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.

 

 


Traveling With Your Aging Parents

With so many of us living with and caring for our parents, we are constantly searching for ways to incorporate that care into our daily lives…and our vacations.

Remember back when our travel plans required that we consider feedings, strollers, diaper changing, and playgrounds? Now, we are considering walkers, oxygen tanks, hydration, and benches for resting. It can be challenging to assure you have covered all your bases and to assure everyone will have a smooth, enjoying, and relaxing vacation. Click the link above to learn some tips that will help when traveling with your aging parents.

 

 


4 Tips for Talking to Parents About Assisted Living

As your parents age, there may come a time when they are not able to live as independently as before, whether because of a chronic illness, injury, or decline in general health. As an adult-child of an aging parent, it may fall upon you to begin the conversation about a move to a retirement community or even assisted living, depending on the degree of need. Having this conversation can be challenging and emotional, especially because the majority of aging Americans are more attracted to the idea of “aging in place” in their current home.

Here are four tips that will help you approach this fragile subject with empathy and openness that will put you and your loved one on the same page about this transition. To learn more, click the link above.

 

 


Tip #18 of 50 – Where Do I Even Begin?

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip #18 of 50 –  Where do I even begin?

If you are a senior living in your home or condo (or an adult child trying to help your parent or relative in this situation), you may know that living alone, for a variety of reasons, is not working. There may be a variety of obstacles in your world that make living at home either uncomfortable or perhaps impossible.   Eyesight or hearing loss is oftentimes a big contributor, along with failing physical strength. Laundry room in the basement, anyone? Driving at night sometimes becomes problematic, and eventually, driving at all is problematic.

So, where to begin? First, take heart. There are many options available to you, and they’re not nearly as overwhelming as you might imagine. To learn more about the options available to you when living at home alone is no longer working, click the link above.


Tip #17 of 50 – Why Not Just Move Into A Hotel For Your Retirement?

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip #17 of 50 –  Why not just move into a hotel for your retirement?

You may have seen the cartoons and ads and articles that suggest (some in all seriousness) that the price of retirement home living is high so, “Why not just move into a hotel?” The article then usually goes on about the price per day, and usually concludes (inaccurately) that hotel living is the better deal financially. Click the link above to learn more about why retirement communities are far superior to hotels.


When to Get On the Wait List at a Retirement Community

If you or a loved one is considering their senior living options, you likely have begun doing research on the retirement communities. Or perhaps you have a loved one in need of long-term care or memory care and staying in the home will not be safe for much longer. With all of the differing communities and facilities available (especially in larger cities), it can be a lot to take in so the decision process can take some time. This varies from one person to another because some senior living decisions are needs-based and move much quicker, while others are more preference-based and can take months or even years. Once you hone in on a few specific places that meet your criteria, you may want to consider getting your name on their waiting lists. Many facilities, particularly assisted living or nursing care facilities, are likely that they have one.

The timing conundrum

Ideally, one should not wait until the day they need to move to begin planning. If for no other reason this can be problematic because of the very subject I am addressing here. There could be a wait list for the facility you like best. But one of the challenges of planning ahead for long-term care housing needs is that it can be hard to foresee exactly when you will need it–it could happen slowly with the natural aging process or the progression of a degenerative disease, or it can occur quickly with an illness or injury. So it is advisable to get on three or four waiting lists if you are looking at assisted living or a long-term care facility for yourself or a family member; this way, when the time comes and you need care, you will hopefully be near the top of the list for at least one facility.

If you are eyeing a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, also known as a life plan community) another consideration is that many of these communities require that new residents be relatively able-bodied in order to enter into a continuing care contract. In fact, many life plan communities have a very active base of residents who live independently today, but want to be someplace where care is available to them on site when needed. Most continuing care retirement communities maintain an assisted living and/or healthcare center in addition to offering independent living. Therefore, residents moving into a CCRC do not necessarily know when or how much care they may eventually need.

How retirement community waiting lists work

Most communities or facilities will require a deposit in order to add your name to their wait list; the amount can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. In some communities, this deposit may be refundable if you change your mind or get into another facility first; always ask about the waiting list refund policy. As it relates to assisted living facilities in particular, sometime the refund will only be refunded in the event that the resident is unable to move into the facility for healthcare reasons.

Many CCRCs also have waiting lists. Yet, the waiting lists for CCRCs are not necessarily for assisted living or nursing care because, as mentioned, CCRCs provide access to a full continuum of care with new residents first moving into independent living. When adding your name to a CCRC or assisted living list, you will typically specify which type of unit you desire, e.g., a patio home, a 1 or 2-bedroom apartment, a single-occupancy room, etc. When a resident living in your desired unit type moves out- often because their needs have progressed and they are transferring into the on-site assisted living or healthcare facility- then the unit will become available to you.

There are two common forms of wait lists that you will find at various facilities.

The open-ended wait list is the more flexible of the two types. When your name reaches the top of the list, you are not required to move in immediately; you can keep your top position on the list and wait until the next desired unit opens up. The challenge with this type of list is that it gives an inexact picture of how many people are actually ready to move to the community so it can take a long time for your name to come to the top slot.

Some facilities have a “three strike rule” wait list. As the name might suggest, for these communities, if you get to the top of the list and turn down that opening three times, you get bumped back to the bottom of the list. You will even run across a few communities that have a one strike rule for their lists.

Once you are on the waiting list, CCRCs or other retirement communities frequently will offer a variety of perks to future residents–maybe unlimited use of their pool and exercise facility, or access to other community events and activities. In fact, a growing number of CCRCs are beginning to call their wait list a “membership.” I would encourage residents-to-be to take advantage of this benefit as it allows you to begin the process of assimilating into the community and meeting future neighbors, even before you live there.

It is also good to be aware that some communities will have an internal waiting list. If you find yourself in a situation where you need (or want) to move into the community and your preferred unit is not available–forcing you to settle for your second or third choice–you can go ahead and move in but stay on the internal list and wait for your desired unit-type to open up. Existing residents will typically get priority over non-residents, so you may be able to get your preference relatively quickly, though you may be required to pay a transfer fee or pay the additional cost if your desired residence is more expensive. Be sure you ask about any charges you will incur.

Your waiting list checklist

Before you get on a waiting list:

  • Research, research, research so you are as educated as possible about your senior living options and various scenarios. Be sure you understand the details of the residency contract and what your fees include.
  • Take a tour of your top contenders; you may find that two or three really stand out when you visit them in person, while others may be easy to eliminate.
  • Ask as many questions as you can about the community or facility, their contract types, and their waiting list policies (including refunds).

After you get on a waiting list:

  • You have made a major life decision to plan for your future; it will likely feel like a tremendous load has been lifted.
  • Begin thinking about organizing your home; consider what you will and will not be able to take with you when the time comes to move.
  • Begin thinking about when you will be ready; consider making a list of determining factors such as age, overall health (including ability to safely drive), current housing situation, savings and assets, family considerations, etc.
  • Take advantage of any perks offered by the community to future residents who are on the waiting list; you will grow more comfortable with the surroundings and meet new friends too.

Adding your name to retirement community and assisted living facility waiting lists is one of the ways you can plan for your future. This step can give you and your loved ones a level of security, knowing that you will be well-cared for as you age.

 

 

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The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.

 


Tip #16 of 50 – “This is Not Your Grandmother’s Retirement Community”

For those of us “in the industry,” retirement community living makes a great deal of sense. We know that loneliness is a major factor in the mental and physical decline in the senior population. We also know that the residents who live in our communities are glad they’re here . . . and that they often say, “I wish I’d come sooner.” Learn more about how The Wesley Communities are not like your grandmother’s retirement community by clicking the link above.


What is the Happiest Age? (You Might Be Surprised by the Answer!)

What age group of adults would you think is the happiest? If most people were to guess, they’d likely assume people in their 20s and 30s are the most content. Why wouldn’t they be, right? They are young and likely healthy, and they have their whole lives ahead of them, full of potential and exciting events.

If you think young adults have it all, you may be surprised to learn the results of a studyconducted out of the University of California-San Diego; the research results were published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Happiness comes with maturity…


Tip # 15 of 50 – One of the Hardest Decisions There Is: When (and how) Do You Take the Car Keys Away?

If this title caught your eye, you may very well be on the horns of dilemma. You might be an adult son or daughter, a spouse, or a good friend from church or the neighborhood, and you’re dealing with a very tricky problem – your loved one probably shouldn’t be driving anymore. There have been a few too many “Mr. McGoo” moments, perhaps a damaged garage door or fender with no explanation? Or worse? An accident where someone has been injured? The latter is actually easier to deal with than the former, I’ve found. Click above to learn more about when (and how) to take the car keys away.


Tip # 14 of 50 –The Case Against Staying at Home as You Age

There has been a media blitzkrieg (and resulting changes in state and federal regulations regarding nursing home care) about the benefits of staying at home “as long as possible” as we age. Who wouldn’t, after all, want to stay at home? It’s well, home. And home can be familiar and welcoming, with daily routines, good memories, and familiar surroundings.

But what if staying at home isn’t the best option? Click above to learn more about the case against staying at home as you age and the many benefits of continuing care retirement communities.


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Testimonials & Review

Wesley Glen is absolutely wonderful. Mom has been there since May and she's in independent plus. It has everything from independent, independent plus, assisted living to memory care. They have lots of services, hairdressers and nail salons right at the facility. The food is good and mom absolutely loves it. The independent plus works great.

- Deborah19