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The Best Kept Secret for Enjoying Life to the Fullest

Everyone wants to have quality in their lives as they age. What easy things can we do to make sure we have this quality we desire for the rest of our lifetimes?

One of the main things we can do is exercise regularly. Doctors say exercising 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week is not only great for your heart. It also builds stamina.

You might be thinking that's quite a bit. You've never exercised 30 minutes at one time more than several times a month during your working years. Look at it this way. Since you retired, you have more time available to you. It's very easy to change your priorities and focus on exercising 30 minutes every day.

What Type of Exercise is Best?

Any which is good for your heart, to maintain your balance and increase your mobility.

There is a great 8-week class on this subject. It is a "Matter of Balance" and is offered at various locations in Knox County. One class is currently in progress at the South Knoxville Senior Center. The University of Tennessee Medical Center is teaching the "Matter of Balance" Class this fall at the John T O'Connor Senior Center and some other senior sites. The class at O'Connor is on Fridays starting September 23rd.

Other Options

Walking and water aerobics are great. Get in the habit of walking about 30 minutes at a time 5 times a week. You can walk in the neighborhood where you live. Indoor tracks are available when the weather doesn't cooperate. There may be a walking track at your local senior center or your local school or YMCA. Knoxville Center, West Town, Foothills and College Square Malls welcome walkers in their open areas. Knoxville Center opens daily at 8 a.m. while the other three open at 7.

Water aerobics classes are offered at the South Knoxville Senior Center. They're also offered at some of the YMCAs and other centers in the area.

For balance and mobility yoga, tai chi and dancing are good.

If you're a man, you're probably thinking "Yoga – Tai Chi – Those are for women." Well, you are wrong there. More and more men are participating in them. Go and observe a class in progress. You might just decide to get involved.

Many men haven't danced since they were teenagers. If you're one, that's no excuse. Check it out. You might enjoy it.

Ladies, don't be startled. The O'Connor Center offers Belly Dancing. You're never too old. You may want to check it out.

Each of the senior centers offer Yoga, Tai Chi and other fitness classes. Check out the one closest to you.

Something You Need to Know

The frequency of falls for those of us 65 years of age and older is high.

One out of three people 65 years old has a fall every year. As people age, their risk of falling increases. Over 50% of those 80 and older fall every year. Less than half tell their family members, care givers or doctors about a fall – probably out of a sense of pride or embarrassment.

Those who fall once double their chance of falling again.1 out of every 5 additional falls results in a broken bone or a head injury.

What causes falls as we age? Here are some:

 Weakness in the lower body

 Not Enough Vitamin D

 Challenges with walking and balance

 Various medicines – both prescribed and over the counter

 Failing eyesight which is not corrected

 Ill-fitting shoes and foot problems

 Hazards around the home such as broken or uneven steps, throw rugs or clutter that can be tripped over, and no handrails along stairs or in the bathroom.

Most falls result from a combination of these. They happen more frequently when more than one are present.

Things to Do to Lower the Risk of a Fall

During your visits to your doctor ask them to evaluate your risk of falling.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines.

Ask your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements with calcium.

Get an annual eye exam.

Exercise regularly.

Fall proof your home.

Make throw rugs nonskid.

Remove things you can trip over.

Make sure stairs have railings.

Put grab bars on showers and bathrooms

Make sure your home is well lit.

If You Have a Severe Fall and Can't Get Up . . .

. . .You are going to want to make sure you're able to alert someone so that you can get help quickly. There are two systems you may want to look at.

The first is the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). With PERS you carry a device with you at all times. If you fall and can't get up, you press a button on the device. It summons help for you.

The second is Auto Alert for Seniors. Here you wear the device at all times. It will automatically detect when you fall and alert emergency personnel you need help.

Neither device is free and the cost for Auto Alert is more expensive than the cost for PERS. You can get more information on these and the choices available on the Internet.

Something to check out. September 22nd is Falls Prevention Awareness Day. In coordination with this, Philips Home Healthcare is having a special promotion for its Lifeline with Auto Alert program. This runs from September 14 through October 5, 2016.To find out more about this program, what is offered, and its cost, please call 1-866-674-9900, extension 4310. Make sure to mention code TN765 to get the discount.