Car Safety Tips for Senior Drivers

Car Safety Tips for Senior Drivers

As your parents age, it’s a good idea to pay attention to their driving ability, as it can decline due to issues related to eyesight, reflexes and general health. Equally as important, however, even if your parents are exceedingly good drivers, is to ensure their car is safe for the road. Tips abound regarding how to prepare a car for a road trip, and many of those same tasks should be done on a regular basis on your parents’ car — even if they don’t drive a whole lot. Remember that a car ages even while sitting in a garage. To ensure your parents’ car is safe to drive: Check fluids. This includes the oil, coolant, brake fluid and windshield washer levels. Check the tires’ air pressure. You’ll find the recommended pressure in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the body where the driver’s door shuts. That number is the max pressure, so it shouldn’t be exceeded. Remember to check the spare tire, too. Make sure the oil and oil filter are changed regularly. If your parents don’t drive a lot, you’ll want to go by miles driven rather than time to determine when this service is warranted. At a minimum, an annual change is recommended. Check for tire wear. Use a penny or a tread gauge to ensure there is at least 1/16th or 1.6mm of tread left. It’s very dangerous to drive on tires that are “bald” or headed that way. Check the air filter. It’s important to make sure the engine is getting a plentiful supply of clean air, which improves the car’s performance...
Celebrate Earth Day: Plant an Herb Garden

Celebrate Earth Day: Plant an Herb Garden

Trying to come up with activity that will engage your parents and celebrate Earth Day? Consider planting an herb garden, especially if your parents enjoy cooking and would love to do so with fresh herbs. Here are some tips from The Tasteful Garden. Herbs are very easy to grow with a little sunshine, soil that drains well, some watering, and a little fertilizer or compost. Herbs can be grown in pots, but the plants always prefer to be in the ground where they can spread out. Choose The Right Place The main requirement for growing herbs is placing them in the proper location. Most prefer full sun as long as regular summer temperatures don’t rise above 90 degrees. If you have very hot summers, consider planting in an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade, or a place that receives filtered light (such as under a tree). Check the area several times during the day to make sure it gets at least four hours of sun (e.g., 8 a.m. to noon, noon to 4 p.m., or 9 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.). Size Matters For planting herbs, you need approximately 1 to 4 feet in diameter apiece, depending on the plant. Here are some general guidelines for plant sizes: 3-4 feet: Rosemary, Sage, Mints, Oregano, Marjoram 2 feet: Basil, Thyme, Tarragon, Savory 1 foot: Cilantro, Chives, Dill, Parsley Soil Prep Before you plant, you need to prepare the soil. Digging with a large garden fork loosens soil that has become compacted over the years, allowing water to drain and creating space for plant roots to...
Wine Tasting in San Diego County? Yes, Please

Wine Tasting in San Diego County? Yes, Please

The greatest gift you can give your aging parents is spending time with them. If your folks are wine lovers, why not plan a special day of wine tasting? No need to travel to Napa Valley or even outside the greater San Diego area, as there are plenty of wineries to choose from in our own backyard. Here are 10 to consider visiting. Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards. Wilson Creek is located in Southern California’s wine country, Temecula Valley. Family owned and operated since 1996, it’s known for its almond champagne and chocolate port. Bernardo Winery. Founded in 1889, Rancho Bernardo’s Bernardo Winery is the oldest continuously operating winery in Southern California. You can explore the sprawling property, home to 2,500 vines, browse more than a dozen shops onsite, and visit the tasting room where there are over 30 local wines to sample. Hacienda de las Rosas Winery. Hacienda de las Rosas is a family-owned boutique winery in Ramona that uses California grapes, many grown in San Diego County, to produce wines that embrace the essence of Spanish winemaking traditions. It also has a tasting room located in Fiesta de Reyes plaza, in the heart of historic Old Town San Diego. Hawk Watch Winery. Located in the mountains near Warner Springs, Hawk Watch uses old-world winemaking techniques that result in full-bodied, bold reds and elegant, fruit-driven whites. The entire winemaking process from crushing the freshly picked grapes to bottling the finished wine is done on-premises. Menghini Winery. Julian’s Menghini Winery is nestled in the foothills of Volcan Mountain and surrounded by apple orchards and a six-acre vineyard. It produces...
Sun Care Tips for Seniors

Sun Care Tips for Seniors

While enjoying the warmth of the sun certainly feels great, we all know that too much sun exposure can have dire consequences. But, are you aware that seniors are even more at risk, as studies have shown their more delicate skin is more vulnerable to infections and skin cancer? The overarching takeaway from that knowledge is that older adults need to take special precautions to limit their sun exposure as much as possible. And, here are a few other tips from an article on the Griswold Home Care website: Don’t get a tan. A tan is the skin’s signal that damage has been done (a sunburn, even more so). Older adults have already sustained decades of sun damage. Tans and sunburn increase their risk of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Anyone who’s already been burned a few times in their life — or worse, used to tan regularly when they were younger, must take special care to stay out of the sun. Seek out shade. Seeking protection from the sun doesn’t mean seniors can never go outside. They should use a sunshade or umbrella at the beach or pool, and stick to shady porches if they’re enjoying an afternoon outside at home or having an al fresco lunch. Know when to stay inside. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the sun’s rays are strongest in North America between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seniors should plan to stay inside or in a shaded area during these hours. Make sunscreen part of a daily routine. Even a short walk to and from the car, or passing...
The Importance of Preventive Care: Don’t Trust Your Health to Luck

The Importance of Preventive Care: Don’t Trust Your Health to Luck

March is a month when four-leaf clovers pop up, climaxing with the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day which was on the 17th. While it’s nice to fantasize that finding a four-leaf clover might bring luck, or believe in the “luck of the Irish,” relying on luck is no way to address health — especially as we age. According to a 2015 article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preventive services are highly underutilized by seniors, despite their potential to save lives. These are sobering statistics: Only 25% of adults aged 50 to 64 are up-to-date on services. Less than 50% of adults aged 65 or older are up-to-date. This is quite distressing, especially since routine preventive services are covered, in part or completely, by most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Clinical preventive services can prevent or detect disease early, when treatment is more effective. These services include screenings for chronic conditions, immunizations for diseases like influenza and pneumonia, and counseling about personal health behaviors. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends a number of preventive care screenings for seniors, including the following: Blood glucose and Type 2 diabetes Cognitive impairment Colorectal cancer Coronary heart disease Depression Glaucoma Hearing loss High blood pressure Impaired visual acuity Osteoporosis In addition, counseling is suggested with respect to fall prevention and alcohol and tobacco use. Plus, because our immune systems weaken over time, putting us at higher risk for certain diseases, the CNC recommends in addition to a seasonal flu vaccine and Td or Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), seniors should also get: Pneumococcal vaccines, which protect against...
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