Sally Smith: Welcome to Age to Age. I’m Sally Smith. Let’s talk.
Today, we have with us Paul Franklin who is the chairman of Aging in
Place, an organization committed to helping people stay in their home as they
grow old. They provide many resources
and advice on how to make that happen.
In reading your literature, Paul, I noticed that Aging in Place
kind of breaks down five pivotal areas.
We’re going to take them one by one and do a podcast on each of
them. But to cap them off, I’m reading, healthy living, livable homes, financial and
legal, supportive relationships, and
transportation. And then you say, sometimes all you need is the right
connection to make these things happen.
What do you mean by healthy living?
Paul Franklin: Well, what we
mean there is people, first of all, need to realize that they have quite a bit
of responsibility for their own health.
And I think it’s important that people accept that and do what they can
to make sure that they’re doing all the right things so that they can age in
place successfully. And obviously you
can’t do that unless you, really, are healthy.
That’s the whole idea, to stay healthy as long as possible, and to stay
independent and in control. And,
therefore, you need to be aware of what you’re putting into your body when you
eat, and what it’s doing chemically.
It’s also important to exercise and to do the kinds of things that keep
the body flexible and working like it should.
I think, in the past, a lot of people thought retirement, or old age,
meant that you’re supposed to conserve your energy; you’re not supposed to move
Sally Smith: Just hit a
golf ball every now and then.
Paul Franklin: That’s
right, that’s right. And nothing could
be further from the truth. We know that
our bodies are built to really move. And
if we don’t move, just look at people that are in the hospital for extended
periods of time, or bedridden. They have
a very difficult time trying to get the muscles back into shape so that they
can carry on their life’s work.
Sally Smith: So when you
say, healthy living, I see that you’re going along the same lines as a book
that I read recently, which is called Younger Next Year. It’s about how some of our systems do slow
down so, actually, you have to be even more proactive in that regard. Now, when you’re doing Aging in Place and
talking to people about healthy living, do you have resources that have to do
with nutrition? Do you have certain
recommendations or guidelines on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle?
Paul Franklin: Right. We do, and that’s a wonderful thing about
it. We actually have a directory for
people that want to find out more, and actually consult with someone. We have, for example, a doctor who calls on
people in their homes. He does strictly
Medicare work. He’s called Doc at the Door. That’s the name of his company. And, of course, he provides a lot of
counseling to seniors about diet, nutrition and exercise.
Sally Smith: And I suppose
it’s pretty unique for each person. I
mean, you couldn’t, carte blanche, say, you
should exercise one hour a week, or you
should walk so far.
Absolutely. Some people,
obviously, are in better shape than others, and the doctor is, by far, the best
person to really assess the health of someone.
You want to make sure they don’t overdo it but, at the same time, it’s
important that they do what they can.
So, he is great at showing people how to do it because he is, basically,
a specialist in gerontology, of course.
We’re very thankful to have him, and he’s a wonderful resource.
Sally Smith: That’s a
terrific resource. And, of course,
coming to your own door is half the battle, as we all know. I heard, recently, someone talking about the
articles they had read about certain magical foods. You know, blueberries are very high on
people’s list, and fish oil, and there seems to be a new, wonderful, magical
way to take vitamins around every corner.
Is this the sort of thing that the doctor would know about too?
Paul Franklin: Oh yes.
Sally Smith: This is valid,
and this isn’t?
Paul Franklin: Right. It’s very important to cover these latest fad
foods and diets, and pills, and so forth, with the doctor because they’re going
to know about these studies as well, especially someone who specializes in
gerontology. Another very important area
is, certainly, balance, mobility, and dizziness. The center here in
Charleston is one of the resources that we have for healthy living as
well. A lot of times people lose their
balance. I know if I get up in the
middle of the night, I’m very disoriented and I have to really be careful. And so you have to teach people, basically,
what they need to do if they have to wake up in the middle of the night. What’s a safe way to get to the
bathroom? It sounds very simple but, I
mean, people sometimes forget, and they’re very mission-oriented when they get
up in the middle of the night. It’s
important to think about a safe way to do these things.
Sally Smith: Well, and of
course, your whole mission and goal has a lot to do with thinking ahead and
practicing prevention. The time you fall
on the way to the bathroom in the night, you’ve got to get over that, and
that’s a big issue. It’s so much easier
just to step back. And, of course, I
think we all think, in some ways, that we’re still young. I know that I think I’m a certain age, by
year, but I’m actually just a little 16-year-old, and I can’t imagine that any
of these things could happen to me. But, of course, there are certain issues that
do come along with old age. I thinks
it’s not about accepting being older, it’s just being smart about being older
and say, I’m going to outfox this thing;
I’m going to sit on the side of the bed
for a minute or two until I get my equilibrium, then I’m going to get up.
Paul Franklin: Right.
Sally Smith: There are
probably a lot of pointers like that.
Paul Franklin: That’s
true. And sometimes that balance issue
has to do with inner ear. So, we have,
also, advanced hearing care as part of the resources. For that, we Dr. Larkin, who helps people
with those kinds of issues and, of course, hearing issues; does lots of hearing
testing, and that sort of thing.
Sally Smith: And, of
course, hearing is so much more important than you think, sight, the same way,
because it removes you from the world slightly.
If you can’t really hear what someone is saying, or you can’t really
see, very well, who’s walking in your door, it removes you from the
connectedness of life, which is one of the things we’re going to talk about in
Paul Franklin: That’s
Sally Smith: Thank you so
much, Paul, for talking with us today about healthy living and what that
entails. Thanks to all our listeners,
too, for joining us. We welcome your
suggestions and comments. This is Sally
Smith, Age to Age, saying good-bye
and wishing you courage and joy on your journey. We area all connected.
If you enjoy
listening to Sally Smith, you can buy her book, The Circle. It’s the story of how she personally
responded to her mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a wonderful gift of hope for anyone with
a parent with dementia. Just click on
Sally Smith’s name under the Health Professionals tab on the Podcast home
page. All profits support research at
the Center on Aging. Thanks.