Up On A Good Foot

Parks & Rec and the Wide World of Sports

Quick. What comes to mind when you hear the word “old”? How about “senior citizen” or “elderly”? If you’re like most people, the first image that sprang to mind wasn’t a kayaker, a top-notch pool player, or a dancer, and it’s probably safe to say you didn’t picture a tri-athlete or a skydiver, either. And yet, senior citizens can be all of those things and more. As people are living longer lives and, frequently, enjoying longer retirements, many find themselves wanting to engage in activities they couldn’t find the time or money for when they were working and raising children. In as much as they are positioned to do so, many seek out new ways to occupy and entertain themselves that challenge our old notions of what it means to be old.


annemariecyclingThis Senior Cycler has competed in numerous Triathlons and Ironman Events


Of course not all activity has to be in the realms of extreme sports or endurance tests to be rewarding and rejuvenating (or to defy stereotypes) and most of it isn’t. Not everyone is an adrenaline junkie or a thrill seeker; and the positive effects that even low-impact activities like walking and gardening have on physical as well as mental and emotional well-being are well-documented. What’s important is getting out there and doing something. Get some air. Get the blood moving. Whether it’s a sun-dance or a stroll, we’d be happy to accompany you.

The greater Washington, DC metro area provides seniors and people of all ages nearly endless resources and opportunities to stop and smell the roses, hyacinths, and cherry blossoms. Here are a few:

- The Capital Crescent Trail runs from Georgetown to Silver Spring, MD. This shared use, off-road trail is popular with walkers, joggers, bikers, and rollerbladers. Lush and well-maintained, it is paved from Georgetown to Bethesda; from Bethesda to Lyttonsville (in West Silver Spring) it is packed, crushed stone.

- Great Falls National Park is an 800 acre park near Washington, DC with access points in Maryland and Virginia. On the Maryland side the Visitor Center is housed in the Great Falls Tavern, built in 1828, and hosts historical exhibits and interpretive programs. The park on this side is also a part of the C & O Canal National Historic Park, and the C & O Canal Towpath is used by hikers, joggers, and bikers alike. Mule-drawn canal boat rides depart from this location April through October. The Virginia side offers 15 miles of hiking trails. Both sides have wheelchair-friendly scenic overlooks.

- The United States National Arboretum in NE Washington, DC sits on a 446 acre campus and is wound through with nine miles of connecting road for bicyclists. Walking tours are also offered and there are four gardens with easy access for the disabled, including the National Herb Garden, the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, and the Aquatic Garden and Koi Pond. More serious hikers will find many interesting trails on the property as well.

There’s always something to do, and the best reason for doing that something is “because it’s good for me.” If it’s Parkour or snowboarding that gets you there then more power to you; we’d also be happy helping you plant bulbs or taking a walk on the towpath.


Great Falls National Park

 Kayakers on the Potomac River: Great Falls National Park



Financial Planning for Seniors and Their Adult Children

One of the many challenges facing adult children of seniors is the conversation regarding finances. In Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, research provided by Ameriprise Financial  shows that no one, no matter their age, does well talking about money. Vice president of wealth strategies, Suzanna de Baca says that the conversation should begin sooner than later, so that needs are addressed as well as anything that might have been overlooked.

According to a Fidelity Investment study, 24% of children feel that they will need to provide financial assistance to their parents compared to 97% of parents who state that they will not need help. Yet, when conversations do actually take place, they, “can dramatically increase peace of mind, reduce anxiety and foster additional discussions.”

Sleep’s Importance in Aging Well

Many think that as we get older, the need for sleep decreases but results from research are saying otherwise. While it is true that seniors’ sleep patterns change over the years, a full night’s sleep (7.5-9 hours), undisturbed, is as important as the emotional and physical state of their life.

Sleep helps the memory process, allows for cell regeneration and strengthens the immune system.According to the article “Sleeping Well as You Age”, many physicians usea senior’s ability to sleep as an indicator of his or her health status. With reduced sleep, there is a greater concern about the onset of depression, memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, weight problems, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even breast cancer in women.

Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

In June we posted an article about a couple who found themselves in the difficult situation of being unprepared for a medical emergency. Our friend, a senior in his sixties, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his right side. Initially unable to speak, walk or use his right hand, he was still legally bound to pay his bills. A widower, he had met another and they now lived together. He paid all of the household expenses and the checking account was in his name only. Moreover, had the stroke been more severe, questions of his preferences for life-sustaining treatments would have gone unanswered. He had neither advance medical directive nor  financial power of attorney documents.

Achieving a Longer, Quality Life

If you could live to be 150 years old, would you want to? What if those years were ‘good’ years – extending not only your age, but quality of life as well? In her book, 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith, Sonia Arrison presents a discussion of both dramatic advances in research and medicine, and the philosophical debate that surrounds the subject of helping to increase peoples’ lives.

Huntington’s Disease Care Management

Chemical structure of tetrabenazine, an approv...

Tetrabenazine Molecule for Managing HD

A few years ago we got our first client suffering from Huntington’s Disease (HD), and our second HD client soon followed. Huntington’s Disease, is a disorder passed down through families in which certain nerve cells in the brain waste away or degenerate. The very different circumstances these two clients were in –  and the nature of their environments – quickly helped us realize that there are Best Care approaches that can dramatically increase their quality of life.

Mental Health in Later Life: A Guidebook

We were recently given a copy of the booklet, “Mental Health in Later Life: A Guidebook for Older Marylanders and the People Who Care for Them.”1 Although the booklet focuses on Marylanders, the material applies to anyone.

This 78 page booklet is packed with information. Starting with common sense ways to maintain physical and mental health as one ages, it goes on to define and describe types of mental illnesses and differences between them, e.g., various kinds of dementia. Using vignettes of real people’s stories along with discussion, the booklet both educates and dispels myths associated with mental illness.

Stay Healthy this Winter

My Grandfather (†); photo from January 17.JPG
Image via Wikipedia

5 Ways to Stay Safe and Healthy this Winter

1. Stay hydrated.

Dry air and cold winds can really take it out of you, especially the elderly. Just because it’s not hot doesn’t mean it’s not dry. The onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression, and forgetfulness can be minimized by maintaining the right equilibrium. Lots of fluids (not just water) and lots of colors. If you eat a colorful diet you are sure to get a lot of complimentary nutrients.

It Takes a Village to Raise a Village

Aerial view (looking west) of Capitol Hill and...
Image via Wikipedia

New Elder Communities Take Root Where We Already Live.

Written By:

Christopher Van De Moortel, President

Aging in Place and Senior Villages are beginning to sweep the country. Each “village” may vary slightly in their approach to helping seniors remain in their homes, but most have a combination of volunteer services and third party providers. From roofing contractors to picking up a prescription, their mission is to redefine how we live out our days: at home, in our homes, and not in nursing homes.

Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, and Vision Loss

Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, and Vision Loss May Drive Public Policy

Accessible Design for people with vision loss may get a little boost from the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1990, which expanded opportunities for persons with disabilities by prohibiting discrimination and requiring reasonable accommodations in employment and job opportunities, public accommodations and services, government services, and telecommunications services.