Trends And Tips For A Fulfilling Life At Any Age

By Copley News Service

November 16, 2007 7 min read

GOLDEN YEARS 2008

Trends and tips for a fulfilling life at any age

Copley News Service

HOME, SAFE HOME

Age-related eye problems in Americans are expected to double over the next few years as baby boomers top 65. Many of those same baby boomers are planning to stay in their homes, which creates the potential for hazards related to poor eyesight.

The American Foundation for the Blind has a new online information site that provides advice for caregivers and the visually impaired on how to adapt a home to increase safety.

Here are some tips from the site:

-- Color contrast. Bright colors make objects stand out. On stairways, place a brightly colored strip of tape along the edge of each step or paint the edge in a contrasting color.

-- Organization. Keeping things in the same place helps people with visual problems locate what they need easily. Eliminate clutter to avoid accidents.

-- Lighting. Make sure there's enough light in every room. Fluorescent is best because it produces fewer shadows.

For more tips, log on to www.afb.org/seniorsite. (CNS)

FITNESS FIGHT

As we age, it becomes harder to lose weight, according to a recent CNN.com article.

"There are several metabolic factors working against us," said Sai Krupa Das, an assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University in Boston.

Basal metabolic rate goes down beginning at age 40, according to the story. It takes fewer calories to maintain our bodies as we get older.

Our bodies also change as we age. The amount of fat increases and the amount of lean muscle decreases, according to the story.

"Since lean mass uses more energy in the body than fat, we burn fewer calories," the story reported.

And to top it all off, physical activity slows down as we get older. But there are things we can do. Plan to do 30 minutes of exercise a day with a combination of aerobic and strength training. Eat balanced, nutritious meals that control hunger and maintain blood glucose. (CNS)

FLYING TIPS

AARP offers some general tips when flying. They include:

-- Take a photo of the contents of your bag as you pack it. If it's lost, you'll have an easier time filing a claim for your goods.

-- Carry all eyewear and medications with you. Make sure they are properly identified.

-- Pack coats and jackets in your luggage, if possible.

-- All shoes must be screened. Wear shoes that are easy to step in and out of.

-- Print out your boarding pass ahead of time.

-- Don't be on time -- be early.

-- When traveling with grandchildren, get authorization from parents for emergency care and keep necessary medicines on hand.

-- Take snacks, games, puzzles and books to occupy restless travelers.

-- To promote circulation when flying, perform leg and foot stretches and exercises while seated. Take strolls up and down the aisles when possible to increase circulation. And avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Sitting cross-legged decreases circulation. (CNS)

BOOSTING ENERGY

Feeling tired not only robs your productivity and pleasure, it can also make you cranky.

If you are feeling more tired and run-down as you get older, a CNN.com health article offers several recommendations to boost your energy. They are:

-- Eating five or six small meals a day can give you the constant fuel you need. Taking vitamin B also can give you a boost.

-- Drinking lots of water and low-sugar drinks helps ensure that nutrients get where they need to go in your body.

-- Getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep at the same time every night will keep your rested and alert. Researchers have found that naps can enhance learning.

-- Try to eliminate stress. Some quiet meditation every day can reduce stress and provide energy-boosting benefits.

-- Exercising the body with stretching, running and walking helps release potent feel-good hormones including endorphins, which can help boost energy even hours later, according to the article. A walk as short as 10 minutes can help increase energy. (CNS)

COMMERCIAL PILOTS

After nearly five decades of being forced into retirement at age 60, U.S. commercial airline pilots may soon be able to fly until age 65, according to an AARP Bulletin article.

The International Civil Aviation Organization cites a lack of evidence that healthy older pilots are riskier than their younger peers. ICAP recently ruled that a pilot can fly until age 65 as long as another pilot younger than 60 is in the cockpit.

Only the United States, France, Pakistan and Columbia don't automatically recognize the ruling. But it is believed that the United States will go along with the ruling, according to the article. (CNS)

SENIOR DEBT

From 1992 to 2004, the percentage of households 55 and older with overall debt grew faster than the rate of the overall population, according to a recent AARP Bulletin story.

"Those 75 and older packed it on most quickly: The average load for those households with debt shot up 160 percent to an average of $20,234 during this time, according to research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonpartisan group that studies economic security," the story reported.

Among households 65 and older, the average amount of credit card debt more than doubled from 1992 to 2004. Seniors approaching retirement are carrying "debt loads that their parents would not have considered," according to Sally Hurme of AARP.

Unmanageable debt is forcing some to delay retirement and causing others who are retired to rejoin the workforce. The story points out that seniors' debt levels began surging in the 1990s as health care, housing and energy costs began to rise. (CNS)

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