Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
By Tommi Ferguson, NSV Member Services Coordinator
There has been plenty of press in recent years about the loss of bone and muscle mass as we age. However, what most people need to consider is that the same is true of our balance. In a May 2, 2011 article in the Los Angeles Times, Jeannine Stein aptly summed up the decline of balance: “Like muscles and bones, steadiness can deteriorate if not maintained.” Compounding the loss of muscle and bone mass, our “senses involved with balance start to dull too as we get older: vision as well as senses of touch, temperature, pressure and proprioception (the sense of body placement and how it moves through space)”.
The skills needed for good balance - timing and coordination - are learned and practiced and honed over time. However, as we age and/or become more sedentary, those skills begin to erode. So, it would seem for balance, you use it or lose it! But there is hope – and it can start at any age. In her article, Stein cites two studies – a 2007 study in Osteoporosis International and 2010 study in the International Journal of Rehabilitation Research – that found study participants enrolled in balance- and weight-training programs had improved mobility and balance and were less likely to slip.
Similarly, in a 2003 report on a study of training exercise and fall occurrences in older adults published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers reported that, “Physical activity specifically targeting lower-body balance and strength shows promise in reducing the risk of falls." Specifically, they found that over the course of 48 weeks, study participants who took tai chi twice a week were at significantly lower risk of falling compared to a group that only attended wellness-education classes.
Balance training generally begins with strengthening all muscles, but focuses most heavily on targeting the lower body and core muscles (the ones surrounding the trunk and back). Exercise programs like tai chi and yoga seem to be the best match for improving balance and coordination no matter what your age. Improved balance may help save older adults from serious injuries, expensive medical bills, and lengthy recovery periods. Further, with increased confidence in steadiness, the fear of falling may no longer hinder people from engagement in social and physical activity.
Those interested in learning more are encouraged to attend our Tuesday, November 8, 2011, program on Balance and Fall Prevention (details below). Our speaker will be from The Center on Health Promotion at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Disability and Human Development. The Center provides Inclusive Fitness Trainings nationally on behalf of the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD). The presenter has graduate training in exercise science and kinesiology and will tell us about current research and, also, will demonstrate simple flexibility, strength, and “cardio” exercises for attendees. Staff at the Center focus on planning physical activity programs for older adults and people with disabilities.
Balance & Fall Prevention Program - Tuesday, November 8, 1:30 pm at the Park Evanston party room, 1630 Chicago Ave., Evanston. Registration limited to 50 people. To register, contact NSV at 224-234-2450 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Los Angeles Times article by Jeannine Stein: Balance Doesn't Have to Slip Away
AARP Bulletin article by Katharine Greider: New Strategies for Preventing Falls
Fall Prevention Guidelines from the American Geriatrics Society
This article was written by Tommi Ferguson, Member Services Coordinator for North Shore Village and reprinted with their kind permission. Eric Parker is a volunteer for North Shore Village - to learn more about North Shore Village, check the S&B Links Page at http://www.stotis-baird.com/library/index.php?option=com_weblinks&catid=31&Itemid=23 or Contact Member Services at 224-234-2450 or email@example.com
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Medication Errors Article
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Evanston is a unique community in many respects. Almost 20 years ago, right after graduating from law school, I moved to Evanston. Like many people, I chose Evanston for its beautiful lakefront, and for its diversity. Initially, I noticed the racial and ethnic diversity. With time, however, I began also to appreciate its age diversity. As my law practice began to shift into more elder law work, I volunteered to serve on the Evanston Commission on Aging. In that role, I learned a great deal more about aging in Evanston.
Evanston is unique because it has a large number of senior buildings: including nursing homes, assisted living, independent living, a retirement hotel, and others. In addition, the large number of apartment and condominium buildings has created a number of intergenerational buildings. When my wife and I bought a Co-Op in Evanston, it was mostly smaller apartments, and most of the residents were either young couples, or seniors. It was a great experience.
Living in Evanston can be a great thing for seniors, but it also has some unique challenges. Seniors who have lived in a beautiful old home for many years sometimes find that the burdens of maintaining those homes can become quite difficult. Paying for upkeep and property taxes can be challenging. Seniors with limited means, struggle with the fact that Evanston has a limited number of nursing homes that will accept public aid. Elderly residents new to Evanston sometimes have difficulty learning about services that are available to help.
I have always sought to be a good resource to Evanston residents. Because of my need to appear in court regularly, my office is downtown, with the law firm of Stotis & Baird Chartered. But, Evanston, is my home and I maintain a strong commitment to the community. That commitment includes meeting with clients in Evanston; volunteering with Evanston organizations; speaking in and around Evanston on legal topics of interest to seniors; and keeping track of local resources. I also offer free consultations to Evanston residents. If you have a question, please feel free to call.
The good news for Evanston seniors is that the community cares about its older residents. Some of the best care managers, social workers, lawyers and volunteers have also chosen Evanston as their home. As you get to know the resources that are available, you will also get to know some great people in your neighborhood.
Eric Parker is an Evanston resident and an attorney with the Chicago law firm of Stotis & Baird Chartered. The firm practices law in the areas of elder law, estate planning, wills, trust, real estate and personal injury law. For information please call 312-461-1000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on the web at www.stotisandbaird.com.