Active Senior Living

Simple strategies to help fend off disease and illness and promote an active, independent lifestyle.

Seniors Face High Risk of Oral Disease

heidi Active Senior Living, Elder Care Issues Comments Off on Seniors Face High Risk of Oral Disease
ER visits for dental-related issues has doubled among the 65-plus crowd in the last decade.

ER visits for dental-related issues has doubled among the 65-plus crowd in the last decade.

Growing older does not mean you outgrow the need to visit a dentist.

There are many reasons to see a dentist at least once a year. For instance, as adults age they produce less saliva in the mouth, so the mouth’s natural cleansing action is lost. Medication may also decrease the flow of saliva and cause dry mouth. Add to that, the gums shrink and expose areas of each tooth to potential infection or decay. Older adults are also at higher risk for oral cancer.

Despite improvements in oral health for the general population in the past 50 years, older Americans still face high risk of oral disease, according to a new report from Oral Health America, which reveals that emergency room visits for dental-related issues among adults over 65 rose from 1 million in 1999-2000 to 2.3 million in 2009-2010.

What To Do

Early detection begins with you. See your dentist regularly. Studies show a connection between diseases of the mouth and other illnesses, such as diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. Other tips for a healthier mouth include:

  • Use an electric toothbrush if brushing has become difficult because of physical limitations.
  • Floss to keep gums healthy. Use pre-cut strips if you have trouble handling floss.
  • Relieve dry mouth temporarily with sugarless candies or gum. Chips of ice or sips of water will help. Also use lip lubricants daily.
  • Be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms of oral cancer, according to the AARP.
    • Persistent pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or on the lips
    • A sore that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal
    • A white or red spot on your gums, tongue, or mouth lining
    • A change in the color of your oral tissues
    • Persistent sore throat or sensation of something being caught in your throat
    • A lump or thickening on your lip, cheek, or anywhere in your mouth
    • Trouble chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your tongue or jaw


Read Oral Health America’s State of Decay Report

What People Who Live to 100 Have in Common

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Question: I’ve heard that people who are more social live longer. Why is that?
Answer: Yes, many studies suggest that staying socially connected predicts greater life expectancy. Being social reduces stress and is helpful in getting care and support from others.

U.S. residents in several states live considerably longer than the rest of the country.

U.S. residents in several states live considerably longer than the rest of the country.

U.S News and World Report

A growing number of Americans are living to age 100. Nationwide, the centenarian population has grown 65.8 percent over the past three decades, from 32,194 people who were age 100 or older in 1980 to 53,364 centenarians in 2010, according to new Census Bureau data. In contrast, the total population has increased 36.3 percent over the same time period.

Centenarians in the United States are considerably different from the overall population. Here’s a look at some of the characteristics of people who live to age 100:

Female Gender

It is overwhelmingly women who live to age 100. In 2010, 82.8 percent of centenarians were female. For every 100 females age 100 or older, there are only 20.7 males the same age. Females also make up 61.9 percent of those in their 80s and 72.2 percent of people in their 90s. “We know that women are more social than men. Other studies have found that staying socially connected predicts greater life expectancy,” says Gary Small, a professor on aging and director of the UCLA Longevity Center in Los Angeles, who is not affiliated with the Census Bureau report. “If you are social, it may reduce stress levels because you can talk about your feelings and things that stress you out and it seems to help many people. If you need a ride to the doctor or you fall, they can take you to the hospital or help you find the best doctor.”

Less Diversity

Centenarians are considerably less diverse than the overall U.S. population. In 2010, some 82.5 percent of centenarians were white, versus 72.4 percent of the total population. Black or African Americans were unique in that their proportion of the centenarian population (12.2 percent) is about the same as their percentage of the total population (12.6 percent). Asians made up 2.5 percent of the centenarian population, while they make up 4.8 percent of the total population. And Hispanics represent 5.8 percent of centenarians, but 16.3 percent of the population. Read more

Know These Heart Health Basics

heidi Active Senior Living Comments Off on Know These Heart Health Basics

Know your risksHeart disease kills more men and women in the U.S. than any other disease. Every 34 seconds, someone in this country has a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association.

You may be at risk if you:

  • Are a senior
  • Have a family history of heart disease
  • Smoke
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high LDL cholesterol
  • Have diabetes
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Consume a poor diet
  • Don’t exercise


  1. Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications.
  2. Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  3. Take a brisk 10-minute walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week.
  4. Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. Visit and for tips on quitting.
Know the signs and symptoms of heart attack:
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats


All chest pain should be checked by a doctor. If you feel you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately.