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Managing chronic illnesses

Chronic health conditions affect roughly half of all adults. And if you’re an adult aged 65 or older, you likely live with three or more chronic conditions.

Chronic illnesses may be physical, mental or sensory in nature. Common chronic physical conditions include arthritis, diabetes, heart problems and hypertension. Common mental issues are chronic depression and cognitive disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. On the sensory side, chronic illnesses include hearing and vision loss, such as macular degeneration or tinnitus.

For many, chronic illness can cause depression, anger or fear that your illness will worsen. Some may develop a negative self-view, perceiving themselves as sickly or burdensome. Others may choose to ignore the illness in an effort to go on living the way they have been, and as a result, experience significant declines in their overall health and wellbeing.

RI Historical Society, film critic and more at EPOCH

film discussionsJoin us at our EPOCH communities this week for performances by the Larry Pearlman Duo and Ethan Stone. Those interested in local history won’t want to miss a presentation by the Rhode Island Historical Society, and film buffs are welcome to join our discussion of the hit film “The Apartment” with film critic Dan Kimmel. We also look forward to our monthly breakfast and health discussion with the Harwich Council on Aging. We welcome you and your family to join us for any or all of these free events, but be sure to RSVP.

How to reduce falls among seniors

Accidental falls pose a significant risk to the safety and wellbeing of seniors, particularly during cold winter months when walkways are often icy and slick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of Americans aged 65 and older fall every year. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, resulting in lacerations, hip fractures or even head traumas.

New research from Salk Institute sheds light on why falls happen. For most of us, balance comes naturally. If we start to slip, the body will automatically readjust itself to avoid a fall. This automatic response is the handiwork of a cluster of neurons in the spine.

Chinese New Year, book club and concerts at EPOCH

Chinese New YearIt’s a busy week at our EPOCH communities. We’re celebrating the Chinese New Year, hosting our 12th annual winter concert series, and meeting for our monthly book club discussion. Plus, we’ll host some fun performances by Bill Burke and dueling pianists Adam Bergeron and Ethan Stone. All our events are free but we ask that you RSVP.

The impact of negative stereotypes about aging

Have you heard of Aged-Based Stereotype Threat (ABST)? Basically, it means that negative stereotypes about aging can impair the physical and mental functioning of older adults.

The University of Kent’s School of Psychology recently shared the most comprehensive analysis to date of the effect of ABST. Culling evidence from 37 studies, researchers found that when seniors’ feel targeted by negative stereotypes, their memory and overall cognitive performance decreases. Even a small hint that their performance was being judged based on their age caused the seniors to underperform on tasks they might otherwise excel at. Additionally, many seniors who internalize negative aging stereotypes are less likely to seek preventative medical care. As a result, they experience poorer health, limited mobility and even reduced longevity.