Archive for the ‘Senior Fitness’ Category


None of us would ever want to be incapacitated to the extent that we could not make decisions affecting our well-being. Unfortunately, for some of us, that day may come.

For most individuals, that time comes later in life, but for others it happens much too early.

What sort of medical situations could cause such a scenario? You could be incapacitated by accident or illness, such a serious head injury, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, meningitis or many other illnesses, diseases, and injuries.

To help in these situations, California has established an Advance Health Care Directive — sometimes referred to as a “living will” — that instructs physicians as to your wishes for medical treatment if you were to be incapacitated and unable to make decisions on your own.

Under California law, this form allows you to name an agent, granting that person power of attorney, to make health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

Your agent should be a trusted person, either a family member or a friend, who has your best interests at heart, understands your wishes and will act accordingly. Two alternates may also be named.

The directive must be dated and executed in the presence of, and then signed by, two witnesses or a notary. A witness cannot be your physician, any of his or her employees or any employee of a care facility. At least one of the witnesses cannot be related to you by blood, marriage or adoption and must not be entitled to any part of your estate upon your death.

The most important function of the directive is to permit health care providers to either prolong or not prolong your life and to keep you pain free according to your wishes. You may also state your desire for organ donation, if you so choose.

It is important to make such decisions when you are of healthy mind and body. Don’t put your loved ones in the difficult position of guessing what type of care you would want in an end-of-life event.

All adults need advance directives. Talk to your physician if you have any questions.

You can download a directive form at http://www.sutterhealth.org/health/advance-directive-english.pdf.


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I recently had the pleasure of visiting my healthy 95-year-old aunt Grace, and then I thought about my 97-year-old neighbor Vic, and it made me realize just how amazing the human body is to keep functioning for so many years. I am awestruck by this body of ours that began with just two microscopic cells coming together and developing into a complex living organism made up of some 75 trillion cells, many of which have specialized to perform amazing functions, making us the incredible beings that we are.

I’d like to share with you some interesting statistics about the human body.

Let’s take an 84-year-old person, for example. This person:

– Has a heart that beats 100,000 times daily — 35 million beats a year and more than 3 billion beats in a lifetime.

– Has a heart that has pumped over 48 million gallons of blood in a lifetime, which is enough to fill more than 2,000 average-sized in-ground swimming pools.

– Has lungs that breathe 23,000 times daily, producing 2,600 gallons of air or almost 80 million gallons per year. That’s enough in a lifetime to fill about 160 full-sized hot-air balloons.

– Has two kidneys that produce 1½ quarts of urine a day, or more than 10,000 gallons per lifetime. Those same kidneys have processed a quart of blood per minute: 423 gallons per day, and 13 million gallons per lifetime.

– Has consumed and processed 3½ pounds of food a day, equating to more than 53 tons of food since birth.

– Has produced almost 10,000 gallons of saliva in a lifetime.

Other interesting facts about our bodies

Our bodies are composed of 50 to 100 trillion cells, and 300 million cells die and are replaced every minute. Fifteen million blood cells die every second.

We have more than 650 muscles; the largest is the gluteus maximus (buttock), and the smallest, the stapedius in the middle ear.

We have 206 bones. The largest, at an average of 18 inches, is the femur (thigh bone), and the smallest, just one-tenth of an inch, is the stapes, again in the middle ear.

We have about 20 square feet of skin, with 35,000 dead skin cells coming off the body daily, which means our entire skin is replaced once a month. We shed 40 pounds of skin during an average lifetime.

We have 60,000 miles of blood vessels, which would wrap around the world more than twice.

Our noses can detect 50,000 scents.

We blink 6 million times a year.

There are roughly 20,000 diseases that affect the human body, and there are more than 600,000 physicians representing 150 medical specialties to deal with human health and disease.

Take good care of that amazing body of yours.

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