Clear Up Your Confusion about Medicare Benefits: The Complete Guide, Part 1

Clear Up Your Confusion about Medicare Benefits: The Complete Guide, Part 1

Health content, knowledge
Are you one of the nearly 60 million Americans currently enrolled in Medicare? Despite Medicare's broad use, many people are unsure of what all Medicare covers and how to use that coverage. Even after enrollment, Medicare's rules, deadlines and costs can be overwhelming. Parts A through D, hospital stays and home health care, supplements and prescribed medication—so much is involved! For example, you might know that you can use Medicare if you're admitted to the hospital or need to see a doctor, but you may be unsure how Medicare works when you need ancillary services such as physical therapy. To help our Heather Lane Physical Therapy community understand what to expect if you're enrolled in Medicare and need physical therapy, we've put together a 3-part series. This is Part 1,…
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What’s the Big Deal About Balance, and How Can it Affect You as You Age?

What’s the Big Deal About Balance, and How Can it Affect You as You Age?

Health content
At least 1 out of every 4 Americans aged 65 and older experience a fall each year. That’s more than 29 million falls with 7 million injuries in just a year’s time! It’s easy to think that you are safe from falling—until the day where you take your own tumble. Fortunately, it’s easy to get your balance assessed and do some simple exercises to keep yourself upright as long as possible. Balance problems can stem from a number of factors. Vision problems can affect balance As we age, our eyesight tends to get worse. This can affect balance in major ways. If you can’t see, you won’t be able to accurately assess your environment for hazards such as uneven flooring and slippery surfaces. Eye problems not necessarily associated with aging…
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Why Sleep Changes When You Get Older (And How to Get Better Rest)

Why Sleep Changes When You Get Older (And How to Get Better Rest)

Health content, knowledge
Seniors and sleep often have a complicated relationship, leading older adults to question whether sleep is a friend or foe. Insomnia plagues nearly 50% of adults 65 and older, and millions more toss and turn every night because of other sleep-disrupting factors. Some seniors give up on eight hours of sleep altogether, rationalizing that they need less sleep now that they’re older. But our time needed in slumberland doesn’t change as we age. What does change are our sleep patterns—or our sleep "architecture." Even with the sleep changes we experience, we have ways to make sure we’re getting better, more restful sleep. Normal sleep vs. aging sleep Normally, people go through multiple sleep cycles at night. Each cycle lasts 90-110 minutes and consists of two states. The non-rapid eye movement…
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Physical Therapy is Helping Both Patients and Non-patients During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Physical Therapy is Helping Both Patients and Non-patients During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Health content, knowledge
Recovering from Covid-19 has proven to be unpredictable. As we now know, some people diagnosed with the virus experience no symptoms at all, others can feel as if they’ve had a mild flu with a timely recovery, and some people experience severe symptoms that require hospitalization. Although most of them recover, unfortunately there’s a growing number of patients who, months after diagnosis, still are reporting trouble getting back to feeling 100% like their “old selves.” As doctors study these mysteriously persistent symptoms, they do know how to relieve one troublesome aspect: the effects of long periods of being sedentary. Patients who have been on ventilators or for other reasons confined to hospital beds for days or weeks face challenges in getting back to their previous levels of activity. The cost…
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Advanced Osteoarthritis and Athletes: How Physical Therapy Can Help You Return To Competitive Sports

Advanced Osteoarthritis and Athletes: How Physical Therapy Can Help You Return To Competitive Sports

Arthritis, Exercise, Health content, knowledge, Pain
Joint pain can make even everyday activities challenging. For athletes, the degenerative pain of osteoarthritis can feel especially devastating. If you're used to the challenges and health benefits of participating in sports, slowing down is a big adjustment. The good news is that you may not have to give up your sport for long. With the right physical therapy and pain medication, you can get back to the activities you love, including athletics. What is advanced osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the cartilage that lines your joints starts to break down. Cartilage acts like a shock absorber when there is impact. If improperly stressed, over time the cartilage starts to crumble. It can occur in any joint on your body and is commonly seen in the knees…
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How to Prepare for Your Total Knee Replacement

How to Prepare for Your Total Knee Replacement

Arthritis, Health content, knee
Total knee replacement surgery, sometimes known as knee arthroplasty, is a common procedure to reduce pain and improve movement. Your doctor might order this procedure if you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other joint condition. If you need total knee replacement surgery, you'll generally have a couple months to prepare. The road to recovery starts even before the first incision is made. There are steps you can take to make the best use of your waiting time and to help increase your chances for a successful procedure and recovery. Before your total knee replacement surgery It's helpful to have a plan in place for your upcoming surgery. Being organized will help you feel less overwhelmed during the days before and after your surgery. First, make a list of your medical information.…
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Medications Can Cause Falls in Older Adults – Manage Yours to Avoid Taking a Tumble!

Medications Can Cause Falls in Older Adults – Manage Yours to Avoid Taking a Tumble!

Balance, Health content, Prevention
Did you know that a number of medications commonly given to older adults can make it more likely that you will fall? While some of these medications are necessary no matter what the side effects, it’s important to know about your risk of falling, and how to minimize that risk, before you decide to take the medication. Why would medicine cause me to fall? A medication can increase the risk for falls because of the medication’s desired effect or because of its side effects. For instance, your medicine might: Cause drowsiness or make you feel tired Change the way your heart beats Cause low blood sugar Lower your bone density Change the way your nerve endings perceive pressure and pain Lowering your bone density has the compounded risk of making…
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Prevent and Treat Hammertoe: Better Shoes Are Just Part of It

Prevent and Treat Hammertoe: Better Shoes Are Just Part of It

foot, Health content, Pain, Prevention, Treatment
Women love shoes. Not all women and not all shoes, but many women like the way a little bit of heel and a pointy toe can take an outfit from everyday wear to nighttime splendor. Men, too, may prefer a sleek, narrow dress shoe for a professional appearance. Unfortunately, those good looks can add up over the years to form the hammertoe that many seniors experience. If this has already happened to you, is it too late to fix it? What Is Hammertoe? Hammertoe refers to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding middle toe joints. When one of these parts weakens, the toe may have a hard time returning to a neutral position. When the toe is stuck in a bent position, eventually the muscles tighten so…
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Back Surgery to Decrease Pain: 3 Tips to Prepare and What to Expect Afterward

Back Surgery to Decrease Pain: 3 Tips to Prepare and What to Expect Afterward

back, Health content, Pain, Treatment
Like many other older adults with chronic back pain, you may decide with your doctor that back surgery is the next step. An astounding 70-95% of adults will experience lower back pain in their lifetime. Even dull aches can affect your quality of life if they're consistent. When your back is sore, you may find that you're limiting activities you love to do, whether that’s tinkering around the house, going on hikes, or exploring a new city on foot while on vacation.  If you’ve reached the point that back surgery seems to be your best option, knowing what to expect can help ease fears and make you less apprehensive about the procedure.   What to do before surgery for back pain Talk to more than one doctor. Consider getting a…
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How to Start an Exercise Routine as an Older Adult

How to Start an Exercise Routine as an Older Adult

Exercise, Health content, Prevention
Aging takes a toll on the body. Muscle mass dwindles, balance becomes precarious, and various medical conditions—Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, strokes—become more common. However, you may be able to keep these conditions away or under control with a regular exercise routine. Also, exercise will give you greater flexibility and higher levels of energy. Even if you have never exercised before, you can start an exercise routine at any time. Within a short time, you should see significant improvements to your health and improve your lifestyle. Do older adults really need an exercise routine? Older adults often assume that exercise is for younger people. They believe they are past their prime and should have started long ago. Banish these thoughts! Older adults can still see many improvements…
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