Pickleball pleasures and pitfalls
Pickleball has many benefits, including eye-hand coordination to keep thinking skills sharp, and lateral motion to balance and strength; it’s weight-bearing, which is good for your bones; and with a smaller court than tennis, it encourages sociability. But it has serious risks, ranging from ankle and knee injuries to elbow and shoulder strains, falls, and fractures, which can be more debilitating as we get older. In addition to warming up and stretching, it’s also important to strengthen legs, shoulders, core, and arms, and follow these safety tips specific to pickleball. According to Harvard Health Letter:
Wear the right shoes – Court shoes are the most important equipment, should offer support but have some give in the sole. Running shoes are a recipe for disaster.
Wear protective eyewear such as goggles or glasses made of polycarbonate lenses.
Hydrate with electrolyte enhanced drinks when on the court. As we age, dehydration can lead to a multitude of problems such as dizziness and potential falls.
Go back to your doctor
National surveys and the CDC have shown that 32% of U.S. adults reported delaying routine care because of the pandemic from March–July 2020. Now that vaccination has become more widespread, geriatricians are urging older adults to pay more attention to preventive screenings, which can identify issues before problems occur—talking about living alone, changes in memory, any falls, and who is around to help out when needed.
People over 65 with Medicare Part B for 12 months are allowed an annual wellness visit once every 12 months, often at no cost. This visit is different for a regular appointment for chronic medical conditions—it’s fully focused on health risk and prevention.
Do you know if you have high blood pressure?
2020 study findings by JAMA found that people’s awareness and control of their high blood pressure have dropped in recent years, especially among older adults. The study found the number of people aware of their hypertension fell 8% from 2018 to 2020. Among those, more than half did not manage it adequately. More troubling, some of the study was conducted using the older definition of high blood pressure (140/90). New guidelines released in 2017 recommend blood pressure to be less than 130/80. The study suggests that even more adults today may not realize they have high blood pressure.
Take 5 to save lives
The first annual World Suicide Prevention Day began on Sept. 10, 2003, to focus public attention on suicide prevention efforts and activities. Since then, communities, individuals, practitioners, researchers, and others have responded each year on Sept. 10 by implementing prevention initiatives or campaigns. To assist in those efforts, the National Council for Suicide Prevention launched Take 5 to Save Lives campaign to encourages everyone to take 5 minutes out of their day on Sept. 10 and complete five action items, including: Learn the warning signs, Do your part, Practice self-care, Reach out, and Spread the word. Read more at take5tosavelives.org
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide rates in 2019 were higher among adults ages 45 to 54 years (19.60 per 100,000), and 55 to 64 years (19.41 per 100,000), with the rate highest among adults ages 85 years or older (20.12 per 100,000). Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults.