Ways to stay sharp behind the wheel

Many aspects of aging affect the ability to drive, such as poor vision, hearing impairment, loss of muscle mass, and changes in thinking skills. Addressing underlying health conditions and getting an evaluation from a driver assessment program can help older adults improve weaknesses in driving. Other tips to stay safer behind the wheel include cutting down on driving distractions, such as cellphones, loud music, or chatter; limiting exposure to busy traffic, and avoiding driving in bad weather. (Locked) More »

How much vitamin D should I take?

Scientists don’t have definitive evidence yet about how much vitamin D one should take for good health. There’s general agreement that doses above 4,000 IU daily can be toxic to adults, with lower doses toxic to kids. (Locked) More »

Avoiding health risks at the farmers’ market

Going to a farmers’ market is a great way to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. But one should be wary of buying products that may harbor bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Those products include unpasteurized ciders or dairy foods, such as cheese or milk; and perishable homemade goods (sauces or meals), meat, and dairy products that are sold out of a cooler, without being properly refrigerated. After buying your food items, get them home within one to two hours. Once home, put food away as soon as possible. (Locked) More »

Better habits, better brain health

Engaging in healthy lifestyle habits may help protect thinking skills. For example, aerobic exercise helps improve the health of brain tissue by increasing blood flow to the brain and reducing the chances of injury to the brain. Maintaining routine habits of good health—such as getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, managing stress, quitting smoking, and treating underlying conditions—also support brain health. Socializing also has important brain benefits. People who report having more companionship and more emotional support have a lower risk for dementia and stroke. (Locked) More »

Is your workout giving you a stiff neck?

When people do not use the proper form during physical activity, they may experience neck pain. Common mistakes include extending the neck forward when swinging a golf club, looking up while doing a “downward dog” position in yoga, and leaning too far over bicycle handlebars. Tucking your chin back toward the neck helps keep the neck in a neutral position and may help reduce pain. Strengthening the neck, shoulder, and core muscles also helps prevent neck pain. More »

Fall vaccination roundup

There are several vaccines older adults should consider getting. The flu shot is required every year, especially for people ages 65 or older, and for people who have chronic lung disease, cancer, diabetes, or heart problems. The shingles vaccine is recommended for people starting at age 50 or 60. Two vaccines protect against pneumococcus, a bacterium that can cause severe pneumonia, bacteremia, sinus infections, ear infections, or bacterial meningitis. The CDC recommends that adults 65 and older get a dose of PCV13 first, followed by a dose of PPSV23 six to 12 months later. (Locked) More »