Video: Staying Active Improves Health for Seniors

Not only does regular exercise help seniors maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints and reduce their risk of falling, but it also can help ease the aches and pains that come with aging. Moderately intense activities like walking, swimming and water aerobics are all great choices for seniors—as is rowing, as seen in the video below. (Make sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regime.)

Staying Active Improves Health for Seniors

Game-Changing Cardiovascular Care

Susan Bass* felt tired. She frequently found herself out of breath, even while taking a leisurely walk around her neighborhood. “I thought I was just getting old,” she says, “but Dr. Shang assured me it was something else.”

Noninvasive cardiologist Paul Shang, MD, informed Susan that the mitral valve in her heart was leaking— reducing the ability of her heart to pump blood efficiently. Traditionally, her valve would be repaired through open-heart surgery, but for 80-year-old Susan, the surgery itself could have been life-threatening.

Fortunately, Dr. Shang and a team of cardiovascular physicians at General Hospital had just started performing a new, minimally invasive procedure called MitraClip, in which a thin tube, or catheter, holding a tiny clip is fed from a small incision in the leg or groin up through a blood vessel and into the heart, then positioned to seal off the leaky valve. After the procedure, patients often feel reinvigorated and re-energized.


Susan has certainly been putting her newfound energy to good use. She recently rode in a blimp, zip-lined in Colorado and parasailed in Lake Tahoe. She even achieved an item on her bucket list: taking part in a ride-along with the police department. In addition to cruising in a police car, Susan was schooled on firing an assault rifle and subduing an attacker (with a mannequin as a stand-in); she even caught a speeding motorist using a radar gun.

Since having the MitraClip procedure, Susan has made occasional gifts to support General Hospital in honor of her cardiologist. “I just give what I can, when I can,” she says. “General Hospital has always been my hospital, and I wouldn’t be here now without Dr. Shang. I can’t thank everyone enough!”


*Based on a true story. Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of certain individuals.


Fall Prevention Basics

Everyone is at risk for falls, but falling down is of particular concern for older adults. Read on for five ways to improve your balance and stability.

Fall Prevention Basics
Fall Prevention Basics
Fall Prevention Basics

  1. Talk to your doctor. Multiple factors contribute to fall risk, such as osteoporosis, aging and taking multiple medications. Your doctor can identify which of your health factors contribute to falling and advise you on how to address them.
  2. Continue—or begin—exercising. You can improve your balance through various types of physical activity. Pick a gentle exercise such as walking, water workouts or tai chi to reduce your risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. Make sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
  3. Fall-proof your home. Make sure every room is well lit and that there are clear pathways between rooms. Clutter is not your friend and night lights are. Consider replacing furniture you find difficult to get out of and removing throw rugs.
  4. Use assistive devices. A cane or walker can help you feel more stable when you are out and about. At your house, there are a number of assistive devices you can install, such as handrails on both sides of any staircase, grab bars for your shower or tub, a raised toilet seat and glow-in-the-dark light switches.
  5. Pick the right footwear. Say goodbye to high heels or shoes with slippery soles. Wear fitted, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. Wearing ill-fitting slippers or only socks around the house can also raise your fall risk. And if you are truly concerned about falling, look into purchasing an ankle-foot orthosis, which is intended to control the position and motion of the ankle and compensate for weakness.