Make Decisions to Protect Your Health

Posted by Cheryl @th1, Jan 15 6:41pm

Instead of new year’s resolutions, let’s make conscious new year’s decisions. Decide to consciously protect the hearing, sight, and skin you now have. I’m not just talking wearing UV protective sunglasses, earplugs in noise, or sunblock. “Police” your body. I am suggesting:

A. Get your sight, hearing and skin checked every year to avoid problems and catch any early.

B. Notice during the year, any changes in sight, hearing, or skin areas.

C. Be your own best advocate. Recognize a problem, don’t be in denial. Learn what you can do about it. Give yourself these opportunities, rather than risks:

D. Wear protective clothing when going out.

E. Use a decibel indicator on your smartphone. If too noisy, don’t enter. If you wear hearing aid(s) or a cochlear implant, turn them off. In noisy environments we can’t avoid, wear noise protection, earmuffs, or earplugs. This will also protect against tinnitus.

F. For any prescription or any OTC drugs, check side effects that may harm your eyesight or hearing. Drugs (OTC and Rx) and chemical solvents are considered the second most often cause of hearing loss.
G. Wear a hat when going outside, not just a ballcap. A hat with a brim around your head will help by providing shade, and helps you hear better! The hat brim will bring in the sound, keep out the noise, and I find it helps me focus better on the speaker, becoming a better listener.

Make these decisions, don’t take them lightly, make them habits. Pass them along to others, too, share the “why”. You get smarter, they get smarter, everyone gets protected. Police your body by protecting your skin, eyes, and ears.

@th1, Thanks for starting this discussion. I recently found out how important it is to wear protective clothing. Being 77 with a few autoimmune conditions and poor balance. Normally I am pretty careful walking but I got a little careless trying to carry to much and tripped and fell. I ended up scrapping my elbow really good even though I was wearing a heavy sweatshirt and a winter coat. I pulled off a section of skin and was bleeding a lot and it reminded me just how thin my skin is. I'm good about wearing protective clothing in the winter but not so much in the summer. This has been a reminder to me that I need to make some changes to better protect myself. You list some excellent points and sound advice!

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@th1 this is a great discussion. Something I have done daily for 5 years now is wear sunscreen every single day on my face and neck and my entire adult life I have worn sunglasses whenever I am outside unless it is overcast. These are two ways I am protect myself daily in those two areas.

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@johnbishop Good luck John, from BB who has poor balance and fell on April 1 while walking in the park and fractured her arm. I have to readjust my "mental orientation" to "I must be very care when walking"! No carelessness for me now! 🙂

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@johnbishop

@th1, Thanks for starting this discussion. I recently found out how important it is to wear protective clothing. Being 77 with a few autoimmune conditions and poor balance. Normally I am pretty careful walking but I got a little careless trying to carry to much and tripped and fell. I ended up scrapping my elbow really good even though I was wearing a heavy sweatshirt and a winter coat. I pulled off a section of skin and was bleeding a lot and it reminded me just how thin my skin is. I'm good about wearing protective clothing in the winter but not so much in the summer. This has been a reminder to me that I need to make some changes to better protect myself. You list some excellent points and sound advice!

Jump to this post

John, it is Heel to Get OLD! I was putting the watering hose away yesterday and it got hooked around the bush! Went ot get it untangled and a branch just brushed me and put a two inch gouge in my wrist! Three bandages and Iodine and it has stopped bleeding!
Sundance(RB)

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@amandajro

@th1 this is a great discussion. Something I have done daily for 5 years now is wear sunscreen every single day on my face and neck and my entire adult life I have worn sunglasses whenever I am outside unless it is overcast. These are two ways I am protect myself daily in those two areas.

Jump to this post

Amanda, very true. The other thing we need to care for is our neck and face! A ball cap does very little good in direct sun, even in altitude, I'm at 5280' here in ABQ!
Best protection is a Brimed hat!
For both your neck and face and ears!
Sundance(RB)

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@barbb

@johnbishop Good luck John, from BB who has poor balance and fell on April 1 while walking in the park and fractured her arm. I have to readjust my "mental orientation" to "I must be very care when walking"! No carelessness for me now! 🙂

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Something that also is important is excercise! By that I mean is there are many online Zoom classes offered by Silver Sneakers and StayFit. Mine used to be at the "Y" now it is on Zoom! I take one that is called Flex and Balance and the other is silver Sneakers Yoga!
Both are of Great Help to me.
It's so easy not having to get in the car and drive to a gym or other location.
Just go on line and I'll bet you'll find one in your area!
From, The Land of Enchantment!
Sundance(RB)

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@johnbishop

@th1, Thanks for starting this discussion. I recently found out how important it is to wear protective clothing. Being 77 with a few autoimmune conditions and poor balance. Normally I am pretty careful walking but I got a little careless trying to carry to much and tripped and fell. I ended up scrapping my elbow really good even though I was wearing a heavy sweatshirt and a winter coat. I pulled off a section of skin and was bleeding a lot and it reminded me just how thin my skin is. I'm good about wearing protective clothing in the winter but not so much in the summer. This has been a reminder to me that I need to make some changes to better protect myself. You list some excellent points and sound advice!

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Thanks for your comments, I appreciate protective clothing, too – my grandson is an ocean lifeguard and EMT, and my son-in'law has had a big part of upper arm skin removed and treated for melanoma.

Cheryl

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Cheryl! I am so Sorry! A GOOD Lesson for all of us to heid!
Sundance(RB)

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@johnbishop

@th1, Thanks for starting this discussion. I recently found out how important it is to wear protective clothing. Being 77 with a few autoimmune conditions and poor balance. Normally I am pretty careful walking but I got a little careless trying to carry to much and tripped and fell. I ended up scrapping my elbow really good even though I was wearing a heavy sweatshirt and a winter coat. I pulled off a section of skin and was bleeding a lot and it reminded me just how thin my skin is. I'm good about wearing protective clothing in the winter but not so much in the summer. This has been a reminder to me that I need to make some changes to better protect myself. You list some excellent points and sound advice!

Jump to this post

Reply to John Bishop, Barb B, and others with balance issues: The SINGLE most important thing you can do is find a vestibular therapist (a PT with special training to teach better balance), listen to what he/she tells you, and practice exercises every single day.

As we age, we all lose some balance–that is, our inner ear, our primary balance system, doesn't work as well. The natural thing to do when your balance is compromised is to use your second balance system, vision, but that's the worst thing you can do. Every time you move around or even move your head, you lose your focal point and, thus, your balance. Using vision is why many docs recommend night lights for older folks, but that simply teaches you to rely on vision instead of what your feet feel. Get rid of the night light and walk through your house at night with all the lights out (assuming that you've checked for anything loose on the floor that the cat placed to trip you). A vestibular therapist can teach you to use your third balance system, proprioception, which is the feeling/information you get from your feet, ankles, knees, hips, etc. Simply put, if you stand on a windy point, you will automatically lean into the wind just enough to stay balanced: that's proprioception. You need to learn to pay attention to what your feet can tell you. Yeah, I know…who ever thought your feet know anything!!

The good news is that a month or less of really working on VRT (vestibular rehab) will definitely improve your balance and your eye/hand coordination. In addition, VRT isn't hard and can be done anywhere without special equipment (although there are some simple things you can use at home). The bad news is that you need to do some VRT every day for the rest of your life. Yes, every day, no matter how busy you are. A mere 5-10 minutes a day will make a huge difference in your life. You'll feel confident moving around because you'll know where you are in space. You'll be able to reach for the pen or pencil on your desk without "homing in on it" by spreading your fingers and closing them until you touch the object. You'll stop slicing your fingers instead of the veggies!

In addition to your primary inner ear balance system becoming less effective with age, you also may lose some sensation in your legs and feet, so you'll need to work to reestablish your ability to "feel" with your feet. Even though I had done daily VRT for over 30 years (after I lost hearing and balance function in one ear), when I went bilateral I scheduled a "brush up" visit with a VRT specialist. I learned that the old exercises weren't working as well because I'd lost a fair amount of sensation in my lower legs and feet. For me, the best exercise is to walk the quarter mile on our gravel road to reach the mailbox…with my eyes closed, for the most part, concentrating on what my feet can tell me. When I start to veer away from the driving surface, my feet can feel the loose gravel along the edge, warning me that I'm no longer on the main road surface. Lots of VRT exercises can be done while just living life, like adapting my daily walk to the mailbox. It's good to turn out all the lights at night before bed, finding your way by "listening" to your feet. Sometimes, it's good to work on a specific skill, like stepping up and down, eyes closed. I have a small platform that's about 6" high that I made for this, especially useful because we have no stairs in the main part of our home to give me regular practice on stairs. Even though I'd done some VRT daily for decades, a month of additional work really made a huge difference in confidence. At 78, I hike in rough country without trails and wade rivers. When I'm in a wilderness situation by myself with no cell reception, I am more careful than I was at 40, but I'm not fearful.

So, tune up your balance system by learning to "listen" to your feet. You'll be surprised at how much more comfortable you are moving around. You'll be able to know where you are in space, and it's a very good feeling. Stairs or a steep drop-off alongside a trail will be a challenge instead of a source of great fear. If your dog or cat walk across right in front of you or surprise you by being right behind you when you start to step back, you won't almost fall but will be able to recover easily. Try it!

REPLY
@joyces

Reply to John Bishop, Barb B, and others with balance issues: The SINGLE most important thing you can do is find a vestibular therapist (a PT with special training to teach better balance), listen to what he/she tells you, and practice exercises every single day.

As we age, we all lose some balance–that is, our inner ear, our primary balance system, doesn't work as well. The natural thing to do when your balance is compromised is to use your second balance system, vision, but that's the worst thing you can do. Every time you move around or even move your head, you lose your focal point and, thus, your balance. Using vision is why many docs recommend night lights for older folks, but that simply teaches you to rely on vision instead of what your feet feel. Get rid of the night light and walk through your house at night with all the lights out (assuming that you've checked for anything loose on the floor that the cat placed to trip you). A vestibular therapist can teach you to use your third balance system, proprioception, which is the feeling/information you get from your feet, ankles, knees, hips, etc. Simply put, if you stand on a windy point, you will automatically lean into the wind just enough to stay balanced: that's proprioception. You need to learn to pay attention to what your feet can tell you. Yeah, I know…who ever thought your feet know anything!!

The good news is that a month or less of really working on VRT (vestibular rehab) will definitely improve your balance and your eye/hand coordination. In addition, VRT isn't hard and can be done anywhere without special equipment (although there are some simple things you can use at home). The bad news is that you need to do some VRT every day for the rest of your life. Yes, every day, no matter how busy you are. A mere 5-10 minutes a day will make a huge difference in your life. You'll feel confident moving around because you'll know where you are in space. You'll be able to reach for the pen or pencil on your desk without "homing in on it" by spreading your fingers and closing them until you touch the object. You'll stop slicing your fingers instead of the veggies!

In addition to your primary inner ear balance system becoming less effective with age, you also may lose some sensation in your legs and feet, so you'll need to work to reestablish your ability to "feel" with your feet. Even though I had done daily VRT for over 30 years (after I lost hearing and balance function in one ear), when I went bilateral I scheduled a "brush up" visit with a VRT specialist. I learned that the old exercises weren't working as well because I'd lost a fair amount of sensation in my lower legs and feet. For me, the best exercise is to walk the quarter mile on our gravel road to reach the mailbox…with my eyes closed, for the most part, concentrating on what my feet can tell me. When I start to veer away from the driving surface, my feet can feel the loose gravel along the edge, warning me that I'm no longer on the main road surface. Lots of VRT exercises can be done while just living life, like adapting my daily walk to the mailbox. It's good to turn out all the lights at night before bed, finding your way by "listening" to your feet. Sometimes, it's good to work on a specific skill, like stepping up and down, eyes closed. I have a small platform that's about 6" high that I made for this, especially useful because we have no stairs in the main part of our home to give me regular practice on stairs. Even though I'd done some VRT daily for decades, a month of additional work really made a huge difference in confidence. At 78, I hike in rough country without trails and wade rivers. When I'm in a wilderness situation by myself with no cell reception, I am more careful than I was at 40, but I'm not fearful.

So, tune up your balance system by learning to "listen" to your feet. You'll be surprised at how much more comfortable you are moving around. You'll be able to know where you are in space, and it's a very good feeling. Stairs or a steep drop-off alongside a trail will be a challenge instead of a source of great fear. If your dog or cat walk across right in front of you or surprise you by being right behind you when you start to step back, you won't almost fall but will be able to recover easily. Try it!

Jump to this post

Thanks for the great advice @joyces. If my feet were talking I would definitely be listening but unfortunately I have small fiber peripheral neuropathy and my feet are not playing nice most of the time…which is why I try to be really careful. I always wear socks at night so that I have some limited protection if I have to make a trip to the bathroom. I've also placed small plugin night lights in a few outlets for night time.

I do some balance exercises I've learned and last year I picked up a Sand Dune Stepper that I use for balance exercises along with a chair or a walker. https://www.sanddunestepper.com/

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John, the Sand Dune Stepper looks like a good way to exercise…just be certain you think every second you're using it about what your feet can tell you. Even with neuropathy, if you use your head as well, your feet aren't totally stupid. I don't need a Sand Dune Stepper, as I have miles of both soft and hard sand a quarter mile away. <g> FWIW, walking barefoot or in socks gives you far more info than walking in shoes. Until the flooding season (!!) started three weeks ago, I was also using our long driveway as an exercise…walking in the narrow old gravel ruts (driveway is nearly 100 years old) made it easy to know when I was veering off in one direction or another, with the added inducement of knowing that veering off more than a couple feet could mean falling into the creek! Even though we've had a series of dry days (unusual on the Oregon coast in winter), the place where the driveway crosses the creek is still slippery and muddy, and most of the gravel went downstream when there was some actual current over the culvert. It's amazing how the hill up to the house seems to be a bit steeper and longer, especially when carrying stuff! This week, I'm carrying groceries in, fixing hot lunches for all the people working to clear lots burned during the Echo Mt fire in Sept., and carrying all the food back out to where I've parked the car at the very edge of our one-lane road. This lot clearing effort is a wonderful thing, a spot of hope as more and more people are able to now live on their own land, albeit in a travel trailer or camper until they build a home or get the manufactured home they ordered. Even though everyone in that neighborhood lost everything (the fire came upon them during the night), there's a great upbeat mood because they've taken their destiny into their own hands by clearing their own lots with help from volunteers to take down huge old trees that are now standing dead, cut up metal debris, and haul the debris and bags of ash to the dump. This week is an extra effort with additional volunteers working every day, and we all have the example of the first manufactured home now livable with a second delivered to the owner's lot in two sections yesterday. Exciting! I am so fortunate that our neighborhood was spared that the least I can do is keep everyone fed.

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@joyces

Reply to John Bishop, Barb B, and others with balance issues: The SINGLE most important thing you can do is find a vestibular therapist (a PT with special training to teach better balance), listen to what he/she tells you, and practice exercises every single day.

As we age, we all lose some balance–that is, our inner ear, our primary balance system, doesn't work as well. The natural thing to do when your balance is compromised is to use your second balance system, vision, but that's the worst thing you can do. Every time you move around or even move your head, you lose your focal point and, thus, your balance. Using vision is why many docs recommend night lights for older folks, but that simply teaches you to rely on vision instead of what your feet feel. Get rid of the night light and walk through your house at night with all the lights out (assuming that you've checked for anything loose on the floor that the cat placed to trip you). A vestibular therapist can teach you to use your third balance system, proprioception, which is the feeling/information you get from your feet, ankles, knees, hips, etc. Simply put, if you stand on a windy point, you will automatically lean into the wind just enough to stay balanced: that's proprioception. You need to learn to pay attention to what your feet can tell you. Yeah, I know…who ever thought your feet know anything!!

The good news is that a month or less of really working on VRT (vestibular rehab) will definitely improve your balance and your eye/hand coordination. In addition, VRT isn't hard and can be done anywhere without special equipment (although there are some simple things you can use at home). The bad news is that you need to do some VRT every day for the rest of your life. Yes, every day, no matter how busy you are. A mere 5-10 minutes a day will make a huge difference in your life. You'll feel confident moving around because you'll know where you are in space. You'll be able to reach for the pen or pencil on your desk without "homing in on it" by spreading your fingers and closing them until you touch the object. You'll stop slicing your fingers instead of the veggies!

In addition to your primary inner ear balance system becoming less effective with age, you also may lose some sensation in your legs and feet, so you'll need to work to reestablish your ability to "feel" with your feet. Even though I had done daily VRT for over 30 years (after I lost hearing and balance function in one ear), when I went bilateral I scheduled a "brush up" visit with a VRT specialist. I learned that the old exercises weren't working as well because I'd lost a fair amount of sensation in my lower legs and feet. For me, the best exercise is to walk the quarter mile on our gravel road to reach the mailbox…with my eyes closed, for the most part, concentrating on what my feet can tell me. When I start to veer away from the driving surface, my feet can feel the loose gravel along the edge, warning me that I'm no longer on the main road surface. Lots of VRT exercises can be done while just living life, like adapting my daily walk to the mailbox. It's good to turn out all the lights at night before bed, finding your way by "listening" to your feet. Sometimes, it's good to work on a specific skill, like stepping up and down, eyes closed. I have a small platform that's about 6" high that I made for this, especially useful because we have no stairs in the main part of our home to give me regular practice on stairs. Even though I'd done some VRT daily for decades, a month of additional work really made a huge difference in confidence. At 78, I hike in rough country without trails and wade rivers. When I'm in a wilderness situation by myself with no cell reception, I am more careful than I was at 40, but I'm not fearful.

So, tune up your balance system by learning to "listen" to your feet. You'll be surprised at how much more comfortable you are moving around. You'll be able to know where you are in space, and it's a very good feeling. Stairs or a steep drop-off alongside a trail will be a challenge instead of a source of great fear. If your dog or cat walk across right in front of you or surprise you by being right behind you when you start to step back, you won't almost fall but will be able to recover easily. Try it!

Jump to this post

Joyce… I was happy to see your recent posting. I had been looking for an earlier one about your Menier's and could not find it. I have some questions, really for anyone who can relate to my situation.
I have had balance problems for four years. They started a few days before I first lost hearing. My physical therapist said I do not have Meniere's but something close to it. The exercises did help but over time as I lost more hearing balance got worse. Three months ago I was able to hear someone it they were very close and looking right at me. Then overnight I lost what little hearing I had and could hear nothing, even with hearing aids. Then, again suddenly, my balance became much worse to the point where I have trouble walking even on a flat surface. In addition I am constantly nauseated, to the point where food has no appeal. The nausea is not a new issue but has worsened. I have lost 35 lbs over 3 years without trying and I was not overweight before. People comment on my thinness and tell me to eat….I wish I could.
So one of my questions: Do any of you with balance issues have nausea as well? If so how do you combat the nausea?
My life has narrowed so much. I don't like going places because I'm afraid I might fall. I have to have a driver and I am even more dizzy and nauseated riding in a car. I take supplies with me in case of vomiting.
So most of the time I am just home and finding it very difficult to do anything because of the dizziness and nausea. I read a lot but even that is becoming more difficult. Also working on the computer makes the dizziness worse and gives me a headache. l feel at the end of my rope. I am doing the exercises but does anyone have ideas on what else to do? I'm also looking for a vestibular rehab specialist and I just went to my first orientation meeting for a coclear implant.
Joyce, it was also very interesting about the hormone therapy you are doing…. I'm wondering if that might help me. Have not spoken to any of my doctors about it yet. Judy

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