Healthy Weight Management for Seniors

healthy weight managementAccording to the CDC, over 35% of adults in the United States age 60 or older are obese. This number is sadly expected to rise even more as the Baby Boomer generation become senior citizens, too.

One problem is that our metabolisms start to slow down as we grow older, due to the fact that while our body fat increases, our muscle mass decreases. This can start as early as our 20s. Plus, when you exercise in your 50s, 60s and 70s you don’t burn as many calories as you did during your younger years. However, major weight gain is certainly not a normal part of the aging process, and if you aren’t observing healthy weight management, you could be putting your health at risk.

Maintaining a healthy weight is vital to healthy aging. Proper weight management should be a lifelong goal and as you age, you should be following the same healthy lifestyle as you did in your younger years.

Senior Weight Management Tips

Studies have shown that it’s important for seniors who are attempting to lose weight to not only eat a healthy diet, but to exercise regularly, too. Exercise will burn calories, as well as help build and maintain muscle.  The types of exercise health experts recommend for seniors are:

  • Aerobic exercise. Getting your heart rate up through aerobic exercises like walking, biking, swimming or low-impact aerobics can improve cardiovascular function, quality of sleep, and enhance your immune system on top of helping you lose extra pounds.
  • Strength and/or resistance training. Help preserve lean muscle and bone density or even regain lost muscle by utilizing light weights, resistance bands or medicine balls. Start with lower repetitions and work your way up.
  • Stretching and flexibility exercises. Flexibility decreases as you age, so stretching is an important step in your workout as it helps warm up and cool down your muscles.

Seniors should try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week. If you’re just starting out with an exercise regimen, you can break your activities up into ten minute segments.

Along with regular exercise, obviously the next step is to adjust your eating habits. First, know how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis. Your doctor can help you with this, but as an example, women over age 50 who are moderately active need about 1,600 to 1,800 calories per day. Your needs can vary based on several factors, like physical activity, current muscle mass, and even genetics. Cutting back calories will help you lose weight, but you want to avoid cutting out too many to avoid getting fatigued and even slowing down your metabolism further.

Changing the types of food you eat is important, too. Choosing healthy foods like fruits and veggies over sugary or salty snacks, whole grains over white flour, getting adequate calcium and incorporating lean proteins will give you more energy and help you stay healthy. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. As you age, your sense of thirst can diminish and make it difficult for you to remember to get the proper intake of water to avoid dehydration.

When you begin your healthy weight management routine, remember that the main goal is to get and stay fit, not necessarily to drop a major amount of weight all at once.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

How Assisted Living Facilities Help with Arthritis Treatment

arthritis treatmentAccording to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects more than 50 million Americans, with two-thirds of those sufferers age 65 or older. Even though arthritis is generally thought of simply as the aches and pains that come with aging, it’s actually a part of a family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of over 100 conditions or diseases. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, and it can affect those of all ages, genders and races.

Assisted living facilities are well-equipped to help their residents with proper arthritis treatment. The knowledgeable staff members understand the debilitating effects arthritis can have on a person, so many of the communities have special exercise programs, meal plans and other activities to help with arthritis pain relief. Their goal is to ensure that they are reducing the chronic pain those suffering from arthritis feel, as well as improve their overall health and quality of life.

Arthritis Symptoms

The two common forms of arthritis affecting older individuals are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is actually the most common form of arthritis, affecting around 27 million Americans. Symptoms generally develop slowly over time, with stiff joints and soreness that are more annoying at first than debilitating. People with OA will have sore or stiff joints especially after periods of inactivity. This stiffness can go away once they begin moving again. They also tend to feel more pain at the end of the day or after a bout of activity. Those with severe OA will have trouble climbing stairs, sleeping, walking or performing daily activities.

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system begins attacking your joints instead of attacking foreign substances like bacteria. This disease affects three times more women than men out of the 1.5 million sufferers in the United States. It can start to appear between ages 30 and 60, but generally shows up later in life.  Symptoms of RA vary from person to person and can change daily. A “flare” or sudden increase in symptoms can last a day or as long as a month and include swollen, reddish joints, pain and fatigue.

Proper Treatment for Arthritis

Seniors with arthritis can thrive in assisted living facilities. A major emphasis in these senior living communities is placed on proper nutrition and maintaining daily physical activity. Events are generally planned that tailor to the needs of the residents, especially those living with certain conditions like arthritis.

Many seniors might think that because they are living with arthritis, they can’t maintain the level of physical activity that they should. However, daily exercise is a vital tool in the fight against arthritis. Not only is it important to maintain a healthy weight to ease pressure on joints, but a lack of exercise can actually lead to more pain as the joints become weaker and stiffer. There are plenty of exercises that are helpful to arthritis sufferers, from walking, swimming, yoga, and more. American Senior Communities offers a unique fitness program for seniors through our New Energy Wellness program, which will cater to the fitness needs of the individual.

Other treatments for arthritis include maintaining a proper diet high in nutrients, protein and fiber. Avoiding excess sugar, salt and saturated fats is important to help maintain a healthy weight. Certain prescription and over the counter medications are also available, and new treatments are being continually researched.

For more information about American Senior Communities New Energy Wellness program, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com/new.

Mental Illness vs. Dementia in the Elderly

dementia in the elderlyWhen people think of dementia, it’s common to think of it as a mental illness due to the effects the condition has on the brain. However, there are distinctions that should be made between dementia and mental illness in order to properly diagnose the individual. While dementia does affect mental health, it is not a mental illness, but a disorder of the brain that causes memory loss and trouble with communicating.

Proper diagnosis of mental illness or dementia in the elderly is vital in order ensure that appropriate treatment is provided as soon as possible. Misdiagnosis of mental illness in seniors can occur easily since symptoms are so similar to dementia, like confusion and erratic behavior.

Dementia symptoms

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which causes cells in the brain that control memory to die. It is an irreversible condition that occurs in severe and moderate stages in three million people over the age of 65.

While dementia does affect all individuals differently, the main symptoms of dementia include:

  • Difficulty communicating. Dementia patients often have a difficult time completing sentences or finding the right words. Also, words can get mixed up or used incorrectly.
  • Increased memory issues. Forgetfulness will start to occur more and more often, along with problems remembering how to do daily activities like cooking, cleaning and dressing.
  • General confusion. Those with dementia begin getting confused about what time of day it is, or even what year they’re living in. They also have a hard time recognizing friends and family members or think they are someone else entirely. Dementia patients may also start losing or misplacing items, even accusing others of stealing their belongings.
  • Personality and emotional changes. Dementia will cause personality changes to individuals, and can affect their moods as well. Those with dementia are often fearful or depressed and experience severe mood swings.

Common Mental Illnesses in the Elderly

If a senior is displaying signs of mental illness, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and seek treatment as soon as possible. Some of the common mental illnesses the elderly experience are:

  • Depression. Depression is considered the most common mental disorder among seniors. Social isolation plays a major role in emotional wellness, so when a senior spends long periods alone because they are unable to drive or live far away from friends and family, depression can easily set in. It is also a symptom of dementia and tends to get overlooked as a treatable ailment.
  • Late onset bipolar. Most bipolar patients are diagnosed in early adulthood. Late onset bipolar can be difficult to diagnose because of its similarities to dementia symptoms like agitation, manic behavior and delusions.
  • Late onset schizophrenia. This disorder also presents a challenge to diagnose. It can manifest in adults after age 45 and appears as the patient ages. Symptoms are similar to dementia, once again, with hallucinations and paranoia the most common, but these symptoms are milder than when this illness appears in younger adults.

Mental illnesses are treatable, but the trick is a correct diagnosis. Even if a senior had good mental health throughout their entire life, the risk of mental illness in later years is still there. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible if there are any noticeable changes beginning to occur.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Massage for Seniors

massage therapy for seniorsAs we grow older, our bodies can start slowing down as we begin experiencing some of the pain and stiffness that comes with aging. It may be difficult to stay involved with all the physical activities you enjoy due to chronic conditions like osteoarthritis or ailments like Parkinson’s disease. However, staying physically active is vital for seniors because regular exercise can help improve mobility, flexibility and even your mental health.

Massage Therapy for Seniors

According to a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association, approximately 9 million people over age 55 had a total of 39 million massages in the last twelve months, mainly for medical purposes. Massage therapy for seniors can be an effective, non-invasive way to help alleviate some of the symptoms of many age-related conditions, especially when used to compliment traditional medical services. With regular massage, seniors can experience an improved quality of life, increased energy levels and feel younger and healthier overall.

Massage therapy offers numerous benefits to the entire body. It helps ease joint and muscle pain, and can even reduce the increased levels of stress that tend to come with aging. The massage techniques utilized for seniors include lighter, gentle stroking and kneading as well as application of pressure to specific points on the body. Even the most gentle massage has proven effects on the nervous system and blood circulation, two of the most vulnerable systems of the body that feel the effects of aging.

A typical massage for a senior usually involves a short session lasting around thirty minutes. Soothing hand motions help improve blood circulation, especially in diabetic feet, and relieve muscle tension while relaxing the body and mind.

Senior Massage Benefits

Massage therapy for seniors has been proven to have positive effects on:

  • Pain due to osteoarthritis. A study showed that seniors who utilized massage as part of their treatment for osteoarthritis had less pain and stiffness and improved physical function over the course of a few months.
  • Sleep habits and quality of sleep. Seniors who receive weekly massages report that they are sleeping more deeply and for longer lengths of time. This results in an overall feeling of better health as the body is being allowed more time to repair itself.
  • Agitation due to Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that slow-stroke back massage on Alzheimer’s patients helps alleviate some of the agitation expressions that come with the disease, like wandering, pacing and resisting.
  • Alleviating depression. Touch has been proven to provide comfort to the elderly- especially since so many of them are deprived of it- which can help improve mental health.
  • Physical and mental relaxation. Massage has been shown to decrease the unhealthy buildup of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” in the body, allowing the body to enter a rest and rejuvenation period.
  • Quicker healing from injuries or illnesses. As we age, our joints and muscles tend to tighten, which can make it more difficult to heal from an injury because our range of motion is restricted. Massage therapy keeps muscles, connective tissues, joints, tendons and ligaments more fluid and even less injury-prone in the long run.

Try incorporating massage into your healthcare routine to see what benefits and relief you begin to experience yourself.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

How to Have a Long, Healthy Marriage

marriage adviceA common statistic is that half of all marriages today end in divorce, sometimes after only a few years.

However, the older generations seem to have it figured out, with their marriages lasting 50 or even 60 years! Those seniors clearly know some secrets to ensuring that their marriage stays happy and healthy. With Valentine’s Day approaching this weekend, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share some marriage advice regarding having an exciting and lasting relationship.

Marriage Advice from the Experts- Seniors!

A little while ago, CBS This Morning put out a video in which they interviewed Professor Karl Pillemer, author of a book called 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships and Marriage. He interviewed over 700 people with marriages lasting an average of 43 years. In the book, seniors dished out some advice about how to pick the perfect mate and make it last throughout the years.  Here are their tips, as well as some other great general marriage tips to stay happy with your significant other over time:

  • Marry someone with similar interests. While it’s also important to have hobbies and things you enjoy doing on your own, make sure you and your mate share some common interests as well. Spending time together doing things you both like, whether it’s dancing, hiking or bowling will allow your bond to remain strong.
  • Listen to your family. If your family members can’t understand what you see in your significant other, pay attention to that fact. If those closest to you don’t approve of your relationship, this should definitely be considered a red flag.
  • Prioritize your spouse. With our busy careers and crazy schedules revolving around our children, it’s vital to put your spouse first from time to time. Plan weekly or monthly date nights, and never take each other for granted. Also remember to respect each other and treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated yourself. Love is a two-way street, after all.
  • Deal with conflicts head on. There’s that old saying, “never go to bed angry.” However, that’s not necessarily true. Pick the right time to have major discussions about your disagreements. Another popular saying is “timing is everything,”and in the case of marital disputes this is very true. Show patience with each other and keep a sense of forgiveness.
  • Keep the spark alive! A little romance now and then is vital for a happy marriage! Try to think back to how you felt when you first met your spouse and keep that feeling going. Have fun with each other- look at marriage as a lifetime of enjoyment with the person you love most in your life.

In case you missed it, a few months ago American Senior Communities released a short video of our own in which some of our seniors gave some of their best life advice, including some great thoughts about how to have a happy relationship.  Check it out again below!

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

The Best Winter Activities in Indianapolis

winter activities in indianapolisThe weather outside might be cold and somewhat unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out of the house and enjoy some winter activities in Indianapolis! If you’re starting to go stir crazy from being inside these past few months, grab your coat and head out to Indy. We’ve rounded up some great indoor places to visit and things to see while there’s still snow on the ground. No waiting for spring time necessary!

Things to do in Indianapolis this Winter

Indianapolis offers a variety of activities this winter that can be fun for old and young alike!  Get out of the house and check out these Indianapolis attractions:

  • Indiana State Museum: Located in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, this museum spans three floors of Core Galleries and tells the story of the Hoosier state. It features scientific, historical, art and cultural exhibits that showcase the unique history of the state of Indiana. The museum is open daily until 5 p.m.
  • Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens: Situated within the 136-acre Garfield Park on Indianapolis’ south side, the conservatory features year-round special exhibits and also offer lectures, workshops and gardening exhibits. Running until mid-February, the Dancing Waters show is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art: Displaying over 50,000 pieces of art from many periods and cultures in history, the 130-year-old Indianapolis Museum of Art is a must-visit for those who appreciate art and culture. It’s also a fun and educational experience for those young and old. The museum also offers film screenings, performances, classes and lectures, plus plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Hilbert Circle Theatre: Located on Monument Circle, the Hilbert Circle Theater is home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and is considered one of the most prestigious and historic venues in Indy. The theatre opened in 1916 as one of the nation’s first grand movie palaces. Its intimate setting and customized stage create an amazing venue for live performances. Valentine’s Day weekend, you can watch the classic movie Casablanca, set to a live orchestra.
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: Grab the grandkids and get ready for a fun experience at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis! You’ll find a variety of indoor activities to keep the kids’ minds off the cold weather outside. The museum covers 20 acres and it offers over 470,000 square feet of fun things for kids to participate in. They can ride a real carousel, touch a dinosaur bone or explore an Egyptian tomb!
  • Indy Fuel Hockey Games: Going to a hockey game is a perfect sporting event for a cold winter’s day! The Fuel’s season lasts through March, with games held at the Pepsi Coliseum. Tickets are reasonably priced too, so gather the whole family and go cheer on the hockey team!

As you can see, Indianapolis offers plenty of possibilities to help you pass time and get through these cold winter days!  These are just a few of the winter activities in Indianapolis you can enjoy while awaiting the warmer weather.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

Is Diabetes Preventable?

diabetes prevention
Of the two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2- it is possible to prevent developing type 2 diabetes. Currently, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, although there are ongoing studies to discover ways to prevent it in those people who are more likely to develop it.

Type 1 diabetes can be hereditary; however, many people who have the disease actually have no family history of it. If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to make sure you are following your treatment plan and maintaining regular medical appointments and checkups. While there’s no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, you can help prevent complications from the disease by keeping your blood sugar levels in the target range. Damage from complications can be stopped and even reversed entirely if they are treated early.

Type 2 diabetes prevention, on the other hand, is possible. People with type 2 diabetes have problems making and/or using insulin. When insulin is not being used by the body as it should be, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells, which leads to the cells not functioning properly. High glucose levels can damage blood vessels and nerves in the eyes, kidneys and heart and can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Tips for Diabetes Prevention

While anyone can get type 2 diabetes, the people who are most at risk are those who are over age 45, are overweight or obese, rarely exercise, and have high blood pressure.  Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include things like increased hunger and thirst, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, and numbness in hands and feet, just to name a few. If you are over the age of 45, it’s recommended to get tested annually for type 2 diabetes.

If you follow these diabetes prevention tips recommended by the American Diabetes Association, these simple lifestyle changes can help ensure that you’ll avoid serious complications as you age.  These tips include:

  • Maintain a healthy diet with lots of fiber and whole grains. Foods high in fiber include fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds. High fiber foods can help improve your blood sugar levels, and they can promote weight loss since you’ll feel fuller faster. Likewise, whole grains also help reduce your blood sugar levels. Foods like breads, pastas and cereals come from whole grains- just make sure the words “whole grain” are on the package.
  • Start exercising regularly. Find a physical activity you enjoy participating in. Studies show that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help prevent diabetes. Spend at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week involved in some sort of physical activity that gets your heart rate up. You can even break the 30 minutes into more manageable, 10 minute intervals as you’re getting started.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra pounds puts you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, certain studies have shown that being overweight was the single most important thing in developing type 2 diabetes. Through proper diet and exercise, you can maintain a healthy weight and help reduce your risk.

Along with maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, if you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes there are certain medications your doctor may prescribe. Always discuss any concerns you may have at your medical appointments.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

Avoiding Senior Isolation during the Winter Months

social isolation in the elderly
The cold winter months can make things difficult for aging adults. Seniors are not only more vulnerable to illness and infection when the temperatures drop significantly, but the snow and ice can also make them more susceptible to falls and accidents.

One of the most significant effects winter can have on aging adults, however, is the increased risk for social isolation.

The Effects of Social Isolation in the Elderly

Humans are inherently social beings, and this doesn’t change as we grow older. However, many seniors find themselves living alone with no family close by, either due to a spouse passing away or grown children moving out of the area. Plus, today’s busy lifestyles don’t always allow family to visit their aging relatives as often as they may desire.

Seniors can face a variety of problems if they are not staying socially connected. Social isolation in the elderly can affect both a person’s health and well-being. Feeling isolated can lead to detrimental health effects in seniors, like increased blood pressure, a higher risk for dementia, more falls and hospital stays, and even can increase the risk of death. Feeling lonely can also lead to depression and poor physical and mental health.

Ways to Stay Socially Connected through the Winter

If you or your loved one is facing isolation this winter, there are steps you can take to ensure the feeling of loneliness doesn’t last long.

  • Visit frequently. Even if you don’t live near your loved one, it’s important to try to schedule regular visits as often as possible. Many seniors look forward to family get-togethers, so try to plan a few events throughout the winter months to enjoy a family dinner and some good conversation. At the very least, call or email your loved one frequently to stay in touch.
  • Reach out to neighbors or friends living nearby. If it’s impossible for you to visit as often as you would like to, ask for the assistance of the aging senior’s friends or neighbors. Ask neighbors to stop by once a week or so to check in.
  • Join a senior community center. Many towns have senior centers available that offer a way for aging adults to connect with each other. They offer programs and events to keep seniors engaged throughout the year.
  • Encourage daily exercise. A few minutes of physical activity every day can help improve your mood and ward off depression. Plus, exercise helps increase your mobility and can lessen the risk for falls.
  • Consider pet adoption. A furry friend can help reduce feelings of isolation; a pet offers constant companionship to aging seniors.
  • Utilize technology. Learning programs like Skype and video chatting gives seniors a way to stay in touch with friends and family no matter how far away they may be. Even if an in-person visit isn’t possible, the use of today’s personal communication technologies makes it possible to have face-to-face conversations.

Avoiding senior isolation during the winter months isn’t impossible. Just remember to take a few extra steps during these long winter days, and spring will be here before you know it.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

 

 

Things You Might Not Know about Assisted Living

assisted living factsWith what may seem like so many different options available for senior living today, you may be confused about what you should do to provide the best possible ongoing care for your loved one.  All senior living communities provide various levels of care, and you need to spend some time researching what care level best suits your loved one.

From skilled nursing facilities with a high level of care to retirement communities that offer independent living, knowing some assisted living facts will help ease your mind that you’re choosing the best option for your aging family member.

A Few Assisted Living Facts

Assisted living offers numerous benefits to aging adults. One of the biggest benefits of assisted living is the professional staff that becomes involved in all aspects of your aging loved one’s health. The staff plays a large role in making sure your loved one is maintaining the best quality of life possible, while giving you the peace of mind that should an accident occur, help is available around the clock.

If you’re concerned about choosing the correct senior living option, here are some of the things you might not know about today’s assisted living facilities:

  • They aren’t boring. Assisted living communities today aren’t the bland, sterilized nursing homes that might come to your mind when you hear the term. They are decorated beautifully, giving off a very “homey” feel as soon as you step through the doors. They come in all shapes and sizes, too- from towering, urban apartment buildings to an intimate, cottage-like building.  You can choose the type of community that feels similar to your loved one’s previous home, or wherever he or she will feel most comfortable. Visit communities with your loved one before making any final decisions.
  • They know the importance of socialization. You or your loved one might be worried about meeting people and making new friends in their new home, but assisted living facilities are highly aware of how important it is for seniors to interact with each other. Research has shown that staying socially connected helps aging adults maintain cognitive function and lowers the risk of depression. The community will make sure your loved one is engaging in social activities as much as possible.
  • Many facilities are pet-friendly. If your loved one has hesitated making the move to an assisted living facility because they can’t bear to part with a furry friend, check into communities that are pet friendly. More and more facilities these days, American Senior Communities included, are offering the option to bring along a pet.
  • They offer more than just bingo. Not every senior is into playing bingo these days, and assisted living communities are well aware of this fact. That’s why so many different events and activities are planned monthly to keep seniors engaged and entertained. Everything from movie nights to book clubs and scheduled outings are commonly offered.
  • They make living easier. Your loved one may think that they’ll be leaving behind all the comforts of home, but when home involves maintaining a yard and a large amount of housework, they’ll soon realize how much easier leaving all that work to the staff can be!

Remember to talk to your loved one and discuss the needs most important to him or her before starting your research. Knowing what type of community they are interested in and how much assistance you know they’ll need will help move you in the right direction.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

Hearing Loss and Dementia

hearing loss and dementiaRecently, a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that there is a link between older adults who suffer hearing loss and those who suffer from dementia.

Researchers concluded while the brain does tend to shrink as we age, shrinkage can occur faster when hearing loss is also a factor. People who suffer from severe hearing loss are actually five times more likely to suffer cognitive impairment than those have normal hearing. Even those with just mild hearing impairment are twice as likely to develop dementia.

Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition in older adults, and can be caused by genetics or natural changes to the inner ear.  Constant exposure to loud noises and even smoking can also have a negative effect on your hearing.

The Johns Hopkins study revealed that more research needs to be done regarding the correlation between hearing loss and dementia. Overall, they found that those with impaired hearing lost more brain tissue each year compared to people with normal hearing, as well as more shrinkage in particular regions of the brain. Another study is being planned to see if early action to treat hearing loss can help prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

Reasons to Have Your Hearing Regularly Checked

Your hearing can affect more than just your memory. It’s important to schedule an initial hearing exam if you’re noticing that you are having difficulty hearing. Don’t simply accept it as an inevitable part of the aging process.

Hearing loss is not only associated with dementia, but it is also a factor in several other health problems, such as:

  • Diabetes. Studies have been done that show there is not only a link between hearing loss and dementia, but also a correlation between hearing loss and diabetes. Hearing loss is twice as common in people who have diabetes than in those who don’t, due to poor control over blood sugar levels.  Over time, poor blood sugar control can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the ear.
  • Cardiovascular health. A healthy heart is linked to your ability to hear; abnormalities in the cardiovascular system can be noted earlier because the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow.
  • Risk of falls. Those with hearing loss are about three times more likely to have a history of falling, according to another study done by Johns Hopkins.
  • Problems sleeping. Hearing loss can affect how well you’re sleeping; studies have found that sleep apnea has been associated even with mild hearing impairment.
  • Depression. Hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which is a large factor in depression among seniors. Having to constantly try to decipher what people are saying can sometimes become too much for seniors to handle, and they no longer seek out social activities. Social isolation not only leads to depression, but it also plays a role in the risk for dementia.

Today’s hearing aids have better sound and are barely noticeable when worn, so don’t put off a hearing test that can improve your quality of life.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.

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