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seniors playing webAs we age, daily cooking, cleaning, and upkeep requirements can create a lackluster lifestyle. Making a move to an independent living community may sound scary, but it can become a liberating experience. Aside from the benefits of downsizing, there are many positive reasons to reside in a senior retirement community, including improved socialization, increased safety, and personal enhancement opportunities, such as finding new hobbies or taking new educational classes.

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HikerStanding webIn many circles, we are often asked, “What’s your favorite verse?” or “What is your life verse?” In the biblical candy store of over 31,000 verses, it is hard to choose a favorite. Like the writer of Psalm 119, I love all the verses; they are all inspired and good. Besides, different verses ping in my heart at different times and under different circumstances. In choosing favorite verses, there is the unlikely but possible danger of devaluing the other verses.

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Part one 01 webEditor’s Note: I met Mark Zimmerman, the author’s son, who told me of a short biography that his dad, Robert, wrote with the help of Mark’s sister, Gloria. Gloria and Mark have graciously agreed to allow us to print excerpts from his book in his memory. This is the first installment. I hope that you will enjoy this looking back in time.

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The causes of insomnia include
Stress and anxiety
Depression (some patients have trouble sleeping others sleep too much)
Medical conditions, including chronic pain, breathing difficulties, overactive thyroid, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease
Caffeine and nicotine
Alcohol (may help one to fall asleep but it prevents deep sleep leading to awakening in the middle of the night)
Certain medications like heart and blood pressure medications, antidepressants, decongestants and corticosteroids
Poor sleep habits
Worrying about not being able to sleep

Treatment of insomnia may include both drug and behavioral therapies.  Prescription sleeping pills are prescribed based on which sleeping difficulty the patient is experiencing and if the patient has other conditions, such as depression. Some drugs are used to help one fall asleep initially, while others are ideal to help one fall back asleep in the middle of the night. Medications may be prescribed but are only intended for short term use, due to their side effects and the potential to lead to dependence. When a patient begins experiencing insomnia, behavioral therapies should be tried first.  

These therapies include an introduction to new sleep behaviors:
Going to bed at same time every night and waking at same time each morning (including weekends) • Avoiding anything mentally, physically, or emotionally stimulating right before bed
Beginning a daily relaxation ritual to remind your body it is time to sleep (breathing exercises, warm bath, relaxing stretches)
Avoiding daytime naps
Keeping the temperature of room cool
Removing clock to discourage clock-watching
Avoiding spending too much time awake in bed (Get out of bed if not asleep within twenty minutes and do something relaxing)
Other strategies that may improve sleep include:
Reviewing your other medications with your physician or pharmacist to see if your they may be affecting your sleep
Taking effective pain medication if necessary for a good night’s sleep
Getting regular exercise but not too close to bedtime
Eating a healthy, well balanced diet.

Prescription sleep aids can play a role in helping individuals fall sleep but should only be used for a short period of time. Developing good sleeping habits will help with the long term treatment of insomnia.

Lori Samer, RPh. is a consultant pharmacist and owner of Medication Matters, LLC.  We are a consulting service that specializes in addressing the challenges of taking medications correctly and optimizing the effectiveness of your medications.  We review your medication list, address concerns about your medications and identify medication related problems all in an effort to improve your health and provide peace of mind. To learn more, please visit our website at www.medicationmattersllc.com For further information please email Lori at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 484-268-8237.

Expert Contributors

Jill expert

 

Senior Move Manager & Stager

Jill Kearney, Senior Moves By Design

 

bob expert

 

Senior Placement Advisor

Bob Hollinger, Oasis Senior Advisors

 

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Lifestyles over 50 Editor

Art Villafane, Thrive Media
  

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