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Mabels Articles - This is the section containing articles of interest for better living



Independence can often mean the difference between a fulfilling old age and feeling like there is nothing to live for. If you are retired or have elderly parents, the 60-Wise guide from Rukba, a charity dedicated to helping older people remain independent, may well interest you.

60-Wise contains over 80 pages of clear information on subjects such as handling your money, finding help at home, home security and moving into residential or nursing care. For concerned relatives there's a chapter on what to do if someone you know starts becoming confused.

The guide is packed with contacts and telephone numbers including charities, benefit agencies, where to claim grants and discounts and hints and tips for finding our way around the system.

Wendy Richard MBE
"60-Wise is a brilliant guide that provides a good starting point for elderly people who need guidance through the maze of help available."

For over 140 years Rukba has helped older people in financial difficulties to live independent lives with dignity and peace of mind by providing a small regular income, grants for emergencies and the friendship of a local volunteer.

To find out more about Rukba's work or to request a free copy of
60-Wise, telephone 08457 58 56 80 or write to Rukba, 6 Avonmore Road, London W14 8RL.


Editor's notes:
· Rukba was established in 1863.
· Patron: HRH Princess Alexandra
· Rukba's primary objective is to help older people and infirm people on very low incomes to remain in their own homes as long as possible.
· Rukba provides a small income for life; financial help in times of crisis, grants for mobility equipment; nursing care and help with fees. As many older people face their troubles alone, a network of volunteer visitors offer the very important emotional support that regular contact brings.
· Rukba currently supports over 5,000 older people and has a network of over 1,000 volunteer visitors who offer friendship and practical support.
· Rukba's website: www.rukba.org.uk

For further information please contact:

Louise Latham at Rukba Head Office TEL: 0207 605 4291
e-mail: louise.latham@rukba.org.uk



Taking Care of Yourself - For the over 50's

What You Should Know

Here are some ways to take care of yourself every day:

Get Enough Physical Activity
Physical activity is an excellent stress-buster and provides other health
benefits as well. It also can improve your mood and self image. Try to
accumulate 30 minutes of physical activity a day through walking, yoga,
dancing, housework, gardening or recreational sports (tennis, volleyball, squash). Senior people who regularly engage in physical activity tend to eat more nutritious food which also can help the body better manage stress.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Treat yourself properly with adequate sleep and nutritious food.

Do Something You Enjoy

Take up an active activity you used to do but haven't had time for or start a new sport or hobby you've always wanted to try - maybe music or horse riding lessons.

Share Your Feelings
Talk to someone you trust - a friend, member of the family or clergy, or
mental health professional - about what's bothering you.

Focus on the Present
Don't waste energy worrying about the past. Keep your mind positively set on the present and future.

Problems Sleeping
Can't get any shut eye? It's easy to deprive yourself of sleep, especially if stress has you up worrying at night, waking up too early in the morning or waking up feeling tired. You need sound and adequate rest to handle stress.
Try these tips to overcome sleep problems:
Myth: People need less sleep as they get older.
Fact: As people age, they don't need less sleep, but they often get less sleep. The average senior person still needs about eight hours per night.
Wake up at the same time every day.
Avoid caffeine four to six hours before bedtime and cut down during the day.
Avoid nicotine, especially near bedtime and if you wake up during the night..
* Don't drink alcohol late in the evening.
* Don't consume heavy meals close to bedtime. However, a light snack might help you fall asleep.
* Exercise in the late afternoon to deepen sleep. Vigorous exercise within three to four hours of bedtime could inhibit sleep.
* Minimize noise, light and excessive temperature at bedtime.
* Move the alarm clock away from the bed if it's a source of distraction.
* Wake up at the same time every day.

Try finding humour in a situation. Humour is a powerful antidote to stress. It can be a great way to relieve tension and could be as easy as renting a funny video and watching it at home.


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KEEPING FIT - For the over 50's

Strength Training
Carrying groceries, vacuuming, opening jars - it's easy to take routine tasks for granted when you can do them easily. Keeping your muscles and bones strong as you age improves your chances of continuing these tasks on your own and reduces your risk of falling.
Staying independent is a great incentive to maintain strength as you get older. There are other good reasons. Having more muscle makes it easier to avoid weight gain since muscle burns more calories than fat. Building strength also builds strong bones, which helps prevent the bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis. And toned muscles look better than flabby fat.

Don't Blame being over 50
After age 20, most adults lose about a half pound of muscle a year. By the time you're 65, you lose 25 percent of your peak strength. But you're not destined to grow softer and weaker just because you're getting older. Experts say most of this muscle loss comes from not using your muscles enough as you age, rather than ageing itself. If you use your muscles regularly, they'll stay strong and firm, regardless of age. That's why it's especially important for the over 50's to strength train.
Studies have shown that men over 50 who strength train regularly have muscles that look and perform as well as inactive men in their 20s and 30s.
Yet most people over 50 don't do enough strength training to stay strong, according to some research only 11 percent of adults over 50 strength trained two or more days a week, the amount experts recommend.
You can start building and regaining strength at any age. So if it has been a while since you've worked on your strength, don't worry. Research shows that even people who begin strength training in their 90s can gain muscle and strength in as few as eight weeks.

How Much?
To increase your strength, you should do strengthening exercises two or three times a week, working all your different muscles. That includes your arms, legs, chest, shoulders, stomach, and back. Repeat each exercise 10 to 15 times (a set) and do one or two sets of each exercise.
Strengthening exercises involve working against resistance from your body or some other source, such as weight machines, free weights or barbells, a body bar, resistance bands, stability ball, or water.
While the weight room remains a popular place to strength train, there are many other things you can do besides weight lifting to build strength.
Old-fashioned calisthenics, such as push-ups, sit-ups, and chin-ups - now the foundation for the popular "boot camp" classes - is one example. And some aerobic activities that build endurance, such as cycling, running, and certain martial arts and dance classes, are also good leg-strengthening exercises.
Other options include:
· Water aerobics
· Ballet
· Yoga
· Pilates, which focuses on building "core" strength in your stomach and back muscles
· Walking
Choose activities you enjoy so you stick with it. Mixing up your workouts every now and then will keep you from getting bored. If your fitness routine consists mostly of exercises that strengthen the lower body, such as biking or walking, be sure to balance out your upper body with a workout too.
For example, if you walk three or four times a week, do an upper body workout on alternate days. Try hand weights, a rowing machine, or push-ups. Daily stretching, even for 10 minutes, will keep you supple and reduce your risk of pulling a muscle or some other injury. You also can work strength training into your regular aerobics or flexibility routines.
Even though you're likely to see results quickly at first, that might change after several weeks of working out. This is normal. Don't get discouraged. Stick with your program even though your improvements are not as obvious. After several months of resistance training, most men and women will increase their muscular strength by 20 percent to 40 percent.

Take it Slow
It's not uncommon for people to hurt themselves while strength training by going too fast. Choose lighter weights to start - three- or five-pound - and build up gradually.
If you can't repeat eight weight exercises in a row, the weight is too heavy - get a lighter one. If you can lift a weight more than 15 times in a row, the weight is too light - get one slightly heavier. Don't increase the weight you lift by more than 10 percent at any time. And remember to warm up with slow movement, such as marching in place, and cool down (stretch) your muscles each time you work out.
A good video, a book from the library, a group-class or a health club instructor can show you how to lift weights correctly if you haven't done it before. Controlling your movements and having proper posture and form will also keep you from getting hurt. You can check your form by working out in front of a mirror.

You don't have to lose your strength or muscle tone just because you're getting older. As long as you continue working your muscles, they'll continue working for you, by keeping you strong, fit, and independent!

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Visit Mabels…Maintaining Bygone Times, containing numerous articles thoughtfully researched mainly for the older person. You may access these articles by visiting http://www.mabels.org.uk/ - You will learn about the best tips to improve your health, fitness, finances, safety as well as information on nostalgic topics, places to visit, leisure & lifestyle, mobility & helpful organisations to make the most out of life.


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