Granniverse

My weird obsession with all things granny

Recent research proves that the health of your teeth and mouth is an indication of your overall health, and the same holds true for Granny. If you are charged with looking after her health and well being, don’t forget about her teeth and gums. Any dental problems in a senior need to be taken seriously, as these can have a serious impact on their overall health. Not looking after her teeth is the equivalent of not checking on the health of her heart.

Elderly Diseases With Oral Symptoms

Dentists are able to give an initial diagnosis of a number of disease from what they find when conducting a basic oral exam. Some of these are life-threatening, especially to the elderly and include:

  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • HIV
  • Osteoporosis

The medical and dental fields are just now beginning to see how dental health and physical health are directly related.

There is a direct relationship between gum disease and heart disease, with even the risk factors being similar for both. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Weight gain
  • No exercise

Those who have severe periodontal disease double their risk of suffering from a fatal heart attack, and also increase the odds of having a stroke. The bacteria from a tooth infection can infect the heart’s inner lining and valves. This could lead to the destruction of Granny’s heart valves.

Certain chronic degenerative diseases share risk factors with gum disease like lupus and ulcerative colitis. If your grandma does need dental procedures performed it is likely that she will be first prescribed antibiotics.

Getting Grandma on the Right Oral Health Track

It is easy to overlook healthy teeth and gums when you are dealing with the onset of arthritis and other age related ailments. Grandma may also be having a hard time holding her tooth brush or standing at the sink for too long.

First make sure that she has the right equipment. Get her an electronic toothbrush to make brushing faster and a water flosser so that she doesn’t have to deal with little pieces of strings. Oral irrigators that are highly rated like these can make a huge difference in oral health.

Make sure that she is brushing after every meal, and not just at morning or bedtime. If weak wrists are an issue from arthritis, then brush them for her. If she is at risk for gum disease then ask her dentist about prescribing special toothpastes or gels.

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One last thing to note is the special needs of denture wearers. If they are not fitting well, it will become difficult to eat, causing other types of health issues. If you notice that Grams is avoiding certain foods, it might be because her dentures have shifted.

Teeth perform vital functions in our day to day lives, and this does not change as we age. Help Grandma keep her gorgeous smile, and you will be protecting her whole body.

Like me, you are probably taking the advantage of being able to move around freely for granted. Yet Grandma may be slowly losing that mobility due to aching joints or the swelling of arthritis. These painful conditions can make even the simplest task a chore, and have a negative impact on the elderly quality of life.

Taking a ton of medications is not always the right solution, especially if Grandma is taking pills for other ailments. Luckily there have been some alternative treatments discovered that can help ease the pain and restore mobility.

  • Turmeric and ginger tea. Blending these two ingredients into a hot tea using honey as a sweetener will cut down on the inflammation that causes arthritis pain.
  • Epsom salt soak. The magnesium sulfate found in Epsom salt is great at relieving pain. You can make a soak for grandma by adding a half a cup to some warm water and having her hold her hands inside. If that doesn’t help, try massaging magnesium oil into the affected areas and adding a supplement to her diet. Beans and dark leafy greens contain the mineral naturally and can easily become a part of a diet.
  • Massage the area with extra virgin olive oil. There are compounds in olive oil that are also found in Advil or aspirin. Instead of popping those pills, treat Grandma to a nice massage with olive oil to help ease the pain. Yes it does have to be extra virgin or you don’t get the same benefit.
  • Dandelion leaf tea. It may not sound appetizing, but elements in the leaves of dandelions will suppress inflammation and increase immune system response.
  • Ultrasound therapy. In severe instances you can bring Grandma to a physical therapist for ultrasound therapy. An ultrasound machine uses sound waves to stimulate blood flow to the area and stop the spasms that often accompany arthritis. An ultrasound technician will know just the right intensity to use with this harmless therapy to help grandma regain use of her aching joints.
  • White willow tea. If Grandma’s arthritis responds well to aspirin, but her stomach doesn’t, you can get the exact same medicinal effect from white willow tea without the side effects. Plus, in liquid form it is absorbed quicker in the body and gets to work on knocking out pain.
  • One last remedy to consider is regular exercise. This may sound counter productive knowing that Grandma is in pain, but regular exercise increases blood flow, which in turn allows the body to heal faster. Take Grandma out for daily walks, teach her how to ride a bike or even buy her a treadmill to use while watching Wheel of Fortune.

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We hate to see Grandma in pain, but the sad truth is that growing older is never an easy process. Help her through all these transitions by offering her alternatives and making sure that she is always being given the best possible care.

Anne Abernathy, or Grandma Luge, has competed in six separate Olympic Games in the luge event. Now, the 60 year old Grandma has her eyes set on making the next round of Olympic Games as an archer.

We love to hear stories like this about tenacious grams, who don’t let age stand in their way. Anne is an inspiration, who continually follows her dreams no matter how hard they may be. If you think that her age is the issue in making the Olympic team that is only the tip of the iceberg. The 60 year only took up playing archery 18 months ago and has not put her recurve bow down since.

Abernathy-archery-2She also faces some physical challenges, like knee problems that make it difficult to walk, and elbow degeneration that forces her to shoot her recurve bow in unconventional form. Yet with the help of a coach who is as determined as Anne is, she just might make the tryouts.

To understand Anne, and her obsession with being an Olympian, you should know that she did not begin her luge career until she was 34. But once she got involved she stayed active in the sport, competing in six separate Olympics, for 20 years. The only thing keeping her from the luge now is a back injury and knee problems that have caused her to undergo 19 separate operations.

Anne’s coach for archery is fellow Olympian Ruth Rowe. Ruth was a competitor with the US archery team in the 1984 Los Angeles games and knows first hand the challenges that Ruth faces. This combination of skill and tenacity is what enabled Anne to make it to the Archery World Cup event, a mere year after having picked up a recurve bow for the first time.

This Grandma duo – Ruth is 66 – have big dreams for Anne, and are working at training everyday despite being low on cash. Sponsors are quick to jump on board to help young Olympic hopefuls fulfill their gold medal dreams, but not so quick when the hopeful is a Grandma. Yet she makes it work by bunking with friends and saving every possible penny to put towards her training. Olympic training is a massive expense, but with Anne and Ruth’s drive, it will be accomplished.

I am rooting for Anne to make the team and show off her stuff at the next Olympics. It is refreshing to know that despite age, she is being positively encouraged to pursue her dream of being a gold medal winning Olympian archer.

You probably take it for granted that you can button a shirt with ease or know when it’s safe to cross the street, but these can be challenging tasks for grandma. Luckily there are some ways in which the world is working to make life easier for Grandma.

Handy Handles

Having to wait for the light to change at an intersection may be frustrating for you, but it is exhausting for the elderly. Having to stand in one spot for too long tires Grandma out fast. In Singapore they have come up with an innovative solution. By installing cane like posts at every intersection, the elderly have a spot to stop and rest. They can even use them to maintain balance while stepping off of the curb, or hang their shopping bag from while waiting. This culture has always been praised for they way in which they treat the their elderly, and these posts just serve to prove that point even more.

Easy Buttons

With a tapered button that is slightly angled, Grandma should have no trouble getting herself dressed in the morning. There are a number of reasons why buttoning is a difficult task for the elderly, including joint pain, poor sight and a lack of sensation. But with these carefully shaped buttons, those ailments will no longer be an issue.

Water Flosser

Dental care is still very important for Grandma, but not easy to accomplish with your standard toothbrush and waxed dental floss. Electric toothbrushes make it easier to keep the teeth clean without having to use hand strength, and there are no nimble fingers required with a water flosser. Search online at review sites and you are going to find that both electric toothbrushes and water flossers are easy to use, especially for seniors.

Innovative Utensil

Originally designed for patients suffering from Parkinson’s, the liftware spoon is equipped with a sensor that feels tremors and moves to cancel them out. This is very helpful for seniors as well whose arthritis pain causes them to shake when they pick up a spoon.

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Totally Modular

Not looking geriatric at all, this line of bath safety products from Sabi Space makes it easy to stand in the shower. Using a simple peg, you can attach any type of bar and shelving that will assist Grandma in keeping her footing while taking a shower.

Get Up and Go Cane

Grandma doesn’t want that old fashioned walking stick that’s made of metal and makes a racket. She wants one with a wide handle made of birch wood and a colorful base. Even better, the tip is made of the same material as the sole of a hiking boot, so its durable and quiet. Grandma really couldn’t ask for more.

If you are able to incorporate assistive items into Grandma’s life that don’t look the part, she is going to be more inclined to use them. Stay in tune with what she needs and do your best to meet those with products that make her feel young again.

 

As Grandma gets on in age, it is natural for new aches and pains to suddenly present themselves. Many older people are already on a regimen that consists of a number of medications to control certain illness and disease. If you are trying to cut back on those, consider introducing Grandma to these essential oils that have been proven to help treat a number of ailments that plague the elderly.

Essential Oils for Arthritis

Arthritis is the painful swelling of joints that causes stiffness in various parts of the body. It starts out usually in the fingers and hands but can spread to the knees, ankles and even shoulders making normal physical activities very painful.

You can help Grandma remain active by rubbing the joints with any number of essential oils, including frankincense, marjoram, wintergreen, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint. These all work at reducing the inflammation that is causing the pain. Cypress works at increasing blood flow to the area and Clove combined with oregano makes a fantastic natural pain reliever.

You should always talk with her regular doctor first before changing your Grandma’s health care plans, but in most cases there are no unwanted or adverse side effects with essential oils. You can blend a few together for better relief, and rotate through the various kinds.

Essential Oils for Memory Loss

Memory loss is common as we get older, and become serious like with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This can be scary both for you and for Grandma. To help delay the onset or even prevent memory loss, try using these essential oils in an essential oil diffuser (we recommend the Greenair Spa Vapor) at Grandma’s home; lavender, peppermint, rosemary, bergamot, lemon balm, ylang ylang, and ginger. All of these contain calming elements that help to keep the mind sharp and memory intact.

necklaceYou can also help Grandma get their benefit all of the time with an essential oil diffuser necklace. Fitted with small holes, the charm opens where you can place an oil soaked pad inside. During the day, the scent wafts out giving Grandma the full benefit no matter where she is.

Essential oils draw their strength from the oils that are found in natural plants. This makes them safer to use then most drugs, without any side effects. Plus they have the benefit of smelling great too. And don’t worry about skin irritation. Unlike perfumes, there are no unnatural elements or alcohol inside of essential oils.

Do Grandma a big favor and get her hooked on the many health benefits that essential oils are able to provide. It won’t hurt if you do the same for yourself either.

Grandma’s of any age are special, but when one is reaching a milestone like 100 years, well that is just epic. This type of event calls for more than even a new TV or vacation around the world. Just look at what this guy did to celebrate when his grandma made it to a century.

So what is a guy to do when Gram’s hates his facial hair? We all know that nothing can stop a grandma’s love, but when they don’t like something your only recourse is to get rid of it. So to show Grandma some love on her 100th birthday, this guy used a beard trimmer to shave off the beard that he had been growing for over 4 years. She of course was thrilled and chose to watch as he and his beard trimmer got to work. Guess he’ll be saving some money not buying beard care products!

So What Can You Do For Grandma to Make Her Day?

We have already offered gift ideas for Grandma, but when they are reaching a major milestone, any ordinary gift just won’t do. You need to find the way to show them how much you care and the massive impact they have had on your life.

Every opportunity you have, should be a celebration with as many family members and close friends as possible. For Grandma, the biggest gift is knowing that she has been loved and appreciated. Barbecues, dinners, birthday parties and especially mother’s day should always be a major celebration when you have a Grandma to celebrate with.

Take Grandma out as well. She will love strolls through the park, trips to the mall or even just a drive to the grocery store. Not only does this keep her out and about in the world, it gives you unique time to spend with her. Think about bringing her along to see her favorite baseball team play at home, or to the beach to sink her toes into the ocean.

Do buy Grandma some new clothes for these occasions. She may not know what an app is, but she does know when she feels good about the way that she looks. Take her to a salon for a hair style, help her put on some makeup and introduce her to new scents that are now available.

The chance to shave your beard for Grandma’s 100th birthday is not going to come along too often, so you need to be making every day leading up to it memorable. Grandma is the backbone of your family, and should always be treated that way.

Grandma did not grow up hanging out in Facebook or even searching the web. Depending on how old she is, she may not have even had a computer. This makes getting them on now and introducing them to the benefits that the internet offers could be a challenge. Yet, if you pick the right activities, you may find that Granny is soon asking about a smartphone with apps.

Online Games – Granny probably won’t think much about Angry Birds or even Farmville, but I bet she would really get into online Scrabble or Words With Friends. These types of games hold great appeal for the older crowd, and she will love always having someone to play against.

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Online Singing Lessons – There are many types of classes online that grandmas would like, but none quite as fun as learning to sing online. Hook her up with a class that offers music from her era and it won’t be long before Granny wants to join you for karaoke night at the local bar.

Online Books – As Grandma is getting older, her vision is not quite what it once was, making reading a book hard. But if you download them for her onto a tablet the font can be made bigger so that she can see the words better. If your Grandma used to be a big reading fan, this will really make her day.

Skype – With families scattered all over the world, Skype will help Grandma keep an eye on how everyone is doing. Phone calls are one thing, but seeing them on the screen is so much better. Introduce Grandma to Skype with her own account and she will quickly understand just how important the internet really is.

Facebook – Facebook or other social media is really dependent on how active online Gram’s other friends are. While she might enjoy reading family updates, having her own group of friends the same age is even better. At the very least, try and get her into some groups for seniors, or look for groups that are centered around her other interests. Staying social helps to keep Grandma’s mind sharp and her spirit happy.

The elderly today are not at all used to all of the technology that has taken over the world in the last 2 decades. By keeping your Grandma up to date, you are helping to preserve her youth and improve on her quality of life in ways that were not available when she was busy crocheting with her own Grandma.

Spending time with your grandchildren can be great. However, they usually need a lot of stimulation, meaning you have to keep coming up with new things for the two of you to do together. This can be exhausting in its own right, and so I am here to help. Below are just a few suggestions for things you and your grandchild can do together.

"Jigsaw pieces with border" by Octahedron80 - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

Jigsaw pieces with border” by Octahedron80Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

1. Start a Puzzle – A puzzle is a great activity for you and the child. It is calm, relaxing, and allows the two of you to bond together. Help each other sort out the ends from the middle pieces, and each of you can pick a section to work on. This may not hold their attention for several hours (kids get antsy), but it should allow you to sit down and rest for a little while! Best of all, you can leave the puzzle where it is, and come back to it at a later date.

2. Scavenger Hunt – If you have some time to prepare ahead, you can set up a scavenger hunt for the child. Make up a list of things they need to find around the house, then let them go. Make some of them rather difficult, and some obvious. See how long it takes your grandchild to find everything, and help them out along the way if they get stuck.

3. Cook – Have to do some cooking? Have your grandchild help you out and get involved in the process. This is especially good if you are making some kind of dessert that the two of you can enjoy afterwards. Cookies and brownies are both excellent choices, because they are easy to make, and yummy to eat.

4. Story Time – When the kids start to get tired out, you can read them a book. Curl up on the couch and pull out either one of their favorite stories, or pick one of your own favorites from when you were a kid. Kids like to be read to and shown the pictures in the book. As an added bonus, they may even fall asleep for a short nap, giving Grandma the gift of a little time off!

5. Create a Story – No books around that they are interested in? No problem, just make up your own story with them. Play a game where each of you takes turns telling one sentence in a story. See where the story goes, and how ridiculous you can make it. This is a nice quiet activity, but one that will spark the imagination in your grandchild.

6. Go for a walk – If it’s nice outside, take your grandkids for a walk. Be sure they know the safety rules before you set out (don’t run away, look both ways before crossing the street, etc.) A nice walk outside will allow you and your grandchild to get some sun, and to explore the neighborhood a little bit. You can see what animals are running around, or what shops are near your area. Just don’t walk too far away, because you’ll have to walk back as well!

 

Shopping for your grandparents can be tough. As you get older, you can partake in a lot of activities, and most grandparents will not want you spending a lot of money on them. However, there are still plenty of things you can get for your grandmother that she will love. Below we offer some suggestions for things you can get for your grandma. While not an exhaustive list, it will hopefully be able to give you a few ideas.

1. Personalized Picture Frame – Grandmothers are typically sentimental, so a picture of the two of you in a frame will be very welcomed. There are many stores that offer to personalize items for you, so you can get it engraved with your names, a quote, or the date the picture was taken. Your Grandma will love to have something she can put out and look at all the time.

"Tea set, bone" by User:आशीष भटनागर - Self taken snap. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Tea set, bone” by User:आशीष भटनागर – Self taken snap. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

2. Tea Set – Most Grandmothers love a good cup of tea. Consider buying her a new tea set – kettle, plates and cups – or some new tea bags. If there is a certain type of tea she likes, you can get her a large supply of them. Or if she likes to try new things, there are variety packs you can purchase to change things up. This gift is something your Grandmother will enjoy using, and will keep her from having to purchase these things for herself.

3. Gardening Set – One of the most common activities for the older generation is gardening. Sitting outside, getting your hands a little dirty, and taking care of plants is a relaxing hobby. Help her enjoy it more by getting her a decent set of tools. A spade, a watering can, some pots, and even some exotic plant/flower seeds are all good things to include. You can also consider getting a gardening stool for her to sit on, or some clothes that she can garden in.

4. Audible Membership – Audible is a website that offers access to thousands of books on tape. As we get older, reading can be a little bit of a struggle, but that doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy a good book. Audiobooks are a great way to hear the same stories, without the strain on your eyes. If need be, you can set her up on the site, then show her how to download the books she wants to listen to.

5. Lunch – Our last suggestion is a simple one – take her out to lunch! Everyone loves to eat, and Grandmothers love to spend time with their grandchildren. Choose a nice place that just the two of you can go to and spend some time together. Ask her to tell you stories from when she was a child. Time together is one of the best gifts you can give any grandparent, and it is one they are sure to love. If your grandparent can’t go out for lunch, consider picking something up and bringing it to them, or making something special yourself. Whatever it is you choose to do, the important part is setting aside time to hang out with your grandma.