living your best to the end

As we age, do we become too thin-skinned?

In a word: Yep. Our skin thins and gets dry Thin, dry skin often gets itchy. And that can lead to a mess of problems. Hence, the expression: thin-skinned. Perhaps not as talked about as the other issues of aging, but should be – considering how much skin we have. Dr Richard Usatine my fellow Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) is a primary care doc and lead author of The Color Atlas of Family Medicine. A lesson in elder-skincare “Our glands produce less natural oil which leads to dry skin. We scratch and we pick and broken skin can lead to infections. often the backs of our hands and forearms that are first affected.” In addition to the natural aging process, there are factors that influence the thinning of the skin: genetics, lifestyle specifically sun exposure, smoking and alcohol, and some medications can make skin more sensitive. What to do to protect our skin? The good doc offers these tips: Gloves: for gardening, biking, cleaning. Moisturize: doesn’t have to be expensive product. Good time to moisturize is after a bath or shower – which should not be too hot. Gentle cleaning, proper drying and staying dry – including sweaty parts like armpits, folds of skin, groin – can help prevent skin break-down. Keep hydrated: drink more water. Alcohol doesn’t count. Eat properly: good nutrition helps in so many ways Wear a hat: The tops of our heads also need care: skin thins there, too. Use sunscreen and stay out of the sun, especially between those hottest hours 11 – 3pm. Feet: a high-risk area – as those...

Myths about aging, proud octogenerians

Jack Pinkus in action at Baycrest Jack Pinkus, retired pharmacist with 17 years on the Board on the Ontario Pharmacists Association opened his educational session at Baycrest by exploding the following myths: • Age will inevitably bring illness • Damage is already done, so why bother taking care of my health • Getting old means losing mental sharpness • Getting old means being sad, lonely and inactive. This was good news to the group aged 70+. He then explained succinctly the difference between normal forgetfulness and signs of dementia: “Everybody forgets their keys. That’s not a problem. That’s normal. It’s when you forget what the keys are for – that’s when you’ve got a problem.” Medication messages specific to getting older: • Aging makes the body more sensitive the effects of medication. • Having trouble with the small type on your prescriptions? Ask your pharmacist for a larger easier to read label. Messages relevant to everyone: • Natural does not mean safe. The worst places to store medication are: • Bathroom: humidity affects chemistry. • Fridge (unless specifically indicated): cold and humidity affects chemistry • Window Sill: sunlight affects chemistry. We’re always instructed by have a list of what we’re taking. I puzzled about what to use when making and keeping up a list of meds: Brand or generic (not to be confused with what happens when brand names become generic) I mean, how much easier to say Prozac (nothing to disclose) than Fluoxetine Hcl. The answer: Wise to have both, especially traveling outside Canada when brand names may be different. During the session, another example of how much...