Health Info & Resources for Seniors
You don’t have to hire a personal trainer or join an expensive gym to stay fit. Just get moving. To encourage you to get off of the couch, local hospitals often provide free fitness opportunities and sometimes even offer incentives for your participation. Among these is Get Your Tail on the Trail, the grassroots community health program offered by St. Luke’s University Health Network and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. Started in 2013, the program encourages people to use the D&L Trail System and other trails and waterways throughout the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas.
Would you believe that horses can help people with Alzheimer’s? Can you imagine a horse or pony decreasing anxiety and agitation? Do you know that a visit to a horse farm -- grooming, walking or even taking selfies with a pony -- can create a calming effect in a dementia sufferer that lingers long after the patient returns home? Can you imagine doing stretching exercises by leaning against a horse’s massive body?
Participating in outdoor activities is great for one’s health and fitness but beware of creatures that lurk in the forest – biting and stinging insects. “The most treacherous insect in our area is the deer tick, which is about the size of a millet seed”, said Stephen C. Senft, MD, of St. Luke’s Dermatology. Deer ticks can cause Lyme disease, an inflammatory illness characterized at first by a rash and sometimes headache, fever, and chills, and later by possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders. Last year, Pennsylvania had more than three times the number of diagnosed cases of Lyme disease than any state in the nation.
Caring for an elderly person can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful. Many people have no idea where to start, what questions to ask, what resources are available etc. To get help and relief consider hiring an aging care expert. They are typically called Geriatric Care Managers. Their experience and knowledge about senior care issues and local resources are especially helpful when you’ve run into a difficult or complex situation with your family or older adult.
Looking for a low-cost exercise that will strengthen your muscles, improve your balance, reduce weight gain and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and diabetes? Then, lace up your sneakers and start walking. “Almost anyone of any age and fitness level can benefit from walking,” said Michael Baba, DO, St. Luke’s Family Practice, Wind Gap.
Barry R. Ettl, Jr. of Allentown has a typical case of cerebral palsy (CP) but — at age 45 — he is getting stronger every day, which is not the usual progression of things with CP. Barry was diagnosed with CP at six months old. As with many children who have CP, it was at that age that his parents noticed he was not crawling or gaining other motor skills the way he should have been. They felt something was wrong, and medical tests confirmed their fears. Barry’s CP affected the part of his brain that controls balance.