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September 2, 2016

Interacting with Grandchildren – The Gift of Time Together

Attention: Grandchildren: Grandparents Day is 9/11/16.

Hey, even though I’m not a grandmother, I sure look forward to the day I am!

From what I hear, being a grandparent is a lot easier and better than being the parent. I’ll take that, thank you.

It’s not just the spoiling aspect that makes grandparenting special, but the freedom to love the family member without the same set of expectations we had with our own kids. We can listen and not pass the same judgment on their plans.  We are not knitted up thinking they should be something specific when they grow up, just because it reflects well on us.

Also, I think of grandparents as the quintessential people to show children low-tech, high touch, interaction, which our society definitely needs.

It was my own grandma that led to my career with people over 65.   I loved being one of four kids and going to see her by myself as I was growing up.  She doted on me all weekend.  ME!  Thank you, Grandma!  She’d ask, “What do you want for lunch, Dearie?”  “Do you want to go shop for a new shirt?”  I remember she had these gingerbread windmill cookies in her jar that was never empty.  By contrast, my own mom hid chocolate in her sock drawer, to stop us kids from finding it.  Anyway, I put two and two together and decided “old people” were the best!

If you’re uncertain how to interact with grandchildren, especially nowadays with technology being their favorite thing, here are a few, unique ideas:

Go outside together. 

This simple activity is gold because nature is the antidote to technology and we want young people to be outside more.  So go for a walk, explore, and connect. You might capitalize on the fact that your pace is a bit slower than the rush that others of us seem to be in.  How lovely not to rush, to not push for the next thing on the itinerary?  Kids need this.  We all do.

Odyssey Scooter from Drive Medical

 

Talk to your grandkids about items you used and saw in your lifetime that have disappeared now.

My mom shared this idea with me years ago.  She got to thinking about all the things she grew up with that were no longer a part of modern day, and made of list to share with my daughter.  I thought my then 13-year-old would balk or roll her eyes.  Instead, they sat on the couch together and laughed and chatted for over an hour.  My mom talked about paper drapes and carbon paper and bus tokens and my daughter listened with complete attention.  I kept an ear out and learned about things I didn’t know, also, and got to wondering what would be gone in my lifetime.  Maybe a corded telephone and a vinyl record will be completely gone when my grandchild comes along.

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August 30, 2016

To Drive or not to Drive? Practical and important fundamentals

To drive or not to drive

Remember being 16 years old, just learning to drive and getting your driver’s license?

The feeling of freedom that came with that little card was immeasurable.  But as we enter our golden years, to drive or not to drive, is indeed the question.  I’m not certain Shakespeare would have phrased it that way, but when is it time to stop or limit driving time?  We all have a responsibility to others and ourselves not to endanger anyone by age-impaired driving and knowing when it’s time to hang up those keys.

Sadly, as we age, our bodies start to betray us.  What we could once do with relative ease and confidence slowly starts to fade, most of the time without our knowledge.  Several years ago I could see like a hawk and now all of a sudden, I need glasses and didn’t even realize my vision was slipping.  The same thing happens to the skills we need that are necessary for responsible, safe driving.

 “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”  But how do you check yourself?

Look for signs of worsening driving habits such as driving at inappropriate speeds, either too fast or too slow.  Do you misinterpret road signs or traffic signals?  Do you get lost repeatedly even in familiar areas?  Do you fail to judge distances between vehicles correctly?  What about becoming angry or frustrated very easily?  If you answered yes to these questions, it may be time at the very least, to limit your driving time.

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August 22, 2016

Knee Replacement fundamentals: an insiders perspective

Doctor examining patient before knee replacement

Facing Total Knee Replacement surgery? Just last year it was my turn to be the patient.

I have always been an active person. I enjoy the outdoors, swimming, working out at the gym. Together with my husband, I have travelled all over the country on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. My right knee had deteriorated steadily for 25 years, to the point that it would no longer function. Because I was only 30 when it began to give me trouble, the Doctors advised me to postpone Total Knee Replacement surgery until I could no longer stand the pain. In 2015, I decided the time had come to get it fixed.

The next few months were interesting. After 15 years as a Medical Equipment Specialist, working with Physicians and their patients to supply the equipment they will need during their post-op rehabilitation, it was my turn at bat.  My name at the top of the prescription came as a bit of a shock. This was going to be my Total Knee Replacement.

I am thankful that I did have the background to know what to expect before and after surgery. After all, I had reviewed this with clients many times. All that information proved itself true, and I can summarize the best of the advice right here:

Before Total Knee Replacement

Do whatever you can to get in/stay in shape. The better physical condition you are in, the easier your recovery will be. I found the elliptical machine at the gym didn’t bother my knee too much, and it was good cardio. I did lots of upper-body work as well to help strengthen my arms and shoulders. If you need to lose weight, try to do so before the surgery as well.

Get the equipment you need before the operation. You will need these thing before your discharge, and I came home the next morning! Don’t think you will go shopping for them when you get out, have them ready. You will need the walker in the hospital, so bring it with you. Your individual physician may have his or her own preferred list, but at the very least, you will need the following:

A walker with wheels. I ordered one with a seat on it as well, so I could sit down if I needed to. That was a big help once I was able to go out to the store, etc.

Rolling Walker Rollator by Drive Medical

This walker and I became very good friends!

Several large Ice bags, or even better, purchase or rent a portable cold therapy machine. They reduce pain and inflammation and aid in a quicker recovery. And I used the portable cold therapy machine EVERY day for at least 3 months.

My doctor prescribed a CPM machine (Continuous passive motion) those units keep the knee joint moving continually so that the new joint remains mobile. That was rented for about 4 weeks only, and my insurance covered the rental fees.

Bath and Shower Seat with backrest

A shower seat, and hand held shower sprayer. Definitely. I felt dizzy for a while after surgery, so it’s a safety thing. Something about the steamy heat of a shower makes me a little woozy anyway, and you do not want to take any chance of falling!

A raised toilet seat. (If your toilet seat is high already you may not need this) The object is to make it easier for you to get up.


 Chrome hand held shower spray by Drive Medical Designs

 Folding Pedal Exerciser

 

 

 

 

After Total Knee Replacement

Take your pain meds as prescribed. Particularly at the beginning keep ahead of the pain and just take it. (I do not like taking pills of any kind either, but honestly, just take it) Take it before you do your Physical Therapy and you will be able to work harder. I took pain meds every day for 6 weeks.

You have to do your Physical Therapist even though it hurts like crazy. Push yourself. Then ice and rest. It gets easier, I promise.

Get back to your regular exercise routine as soon as you can. Stationary bikes are great for new knees.

Honestly, I felt better every day after surgery. I suffered a few setbacks over the months, mostly when I backed off of the stretching and exercises I was supposed to continue doing. It was one full year before I felt completely recovered, and now I am so glad it’s behind me and my surgery was a success.

Last month my family surprised me with a beach vacation on my birthday. I took long, pain-free walks every day on the beach. What a blessing that was, and I am so grateful for my new knee!

 

August 18, 2016

Baby Boomers revisited: The truth about Zoomers

Senior couple having a coffee in a bar. taking selfie with smart phone

 

If you are one of the baby boomers – or have a loved one who is – you are not alone, that’s for sure.

Post WWII, 77.3 million Baby boomers, as coined by the New York Post back in the day, were born between 1946 and 1964. In 2016, that places the baby boomer generation between the ages of 52 and 70. Historically, in previous generations, this meant slowing down and retiring. However, for this generation, retiring may not mean slowing down, but simply changing directions! Yes, Boomers are the new Zoomers.

As sociologists have researched, the trait that makes Baby Boomers different than previous generations is that they’ve maintained an indomitable spirit of growth. This traces back to their coming of age in the 1960s, where personal growth became a cultural norm. That same spirit remains with them today, regardless of their age.

From civil rights to physical fitness, Baby Boomers continue to push the envelope, embracing change and growth.

In 2016, when we look at the demographics of which age groups are traveling the most, adopting technology at lightning-fast rates, and are pursuing late-in-life courtships in growing numbers, Boomers and Zoomers top the charts. You might say, you’re more likely to find Boomers texting on their smart phone than having a conversation on a porch swing.

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August 11, 2016

5 Fantastic Accessible Playgrounds

Jakes Place accessible playgrounds

Playgrounds have come a long way over the years- check out these accessible playgrounds

It’s not enough anymore to make sure that basic ramps are in place or that standard safety measures are applied. These days, accessible playgrounds are meant for everyone—young and old—to have fun, interact and experience the freedom of learning and play. These places cater to people of all ages with sensory, physical or psychological  needs, as well as the needs of their friends, parents and caregivers.

Here are a handful of our favorites:

Clemyjontri Park, Fairfax County, Virginia

Managed by the County of Fairfax, Clemyjontri is two acres of color and imagination, with everything from a wheelchair drag strip to a wheelchair accessible carousel. A little something for everyone, whether you want to climb and run, or just touch and interact.

6317 Georgetown Pike  McLean, Virginia 22101

Accessible playgrounds Little girl in X'Cape wheelchair wearing TuTu

 

 

 

Jake’s Place, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Located in Challenge Grove Park, creators refer to Jake’s Place as a “boundless” playground that offers children and adults with special needs with action, lifts slides and sensory activities.  There are even special areas where autistic kids can take off by themselves.

132 Bortons Mill Rd Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

 

Can-Do Playground, Wilmington, Delaware

Located inside the Alapocas Run State Park, this park is nestled in and around gardens and trees, creating an oasis of play for everyone.  Adapted swings, raised sandboxes and mazes give children with almost any level of ability something to do.

Accessible playgrounds two boys playing, one boy in Quickie 2 wheelchair

4361 Weldin Road Wilmington, DE 19803

 

 

Reese’s Retreat, Pasadena, California

What’s better than pirates and a ship to go with them?  Reese’s Retreat is almost a half-acre of accessible fun, with wheel-chair friendly flooring, along with the water and sand play any pirate might expect.

360 N. Arroyo Blvd Pasadena, CA  91103

Accessible playgrounds, special needs child in stroller with lady

Preston’s H.O.P.E.

The largest fully accessible playground in northeast Ohio. Preston’s has everything from kid’s sized houses and stores to sand area and theater.

26001 South Woodland Rd. Beachwood, Ohio 44122