Category Archives: Health

Time to Start Walking

The United States Surgeon General wants to see you walking! Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities articulates the health benefits of walking and asks individuals to make walking a priority in their lives.

Fewer than half of all U.S. adults get enough physical activity to reduce their risk of chronic disease

The Surgeon General’s report discusses the health benefits of walking and calls on individuals to make walking a priority in their lives.  Fewer than half of all U.S. adults get enough physical activity to reduce their risk of chronic disease, and only a quarter of high school students get the recommended amount.  Physical inactivity contributes to heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer, which account for 86 percent of our nation’s health care costs.  Building walking into daily life can reduce disease and save money.

According to Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General an average of 22 minutes a day of physical activity – such as brisk walking – can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The key is to get started because even a small first effort can make a big difference in improving the personal health of an individual and the public health of the nation.

The advantages of walking are numerous:

  • A low-intensity exercise that is easy on your joints and muscles
  • No equipment necessary
  • Male or female, walking strengthens your heart
  • Walking 90 minutes per week can prevent cognitive decline
  • Improves overall fitness and can prevent physical disability in older persons
  • Relieves stress
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Builds aerobic fitness (which leads to more heart healthy benefits)
  • Walking is a ‘weight-bearing’ activity, meaning it helps to fight against osteoporosis

To read the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and learn how to promote walking, please visit www.surgeongeneral.gov.

August Is National Eye Exam Month

It’s a fact of life that vision changes occur as you get older, says the National Optometric Association. But, when detected and treated as a result of annual eye exams, these changes don’t have to compromise your lifestyle.

As you reach your 60s and beyond, you need to be aware of the age-related eye health problems that could cause vision loss. However, many eye diseases have no early symptoms. They may develop painlessly, and you may be unaware of vision changes until the condition is advanced. The good news is that regular eye exams can significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye health as you age.

Age-Related Eye and Vision Problems

In the years after age 60, a number of eye diseases may develop that can affect your vision and eye health. An annual exam can help detect these conditions early, thereby increasing the chances of keeping healthy vision.

Here are common vision disorders that can be detected during eye exams:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the macula, the center of the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye, causing loss of central vision.

Diabetic retinopathy can occur in people with diabetes, and can result in progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, which, untreated, can lead to vision loss.

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the normally clear lens of the eye that can interfere with normal vision. Current treatments are very successful in successfully restoring vision.

Glaucoma results from increased pressure within the eyeball, which, if untreated, can damage the optic nerve, resulting to partial or full vision loss. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans, and older adults are at higher risk for developing the disease.

Dry eye is a condition, common among older adults, in which the eyes produce insufficient tears or poor-quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eyes. Effective treatments are available.

How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam? What Will It Entail?

At age 65 and over, you should get an annual eye exam, says the American Optometric Association—or more frequently if you need monitoring and treatment for an existing condition. A comprehensive eye exam entails a review of your personal and family history for hereditary problems relating to eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or poor vision. The doctor will perform tests to check for vision acuity, eye muscle coordination, side (peripheral) vision, pupil response to light, color testing, eyelid health and function, interior and back of the eye, and measurement of fluid pressure within the eye.

July Is National UV Safety Month

Tips for Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun

The sun-filled month of July is the perfect time to raise awareness about the health and safety dangers of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Most of us know about the damaging effects of the sun on our skin. But we also want to remind residents and their loved ones to take precautions to protect their eyes as well. The sun’s UV rays can penetrate the structures of your eyes and cause cell damage, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Dangers of UV Rays to Your Eyes
UV rays, a type of energy released by the sun, are invisible to the eye, yet they can cause eye problems, especially after years of unprotected exposure, according to Prevent Blindness, a national organization that advocates for eye health and safety. Long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to eye and vision-related disorders such as cataracts and macular degeneration (the primary causes of vision loss in seniors), as well as skin cancer around the eyelids.

Your Eyes’ Best Friend: A Good Pair of Sunglasses
The American Optometric Association recommends wearing quality sunglasses that offer UV protection and wearing a hat or cap with a wide brim whenever you spend time outdoors.

How do you choose sunglasses that will provide adequate protection for your eyes? Healthcare professionals choosing sunglasses that will do the following:

  • reduce glare
  • filter out 99 to 100 percent of UV rays; buy only glasses with tags or labels that clearly state the amount of UV radiation blocked
  • fit well and stay close to your face (wraparound sunglasses offer the broadest UV protection because they block light that hits your eyes from the sides)

Be aware that your risk of eye damage from the sun is much greater when rays are being reflected off water or snow. If you’re planning an outing at the beach or lake, by the pool, or on the slopes, pack your best-quality sunglasses!

The Long Hello

Curling up with a book can be like having a hot cup of tea with an old friend. Both can be comforting, enlightening and sometimes wrenching. If you are interested in the topic of Alzheimer’s there is a book that is getting a lot of attention on the subject that may be of interest to you.

THE LONG HELLO
Memory, my Mother, and Me
Is a stirring memoir of a daughter caring for a mother with dementia that is sure to become a touchstone for many others.

The Long Hello explores the emotional rewards and challenges that Cathie Borrie experienced in caring for her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s disease, for seven years. Between the two, a wondrously poetic dialogue develops, which Ms. Borrie further illuminates with childhood memories of her family, and her struggle to maintain a life outside her caregiving responsibilities.

‘Is all this real or pretend?”
Those who’ve witnessed the cruel confusions, the frenzies, paranoia and unrepentant physical demand of Alzheimer’s disease know this query has no adequate reply.
Cathie Borrie, speaking with her mother, answers like this: “What do you want it to be?”
“Pretend.”

The book explores stories about Borrie as an admiring young daughter who loved spending time with her mom told alongside the details of eventually becoming her mother’s caregiver and confidante. It is as much a remembrance of her mom as it is the retelling of a difficult time, difficult disease and how taxing the illness can be on the caregiver.

“A sparse yet deeply affecting, poetic story of love and devotion, THE LONG HELLO is a memoir about caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s, a collection of conversations and memories revealing moments of clarity, absurdity, wisdom, and connection that pierce and heal the heart.”
Lisa Genova, best-selling author of Still Alice

More information about the book and author can be found at http://www.cathieborrie.com. The book is widely available online. If you pick up a copy, we’d love to hear what you think.

March is National Nutrition Month®

Everyone is Encouraged to ‘Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle’ Including Seniors

“Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” is the theme for National Nutrition Month 2015. This year’s theme encourages people to adopt a healthy lifestyle that is focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise. We understand the importance of offering well-balanced, nutritional meals/snacks and promoting exercise to its residents on a daily basis to achieve a healthy senior lifestyle.

It is our goal is to serve nutritious meals and snacks that are not only delicious but also of course healthy by consistently incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy. In addition we fully see the benefits of exercise for our residents and encourage them to be as physically active as possible each and every day.

During the month of March, we are encouraging all seniors to celebrate National Nutrition Month by taking a good look their food choices. A healthy diet filled with important nutrients can help stave off potential health problems that are common in senior citizens, like heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. One way to do this is to focus on healthy snacks. Contrary to their reputation, chosen carefully, and planned ahead, sensible snacks can be part of any healthful eating plan.

For older adults with smaller appetites or limited energy, several small meals including snacks may be easier for their bodies to handle. Also snacks can prevent overeating at mealtimes and throughout the day. Snacks especially offer a great way to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and low-fat dairy.”

During National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers smart snacking ideas that help seniors and anyone “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.”

  • Plan your snacks. Keep a variety of tasty, nutrient-rich, ready-to-eat foods nearby, for when you need a bite to take the edge off hunger. Then, you won’t be so tempted by less-healthy options from vending machines, convenience stores or the contents of your own kitchen. Snack ideas include fresh fruit, air-popped popcorn, whole-wheat crackers, dried fruit and nut mixes, almonds and fat-free yogurt.
  • Make snack calories count. Snack on foods that fill the nutrient gaps in your day’s eating plan. Think of snacks as mini-meals to help you eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy – foods we often don’t eat enough.
  • Go easy on high-calorie snacks such as chips, candy and soft drinks. They often contain solid fats, and added sugars. Make these occasional choices that fit your day’s plan.
  • Snack when you’re hungry – not because you’re bored, stressed or frustrated. Exercise can actually be a great way to feed those emotional urges.
  • Snack on sensible portions. Choose single-serve containers, or put a small helping in a bowl rather than eating directly from the package.
  • Quench your thirst. Water, low-fat or fat-free milk and 100-percent juice are just a few options. Flavored waters might be high in added sugars, so check the label.

Making the right food and nutrition choices is a necessary part of biting into a healthy lifestyle. More information is available at eatright.org.

At our communies we will be reminding ourselves to remember to “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” by keeping our minds and body healthy as we enjoy the many festivities the month brings, including Saint Patrick’s Day, the first day of Spring and a little March Madness!

Alzheimer’s Updates

Can it be true – can we drink beer to ward off Alzheimer’s disease?

An ingredient in beer hops, xanthohumol (also known as Xn) has been shown to protect the brains of mice from cell damage according to a report by Dr. Jianguo Fang in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Fang said that Xn was shown to not only fight free radicals but to jump-start signaling and protect cells from neurotoxicity.

The report states that one way to get the benefits of Xn is to ingest a daily intake of products containing Xn, such as beer.

More information can be found at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2931944/The-perfect-excuse-pint-Regular-beer-drinking-help-ward-Alzheimer-s-Parkinsons-say-scientists.html

Alzheimer’s News

There is a new film coming out in January about Alzheimer’s that is receiving a lot of attention. The film is “Still Alice” starring Julianne Moore. Moore plays Alice Howland, a brilliant college professor grappling with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Happily married with three grown children, the renowned linguistics professor starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested in this intense drama.

Early Hollywood talk is that Moore may get an Oscar nomination for her role in the film. “Still Alice” opens nationwide in theaters on January 16, 2015.

Catch a glimpse of the trailer at:
https://www.yahoo.com/movies/watch-exclusive-still-alice-trailer-get-104687790272.html