin looking youthful for a long time. It works by encouraging surface skin cells to turn over more rapidly, promoting the growth of new cells underneath. The downside? Retinol can also be drying. And as we age, our skin becomes thinner, so we need less Retinol to encourage cell turnover, not more. If you’ve been using Retinol for years but find your skin looking a bit dry, it could be time to consider reducing the percentage of Retinol in the products you use. 

Consider hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is the relatively new kid on the skincare block, and many are hailing it as a wonder product for making skin look fresh and reducing the look of lines. Though we don’t generally think of acid as something we’d like near our faces, our own skin cells naturally produce this acid in order to retain moisture. Adding a bit more to your skincare routine via serums and cleansers can do wonders to brighten up dull skin, smooth out rough patches, and boost elasticity. 

One particularly helpful tip for skincare at any age is that if you find a product that works (and it continues working) stick with it. You’ve hit the beauty jackpot! 

Keeping Seniors Safe on the Road

A new scratch on the bumper or avoiding activities that require leaving home are often the first signs that families should talk with their aging parents about driving. Unfortunately, those conversations are not happening enough.

Ninety-five percent of surveyed seniors have not talked to their loved ones about driving, though one-third said that a recommendation from family or friends that they transition from driving would make them reconsider driving.

 "As adults, we don’t hesitate to talk to our teenage children about driving, but when we need to address concerns with our own parents, we drop the ball,” said Elin Schold Davis, occupational therapist and project coordinator for the Older Drive Initiative of the American Occupational Therapy Association. "We know that discussing driving with aging loved ones reduces their discomfort around limiting or stopping their driving. Often, families just need to know how to start the dialogue.”

Nearly 90 percent of aging adults rely on their cars and driving to stay independent, according to the survey. Though many seniors 70 and older are able to drive safely into their later years, it is critical for families to have a plan in place before a medical or cognitive condition makes it no longer safe for their senior loved one to get behind the wheel.

 "Physical and cognitive changes, such as those caused by Alzheimer’s disease, changes in vision or medication usage, can put older adults in jeopardy on the road,” added Schold Davis. "Many drivers can continue to drive safely as they get older, but it’s important for families to work with their loved ones to create a roadmap that explores new technologies and solutions, while planning ahead. The solution may not be to stop driving completely but could include adding senior-friendly safety features to the car or taking a safety class.”

Article courtesy of Home Instead Senior Care. To access the Safe Driving Planner, or to view other program resources and tips, visit www.LetsTalkAboutDriving.com. 


Warning Signs that Seniors may be Unsafe Drivers

1.     Mysterious dents. If an older adult can’t explain what happened to his or her car, or you notice multiple instances of damage, there may be a change in the senior’s driving abilities.

2.     Trouble turning to see when backing up. Aging may compromise mobility and affect important movements needed to drive safely. Fortunately, newer vehicles offer back-up cameras and assistive technologies that can help older adults continue to drive safely.

3.     Confusing the gas and brake pedals. Dementia can lead to a senior being confused about how his or her car operates.

4.     Increased irritation and agitation when driving. Poor health or chronic pain can trigger increased 

agitation that may, in turn, lead to poor judgment on the road.

5.     Bad calls on left-hand turns. Turning left can be tricky and dangerous for older drivers, and many accidents occur where there is an unprotected left turn (no turning arrow).

6.     Parking gone awry. Difficulty parking, including parallel parking, could cause damage to an older adult’s vehicle as well as to those around it.

7.     Difficulty staying within the lanes. If you’ve spotted a driver zigzagging along the road, it could be a sign that fatigue or vision problems are making it difficult to stay on course.

8.     Delayed reaction and response time. Aging slows response times which may create a situation where an older adult may cause an accident or be unable to respond quickly enough to prevent a crash.

9.     Driving the wrong speed. Driving too fast or too slow may be indicators that a driver’s judgment may be impaired.

10.  Riding the brake. Riding the brake could be a sign that a driver no longer has confidence in his or her skills.

Combat Caregiver Burnout 

Signs of burnout may include:

•  Feeling like every day is a bad day.

•  Caring about your work or home life 

   seems like a waste of time.

•  Feeling exhausted all the time.

•  Spending most of your day on tasks    

   you find either mind-numbingly dull 

  or overwhelming

•  Feeling like nothing you do makes a 

   difference or is appreciated.

Millions of American caregivers may suffer from burnout, but Kelly Fischer, a senior lecturer of psychological science at Ball State University, says there are simple ways to combat the problem.

Burnout is "a state of emotional, mental, or physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress,” said Fischer, who provides stress management training and burnout avoidance training to first responders, as well as caregivers. According to data from AARP, there about 66 million caregivers in the United States.

The problem has become so widespread that the World Health Organization announced it is developing guidelines on mental well-being and unveiled an expanded definition of "burnout” based on new research.

"There are many things that can cause burnout, including role confusion, where you are torn between being a caregiver and being a family member or friend to the person for whom you provide assistance,” said Fischer, who is a caregiver to her disabled adult son. "Caregivers experience burnout when they place unrealistic expectations upon themselves, thinking they have to do everything, and do everything perfectly with no errors and cannot complain. 

To avoid or mitigate burnout, Fischer suggests incorporating some of these practical tools into daily life:

Schedule a relaxing ritual into each day. It could mean 15 minutes with headphones listening to your favorite music, reading a book, or taking a short walk.  

Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits.  

Set boundaries. Learn to say no when you feel maxed out.

Take a daily break from technology. You do not have to be accessible 24/7, and technology makes it hard for you to set boundaries and focus on yourself.  

Indulge your creative side. Perhaps take up a hobby or pursue an artistic outlet.  

Talk to a professional about healthy coping strategies.

If you’re already experiencing burnout, try these tips:

Slow down. Cut back on commitments and activities. Give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.

Get support. Turn to your loved ones and share your feelings. You will likely find there are people in your life who are willing to relieve some of the burden.

Re-evaluate your goals and priorities. There may be things you think are "Must dos” that are not crucial. There also may be things that keep getting dropped down the priority list that should be at the top (such as self-care).

Sometimes it helps to have someone give feedback on your evaluation of the situation.

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