The Children’s Song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. . . “ Brings us To Three Important Tips For Boomer Grandparents’ “Eyes, Ears, Mouth, And Nose.”

This Grandma loves the exercise and movement song to sing with grandchildren from toddlers to older than you would expect:

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes,

Knees and toes.

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes,

Knees and toes.

Eyes and ears and mouth, and nose,

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes,

Knees and toes.

Yes, we grandparents progressively have more difficulty with all the bending and reaching for our toes, as our grandchildren want to repeat the song again and again, faster and faster. If you are not familiar with the song, your grandchildren can probably teach it to you or watch it on You Tube.

I have always had my eyes checked every year. Now, as a Boomer grandmother, I have learned we Boomers should be concerned about not only our eyes, but our ears and mouth and nose as we live longer (we never say old).

This song has recently been repeating in my head as I returned to my ear, nose, and throat doctor for various concerns. I had not been back since 2016. The first thing Dr. Kendall Hanft discussed with me (and if you are in South Florida, she is great), was if I went to the eye doctor every year, why would I not have my ears checked every year.

TIP NUMBER ONE

IT IS IMPORTANT TO SEE THE EAR, NOSE AND THROAT DOCTOR (ENT) ONCE A YEAR.

As we age, our sense of taste changes and diminishes, our remaining taste buds shrink, then may atrophy. This affects how we taste salty, sweet, and sour or bitter foods. Is there anything else?

Around the same time, our sense of smell may also start to decrease, which can contribute to the loss of taste.” When you can’t smell, food may taste bland. We have to be concerned about smell to enjoy our food into our Boomer years. See, “Is loss of taste and smell normal with aging?” Paul Y. Takahashi, M.D., who sets forth medical reasons, and what to do. Of course, as with all medical issues and recommendations, including those in this blog post, see your medical provider first. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/expert-answers/loss-of-taste-and-smell/faq-20058455

Eyes and ears and mouth and nose. Hearing seems to be even the greater issue as we live longer. As a Boomer who wants to be forever young, it is important to see the ENT every year. If we neglect our hearing, we are in danger of serious consequences. See next tip.

TIP NUMBER TWO

WE BOOMERS ARE LIKELY TO HAVE HEARING LOSS AND HEARING LOSS IS MORE THAN JUST HEARING LOSS

A hearing test is probably the single best way to identify hearing loss. That is one of the best reasons to see your ENT once a year.

Do you have trouble hearing in loud and crowded rooms? Hearing in those circumstances is a sign of aging where we have difficulty with ambient noise. Yes, the thought of a hearing aid means we are what we don’t want to be — older. Have you seen the new hearing aids? They are nearly invisible and we do not have to tell anyone we are wearing a hearing aid. See, “Hearing Loss: A Common Problem for Older Adults.”

Aging is correlated with both hearing loss and cognitive decline. . . .Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey report that more than 50% of adults in their 70’s have some degree of bilateral hearing loss, and that number rises to me than 80% for adults 80 and older. . . . In 2017, The Lancet International Commission of Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care estimated that hearing loss will increase risk for dementia by 94%, with risk escalating as hearing loss severity increases.” “Is There a Connection Between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline? “ By Karen Appold, September 6, 2019, is an article that Billie Silver, the audiologist in Dr. Hanft’s office gave me (she is also wonderful).

Read the entire article for risk factors. https://www.enttoday.org/article/is-there-a-connection-between-hearing-loss-and-cognitive-decline/

TIP NUMBER THREE: A BOOMER’S RUNNY NOSE IS MORE THAN JUST A RUNNY NOSE

Next reason to see the ENT is another problem of aging–a runny nose. At my appointment for this issue also, from another handout from Dr. Hanft, I learned “a runny nose also called rinorrhea, is a symptom of rhinitis, the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose. . . . By the year 2050, there will be 86 million Americans who are 65 years old, up from 35 million today,” and the number of us Boomers with runny noses, excuse the pun, BLOW UP. We instinctively reach for a tissue and blow our nose. I have been walking around with stacks of tissues to blow my nose after eating. After eating is when my nose ran the most.

Repeatedly blowing our nose can actually do more harm than good. Hard blowing can cause mucus to be driven back into the sinuses. It can also irritate the tine blood vessels in the nostrils causing inflammation, and you guessed it, more running.”

Remember also to address drug interactions for several reasons–as we age we are prescribed numerous drugs from different doctors, which can cause serious health consequences- – -“and incessant dripping from your nose.” Tell every doctor what prescriptions and over the counter drugs you are taking, and ask the questions about interactions and side effects that may be caused or exacerbated.

There are three over the counter products I keep on hand:

Dr. Hanft likes Nasamist, large bottle, which you can get at Amazon (and each adult should have their own), to use twice a day. She hands out specific instructions for this and other remedies. It seems to be working for me.

Saline solution. I like Ocean and I have always had it in my travel kit, when we can travel again.

Zyrtec. A doctor friend of mine said he takes a half or a quarter of one Zyrtec at night and that solved his runny nose problem.

Again, see your health care provider before trying anything yourself—remember interactions and side effects can cause real harm.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. . . Brings us to three important tips for Boomer’s “Eyes, Ears, Mouth, And Nose.” For a New Year’s resolution, make an appointment with an ENT and go back every year!

 

Joy,

 

Mema

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