How to Cope with Stress, When Times are Stressful

At a time like this, it is normal for stress levels to be heightened and for you to feel “off” more often than you feel “normal.” Your feelings are completely validated and while they are okay to have, for most of us, it doesn’t feel very good.

The Ohio Department of Health has put forth some valuable information and resources for identifying your stress, managing it, and for helping manage the stress of a loved one you’re caring for.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
  • Anger or short temper.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

If you are taking care of an older adult:

  • Make sure your loved one’s nutrition intake is monitored.
  • Provide consistent predictable patterns and schedules.
  • Stay engaged with communication.
  • Personal care is important (clean clothes, bathing).
  • Attempt to lower emotions to reduce stress.
  • Understand that this change impacts a wide range of human experience that includes physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being.

 Resources for additional assistance:

  • Throughout Ohio, you can text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Data usage while texting Crisis Text Line is free, and the number will not appear on a phone bill with the mobile service carrier. People of all ages can use Crisis Text Line.
  • The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director, Lori Criss, offers information on how to manage Coronavirus related stress. Click the link below to watch.
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24 hours a way, 7 days a week, year-round.
    • Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs”to 66746, Spanish-speakers, text “Hablanos” to 66746.

By identifying your own stress and the stress of those you care for, you can work towards managing it and living a happier and healthier life, especially now, when it is needed the most.


What is Social Distancing? And Why is it so Important Right Now?

With the recent events that have transpired over the past few weeks, there are many new terms that we as a society are learning and adapting to. Besides the big ones – COVID-19 and Novel Coronavirus, there are plenty of others. One of major importance that has received a lot of attention, however, is the term social distancing.

For a lot of us, this might be the first time we’ve heard this term and as a result, we may need a little further explanation. So, what is social distancing? And why is it so important right now?

Social distancing is a way for public health officials to try and limit the spread of infection by restricting interaction between people and meetings with large groups. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between people carrying an infection and people who are not infected to again, mitigate the spread of that infection. The more people that actively practice social distancing, the slower an infection will most likely spread.

Under the circumstances our world is facing, social distancing is among one of the most critical measures we can be taking. Right now, health officials are focused on “flattening the curve” through social distancing, which means that they are trying to slow the rate of new cases of Coronavirus so as to not overwhelm the health care professionals and resources that we have available.

Practice social distancing by limiting your interaction with others. If you do need to be around others, it is advised to avoid group settings of 10 or more people and to keep a distance of at least six feet between yourself and another individual. If your circumstances allow you to stay at home, that is encouraged as much as possible.

By taking social distancing seriously, we can help our health care industry, our fellow citizens, and our world through this uncertain and difficult time.


National Nutrition Month – Meet Executive Director of Dining Services, Lisa Wolfe, RD, LD

March is National Nutrition Month and at The Wesley Communities, we are fortunate to have our Executive Director of Dining Services, Lisa Wolfe, RD, LD. As an Ohio State University graduate, Lisa studied Medical Dietetics and soon after, became a Registered Dietitian. Lisa first started with our communities in 2005, as a Clinical Dietitian focusing on clinical nutrition and monitoring resident care. From that position, Lisa’s career progressed to Assistant Director of Dining Services positions throughout our communities, which gave her valuable experience in not only nutrition but also in improving our dining services to meet the needs of our residents. Click the link above to learn more about Lisa.


New Year, New You – 2020 Resolutions for Seniors

The New Year has officially kicked off and for many, this is a time to set new goals and to plan for the year ahead. Health is typically one of the main areas people focus on once January rolls around, and while it may be a more obvious goal in the younger generations, it is just as important for our seniors as well.
If you are planning to focus on your health in 2020, set goals that will benefit both your physical and mental health. Typically, there are small changes and adjustments that can be made to your regular routine that will have a lasting, positive impact overall. Click the link above for some New Year’s Resolutions that will help you start 2020 in the right direction.
 


How CCRCs Can Ease Retirement-Related Fears

One subject that is frequently voiced among prospective residents of continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs or “life plan communities”) revolves around the stress associated with envisioning and planning for the future, and indeed, it can feel like a daunting task since none of us have the luxury of a crystal ball. The results of a recent survey speak directly to some of these concerns.
Retirement worries
The study was conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS), a division of the nonprofit Transamerica Institute, which strives to educate people on retirement security trends in the U.S. This annual survey asked over 5,000 Americans in the workforce about their top retirement/aging-related concerns. Here were the top five responses:

  1. Outliving savings/investments (51 percent)
  2. Social Security will be reduced or cease to exist in the future (47 percent)
  3. Declining health that requires long-term care (45 percent).
  4. Cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (35 percent)
  5. Lack of adequate and affordable healthcare (32 percent)

You can view the complete TCRS study here.
These results run in parallel to a separate survey conducted by Merrill Lynch in 2013 in partnership with Age Wave, and it highlights respondents’ biggest concerns about living a long lifetime. The results were as follows:

  1. Serious health problems (72 percent)
  2. Not being a burden on family (60 percent)
  3. Running out of money to live comfortably (47 percent)
  4. Being lonely (26 percent)
  5. Not having a purpose (21 percent)

You can view the full Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey here.
Isn’t it more than a tad ironic that while most people hope to live a long life, simultaneously, they are worried about what will happen if that wish comes to fruition?
Useful perspective for financial planners
We hear a lot of talk about the importance of having enough money for retirement–401(k)s, IRAs, etc.–and of course saving should be a crucial part of anyone’s long-term retirement plan. But for me, the most striking aspect of the two studies described above is that several of the concerns voiced by the surveys’ respondents are not related to money or retirement savings, at least not directly.
From the standpoint of financial advisors, that’s a really significant finding. Understanding clients’ pain points around retirement planning can help financial professionals offer better guidance on the issues that matter most to soon-to-be retirees. After all, one of the motivations for planning for the future is to alleviate some of the anxiety about the unknown–and these studies show that people aren’t just worried about their bank account balance. So, financial planners would benefit from understanding the various options, such as continuing care retirement communities and other senior living options that are available for their clients to plan for potential age-related health issues like cognitive and physical decline that could necessitate long-term care.
Alleviating worries for retirees-to-be
But these study results also are noteworthy for people who are themselves approaching retirement age. Perhaps you’re diligently saving to prepare for the future, but it’s those health and wellness “unknowns” that are keeping you up at night. That’s where a CCRC may become a viable option worth considering.
Planning for an eventual move to a CCRC can allay many of the worries that people express again and again about their retirement years (as evidenced by the aforementioned surveys). CCRCs offer their residents access to a continuum of progressive care services ranging from independent living to full-time skilled nursing care…and everything in between…all within the same community campus. Many CCRCs also provide memory care services for people experiencing a cognitive decline related to conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This range of care affords tremendous peace of mind for CCRC residents, knowing that they will have ready-access to the level of care they need, if and when they need it, and knowing they will not become a burden to their adult children.
Feeling more confident about future unknowns
It’s understandable and normal to have some worries associated with the aging process and the prospect of retirement­–after all, you’ve never done this before! But many points of anxiety can be alleviated through proper financial planning and understanding the advantages of senior living options like CCRCs, which include the necessary facilities and skilled caregivers to attend to your potential physical or mental health needs down the road.
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The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.
 


Boomers Can Achieve Better Health with Super Foods

Super foods. The name alone evokes images of capped heroes, swooping in to save the day. But are these foods really worthy of such superlative nomenclature? And are the health benefits to seniors all they are cracked up to be? For some of these foods, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” But for others, recent studies have given mixed reviews.
What makes a food “super”?
The trademark of most of the super foods is that they are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, “good” fats, and/or lean protein. On top of that, many are loaded with antioxidants. Diets rich in antioxidants are frequently associated with the prevention of cancer, inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular disease–all issues of concern as we age.
Super foods with health benefits for seniors
Berries 
Many varieties of berries are high in vitamins, fiber, and flavonoid–a powerful antioxidant that boasts anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting immune system benefits. In addition to berries’ antioxidant properties, a 2013 research study out of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston showed that women who ate three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries each week reduced their risk of heart attack by up to one-third. Another berry, avocado (yep, it’s a berry!) is also high in blood pressure-controlling potassium, lutein for eye health, and monounsaturated fat, which is the “good” kind that helps lower bad cholesterol.
Dark chocolate 
When it comes to this bittersweet indulgence, moderation is the key. While dark chocolate is rich in antioxidant flavonoids, it is also high in fat and calories. A few morsels here and there can have cancer-fighting benefits, but too much will result in weight gain, which has numerous negative effects on seniors’ health. Stick to the higher percentages of cacao as these varieties usually have a higher concentration of flavonoids but have less added sugar.
Kale 
Kale and other dark green leafy vegetables are renowned for their low calorie/high fiber content, while also providing vitamins A, C, E, and potassium. But it is kale’s abundance of carotenoid, an antioxidant that protects cells and may help halt the early stages of cancer, that escalates it to the super food category. In fact, studies have shown that eating two to three servings of green leafy vegetables like kale per week may lower the risk of stomach, breast, and skin cancer, making it one of the top cancer-fighting foods. These same antioxidants have also been proven to decrease the risk of heart disease.
Nuts and legumes
Nuts and legumes (like peanuts) are great sources of plant-based protein, fiber, and heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (“good” fats), but many people shy away from nuts because of their high fat content. However, clinical research suggests that moderate nut consumption is unlikely to contribute to obesity and may in fact aid in weight loss. Other epidemiologic studies have correlated nuts with reductions in coronary heart disease, gallstones, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, inflammation, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. With their bevy of cardiovascular benefits, the American Heart Association recommends getting four servings a week of unsalted nuts like almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts.
Olive oil
Despite the high fat content, moderate amounts of olive oil are a key ingredient in the world-famous Mediterranean diet. People in the Mediterranean region who regularly consume olive oil have longer life expectancies and lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and inflammation, compared to residents of North America and Northern Europe, and the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) found in olive oil may be the reason why. MUFAs have been shown to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. And for those with type 2 diabetes, studies have shown that MUFAs can help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels.
Red wine 
This one is probably the most hotly debated among the super foods list. Like with chocolate, moderation is key to any health benefits of el vino since high alcohol consumption can cause increased triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and liver damage…not to mention wine’s high calorie count. Yet numerous studies have shown that moderate amounts of red wine can lower the risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. It’s thought that the antioxidant resveratrol found in red wine may be responsible for preventing damage to blood vessels, reducing bad cholesterol, and preventing blood clots. But it’s not all rosy news: some studies have suggested red wine increases the risk of certain cancers and dementia, while other studies found a decrease. So the jury is still out on whether a glass of red wine should be a part of the doctor’s orders for a healthy diet.
Salmon
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two 3.5 ounce servings per week of fatty fish, like salmon. That’s because salmon is low in saturated fat but high in omega-3 fatty acids, a “good” fat which can decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats, reduce triglycerides, and slow plaque growth in the arteries. Omega-3 fatty acids also may help lower seniors’ risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis.
The bottom line on super foods
For seniors, good nutrition is key to staying healthy and active as you age. In fact, a sensible diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and super foods can help prevent or slow the progression of many of the diseases and conditions that are so common among seniors, including high blood pressure and cholesterol, arthritis, and certain cancers.
 
The above content is provided by and with express written permission from My LifeSite | www.mylifesite.net.
 
 


Physical Fitness and Aging

We all want our parents to remain as active and independent as possible, and we want the same thing for ourselves! Regular exercise is pivotal for seniors. Seniors are at greater risk for disease, lost mobility, and falls than any other age group. Conversely, they often realize the positive effects of exercise more quickly than other age group. If your parent hasn’t been exercising, it can be difficult to get started.
Healthaging.net offers some tips to get over that initial hump. Click the link above to learn more.


Older Adults and the Benefits of Meditation

At any stage of life, taking time to relax and find peace of mind is important. We all have daily stresses to deal with, and learning how best to deal with them is critical in order to mitigate the negative effects that come with those daily stressors. In today’s world, dedicating time to reflect and relax has become more prevalent. However, sometimes it’s “easier said than done” to find ways to truly bring a sense of calm into one’s day.


Healthy Aging Through Food

We all know that a low salt, low fat diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber can reduce the risk of age related health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases. However, there are lots of other foods out there. Can you eat those other foods and still experience healthy aging? Yes!
Protein
Protein is needed to maintain and rebuild muscle. Strong muscles help to protect bones and joints, keeping arthritis pain at bay. Sources of protein include poultry, fish, eggs, soy, nuts in limited quantities, dairy, and lean meats.
Carbohydrates
“Carbs” have become a dirty word, but there are carbs that are beneficial to the body. Complex carbs from vegetables and grains are often called “good carbs.” Good carbs fill you up, create energy in your body, and provide minerals such as folate, potassium, and dietary fiber. Simple carbs, are sugars. They include refined white sugar, fructose (sugar in fruit), and lactose (sugar from milk). While fruits have vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and milk has calcium and vitamin D, empty carbs are found in corn syrup, honey, refined white sugar, and molasses. These sugars have very few nutrients, but plenty of calories.
Fat
Fat provides energy, but not all fats are created equal. Saturated fats such as beef, pork, veal, butter, shortening, and cheese, can wreak havoc with blood cholesterol and plaque levels. Trans fats or hydrogenated fats are found in stick butter and processed foods such as crackers and cookies. These fats are not beneficial to the body.
Polyunsaturated fats such as liquid corn oil or soybean oil, and monounsaturated fats that are found in olive oil, avocado oil, and nuts, are healthier fat alternatives.
Water
Sufficient daily amounts of water decrease the body’s fat deposits, and keep the kidneys functioning properly. If the kidneys don’t work to capacity, some of the toxins from the kidneys end up in the liver, decreasing the efficiency of the liver. Drinking sufficient water decreases fluid retention because the body relaxes and does not store water in feet, legs, and hands, which happens when the body feels that its survival is threatened.
How your diet changes with age:
With aging comes a decrease in energy and with it, a decrease in calorie intake. Your doctor or a dietician can help you to determine your ideal caloric intake.
Hormone changes can move your body from less muscle to more body fat, especially around the middle section. Increasing your activity, building your muscle, and limiting saturated fats can counteract some of these changes.
Your bones lose mineral content more rapidly as you age, especially for postmenopausal women because of estrogen loss. By increasing calcium and vitamin D, you can prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Atherosclerosis (plaque buildup) can occur naturally inside both the heart and the brain. Heart healthy foods such as lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can have a positive effect on cholesterol and high blood pressure, and can help prevent heart disease and stroke.
As you age, make your food work for you and keep your body as healthy and strong as possible through the process!
The above article was written and published by Barbara McVicker


Lifelong Learning: Good for Seniors’ Minds & Bodies

Summertime means graduation season and there is a recent and growing trend among college graduates that is garnering a lot of attention. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, by 2020, 43 percent of college students are expected to be age 25 and older. And among these older grads are more and more seniors. Click above to learn more about how lifelong learning is beneficial for seniors’ minds and bodies.