Drive Safely Into The Golden Years

senior couple driving a motor homeDriver safety is an important and often sensitive issue for seniors. While good driving is a total-body experience, involving motor coordination as well as the senses, regular checkups is the key to staying safe behind the wheel. Stay safe on the road by taking care of your health and incorporating safe driving practices. The most important and positive action you can take is to decrease the driving risks associated with aging:

Visual decline
Get eyes checked every year and make sure that corrective lenses are current. Keep the windshield, mirrors, and headlights clean, and turn brightness up on the instrument panel on your dashboard.

Hearing loss
Have hearing checked annually. If hearing aids are prescribed, make sure they are worn while driving

Limited mobility and increased reaction time
An occupational therapist or a certified driving rehabilitation specialist can prescribe equipment to make it easier to steer the car and to operate the foot pedals.

Medications
Talk with a doctor about the effects of medications you are taking on driving ability.

Drowsiness
Sleeping well is essential to driving well. If there are problems, try to improve nighttime sleep conditions and talk with a doctor about the effect of any sleep medications on driving.

Dementia and brain impairment
If there are any signs of dementia or brain impairment, limit driving and consult a doctor.

Elderly drivers do have one advantage: experience. All those years behind the wheel are an invaluable tool when it comes to making sound driving decisions. Older drivers buckle up more frequently — and use cell phones and drive intoxicated far less — than people under 50, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration polls and other sources. Still, it’s up to the older driver to identify his or her limits and develop a suitable safe-driving plan.

7 Surprising Benefits Of Aging

african daughter and senior father close upWine isn’t the only thing that gets better with age. Did you know that, in some ways, your body actually gets better with age? The changes aren’t dramatic and they certainly won’t turn back the hands of time, but it’s the small things in life that makes it great!

Here are some benefits you can look forward to as the number of candles on your birthday cake grows.

1. Fewer Colds and Other Viruses

You’re less likely to get sick with colds and other minor viral infections after midlife. The reason: Each time your body is exposed to a virus, it develops antibodies that make you immune to that virus in the future. This means that more you age, the more likely it is that you’ll be immune to many—but not all—cold viruses.

2. Milder Allergies

Plagued by allergies? They’ll be less bothersome as you get older. After age 50, the body reacts with less intensity to hay fever and other seasonal allergies, perhaps because older bodies produce less of the allergic antibody.

3. Decreased Tooth Sensitivity

If you’ve always had painfully sensitive teeth, they’ll become less so as you age. That’s because the surface between the enamel and nerves lays down more dentin (the tooth’s inner hard tissue) as teeth age, resulting in extra insulation and a diminished pain response. This may make dental procedures less painful, too.

4. Low-Maintenance Skin

Say goodbye to problems with oily skin. After age 50, the skin’s oil secretions slow down in both men and women. The shiny look that many people hate will start to improve. And you can shave less often and may stop using deodorant. Due to hormonal changes in the later years, the growth of facial and body hair slows, and sweat glands disappear.

5. A Fitter Brain

Some memory functions, such as vocabulary and long-term memory, continually sharpen if you stay mentally active. Memory can be trained just like muscles. If you make the most of your memory and use it regularly, that portion of your brain can actually get better as you get older. In fact, research shows that memory skills can be honed well into old age.

6. A Youthful Heart

Surprisingly, the heart hardly ages at all and actually can strengthen—as long as you keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check. Although there is some narrowing of arteries with aging, the pumping ability of the heart stays strong throughout life in healthy people. Genes do play a part in the way your heart ages, but the healthier your lifestyle, the more likely your heart will stay strong well into your 80’s and 90’s. Exercise, diet and not smoking are more important than genetics in maintaining the health of the heart after age 60.

7. Heightened Sexuality

A shift in the hormonal balance beginning in the early 50’s can increase a woman’s libido and her ability to have orgasms. Many women also report an increase in the frequency and intensity of orgasms as they grow older. In fact, some research suggests that the frequency of orgasms increases for women in each decade, up until the octogenarian years (age 80–89). But men have reason to celebrate, too. After age 60, the ligaments that attach the penis to the body begin to relax. Assuming a man stays slim, this makes the flaccid penis look longer with each 60-plus decade.