6 low-cost or no-cost home modifications to avoid falls

Many fall hazards are right in people’s homes. But inexpensive fixes at home can help prevent falls and injuries. Handrails can be installed along indoor and outdoor staircases, hallways, and anywhere extra support is needed. Grab bars should be installed near showers, bathtubs, and toilets. Install non-slip treads and mats to help improve traction on bathroom floors, outside decks, and outside steps. It’s also helpful to fix crumbling outdoor steps, loose wall-to-wall carpeting, and floorboards. Finally, adequate lighting in hallways, stairways, and outdoor walkways can help reduce falls. More »

Ask the doctor: Microwave's impact on food

Microwave cooking is one of the least likely forms of cooking to damage nutrients. That’s because nutrients tend to break down the longer they’re being cooked, and microwave cooking takes less time than other forms of cooking. More »

Ask the doctor: Blurry vision and headache

In people over the age of 60, temporary blurred vision can be sign of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke. If the blurred vision is accompanied by a headache, it could indicate a migraine, especially in people younger than 60. More »

What's involved in memory screening and testing?

Changes in memory and thinking skills can be evaluated initially with a mini mental status exam. If the exam indicates possible cognition decline, more thorough neuropsychological testing may be necessary. This is conducted by a neuropsychologist, and usually involves a conversation with the doctor, then a few hours of testing. It’s also key to consider physical health, since underlying conditions can interfere with memory and thinking skills, such as poor sleep, depression, and urinary tract infections. When testing is completed, a doctor will put the information together to determine what could be causing changes in memory and thinking. (Locked) More »

When the doctor prescribes physical rehabilitation

When taking part in physical rehabilitation, one can improve the odds of a good outcome by following several strategies. Setting goals helps staff members learn what the person wants out of rehab. Communicating openly with the team is helpful, in case an aspect of rehab isn’t working well. Attending all appointments will keep momentum going, and will help a person progress toward rehab goals. Also important is continuing with assigned exercises or lifestyle changes in between appointments, and then maintaining an exercise regime or lifestyle change after rehab ends. (Locked) More »

The importance of staying hydrated

To ward off dehydration, healthy people should get 30-to-50 ounces of water per day (about 1-to-1.5 liters), but not all at once. The kidneys lose some ability to eliminate water with age. It’s important to stay hydrated gradually, throughout the day. One can do that by drinking water or juices, and eating water-rich foods such as salads, fruit, and applesauce. An easy way to stay hydrated gradually is by getting fluids at meals, with medicine, and socially. (Locked) More »

Considering a vegetarian diet: Is meat-free really better?

Vegetarian diets may improve long-term health. Plant-based diets are associated with lower body mass index, a reduced risk of developing cancer, and a lower risk of death from all causes. To switch to a meat-free diet, one can start by trying a few meat-free dishes a week. It’s important to remember that the diet will consist of vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Instead of focusing on a large chunk of meat for protein and fat, vegetarians mix proteins, fats, and vegetables together. Meal ideas include stews, soups, and one-pot meals with beans and whole grains and vegetables. (Locked) More »

Protect your skin from the sun

When going outside for an extended period, one should use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. An SPF of 15 is right for shorter times outside. (Locked) More »