Stay Safe!: Holiday Travel Tips for Seniors

Many seniors like to travel over the winter holidays. Whether they plan to spend time with family at holiday gatherings or take the opportunity to go on vacation to warmer destination locations, getting out and about is often in the plans.

So how can you stay safe and comfortable when outside of your home? There are several necessary things that seniors should do well ahead of time before packing their bags for that next trip.

Get a Check-Up

If it’s been a while since you had your last check-up, schedule one before you leave town. If you have heart disease or any other chronic health problem, this is especially important. You want to make sure you know nothing has changed regarding your condition.

If you get sick while away, you will also want to know all of your baseline statistics. What has your blood pressure recently been? What is your most recent weight? These are all things an out of town provider may need to know to make a good decision about your care.

If you’ve had surgery recently, that’s another good reason to be seen. You will want to make sure your healing is still on track. And if you were planning to get the flu vaccine, doing it before travel would be ideal.

Refill and Pack Your Medications

Packing your prescriptions might be a given, but did you check to make sure they won’t run out while you are away? It may be possible to get refills from an out of town pharmacy, but it’s not always easy.

If it’s not quite time for your refill, but you will run out while away, just talk to your pharmacist. Often they will allow you to go ahead and fill it back up if they know you will be gone. Or they can give you instructions on how to get an easy refill from another pharmacy.

And don’t just pack the pills you take on a daily basis. If you have any “rescue meds” or “as needed” medications, be sure to bring those with you. Even if you haven’t needed to use a particular drug in months, you don’t want to risk not having it while away.

Bring Mobility Supplies

Staying in another house or hotel room can be difficult if your own home is specially set up for your mobility needs. You can’t just remodel your son’s bathroom or start screwing special supports into the hotel room wall.

Portable, easy-install mobility supplies are great for travel. For example, the Foldeasy Toilet Support is portable, adjustable, and foldable. There’s no need to modify the bathroom you are visiting because the free-standing frame fits around your toilet seat. Armrests aid you in sitting and standing with greater ease.

If you’re afraid of falling in the tub or shower, pack the Easy Install Bath Safety Grip HandleThis handle makes the bathtub and shower safer without requiring drilling or screws for installation. It has a red/green color indicator buttons tell you if you have a secure suction, so that you can grip and grab with confidence.

Before you go anywhere, check out our Clearance/Discount page to see if we have sales on anything you need for travel.

 

Top 3 Benefits of Shopping Online

Why fight the crowds this Friday when there are so many benefits to shopping online? Instead of getting up early to stand in line and beat the rush, you can sleep in. And nothing beats making purchases on your computer while wearing pajamas and sipping a cup of coffee or tea.

Convenience

The convenience of shopping online may be the only reason you need. Sales prices aside, some people would probably pay extra not to have to get in their car and drive to the store.

Online shopping is always just a click away. Nothing is location dependent. If you live in a small town with limited resources, thanks to the internet you can still shop at any store you please.

And the stores are open 24 hours a day. You don’t have to worry about getting up early, trying to get off work in time, or using up your only free weekend days just to make it to the stores during business hours.

Price Checking

Have you ever purchased something at one store only to find it cheaper at another? While many places will often refund the higher priced item, you still have to go to the trouble of returning it or bringing proof of the other store’s prices. That’s a lot of work for a few dollars.

With online shopping, price comparison in much easier. You can manually search for the same item at different stores, or you can find a browser extension, like Honey, that will alert you if the things you are looking at can be found cheaper elsewhere.

You can also price-check between brands. While the store may only offer two types of blenders, you can find hundreds online. And it’s easy to do a little research on blogs and websites that are devoted to comparing the details and prices of similar items.

Gift Giving

Part of the holiday rush is packing up and mailing those gifts to out-of-town friends and family. With online shopping, you can often cut out this step.

Most stores will allow you to choose a different mailing address than what is associated with your credit card. So if you’re buying a single gift, you can just change the address to have it sent to the recipient.

Usually, you can even change the receipt to a gift receipt that so no one will see what you paid. Also, some stores even offer gift wrapping for a small fee.

ILA’s Black Friday Sales

ILA is bringing you some fun sales this Friday. Our Touch Face Talking Watch speaks the time when you touch anywhere on the face. This makes it easy to use for people with poor dexterity. The watch speaks the full date, has a talking alarm and has an hourly chime. It comes in Small, Medium, and X-Large.

The modern-looking Z-line desk lamp provides brilliant white LED lighting and has glare-control filters to reduce eye strain. It reproduces natural light, with no flickering. But most remarkably, this desk lamp not just functional, but it’s beautiful as well.

Stimulate blood circulation and eliminate fatigue with this a heated foot massager by Moshi. It has three vibration modes and multiple massaging options. The timing function allows you to “set it and forget it.” And both the inner and outer lining are machine-washable.

When it’s time to pull up a chair and do your online Black Friday shopping, be sure to check out these items!

 

Keeping Your Diabetes Under Control

Keeping your diabetes under control is a serious issue. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to many other health problems. It may seem inconvenient to have to monitor your blood sugar multiple times a day, but the alternative is worse. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause vision problems, neuropathy, infections, kidney problems, and it even puts you at higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Monitoring your blood sugar regularly and accurately helps you avoid these side effects of diabetes when you respond appropriately to the numbers.

Monitoring Blood Sugar

The first step in keeping these complications at bay is to know your blood sugar levels. Having accurate numbers allows you to respond appropriately. With diabetes, you can’t always rely on how you feel at the moment.

Most people use at-home monitors to test their blood several times a day. Occasionally you may even need to check in the middle of the night. Some meters, like our Prodigy Autocode, have extra features that allow you to download your test results for data graphing. Being able to see your trends can help you predict what you should do at different times of the day.

But if high-tech solutions are not for you, writing down your numbers will still make your job a lot easier. When recording, you should include the time of day, blood sugar level, insulin or pill dose, and any other general notes on your diet and health that day.

How to Respond

But once you have the numbers, what do you do with them?

  • Hyperglycemia- if your blood sugar is more than 240 mg/dL, first check for ketones in your urine. Occasionally, someone with high blood sugar can develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is a medical emergency and requires you to go to the emergency room. If your blood sugar is too high, but you are not in danger, just make your next meal high in protein and fiber. Some people think that not eating will bring their levels down, but skipping meals can actually cause your sugar levels to go up due to stress. If your numbers are consistently high, despite lifestyle and diet changes, you will need to talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication.
  • Hypoglycemia- Low blood sugar is problematic when it causes you to feel dizzy or faint. If levels get too low, you could even become unconscious. Some people use glucose tablets to bring their sugar levels up quickly, but you can get the same result by drinking a sugary drink, eating some crackers, or having a spoonful of honey. You can test your blood sugar 20 minutes after eating to make sure they are back up to a good level.

Lifestyle Changes

For Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes can be more important than anything else you do. Improving your diet, exercising, and controlling sleep apnea can be the difference between poor health and well-controlled diabetes.

Processed foods made with white flour or lots of sugar seems to be the highest on the Glycemic Index. Eating meat, fresh fruits, and non-starchy veggies is the way to go. If you’re not sure what makes a good meal, you can find charts that rank the Glycemic Load of certain foods. The lower a food is on the glycemic load or index, the less it affects your blood sugar levels.  

Exercise can also have quite an impact. Losing five to seven percent of your body weight can stop the advancement of diabetes. But it’s not just about the pounds. What matters the most is where your fat is distributed. People who carry extra fat around their belly are more likely to have diabetic complications. Belly fat increases insulin resistance.

But exercising is also good for other reasons. When you move around and contract your muscles, glucose is pushed out of your blood and into your cells. This leads to better blood sugar numbers.

Controlling sleep apnea is also key. Almost half of people with Type 2 diabetes also have sleep apnea. These two conditions together give you a much higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Diabetes alone raises the chance, but then the stress of apnea at night activates your sympathetic nervous system, increasing that risk even more. Wearing a CPAP machine and losing weight can help keep apnea under control.

Regular monitoring, appropriate immediate responses, and long-term lifestyle changes are the best ways of keeping your diabetes under control. ILA is here to help by offering the diabetes management products that you need.

 

The Top 3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Memory

As we age, some memory loss is normal. Working memory peaks in your 20s and 30s before it slowly starts to decline. We may not have complete control over this aging process, but memory and cognition can be heavily affected by factors that are within our control as well.

Diet

Sugar can be a culprit in memory loss. One study has shown that a higher consumption of sugary drinks, such as soda, correlated with lower brain volume and signs of preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease.

But eating a healthy diet can improve your brain power. Foods high in DHA and EPA, like fish, help reduce inflammation and improve memory, since inflammation can be linked to cognitive decline.

Keeping a healthy weight is also an important factor. In fact, it may be the most important one. Obesity has been tied to several factors that impair memory. Obesity is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s, insulin resistance (which leads to inflammation and cognitive impairment), and it can actually change genes in your brain that impact memory.

Sleep

Sleep plays a big part in memory consolidation. That’s when your brain takes information from your short-term memory and files it away into your long-term memory. People who are sleep deprived perform worse on cognitive tests than those who get a full seven to nine hours of sleep.

But knowing how much sleep you are getting isn’t always as simple as counting the hours you laid in bed. Untreated conditions, such as sleep apnea, can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. Apnea can keep your body from going into the deep sleep it needs for rest and restoration.

Another interesting way that sleep deprivation affects memory and learning is through your mood. Lack of sleep causes a negative change in your mood, which in turn hampers your ability to acquire new information.

Activity

Just like you need physical activity to stay healthy, your mind needs mental activity to remain alert and agile. And while “mental activity” can mean participating in activities that are intentionally challenging, it can also include simple cognitive exercises, such as engaging with others in conversation or volunteering and learning new names and faces.

An article in Harvard Health says, “One study, published in Neurology, found a direct link between the amount of cognitive activity, such as reading the newspaper or playing chess, and the level of cognitive function in the following year.”

But even though the emphasis here is on mental activity, physical activity certainly doesn’t hurt. Physical exercise improves all of the things we’ve already talked about. Physical exercise keeps your weight down, guarding against obesity-related memory loss. It also reduces inflammation, which we’ve seen is another cause of cognitive decline. Not only that, physical exercise can improve your sleep, which – you guessed it- improves your memory consolidation.

Having an active, healthy lifestyle is the best way to stay cognitively sharp. So if you’ve tried all of these strategies and still seem to have significant trouble remembering, please talk to your doctor. There could be an underlying condition or medication adjustment that needs to be addressed.

 

And for your natural moments of forgetfulness, check out ILA’s line of Orbit Trackers. Orbit Trackers help you keep track of your most commonly lost items by using Bluetooth technology to page them from your phone.