Daily Meditation Can Lower Depression and Reduce Cellular Aging

Caregivers are discovering that daily meditation can be extremely helpful in lowering depression, improving cognitive functioning, and even reducing cellular again caused by stress. In a study by UCLA and reported in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, meditation did a better job of lowering depression than relaxation music CDs.

The results were surprising: One group learned meditation techniques, while a second listened to music in a quiet place. 65% of the meditation group showed a 50% improvement on the depression scale versus 31% for the CD group. 52% of the meditation group showed a 50% improvement in mental health and cognitive functioning (compared to 19% of the CD group).

The real surprise was that meditation slowed cellular aging. An enzyme called telomerase is associated with health risks and diseases that can be regulated by stress. By reducing telomerase activity, cells divide and the telomeres die. The group practicing meditation saw and 43% improvement, while the relaxation group scored on a 3.7% improvement.

Shopping Safety for Seniors

Most seniors who are mobile enjoy taking time to shop. Especially during retirement years, these outings can be both fun and entertaining. But going shopping always presents certain security risks. Here are some tips to help seniors stay safe and enjoy their golden years.

Shop During Daylight Hours
First, seniors should go to the store during daylight hours when other people are around. Late night and early morning visits can be dangerous. Seniors no longer see as well in the dark which means driving, finding the car and simply moving about in a parking lot become more of a challenge. With fewer crowds, better visibility, less disorientation and better driving conditions, daylight hours are the ideal time for seniors to get those errands done.

Take a Buddy
Whenever possible, seniors should plan to go shopping with a friend, family member or a companion. That way, someone else is aware of your situation, where you are and what you are doing and is there to help.

Make the Car Stand Out
The last thing an older person needs to do it wander around in the parking lot looking for his or her car, or worse yet, get into a stranger’s car by mistake. The easy thing to do is attach some type of identifiable ornamentation to the car, inside or out, that will help ensure he or she is headed to the correct vehicle.

Carry a Disposable Camera
Carry a disposable camera in your car to take photos of any accidents in the parking lot or along the way to the store.

Bring a Cell Phone
Seniors should always carry cell phones in case of emergencies — health problems, vehicle breakdown, personal danger — with a cell phone you are only a few rings away from help.

Bring a Cooler
Especially during the summer months, seniors should bring a cooler to refrigerate perishable items on the way home. Many stores in the Phoenix area offer free ice.

Don’t Use Cloth Bags
While cloth bags are considered “green” and “eco-friendly,” research has discovered that these types of bags can catch and carry all kinds of bacteria from the food packages. The bacteria can then be easily transmitted to both the food stored within and to the person carrying the bag. As people age, their immune system can become compromised, so the bugs in these bags can be dangerous.

Watch Your Valuables
When shopping, keep your purse, wallet and valuables close by. Cross-body purses are safest for women, while men should keep their wallets in the jacket pocket, rather than pants pocket. Don’t walk away from your cart of leave them unattended. You don’t want a stranger to make off with your cash, credit cards, checks or important documents.

Keep it Impersonal
Don’t have your address, phone number or social security number on your checks (use a post office box number). That way, someone standing in line behind you can’t lift your personal information.

Bathroom Safety Tips for the Elderly

Falls are the source of most injuries in bathrooms. In one year, 234,000 people 15 and older visited emergency rooms due to injuries suffered in bathrooms. Most of these injuries were caused by falls. Older adults who live independently are at higher risk and falls can be especially dangerous for them. Here are some suggestions to help make the bathroom safer.

Install Grab Bars
Grab bars, also known as assist bars, are installed to help an individual easily and safely exit or enter a shower or bathtub. Though most commonly used to help those who are disabled or elderly, grab bars are useful for any shower/tub situation that is particularly slippery or steep. A grab bar is always mounted to a wall, not a glass shower door. It’s engineered and tested with quality fasteners to safely support about 350lbs, without pulling away from the wall.

Add a Shower Chair
A shower chair sit in the tub or shower and allows a person to take a shower while in a seated position rather than standing on the slippery bottom of the tub or shower.

Use Hand-Held Shower Wands
Hand-held shower heads work in concert with the shower chair making it easier to reach all parts of the body.

Install Non-Slip Shower/Tub Decals and Appliques
These decals and appliques come in all shapes and sizes and are easy for anyone to install … it is usually as easy as peel and stick. Also called shower safety treads or tub tattoos, these items can be found at almost every hardware store.

Replace Faucets
Less mobile adults and seniors can have difficulty with shower or tub handles. Replace them to make it easier to turn on and adjust the settings.

Adjust Water Temperature
Set the water temperature on the water heater to a safe range (both to kill bacteria and for human comfort), so that even if the temperature gets bumped to the highest setting, there is no danger of scalding. Unfortunately, this is tricky. The ideal water temperature is 140 degrees in order to kill bacteria in the water, however, at that temperature, it takes only 5 seconds for a nasty scald at maximum temperature. Many experts recommend installing at water mixer. This is a device which permits water to be heated to a desirable 140 degrees F that will kill harmful bacteria, but sets a lower maximum temperature to be distributed to faucet taps.

Remove Area Rugs and Other Obstructions
Area rugs have a nasty tendency to slide on hard surfaces. To prevent slips and falls, remove area rugs from the bathroom. Foot stools, magazine basket, chairs, towel rack, anything that might potentially might cause a slip or fall should be removed.