Tips for Holidays 2016 – Rebecca Crichton

October 21st, 2016

That Time of Year Again – Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season

Rebecca Crichton, Executive Director, Northwest Center for Creative Aging

We are already starting to gear up for the holiday season. For many, the period from Halloween through year’s end causes dread. The shortening days and diminishing light don’t help. And it’s not only the external expectations to buy and give, decorate and celebrate, it’s the internal process of confronting what the holidays mean to us and require of us.

For people who are dealing with chronic illness, disability, loss and grief and other
challenging situations, the upcoming season can feel demanding, difficult and depressing.

The good news is that there are ample resources that can help you prepare for and manage the holiday season. The Internet has many websites specific to coping with grief, chronic illness, depression and other situations that might sap the joy from the season. Whatever you are facing, there are some common themes:

Plan Ahead
Begin by thinking forward and communicating with the people you spend your holidays with to get agreement about what kinds of plans and traditions you want to have. Which traditions do you and those close to you observe? Decide which you want to keep, which ones you want to change and what new ones you might add.

Remember that other people may want different things and may make choices that don’t work for you. It is okay to have different needs and expectations.

Reassess Expectations
Let go of perfectionism. The perfect tree, meal, gifts and other efforts might not be possible. Don’t let others determine what you ‘should’ do for the holidays. Listen to yourself and trust your sense of what you need and then communicate that to the people around you.

Seek Support
Connect with members of your community – your family, friends, members of your spiritual community or other groups and ask for support. Make an honest assessment of what you can give and what you need help with. When people offer help, accept it, as uncomfortable as that might feel. Also consider what you can still offer to others. Remind yourself that needing help doesn’t mean you have nothing to share or give to others.

Take Care of Yourself
Hard as can be to do, the basics still apply: get enough sleep, eat healthy food (portion control might be the answer to the endless opportunities to eat less healthy food), exercise to the extent you can. Exercise can relive stress and always makes you feel better about yourself.

Schedule in whatever helps you feel inner peace. Make some quiet time for yourself – listen to music, meditate, journal. They all help you stay connected with what you need to stay centered.

Practice Gratitude
Finally, make a practice of seeking gratitude. Even one daily gratitude can help you feel better. Share that with others and ask them what they feel grateful for. That is a gift you both give and get!
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Oral Health for Older Adults

October 10th, 2016

Good oral health is essential for healthy aging
Yet, Medicare does not cover dental care

By Jeff Hambleton, MD

Many people are keeping their teeth longer than ever before due to better dental care and water fluoridation. But here’s a surprise for many pre-retirees. Medicare does not cover dental. In a recent state survey nearly half people 60 and older mistakenly believe that dental is part of basic Medicare or just don’t know.

Image result for oral health images older adults

Good oral health is important for the health, quality of life, well-being and finances of seniors. Since dental is not included in Medicare preventing oral disease should be a priority, especially given the rapidly aging population.
Oral health affects overall health
There is good reason to be concerned about oral health. Poor oral health is linked to other serious health conditions.
• Gum disease is an infection in the mouth that can spread to other parts of the body.
• Poor oral health has been linked to diabetes complications, heart disease and stroke.
• People with diabetes are up to three times more likely to develop gum disease, and the infection caused by gum disease makes it harder to control blood sugar.
• It is difficult to sleep, get proper nutrition and eat the foods you love if you’re in pain from dental problems.
By the year 2030, it is projected that almost one out of every five Americans will be 65 years or older. Clearly there needs to be more focus on the oral health of older Americans as well the responsibilities of communities to provide support and access to care, particularly for low-income seniors. Older adults, healthcare providers and people serving seniors can help by sharing information about how to prevent oral disease.
Tips for better oral health

Brush and floss every day – Brushing and flossing lead to better oral health. Flossing daily cleans tooth surfaces that brushing doesn’t reach.

Get oral health checkups – Regular oral health checkups are important to detect problems that might quickly get worse and expensive to treat. People with diabetes need to pay close attention to their oral health because gum disease can make it more difficult to manage diabetes.

Use fluoride – Fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water prevent cavities because fluoride strengthens teeth. Gums recede as we age, so fluoride is particularly important for seniors. Root cavities can be very painful and difficult to treat.

Treat dry mouth – Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications and medical conditions and can quickly lead to major oral health problems. Sipping water throughout the day can help. Ask your doctor, dentist or pharmacist about other treatments.

Many older adults can keep their teeth as long as they live, if they take care of their mouths. Good oral health leads to better overall health and saves money too. Visit The for more information on how to prevent oral disease.


Dr. Jeff Hambleton is a family physician and Chief Medical Officer at Providence Medical Group

Check out this link for the Washington State Dental Association.

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