The Importance of Sunglasses

National Sunglasses Day is celebrated every June 27th, but it is a good idea to be sunglasses aware all year long. There are many advantages to wearing sunglasses, especially if you are looking to save your vision (and in some cases the skin around your eyes). This blog will take a look at the benefits of wearing sunglasses, how to choose an effective pair of sunglasses, and a more in depth look at UV protection and why it is important. Information in this blog came from Health Tip: Why Wear Sunglasses?, What are sunglasses really doing for your eyes?, Top 10 Reasons Why Sunglasses Are More Than Just a Fashion Accessory, and National Sunglasses Day The Vision Council.

Why Wear Sunglasses?

Sunglasses do more than make you look like a movie star. They can protect your eyes from many problems, including those caused by the sun’s harmful rays.

There are a myriad of reasons that you should always don sunglasses during the daylight hours. Some of these reasons are:

  • They protect your eyes against the sun’s UV rays, which could otherwise lead to cataracts.
  • They protect against “blue light” from the solar spectrum, which could increase your risk of macular degeneration.
  • They lead to improved and more comfortable vision from not having to squint, which in turn can help guard against wrinkles.
  • They can make it easier to adapt to darkness. Exposure to bright light can make it more difficult to adjust to driving at night.
  • They help prevent photokeratitis, which is a sunburn of the eye. It can be painful, causing blurred vision, light sensitivity, and the sensation of having sand in your eye.
  • Sunglasses prevent skin cancer of the eyelids and skin around the eyes.
  • Sunglasses protect your eyes from debris. If you engage in outdoor activities, wearing sunglasses can help deflect dirt and other particles from finding their way into your eye.
  • They can enhance safety, even in the winter. Extremely bright reflections off snow and ice can cause glare, which seriously impairs vision, making activities such as driving or skiing dangerous. 

What to Look for when Choosing Sunglasses

Sunglasses should do more than just look fashionable, but there is no reason why they cannot be both beneficial and look good at the same time. You should keep in mind the following factors when picking out a new pair of shades:

100 percent UV protection. This means your pair will filter out all the harmful UV rays that can damage your eyes.

A wraparound style. They can reduce the amount of UV exposure to your eyes.

Polarization. This optional feature reduces glare, which can be more comfortable for your eyes.

Tinting. The color of your sunglasses is purely cosmetic, so choose a pair that best suits your taste. Just be sure they are labeled as having 100 percent UV protection.

Some contact lenses also offer UV protection, but should be worn in combination with sunglasses to maximize protection. The biggest difference between inexpensive and high-end sunglasses are generally the more expensive versions have better frames. Less expensive glasses may not be cosmetically appealing, however, as long as there is 100 percent UV protection, that’s the most important thing.

ILA offers a vast array of sunglasses including the Cocoons Polarized Sunglasses, Amber Lens, Slimline Medium Tortoise Frame, the Cocoons Polarized Sunglasses, Gray Lens, Pilot Large Black Frame, and the Cocoons Polarized Sunglasses, Amber Lens, Aviator XL Tortoise Frame.

Why is UV-protective Eyewear Important?

Everyday millions of Americans make the conscious decision to not wear sunglasses or other ultraviolet (UV) protective eyewear. While seemingly harmless, this habit carries serious vision risks, many of which are not known or understood by those who fail to wear protective frames.

UV radiation is often recognized as the culprit for sunburns and skin cancer, but most people do not realize the damaging impact the wavelengths inflict on their vision. The problem originates with the sun’s unfiltered UV rays. Just as these rays can burn skin cells, they can also harm unprotected eyes. A full day outside without protection can cause immediate, temporary issues, such as swollen or red eyes, and hypersensitivity to light. Years of cumulative exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid and accelerate conditions like cataracts and age-regulated macular degeneration.

Sunglasses are a major health necessity – regardless of whether it’s sunny or cloudy, warm or cold – and spread the word that sunglasses and other UV-protective eyewear are key to protecting long-term eye health.

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Adaptive Clothing or Dressing Aids: Which Option is Best for Your Needs?

Adaptive clothing and dressing aids have similarities, and while some overlap may occur, they are also different. This blog will help you decide if you need to seek out adaptive (also called adapted) clothing or if a few simple dressing aids are all that you need to help stay as independent as possible with this daily living function. Information for this blog came from the article Adaptive Clothing with product suggestions linked from our very own ILA website.

What is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive clothing is clothing designed for people with physical disabilities, the elderly, and the infirm who may have trouble dressing themselves due to an inability to manipulate closures, such as buttons and zippers, or due to a lack of a full range of motion required for self-dressing.

Adaptive clothing typically offers rear-closure designs so that an individual can be dressed more easily by a caregiver or even by themselves. For example, rather than buttons and zippers, hidden magnets, or Velcro (also referred to as “hook and closure”) may be used for garment and footwear closures. A common misconception of adaptive clothing is that it is only for wheelchair users or others that suffer from severe disabilities. While these groups do benefit from these type garments, adaptive clothing is for anyone that can be limited by traditional clothing. Adaptive clothing not only benefit the wearer but also the caregiver or health care professional to be more efficient and helps prevent potential back and shoulder injuries.

Examples of adaptive clothing:

  • Adaptive Shoes and pants that are adjustable in size and offer non-restrictive closures.
  • Clothing that can be removed easily and quickly and can accommodate incontinence aids discreetly and comfortably.
  • Buttons and zippers are replaced with easy touch hook or magnetic closures.
  • Open back clothing which allows the clothing to be put on frontwards, eliminating the need to bend or rotate muscles or joints.

What are Dressing Aids?

A dressing aid is an item that’s purpose is to assist those with limited flexibility or mobility when putting on clothes, socks, and shoes. They can help with maintaining a sense of independence and reduce painful bending or stretching. Anyone that finds the movements involved with getting changed or personal grooming difficult may benefit from a dressing aid.  (Click on the name of each type of product below to go to the applicable webpage to order)

Common Types of Dressing Aids:

Zipper Pulls/Button Hooks: Zipper pulls are designed to make grasping your zipper a lot easier and usually work with any standard zipper. No more struggling and straining to reach your buttons and zippers. Here is a dressing aid that helps people with limited mobility or vision. It is specifically designed to help you grab and hold those small little buttons and zipper pulls with the greatest of ease.

Telescopic Shoe Horn: This long-handed shoehorn helps reduce the amount of bending over involved with putting your shoes on. It helps create a slick movement that not only helps limit bending but also helps prevent the back of the shoe wearing down.

Sock Pro Color Sock Holders: Set of 24 clips helps keep socks together from the minute they come off your feet till the time they end up back in your drawer all nice and clean.  Slip 2 socks through the round disc, and they stay together throughout their travels so that you don’t have to worry about walking out the door wearing one brown and one black sock. Good for both athletic or dress socks.  Package of 24 in assorted colors. 

Metal Rehab Reacher: This handy grabber will make life much easier when reaching for things on the top shelf or down off the floor. It is ideal for individuals with limited hand strength.

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Father’s Day for the Fatherless

Father’s Day is just around the corner and while this might be a joyous occasion for some for others it is a day of dread, sorrow, and foreboding. Being fatherless means different thing for different persons but no matter if your father passed away, was absent most of your life, or he is removed from your life by choice days such as Father’s Day can make for incredibly challenging times mentally and emotionally. This blog will look at a few suggestions on how to combat negative feelings depending on the reason why your father is no longer in your life.  

Fatherless Due to Bereavement

Many of you may be missing your late fathers on this special day. Father’s Day may give rise to feelings of grief and sadness which is completely normal. For others, it may bring on a depressive episode. And for those whose parents died in a violent or sudden way it may trigger symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Whatever feelings arise, remember that there are a variety of ways to honor your late father, even if he passed years ago. The following are a few ideas from several websites to help you get through this holiday.

Create a tribute video. Using your smartphone, tell a memorable story about your dad or narrate a slideshow, and share it with your family or on your social media pages. Sharing what made your father special to you can put a smile on your face. And it is likely to generate support from others that can help fill the void you may be feeling.

Set digital boundaries.  If every single image you see on social media is someone with their dad and a note of appreciation, it will make your loss feel like fresh and new. It is really just masochism. So put the phone down.

Visit his final resting place. Spend some time at your father’s gravesite if that helps you feel closer to him. Talk to him as if he were still alive.

Do a Father’s Day gift swap. Write a simple post on social media, it does not have to be long or elaborate, just say something like, ‘Hey, I’m thinking of doing a little gift swap for anybody who is dreading Father’s Day.” You may be surprised at how many people are willing to participate.

Do something he loved. Did the two of you like gardening, playing golf, or fixing cars together? Relive those times by engaging in that activity again. Say a few words in his memory before you start.

Visit his favorite spot. Did your dad love watching the sunset from the top of a local hiking trail? Did he enjoy sitting on a park bench and watching the people passing by? Did he feel most at home just hanging out in the garage? Visit this spot, if possible, and try to see it through his eyes.

Write to (or about) your dad. Some people find comfort in writing a letter to their late father every year. Share the things in your life that you wish you could have told him in person and read it out loud on Father’s Day. Or you can write something about him.

Fatherless Due to Abandonment

Over 25% of children grow up in father-absent homes. And this statistic does not even include the “overlooked fatherless,” such as those who are donor conceived. These children are living without having a relationship with their biological fathers.

So, on a day when we celebrate fathers, here are a few suggestions for helping those children (or adults who may still be feeling the slight from an absent father) who are growing up without theirs:

Acknowledge the significance of father loss and give kids (or adults) the freedom to talk about it.  Well-meaning adults may say, “You’ve always lived without your dad, so what’s different about today?” Or “You are way better off with your mom.” They may even say that your current stepfather is a far better parent than your biological father ever had been.  How much better would it be to say to a child: “I know you are missing your father today. And I am so sorry you are sad.” And even though it may be hard to hear it, make sure children know that they can talk openly about missing their dads, and reassure them that they do not need to worry about hurting any adult’s feelings.

You do not have to deny the pain you feel because your father left. It hurts. It hurts when you were a little kid waiting for him to show up and it hurts even when you are an adult who knows he will never show up. Cry all you want.

Do not define who you are based on your father’s decision to walk away. Just because your father could not live up to his responsibilities does not mean that something is inherently wrong with you. He might not be able to see the gift that you are, but there is no need for you to be blind to your worth too.

There are people who will tell you that you should let go of your hurt and get over it. It is OK to tell them to back off. They mean well. They just do not understand that even after you forgive your father, every now and again, like say Father’s Day, your wounds will re-open a little bit. No need to panic. Just give it room to breathe until it re-heals.

You do not need your father to feel complete. I know right now you feel life dealt you a crappy hand by giving you a dead-beat dad. Ditch that thought. Whatever you feel the world is withholding from you, look deep inside and you will find it in yourself. If you are looking for love, then love yourself. If you are looking for acceptance, then accept yourself.

Fatherless Due to Choice

Some fathers are lovable. However, some fathers are not. For a myriad of reasons, they are outside the realm of our love: abuse, neglect, absence, abandonment, betrayal — many fathers have simply made it impossible for their children to feel the emotion of love or demonstrate it back. And if you are such a child, of any age, or even if your father is dead, particularly on Father’s Day when you are bombarded with Hallmark card messages of “love you dad,” you need to hear this at least once:

  • Not loving your dad does NOT make you a monster.
  • Not loving your dad is NOT your fault.
  • Is it sad? Yes, of course, but it does NOT make you bad!

So, what are some things you can do on Father’s Day to help not focus on the negative?

Honor thyself. In the era of ceaseless social media, few of us manage to escape the seemingly inevitable barrage of tweets and posts about loving, devoted fathers — and photos of them, too. While it is comforting to know that wonderful fathers who maintain a meaningful presence in their children’s lives do indeed exist, it just may be that coopting the day to celebrate and honor yourself is the way to go.

Sometimes a solo cocktail or some much needed humor is all you need for a reminder of the deep self-love you have worked to develop over time!

The power of positive thought. It may sound cheesy, but even if your relationship with your father is on the devastating end of the spectrum and you are not on speaking terms, you can always choose to send him love and kindness—from afar.

In the long term, this will help you more than him, because holding onto anger or resentment past the point when it might serve any constructive purpose can be very toxic—and you deserve better.

Neat and tidy “closure” may not exist for you and your father, but you can forge your own way forward by tapping into your sense of self-love and compassion for others—even those who have wronged you.

Learn from his mistakes. It is no secret that in spite of ourselves, we often inherit the qualities—both good and bad—of our parents. While men may worry they will end up like their fathers, women stereotypically end up with their fathers. Regardless of what your particular set of hand-me-downs looks like at this point in your life (daddy issues be damned), why not treat Father’s Day as a time to acknowledge and appreciate all the positive qualities you possess—both in spite of and because of your difficult or nonexistent relationship with your father. Take a moment and think about all the ways your father may have failed you, if he did, and let them go by resolving to do better in your life, or with your children. There is beauty to learning from the mistakes of others!

Celebrate all the positive parental figures in your life. Ultimately, Father’s Day should be a reminder to honor all the real dads out there who did/do so much more than help bring children into the world. Maybe you were raised by your mother, who played many roles in your life. Maybe your partner has a parent who has stood in for yours. Or maybe it is a friend’s dad, or a mentor who has brought patience, humor, and wisdom into your life.

Maybe there are great dads in your friend circle, working hard to raise young children with love, presence, and the resolve to do better than the generation before them. Whatever role good parents may play in your life, why not find little ways to celebrate them this Father’s Day?

Bottom line: Some of us have bad dads with few redeeming qualities. Sad, but true. And yet life isn’t so much about what happens to you as how you choose to react, now is it?

Information in this blog came from Special Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day When Your Dad is Gone, Fatherless on Father’s Day? Me too. Here’s how to cope, On Father’s Day, Remember the Fatherless, An Open Letter To Fatherless Daughters On Father’s Day, Father’s Day When You Have a Bad Dad, and How to Celebrate Father’s Day — Without Your Dad.

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Memory Loss: What is it? When is it reversible? When to see a doctor.

Everyone forgets things from time to time be it why you went into a room, what you were getting ready to look up, or where you just laid something down. Random forgetfulness does not necessarily mean that you are on the verge of more severe memory loss. This blog will look at types of memory loss, when memory loss is potentially reversible, and when you should seek medical advice. Information in this blog came from The Mayo Clinic,  Medline Plus, National Institute on Aging, and WebMD.

Types of Memory Loss

Normal age-related memory loss does not prevent you from living a full, productive life. For example, you might occasionally forget a person’s name, but recall it later in the day. You might misplace your glasses sometimes. Or maybe you need to make lists more often than in the past to remember appointments or tasks.

These changes in memory are generally manageable and do not disrupt your ability to work, live independently or maintain a social life.

Mild Cognitive Impairment: Some older adults have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, meaning they have more memory or other thinking problems than other people their age. People with MCI can usually take care of themselves and do their normal activities. MCI may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, but not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s.

Researchers and physicians are still learning about mild cognitive impairment. For many people, the condition eventually progresses to dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease or another disorder causing dementia.

Other people’s memory loss does not progress much, and they do not develop the spectrum of symptoms associated with dementia.

If you have MCI, visit your doctor every six to 12 months to track changes in memory and other thinking skills over time. There may be habits and behaviors you can change and activities you can do to help you maintain memory and thinking skills.

Dementia: The word “dementia” is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms, including impairment in memory, reasoning, judgment, language, and other thinking skills. Dementia usually begins gradually, worsens over time, and impairs a person’s abilities in work, social interactions and relationships.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It includes the loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities to the extent that it interferes with a person’s quality of life and activities. Memory loss, though common, is not the only sign of dementia. People with dementia may also have problems with language skills, visual perception, or paying attention. Some people have personality changes.

Common types of dementia are Lewy body dementia, Fronto-temporal dementia, Progressive supranuclear palsy, Normal pressure hydrocephalus, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (mad cow disease). Alzheimer’s disease, however, is the most common form in people over age 65. The chart below explains some differences between normal signs of aging and Alzheimer’s. (Chart was taken from the National Institute on Aging site. See link for further info)

Potentially Reversible Causes of Memory Loss

Many medical problems can cause memory loss or other dementia-like symptoms. Most of these conditions can be treated. Your doctor can screen you for conditions that cause reversible memory impairment.

Possible causes of reversible memory loss include:

Medications. Certain medications or a combination of medications can cause forgetfulness or confusion. Possible culprits include antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and pain medications given after surgery.

Minor head trauma or injury. A head injury from a fall or accident — even if you do not lose consciousness — can cause memory problems. Memory may gradually improve over time.

Emotional disorders. Stress, anxiety, or depression can cause forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating and other problems that disrupt daily activities. When you are tense and your mind is overstimulated or distracted, your ability to remember can suffer. Mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can also be at fault.

Alcoholism. Chronic alcoholism can seriously impair mental abilities. Alcohol can also cause memory loss by interacting with medications.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Vitamin B-12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. A vitamin B-12 deficiency — common in older adults — can cause memory problems.

Hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can result in forgetfulness and other thinking problems.

Brain diseases. A tumor or infection in the brain can cause memory problems or other dementia-like symptoms.  Brain infections such as Lyme disease, syphilis, or HIV/AIDS or other diseases such as Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, or multiple sclerosis are included in this category and can also cause memory loss.

Stroke. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is stopped due to the blockage of a blood vessel to the brain or leakage of a vessel into the brain. Strokes often cause short-term memory loss. A person who has had a stroke may have vivid memories of childhood events but be unable to recall what they had for lunch.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If you, a family member, or friend has problems remembering recent events or thinking clearly, talk with a doctor. He or she may suggest a thorough checkup to see what might be causing the symptoms. You may also wish to talk with your doctor about opportunities to participate in research on cognitive health and aging.

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions. It is good to have a family member or friend along to answer some questions based on observations. Questions might include:

  • When did your memory problems begin?
  • What medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements, do you take and in what doses?
  • Have you recently started a new drug?
  • What tasks do you find difficult?
  • What have you done to cope with memory problems?
  • How much alcohol do you drink?
  • Have you recently been in an accident, fallen or injured your head?
  • Have you recently been sick?
  • Do you feel sad, depressed, or anxious?
  • Have you recently had a major loss, a major change or stressful event in your life?

In addition to a general physical exam, your doctor will likely conduct question-and-answer tests to judge your memory and other thinking skills. He or she may also order blood tests and brain-imaging tests that can help identify reversible causes of memory problems and dementia-like symptoms.

You might be referred to a specialist in diagnosing dementia or memory disorders, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or geriatrician.

Finding the cause of the problems is important for determining the best course of action. Once you know the cause, you can make the right treatment plan. People with memory problems should make a follow-up appointment to check their memory every six to 12 months. They can ask a family member, friend, or the doctor’s office to remind them if they’re worried they’ll forget.

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