Our bodies change as we age, so it’s important for seniors — and their caregivers, if applicable — to be aware of health issues that especially impact us in our 50s, 60s and beyond.
Starting Out: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) SeniorHealth site is a great place to begin when researching such general topics as Bones & Joints, Healthy Aging, and Memory & Mental Health. Short videos support those articles. For instance, the Hip Replacement category has videos on the decision-making process, as well as preparing ahead for the recovery period — details helpful for both patient and caregiver. The site (nihseniorhealth.gov) is easy to navigate, and visitors can adjust both contrast and size of the text to their comfort levels.
Head of the Class: Sign up for NIH SeniorHealth e-newsletters, which are delivered up to twice a week and cover a wide range of health topics of interest to seniors. A recent newsletter discussed why you should tell your doctor if you fall, even if you’re not injured, and how to safely stand up again after a fall. Register via the SeniorHealth Web site.
But sometimes, what you really need are words of wisdom from someone else who’s been on the journey. Nan McAdam’s book Surviving the Stress of Your Parents’ Old Age is not written from a clinical or legal perspective, but rather from a daughter who’s getting older herself and trying to provide the best care for a father with severe dementia and a mother with Alzheimer’s disease.
McAdam helps caregivers to use their observational skills — Has Dad worn the same clothes too many times in a row? Are the towels in the bathroom clean? — to assess how their loved ones are doing, and a sense of humor and perspective to maintain their own equilibrium as well. For more details, visit TheMobilityProject.com, and use the book’s title as the search words, or visit amazon.com to order.