If you're living on a fixed income, every penny counts! Use this checklist to make sure you're saving money where you can.
1. Current Expenses
Take the time to compile all of your current obligations (supplemental health insurance, prescription drug insurance, life insurance, etc.) and examine if you have the most cost-effective plan for you and/or if all plans are still relevant. Consult with a trusted information source before terminating plans. When assessing your prescription drug plans, consider reaching out to your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), where you can get free information about Medicare, including apply for and selecting plans.
· Find your local SHIP counselor for assistance
2. Health Insurance
If you're enrolled in Medicare and have limited income and assets, you may be able to put over $100 back in your monthly Social Security check and minimize your premiums and co-pays by learning more about Medicare Savings Programs. There are four different Medicare Savings Programs that can help with Part B premiums and other costs. Each program has a different income and resource eligibility limit.
· Learn more about Medicare Savings Programs
3. Prescription Drugs
If you qualify, Medicare's Extra Help and local prescription drug assistance programs can help you cut your medicine costs.
· See what savings programs are available
4. Property Taxes
Legally whittle down your annual tax bill with help from local abatement, circuit rider, or work-off programs. On average, you can save $500–$2,000 annually with this assistance.
· See if you qualify for free tax assistance from the IRS
In many states, individuals over a certain age qualify for a free cell phone plan. Consider switching from a land line to a free mobile phone. Lifeline also offers a discount on local phone services for qualified individuals. Each state has its own rules.
· Find participating phone companies in your state
6. Volunteering/Community Service
Get paid to give back—Senior Corps and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) provide paid stipends for service.
· Learn more about Senior Corps
· Learn more about SCSEP
7. Use Your Home to Stay at Home™
If you own your home, it's your biggest asset. Learn about timely and appropriate ways to leverage your home equity to stay independent.
· Download a free brochure
· Call for counseling
8. Senior Discounts
Many retailers offer discounts to older customers on certain days of the week. Consider making all your purchases on that day, so you can receive an additional discount.
· Find senior discounts
9. Estate Planning
“Must have” legal documents include a will for property distribution decisions, a living will for health care decisions, and a durable power of attorney to designate a personal representative in the event of incapacity. Also, consider a written plan for distributing untitled personal property (e.g., jewelry, furniture, and collectables) to heirs or charitable organizations to reduce confusion and family conflicts.
10. More Help
Find out what other public benefits you may be eligible for by getting a free online screening through NCOA's BenefitsCheckUp® service. Or find help in your area by visiting Eldercare Locator, a service of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
· Visit BenefitsCheckUp®
· Visit Eldercare Locator
- See more at: http://www.ncoa.org/enhance-economic-security/economic-security-Initiative/savvy-saving-seniors/top-10-things-all-seniors.html#sthash.ZAdFh3M9.dpuf
Exercise Plans to Get Fit as You Age. As you grow older, an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Regular exercise can help boost energy, maintain your independence, and manage symptoms of illness or pain. Exercise can even reverse some of the symptoms of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body, it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory. Whether you are generally healthy or are managing an illness, there are plenty of ways to get more active, improve confidence, and boost your fitness.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
Exercise is the key to healthy agingIf you have an injury, disability, weight problem, or diabetes . . .See Chair Exercises & Limited Mobility Fitness
Starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine can be a challenge as you get older. You may feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls. Or, if you've never exercised before, you may not know where to begin. Or perhaps you think you're too old or frail, or that exercise is boring or simply not for you.
While these may seem like good reasons to slow down and take it easy as you age, they're actually even better reasons to get moving. Exercise can energize your mood, relieve stress, help you manage symptoms of illness and pain, and improve your overall sense of well-being. In fact, exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy as you get older. And it can even be fun, too.
No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways. Whether you are generally healthy or are managing an illness—even if you’re housebound—there are many easy ways to get your body moving and improve your health.
5 Myths about Exercise and AgingMyth 1: There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway.Fact:
Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.Myth 2: Older people shouldn’t exercise. They should save their strength and rest.Fact:
Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for adults over 50. Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses.Myth 3: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down.Fact:
Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing
your risk of falling.Myth 4: It’s too late. I’m already too old to start exercisingFact:
You’re never too old to exercise! If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities.Myth 5: I’m disabled. I can’t exercise sitting down.Fact:
Chair–bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health.
The whole-body benefits of exercise for adults over 50As you age, regular exercise is more important than ever to your body and mind.
Physical health benefits of exercise and fitness over 50
- Exercise helps older adults maintain or lose weight. As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. When your body reaches a healthy weight, your overall wellness will improve.
- Exercise reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. Among the many benefits of exercise for adults over 50 include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. People who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.
- Exercise enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance in adults over 50. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Mental health benefits of exercise and fitness over 50
- Exercise improves your sleep. Poor sleep is not an inevitable consequence of aging and quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercise often improves sleep, helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
- Exercise boosts mood and self-confidence. Endorphins produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself.
- Exercise is good for the brain. Exercise benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Exercise may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercise and Fitness over 50: Tips for getting started safelyCommitting to a routine of physical activity is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Before you get moving, though, consider how best to be safe.
- Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting condition. Ask if there are any activities you should avoid.
- Consider health concerns. Keep in mind how your ongoing health problems affect your workouts. For example, diabetics may need to adjust the timing of medication and meal plans when setting an exercise schedule. Above all, if something feels wrong, such as sharp pain or unusual shortness of breath, simply stop. You may need to scale back or try another activity.
- Start slow. If you haven’t been active in a while, it can be harmful to go “all out.” Instead, build up your exercise program little by little. Try spacing workouts in ten-minute increments twice a day. Or try just one class each week. Prevent crash-and-burn fatigue by warming up, cooling down, and keeping water handy.
- Commit to an exercise schedule for at least 3 or 4 weeks so that it becomes habit, and force yourself to stick with it.
- Stay motivated by focusing on short-term goals, such as improving your mood and energy levels and reducing stress, rather than goals such as weight loss, which can take longer to achieve.
- Recognize problems. Exercise should never hurt or make you feel lousy. Stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you feel dizzy or short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. Also stop if a joint is red, swollen, or tender to touch.
Exercise and Fitness over 50: Tips for building a balanced exercise planStaying active is not a science. Just remember that mixing different types of exercise helps both reduce monotony and improve your overall health. The key is to find activities that you enjoy. Here is an overview of the four building blocks of senior fitness and how they can help your body.
The 1st building block of fitness over 50: Cardio endurance exercise
- What is it: Uses large muscle groups in rhythmic motions over a period of time. Cardio workouts get your heart pumping and you may even feel a little short of breath. Cardio includes walking, stair climbing, swimming, hiking, cycling, rowing, tennis, and dancing.
- Why it’s good for you: Helps lessen fatigue and shortness of breath. Promotes independence by improving endurance for daily activities such as walking, house cleaning, and errands.
The 2nd building block of fitness over 50: Strength and power training
- What is it: Strength training builds up muscle with repetitive motion using weight or external resistance from body weight, machines, free weights, or elastic bands. Power training is often strength training done at a faster speed to increase power and reaction times.
- Why it’s good for you: Strength training helps prevent loss of bone mass, builds muscle, and improves balance–both important in staying active and avoiding falls. Power training can improve your speed while crossing the street, for example, or prevent falls by enabling you to react quickly if you start to trip or lose balance. Building strength and power will help you stay independent and make day-to-day activities easier such as opening a jar, getting in and out of a car, and lifting objects.
The 3rd building block of fitness over 50: Flexibility
- What is it: Challenges the ability of your body’s joints to move freely through a full range of motion. This can be done through stationary stretches and stretches that involve movement to keep your muscles and joints supple so they are less prone to injury. Yoga is an excellent means of improving flexibility.
- Why it’s good for you: Helps your body stay limber and increases your range of movement for ordinary physical activities such as looking behind while driving, tying your shoes, shampooing your hair, and playing with your grandchildren.
The 4th building block of fitness over 50: Balance
- What is it: Maintains standing and stability, whether you’re stationary or moving around. Try yoga, Tai Chi, and posture exercises to gain confidence with balance.
- Why it’s good for you: Improves balance, posture, and quality of your walking. Also reduces risk of falling and fear of falls.
Types of activities that are beneficial to older adults:
- Walking. Walking is a perfect way to start exercising. It requires no special equipment, aside from a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and can be done anywhere.
- Senior sports or fitness classes. Keeps you motivated while also providing a source of fun, stress relief, and a place to meet friends.
- Water aerobics and water sports. Working out in water is wonderful for seniors because water reduces stress and strain on the body's joints.
- Yoga. Combines a series of poses with breathing. Moving through the poses works on strength, flexibility and balance. Yoga can be adapted to any level.
- Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Martial arts-inspired systems of movement that increase balance and strength. Classes for seniors are often available at your local YMCA or community center.
Exercise and Fitness over 50: Tips for frail or chair–boundEven if you are frail or chair–bound, you can still experience the mood-boosting effects of exercise. Chair–bound adults can improve fitness with strength training, flexibility, and even some cardio activities. If being chair–bound has prevented you from trying exercise in the past, take heart knowing that when you become more physically active, the results will amaze you. Like any exercise program, a chair–bound fitness routine takes a little creativity and personalization to keep it fun.
Chair–bound Exercise and Fitness
- Strength: Use free weights ( “dumbbells”) to do repetitive sets of lifting. Don’t have weights? Use anything that is weighted and fits in your hand, like soup cans.
- Resistance: Resistance bands are like giant rubber bands designed to give your muscles a good workout when stretched and pulled. Resistance bands can be attached to furniture, a doorknob, or even your chair. Use these for pull-downs, shoulder rotations, and arm and leg-extensions.
- Flexibility: By practicing mindful breathing and slowly stretching, bending, and twisting, you can limber up and improve your range of motion. Some of these exercises can also be done lying down. Ask your doctor or search online for chair-yoga possibilities.
- Endurance: Check out pool-therapy programs designed for wheelchair–bound seniors. Also, wheelchair-training machines make arm-bicycling and rowing possible. If you lack access to special machines or pools, repetitive movements (like rapid leg lifts or sitting pushups) work just as well to raise your heart rate.
Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about chair–bound exercise programs or see Chair Exercises & Limited Mobility Fitness.
Exercise and Fitness over 50: Tips for getting more active—and liking itIf you dread working out, it’s time for a mental makeover. Consider physical activity part of your lifestyle instead of a bothersome task to check off your “to do” list. There are plenty of ways for seniors to make exercise a pleasurable part of everyday life—here are just a few.
Choose activities and exercises you enjoyThink about activities that you enjoy and how you can incorporate them into an exercise routine.
- Listen to music while lifting weights
- Window shop while walking laps at the mall
- Get competitive while playing tennis
- Take photographs on a nature hike
- Meet new people at a yoga class
- Watch a favorite movie while on the treadmill
- Chat with a friend while walking, stretching, or strength training
Find easy ways to add more physical activity to your dayBeing active doesn’t have to be limited to your workout times. There are plenty of ways to become more active as you go about your day.
- Active on the go: Always choose stairs over the elevator, park at the far end of the parking lot when arriving at appointments and meetings, walk down every isle of the grocery store while shopping, practice balancing skills while standing in line, do neck rolls while waiting at a stoplight.
- Active at home: Do a set of wall pushups while waiting for water to boil, vigorously vacuum, tend to the garden, sweep the sidewalk, rake leaves, lift weights while watching the news, try toe-raises while talking on the phone, do knee bends after sitting for a long period of time.
Focus on the benefits in your daily lifeThe most rewarding part of beginning a fitness routine is noticing the difference it makes in the rest of your life. Even if you begin exercising with a few simple stretches while seated or a short walk around the block, you’ll notice an improvement in how you feel as you go about your day.
- House cleaning, gardening, shopping, and errands. Want to feel less winded while vacuuming or rushing to and from appointments? Doing just 15 to 20 minutes of heart-healthy cardio each day, such as walking, biking, swimming, or water aerobics will help give you the stamina you need.
- Lifting grandchildren, carrying groceries, household chores. Building muscle mass a few times each week through weight lifting, resistance exercises, and weight machines will help give you more strength.
- Crossing the street before the lights change, catching yourself before you fall. Power exercises such as tricep dips, chair stands, or other strength exercises performed quickly, can improve strength, speed, and reaction times.
- Tying shoes, looking behind you while driving, navigating steps. Incorporating basic stretching—even while seated—into your fitness routine will make the most ordinary movements easier. Try yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong to limber up.
Exercise doesn’t have to break the bankAn exercise plan does not depend on costly gym memberships and fancy exercise equipment. Like the best things in life, staying fit can be completely free. Work out the wallet-friendly way:
- Do neck rolls and light stretching while watching TV
- No weights? Use food cans or water bottles
- Rent exercise videos from the library
- Mow the lawn, rake leaves, and weed
- Climb stairs
- Enjoy a walk in a new park or neighborhood
Exercise and Fitness over 50: Tips for staying active for lifeThe more you exercise, the more you will reap the benefits, so it’s important to stay motivated when life’s challenges get in the way.
- Keep a log. Writing down your activities in an exercise journal not only holds you accountable, but also is a reminder of your accomplishments.
- Stay inspired. Reading health magazines or watching sports shows can help remind you how great it feels to take care of your body.
- Get support. It’s easier to keep going with support. Consider taking a class or exercising with your spouse or a buddy.
- Exercise safely. Nothing derails an exercise plan like an injury. Use common sense and don’t exercise if you are ill. Wear brightly colored clothing to be visible on the roads. When the weather brings slippery conditions, walk at a mall indoors to prevent falling.
How To Stay Fit When Your Routine ChangesAdapted from the National Institutes on AgingYou’re on vacation
Caring for an ill spouse is taking up much of your time
- Many hotels now have fitness centers. Check out the facilities where you’ll be staying, and bring along your exercise clothing or equipment (resistance band, bathing suit, or walking shoes).
- Get out and see the sights on foot rather than just by tour bus.
Your usual exercise buddy moves away
- Work out to an exercise video when your spouse is napping.
- Ask a family member or friend to come over so you can go for a walk.
You move to a new community
- Ask another friend to go with you on your daily walk.
- Ask other older adults in your area where they go for walks or what physical activity resources are available nearby.
- Join an exercise class at your local community center or senior center. This is a great way to meet other active people.
The flu keeps you out of action for a few weeks
- Check out the fitness centers, parks, and recreation associations in your new neighborhood.
- Look for activities that match your interests and abilities.
- Get involved!
You are recovering from hip or back surgery
- Wait until you feel better and then start your activity again.
- Gradually build back up to your previous level of activity.
- Talk with your doctor about specific exercises and activities you can do safely when you’re feeling better.
- Start slowly and gradually build up your activities as you become stronger.
The best thing about working out is that it gives you energy for more activities. When it becomes habit, you’ll never want to give it up
Resources & ReferencesGeneral information about exercise over 50Keep Active for a Longer, Healthier Life
– Discusses value of exercise and provides tips to help you get started. (AARP)
Fitness plans and exercise instruction over 50NIHSeniorHealth: Exercise for Older Adults
– Covers the benefits of exercise for seniors, safe exercises to try, an FAQ, and charts to track your progress. (National Institute of Health)NIH Exercise Guide
– Sample exercises and charts. (National Institute of Health)
Sports and types of exercise over 50The Water Well
– Discusses the benefits of water exercise for people with medical conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, and back problems. (Aquatic Exercise Association)Yoga Slows the Aging Process
– Outlines the benefits of yoga and the many different types of yoga. The site includes extensive health information as well as an animated section showing many of the various postures and poses.
Authors: Sarah Kovatch, M.F.A., Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: February 2014.
Warning Signs and Knowing When to Stop
As we age, it's normal for our driving abilities to change. By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, many of us can continue driving safely long into our senior years. But we do have to pay attention to any warning signs that age is interfering with our driving safety and make appropriate adjustments. Even if you find that you need to reduce your driving or give up the keys, it doesn't mean the end of your independence. Seeking alternative methods of transportation can offer health and social benefits, as well as a welcome change of pace to life.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
Older drivers tip #1: Understand how aging affects drivingEveryone ages differently, so there is no arbitrary cutoff as to when someone should stop driving. However, older adults are more likely to receive traffic citations and get into accidents than younger drivers. In fact, fatal crash rates rise sharply after a driver has reached the age of 70. What causes this increase? As we age, factors such as decreased vision, impaired hearing, or slowed motor reflexes may become a problem. You may have a chronic condition that gradually worsens with time, or you may have to adjust to a sudden change, such as a stroke.
Aging tends to result in a reduction of strength, coordination, and flexibility, which can have a major impact on your ability to safely control a car. For example:
- Pain or stiffness in your neck can make it harder to look over your shoulder to change lanes or look left and right at intersections to check for other traffic or pedestrians.
- Leg pain can make it difficult to move your foot from the gas to the brake pedal.
- Diminished arm strength can make it hard to turn the steering wheel quickly and effectively.
- As reaction times also slow down with age, you may be slower to spot vehicles emerging from side streets and driveways, or to realize that the vehicle ahead of you has slowed or stopped.
- Keeping track of so many road signs, signals, and markings, as well as all the other traffic and pedestrians, can also become more difficult as you lose the ability to effectively divide your attention between multiple activities.
You may have driven your entire life and take great pride in your safety record, but as you age, it is critical that you realize your driving ability can change. To continue driving safely, you need to recognize that changes can happen, get help when they do, and be willing to listen if others voice concerns.
Older drivers tip #2: Tips for safe senior drivingAging does not
automatically equal total loss of driving ability. There are many things you can do to continue driving safely, including modifying your car, the way you drive, and understanding and rectifying physical issues that may interfere with driving.
Take charge of your healthRegular check-ups are critical to keep you in the best possible driving shape. Other steps you can take include:
- Getting your eyes checked every year. Make sure that corrective lenses are current. Keep the windshield, mirrors, and headlights clean, and turn brightness up on the instrument panel on your dashboard.
- Having your hearing checked annually. If hearing aids are prescribed, make sure they are worn while driving. Be careful when opening car windows, though, as drafts can sometimes impair a hearing aid's effectiveness.
- Talking with a doctor about the effects that ailments or medications may have on your driving ability. For example, if you have glaucoma, you may find tinted eyeglass lenses useful in reducing glare.
- Sleeping well. Getting enough sleep is essential to driving well. If there are problems, try to improve nighttime sleep conditions and talk with your doctor about the effect of any sleep medications on driving.
Find the right car and any aids you need for safe drivingChoose a vehicle with automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. Keep your car in good working condition by visiting your mechanic for scheduled maintenance. Be sure that windows and headlights are always clean. An occupational therapist or a certified driving rehabilitation specialist, for example, can prescribe equipment to make it easier to steer the car and to operate the foot pedals.
Drive defensivelyIn these days of cell phones, GPS devices, and digital music players, drivers are even more distracted than they used to be. This means you’ll want to take extra steps to drive safely, like leaving adequate space for the car in front of you, paying extra attention at intersections, and making sure you are driving appropriate to the flow of traffic. Avoid distractions such as talking on the phone while driving or trying to puzzle out a map, even if it’s a GPS on the car; pull over instead.
Make sure you allow sufficient braking distance. Remember, if you double your speed—say from 30mph to 60mph—your braking distance does not become twice as long, it becomes four times
as far, even more if the road is wet or icy.
Know your limitationsIf a driving situation makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. Many older drivers voluntarily begin to make changes in their driving practices. For instance, you may decide to drive only during daylight hours if you have trouble seeing well in reduced light. If fast-moving traffic bothers you, consider staying off freeways, highways, and find street routes instead. You may also decide to avoid driving in bad weather (rain, thunderstorms, snow, hail, ice). If you are going to a place that is unfamiliar to you, it is a good idea to plan your route before you leave so that you feel more confident and avoid getting lost.
Listen to the concerns of othersIf relatives, friends, or others begin to talk to you about your driving, it may be time to take a hard, honest look at your driving ability:
- A number of self-evaluation tools are available to help. See listings in the Resources section below.
- You might choose to brush up on your driving through a refresher course. Safety courses are offered in many communities and online.
- Talk to your doctor. Your doctor should also be able to provide an opinion about your ability to drive safely, or refer you to a specialist for more intensive evaluation.
Getting a professional evaluationAn occupational therapist or certified driver rehabilitation specialist can provide a comprehensive evaluation of the skills needed to drive and recommend car modifications or tools to keep someone driving as long as possible. It can also help diffuse accusations from family by providing a neutral third party perspective. You can ask your medical treatment team for a referral, or visit the websites listed in the Resources section below.
Older drivers tip #3: Know the warning signs of unsafe drivingSometimes unsafe signs can come up gradually, or a recent change in health may make problems worse. Even if the individual warning signs seem minor, together they can add up to a substantial risk. If you are concerned about your own driving or worried about a friend or loved one, keep an eye out for these warning signs:
Issues with healthHealth problems don’t always mean that driving needs to be stopped, but they do require extra vigilance, awareness, and willingness to correct them. Some health problems include:
- Conflicting medications. Certain medications or combinations of medications can affect senses and reflexes. Always check the label on medications and double check with your healthcare team if you are taking several medications or notice a difference after starting a new medication.
- Eyesight problems. Some eye conditions or medications can interfere with your ability to focus your peripheral vision, or cause you to experience extra sensitivity to light, trouble seeing in the dark, or blurred vision. Can you easily see traffic lights and street signs? Or do you find yourself driving closer and closer to them, slowing by just to see the lights or signs? Can you react appropriately to drivers coming from behind or the side?
- Hearing problems. If your hearing is decreasing, you may not realize you’re missing out on important cues to drive safely. Can you hear emergency sirens, or if someone is accelerating next to you, or the honking of a horn?
- Problems with reflexes and range of motion. Can you react quickly enough if you need to brake suddenly or quickly look back? Have you confused the gas and brake pedals? Do you find yourself getting more flustered while driving, or quick to anger? Is it comfortable to look back over your shoulder, or does it take extra effort?
- Problems with memory. Do you find yourself missing exits that used to be second nature, or find yourself getting lost frequently? While everyone has an occasional lapse, if there’s an increasing pattern, it’s time to get evaluated by a doctor.
Issues on the road
- Trouble with the nuts and bolts of driving. Do you see yourself making sudden lane changes, drifting into other lanes, braking, or accelerating suddenly without reason? How about failing to use the turn signal, or keeping the signal on without changing lanes?
- Close calls and increased citations. Red flags include frequent "close calls" (i.e., almost crashing), dents and scrapes on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, and curbs. Increased traffic tickets or "warnings" by traffic or law enforcement officers are also red flags.
Older drivers tip #4: Benefits of not drivingAdjusting to life without a car may be challenging at first; most likely, you’ve been driving your whole life and it feels like quite a shock. It’s normal to be frustrated, angry, or irritable. You might even feel ashamed or worry that you are losing your independence. However, it takes a lot of courage to stop driving and put the safety of yourself and others first. You may also find there are many benefits to living without a car that you may not have considered. For example, you may:
- Save money on the cost of car ownership, including car insurance, maintenance, registration, and gasoline. These savings can pay for alternative transportation if necessary. In fact, many seniors who only used their car for short trips often find that using a taxi or shuttle service for those same trips works out costing far less.
- Improve your health. Giving up the car keys often means walking or cycling more, which can have a hugely beneficial effect on your health. Regular exercise from walking and cycling can help seniors boost their energy, sleep better, and improve confidence. It can also help you manage the symptoms of illness and pain, maintain your independence, and even reverse some of the signs of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s good for your mind, mood, and memory.
- Expand your social circle. While many seniors have difficulty accepting ride offers from others, this can be a good time to reach out and connect to new people. Find a way of accepting rides that makes you comfortable. For example, you can offer a friend money for gas, or trade off on other chores, such as cooking a meal in return for your friend driving.
- Appreciate the change of pace. For many, stopping driving means slowing down. While that may not sound appealing to everyone, many older adults find that they actually enjoy life far more when they live it at a slower pace. It can also have a beneficial effect on mental health by placing less stress on your nervous system.
Know your transportation alternativesThe more alternatives you have to driving, the easier the adjustment will be. You want to make sure that you can get out not only for essentials like doctor’s appointments, but also social visits and enrichment. Feeling housebound can quickly lead to depression.
This may also be a time to evaluate your living arrangements. If you are isolated and there are little transportation options in your area, you may want to consider moving to an area with more options, or investigate senior living options.
- Public transportation. If you live in an area that is well connected with public transportation, it can be a very handy way to get around. Check your local public transportation options and ask about reduced prices for older adults.
- Ride sharing. Family members, friends, and neighbors may be a resource for ride sharing. Offer to share the costs or to return the favor in a different way, such as cooking a meal or helping with yard work.
- Community shuttles/senior transit. Your local community may have shuttle service available, especially for medical appointments. Some medical facilities, such as those for veterans, also have transportation options for medical appointments. Your local place of worship may also offer transit options.
- Taxis or private drivers. Taxis may be a good option for quick trips without a lot of prior scheduling. You can also look into hiring a chauffeur or private driver. You can go through a formalized driving service, or sometimes a family member, friend, or neighbor can help. You do want to make sure whoever is driving has a good driving record and is responsible.
- Walking/cycling. If health permits, walking or cycling when you can is a great way to not only get around but also get some exercise. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.
- Motorized wheelchairs. Motorized wheelchairs can be a good way to get around if you live in an area with easily accessible stores and well-paved streets.
For ways to find transportation alternatives in your area, see the Resources section below.
How to talk to a loved one about driving concernsDriver safety can often be a sensitive issue for older drivers. A driver’s license signifies more than the ability to drive a car; it is a symbol of freedom and self-sufficiency. Understandably, driving is not a privilege that anyone wants to relinquish willingly. Still, safety must come first.
Some older drivers may be aware of their faltering ability but still be reluctant to give up driving completely. Another person’s concerns may force the senior driver to act. They may even feel relieved to have someone else help make the decision to stop driving. Some seniors may forget that they aren’t supposed to drive. If that is the case, it is even more important to remove the car or the keys to make it impossible to drive. If you find yourself in the position of talking to an older friend or family member about their driving, remember the following:
- Be respectful. For many seniors, driving is an integral part of independence. Many older adults have fond memories of getting a driver’s license. At the same time, don’t be intimidated or back down if you have a true concern.
- Give specific examples. It’s easier to tune out generalizations like “You just can’t drive safely anymore.” Outline concerns that you have noticed, such as “You have a harder time turning your head than you used to,” or “You braked suddenly at stop signs three times the last time we drove.”
- Find strength in numbers. If more than one family member or close friend has noticed, it’s less likely to be taken as nagging. A loved one may also listen to a more impartial party, such as a doctor or driving specialist.
- Help find alternatives. The person may be so used to driving that they have never considered alternatives. You can offer concrete help, such as researching transportation options or offering rides when possible. If your family member is reluctant to ask for help, it can lead to isolation and depression.
- Understand the difficulty of the transition. Your loved one may experience a profound sense of loss having given up driving. Don’t dismiss their feelings but try to help with the transition as much as possible. If it is safe, try slowly transitioning the senior out of driving to give them time to adjust. For example, your loved one may begin the transition by no longer driving at night or on the freeways, or by using a shuttle service to specific appointments, such as the doctor’s.
When an older driver refuses to give up the keysSometimes an older driver has to be stopped from driving over their objections. It might feel very difficult for you to make this call, especially if the senior is a parent or other close figure used to having their independence. However, their safety and the safety of others must come first. An unsafe driver can seriously injure or kill themselves or others.
If appropriate evaluations and recommendations have been made, and no amount of rational discussion has convinced the driver to hand over the car keys, then you may make an anonymous report to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (in the U.S. or Canada) or talk to the person’s physician about your concerns. In some cases, there is a need to take further actions such as taking away the car keys, selling or disabling the car, and enlisting the local police to explain the importance of safe driving and the legal implications of unsafe driving.
In the UK, report an unsafe driver to the DVLA. In Australia, contact your state/territory’s licensing authority (see Resources section for applicable links).
By Dr. Mercola
Healthy foods not only provide you with life-giving nutrients and fuel for all the organs in your body, they also help you keep an ideal weight. And as study after study proves, and regular readers of this newsletter know, maintaining an optimum weight can add years of healthy vitality to your life.You are What You Eat
I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying, and it’s as true today as it ever was.
It all boils down to this: if you want to optimize your health, you must return to the basics of healthy food, ideally, chosen specifically for your nutritional type
, because it’s all about eating the proper ratios
of theright types
of food for your personal biochemistry.
There is no way around this simple fact. It may not be as convenient as you would like. It may be more costly in the short term, both in dollars and cents and in the amount of time required to obtain and prepare healthy foods. But make no mistake -- there are no short-cuts when it comes to this single most important thing you can do for your health.
In today’s world, the need for speed has taken over our lives. Fast and processed foods are what most working people and families seek out for the sake of convenience and speed.
Then when years of bad food choices take their toll on health, people want to feel better by tomorrow. They want to be at their ideal weight by next week. And as luck would have it, there is an endless supply of drugs and fake foods available promising to do just that.
Unfortunately, nearly all of these “magic pills” and diets can worsen your health even more in the long run.
Ultimately, the simplest and most effective way to achieve good health and a long life is to focus on the nutrition you are putting in your body on a daily basis.Seven Superfoods That Will Keep You Young
The following seven foods are among the most highly nutritious you can consume.
Keep in mind that to get the most out of them, you must first understand the best foods for your nutritional type
. Even the healthiest foods aren’t ideal for everyone, so it’s important to know which foods serve your body best.1. Whey Protein
You may be wondering why the first food on this list is actually a supplement and not a whole food. Great question. The answer is fascinating, if a bit complex.
Whey has been shown to increase your body’s stores of the antioxidant glutathione, or GSH. Glutathione is known to increase the integrity of telomeres. Telomeres are bundles of DNA found in every cell, and they shorten with age.Stem Cell Information, The National Institutes of Health resource for stem cell research, Appendix C: Human Embryonic Stem Cells and Human Embryonic Germ Cells, http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/2001report/appendixC.asp
Researchers suspect telomeres shorten due to damage by free radicals. Free radicals play a role in DNA mutations, and there is evidence that mutations in your telomeres can cause larger chunks than normal to be lost during cell division.
Low levels of GSH are always found in people with oxidative stress-related diseases like cancer and AIDS. Further, as glutathione levels drop, these patients get sicker.
In November 2009, I had the privilege of attending a gathering of some of the leading anti-aging biologists and experts in the world. In a discussion I sparked about telomere lengthening, we agreed it is, without question, one of the most exciting methods that holds great promise to actually REVERSE aging.
Much of the research is on proprietary chemicals to lengthen telomeres, but I was surprised to learn that there are studies in progress that show increasing glutathione levels will actually provide similar results.
Glutathione is not a compound you can ingest directly. It is manufactured inside your cells from its precursor amino acids, glycine, glutamate and cystine.
But what is really exciting is that you don’t have to take expensive glutathione supplements. I confirmed with some of the leading scientists there that you can actually increase your levels through dietary manipulation.
And guess what the most potent dietary way to increase your glutathione levels happens to be?
The best way to increase and maintain your GSH levels is to make sure your diet includes foods (such as animal foods and eggs) rich in the sulfur amino acids your cells need to synthesize glutathione.
Whey protein is the easiest and most convenient way to do this. But not just any whey protein will do, it needs to be high quality and very carefully processed from grass fed organic cows to preserve the fragile amino acid precursors. I am so convinced of this research that I take our Miracle Whey protein every morning, typically after my morning exercise program.2. Raw, Organic Eggs
Eggs are another super food. Research has ended the debate -- there is no link between egg consumption and heart disease.
A single egg contains:
- Nine essential amino acids.
- Six grams of the highest quality protein you can put in your body. Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin (for your eyes).
- Choline for your brain, nervous- and cardiovascular systems.
- Naturally occurring vitamin D.
However, it’s critical to understand that not all eggs are created equal. There is a major nutritional difference between TRUE free-range chicken eggs and commercially farmed eggs.
The USDA defines “free-range” chickens as those with “access to the outside.” “Outside,” however, can be a field or a cement courtyard and has nothing to do with what the chickens eat. Commercially farmed hens are fed corn, soy and cottonseed. True free-range chickens eat a natural, nutrient-dense diet of seeds, green plants, insects and worms.
I recommend you try to get your eggs locally. To find free-range pasture farmers in your area, ask at your health food store or visitwww.eatwild.com
If you have no choice but to buy your eggs at the grocery store, look for free-range organic. Avoid all omega-3 eggs, as they typically come from hens fed poor quality omega-3 fat sources that are already oxidized.
Eat your eggs raw whenever possible. Allergic reactions to eggs are generally caused by the changes that take place in the cooking process. Eating eggs raw also helps preserve many of the highly perishable nutrients they contain.
Avoiding raw egg yolks is conventional nutritional dogma, as raw egg whites contain a glycoprotein called avidin that is very effective at binding biotin, one of the B vitamins. The concern is that this can lead to a biotin deficiency.
The simple solution is to cook the egg whites, as this completely deactivates the avidin. The problem is that this also impairs the structure of nearly every other protein in the egg. While you will still obtain nutritional benefits from consuming cooked eggs, from a nutritional perspective it would seem far better to consume them uncooked.
What is important to realize is that there is plenty of biotin in the egg yolk. Egg yolks have one of the highest concentrations of biotin found in nature. So it is likely that you will not have a biotin deficiency if you consume the whole raw egg, yolk and white.
It is also clear, however, that if you only consume raw egg whites, you are nearly guaranteed to develop a biotin deficiency unless you take a biotin supplement.
So to be clear, my advice is that you can safely eat WHOLE raw eggs, from a healthy fresh source. I eat four whole raw eggs each morning with my breakfast. I would strongly advise against eating raw egg whites alone. They simply need to be consumed with the yolks.3. Leafy Greens
Like eggs, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and romaine lettuce, are great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies have shown eating foods rich in these antioxidants can significantly reduce your risk of AMD
(age-related macular degeneration), as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are also packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamin C, and sulforaphane.
Spinach provides folate, which research shows can dramatically improve your short-term memory. Eating folate rich foods may lower your risk for heart disease and cancer by slowing down wear and tear on your DNA.
Spinach has a very high ORAC score. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, which is a measurement of a food’s ability to destroy the free radicals that cause damage in your body. The higher the ORAC score, the better a food is for you.
Naturally grown fresh vegetables are also rich in sun stored energy in the form of minute particles of light called biophotons.
Sunlight is vital to life, and you can actually absorb this sun energy through the food you eat, in addition to absorbing it through your skin.
Every living organism emits biophotons or low-level luminescence. The higher the level of light energy a cell emits, the greater the potential for transfer of that energy to the individual who absorbs it. This light energy manifests as a feeling of well-being and vitality.
Research shows that, in addition to the chemical composition of our food, light energy (biophotons) is also a key factor in its quality. The more biophotons a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is.
Some leafy greens like collard and salad greens and spinach, contain vitamin K1, which is linked to good vascular health
, including fewer varicose veins.
Vitamin K1, a fat-soluble vitamin, is also vital for:
It is important to realize, though, that the vitamin K in vegetables is vitamin K1. Fermented foods like natto and cheeses also have vitamin K2, which provides even more potent benefits for your bones and reduces the risk of calcification of your arteries.
Whenever possible, buy organic greens. Organic produce has been shown to have higher nutrient-content
than conventional fresh produce. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce.4. Broccoli
Broccoli is another dark green, antioxidant rich vegetable in the cruciferous family, with near miraculous powers of healing and disease prevention.
Broccoli contains the highest amount of isothiocyanates, a cancer-fighting compound, of all the crunchy vegetables.
Isothiocynates work by turning on cancer-fighting genes and turning off others that feed the disease.
Other vegetables containing isothiocyanate include:
- brussel sprouts
Research shows eating cruciferous vegetables can significantly reduce your risk of breast, bladder, lung and prostate cancer.
You don’t need to eat large amounts of these veggies to take advantage of their health benefits, either. Studies have shown men who eat more than one portion of cruciferous vegetables a week are at lower risk of prostate cancer.
One serving of broccoli is about two spears, so just 10 spears a week can make a difference in your health.5. Blueberries
Blueberries not only taste delicious, they are powerhouses of nutrition, ranking at the very top of the list of fresh fruits and vegetables. They are full of antioxidants which help your body neutralize free radicals, molecules that can harm brain cells and brain function.
A study published by Tufts University showed that anthocyanins in blueberries (the pigments that give them their deep color), appear to combat oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is one of the main causes of aging.
Anthocyanins also aid your brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function, and your mood.
Blueberries, especially grown wild, can give an enormous boost to your health. They can help:
- Reduce your cancer risk
- Reduce cholesterol levels
- Prevent heart disease and stroke
- Protect you from Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases
- Reverse short term memory loss and prevent brain aging
- Relieve symptoms of arthritis
- Fight infection and support your immune system
- Improve urinary tract health
- Improve your vision and the health of your eyes
Blueberries are low in sugar, but it’s still best to eat them in moderation to keep your insulin levels from spiking. And as with all fruits and vegetables, try to buy organic.
Other varieties of berries also have powerful healing and disease-prevention properties. Examples:
- Black raspberries are potent cancer fighters as well, with about three times the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries. These berries can be harder to find than other varieties because they’re grown in smaller quantities. It’s harder still to find them fresh, so you may need to look for them frozen.
- Cherries are rich in queritrin, a flavonoid, and ellagic acid. Both are potent anti-cancer agents.
- Strawberries contain phytonutrients, natural anti-inflammatory agents that also protect your heart and have cancer fighting properties.
- Blackberries contain antioxidants, ellagic acid, and vitamins C and E, all of which may reduce cancer risk and fight chronic disease.
- Cranberries are loaded with polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. Studies show they may inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and reduce the risk of stomach ulcers and gum disease.
- Acai berries, from Brazil, contain antioxidants with the power to destroy cultured human cancer cells. Amazingly, these berries triggered self-destruction of over 85 percent of leukemia cells tested.
Chlorella, a single-celled fresh water algae plant, is often referred to as a near-perfect food.
Its range of health benefits is astounding and includes:
But arguably the most important property of chlorella is its ability to help rid your body of heavy metal toxins.
- Boosting your immune system
- Improving your digestion, especially if constipation is a problem
- Enhancing your ability to focus and concentrate
- Increasing your energy levels
- Balancing your body’s pH
- Normalizing your blood sugar and blood pressure
- Reducing your cancer risk
- Even freshening your breath
Most people are being harmed in some way by heavy metals in their body
. If you’ve received a vaccine, had silver fillings in your teeth, or eaten fish, it’s highly likely you have some level of metal poisoning which is compromising your health.
Chlorella plays a particularly crucial role in systemic mercury elimination because the majority of mercury is rid through your stool. Once the mercury burden is lowered from your intestines, mercury from other body tissues will more readily migrate into the intestines -- where chlorella will work to remove it.
Again, as with any supplement, different brands of chlorella will vary widely with regard to overall quality, potency and purity, so make sure you purchase from a reputable source.7. Garlic, the “Stinking Rose”
The component of garlic, allicin, which causes the familiar strong smell and flavor, is actually an extremely effective antioxidant. As allicin digests in your body it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts faster with dangerous free radicals than any other known compound.
Garlic is also a triple threat against infections due to its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. It is effective at killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA
, as well as fighting yeast infections, viruses and parasites.
Garlic helps relax and enlarge the blood vessels in your body, improving blood flow, especially to your heart.
This can help prevent conditions like high blood pressure and life-threatening events such as a heart attack or stroke. Garlic also inhibits the formation of plaques in your arteries, and prevents cholesterol from becoming oxidized, a condition that may contribute to heart disease.
Both garlic and onions can increase your protection against at least five forms of the deadliest types of cancer
: breast, colon, ovarian, prostate and esophageal.
It also appears that allicin may be useful as a cancer treatment
. When alliinase and alliin (the two components that covert to allicin) were injected into a tumor cell, the reaction not only penetrated the cell but also killed it.
In addition to all those benefits, research
also indicates garlic may be useful for controlling weight.
Garlic cloves must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the process that converts alliin into the beneficial allicin. Once the garlic is cut, the active compound loses potency rapidly and can disappear completely within about an hour of chopping.
The best way to eat garlic is to take a whole, fresh clove, chop it, smash it or press it, wait a few minutes for the conversion to occur, and then eat it. If you use jarred, powdered, or dried garlic, you won’t get all the benefits fresh garlic has to offer.
It is important to know though that a number of people are allergic to garlic. If you are one of them you should definitely avoid garlic. Actually that is true for any food in this article. It might be the healthiest food in the world, but if your body gives you a signal to avoid it, then it is typically best to honor your body’s wisdom.The Most Important Way to Slow Aging
Do you know what the number one way to slow aging in your body is? If you’re like most people, you don’t.
Most people don’t understand the importance of optimizing their insulin levels
, as insulin is without a doubt THE major accelerant of aging. Fortunately, you can go a long way toward keeping your insulin levels healthy by reducing or eliminating grains and sugars from your diet
This one crucial step, combined with nutritional typing and the inclusion of nature’s anti-aging miracle foods in your diet, can dramatically improve your health and longevity.
It is also crucial to include a comprehensive exercise program as that is another lifestyle choice that will radically improve the sensitivity of your insulin receptors and help to optimize your insulin levels.References:
Harvard School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source, Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad, In with the Good
Journal of Vascular Research, Identification of Differentially Expressed Genes in Human Varicose Veins: Involvement of Matrix Gla Protein in Extracellular Matrix Remodeling, 7/20/07
Tufts University e-news, Researchers At Tufts University Report Blueberries May Reverse Memory Loss
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, A new gaseous signaling molecule emerges: Cardioprotective role of hydrogen sulfide
The Doctors, USA WEEKEND11:49 a.m. EDT April 23, 2014
Advice from 'The Doctors' to keep you looking and feeling young
Some things are unquestionable: You have to eat well, stay physically active and refrain from smoking to keep your body healthy as you age. But when it comes to fighting wrinkles, gray hairs and other age-related issues, sometimes the advice you've heard isn't always true. Here, we bust eight widespread anti-aging myths and offer science-backed advice on what works to help you look good and feel great.
Myth: No need for sunscreen on a cool or cloudy day
Reality: You actually need sunscreen every day that you plan to be outside — for every forecast, in every season. Up to 80% of the sun's harmful ultraviolet light can pass through clouds and fog. In addition to a cancer threat, the sun is responsible for more than 90% of the visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging, including wrinkles and age spots. Exposure to UV light damages the collagen and elastin fibers deep in your skin, causing it to lose strength and flexibility.
Myth: Walking is the only exercise you need
Reality: Regular brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage certain chronic conditions, strengthen your bones, improve balance and lift your mood. But regular strength training is just as important for your physical and emotional health — not only does that help with weight control and bone-building, studies have shown it improves glucose control and reduces the risk of heart disease.
You don't need expensive gym equipment to get started, says Travis Stork, emergency medicine physician. "Body weight exercises, such as pushups or squats, are great for strength training." Aim for at least two days a week of muscle-strengthening exercises, plus 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity.
Myth: Drink water to hydrate dry skin
Reality: Every organ and system in your body needs water — it helps regulate body temperature and flush out toxins, it aids in digestion and carries nutrients to your cells. Your skin is no exception, says Andrew Ordon, plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Its cells depend on water to function efficiently and repair damage. And while it's true that the outermost layer of your skin may feel rough if it doesn't contain enough water, there's no science to prove that drinking extra water can make dry skin supple, according to the Mayo Clinic. To keep your skin hydrated, limit your time in hot or chlorinated water, use gentle cleansers instead of soap or products that contain alcohol, and moisturize as soon as you get out of the shower or bath to help trap water in your skin.
Myth: Pluck one gray hair, seven more will grow
Reality: Or maybe your friend told you it was 10 that come back? Or perhaps just two? No matter the number, it's simply not true. What happens in one hair follicle stays in that follicle, without influencing surrounding strands. Hair color is determined by a pigment called melanin; as you age, less melanin is produced, so your hair turns gray. When pigment cells in the follicle surrounding the hair die, hair goes white. If you pull any of your newly lighter strands, a new one of the same hue will grow back in the same place. Cutting a renegade gray is better than yanking it out, which may traumatize the follicle. And nothing can stop or slow the rate at which you gray — that's determined by your genes.
Myth: Moisturizing prevents wrinkles
Reality: As your skin becomes drier and less elastic with age, wrinkles become more visible. Moisturizers can help by trapping water and oil already on the skin, which temporarily plumps cells and masks the tiny lines and creases. But moisturizers don't penetrate into the deeper layers, and they can't stop wrinkles from forming.
Factors beyond genetics can speed up the process — from too much UV exposure to smoking and even poor diet. Prescription retinoids can help smooth fine lines (but may irritate your skin). You can ask your doctor about laser treatments and other techniques. And keep an eye out for at-home light-therapy devices, Ordon says.
Myth: Expensive skin care products work better
Reality: That cream you bought at the spa may cost more, but it doesn't mean it's any more effective than what's available at the drugstore. The formulation and concentration of active ingredients are what make the difference, not the price tag. On the other hand, prescription products likely have a higher concentration of the active agents (and should be used with a doctor's supervision), Ordon says. Everyone's skin is different — you have to find what gives you the best results, with no adverse side effects, Ordon adds.
Myth: Calcium supplements are needed for strong bones
Reality: Your body needs calcium (and vitamin D) to maintain healthy bones. Food is the best source of calcium, and you should aim to get it from your diet first. Low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese are the best sources. Green vegetables such as kale and broccoli contain smaller amounts. Vitamin D is naturally available in only a few foods, including fatty fish; it's also added to milk and to some other products.
Myth: Crossing your legs gives you varicose veins
Reality: If only it were that simple. Unfortunately, the formation of varicose veins is pretty much out of your control: Those gnarled, enlarged, dark purple veins often found on your legs and feet are the work of weakened valves and for some women, hormonal changes.
When veins are functioning properly, they return blood from your body to your heart to be recirculated. The veins in your legs work against gravity, so tiny valves open as blood flows up toward the heart, then close to stop the blood from flowing backwards, according to the Mayo Clinic. As you age, veins lose elasticity and valves may weaken, so blood flows backwards and pools, and your veins enlarge and become varicose. Female hormones also tend to relax vein walls; family history and obesity contribute as well. Some experts consider standing in the same position for long periods of time as a potential risk factor (because blood doesn't flow as well). But crossing your legs is not an issue.
BY KATHRYN DOYLE
NEW YORK Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:52pm EST
CREDIT: REUTERS/RUBEN SPRICH
(Reuters Health) - A generally active life, even without regular exercise sessions, was tied to better heart health and greater longevity in a study of older Swedes.
Based on nearly 3,900 men and women over age 60 in Stockholm, the study adds to evidence suggesting that just sitting around may be actively harmful, researchers say.
"We have known for 60 years that physical activity is important for the heart," said lead author Elin Ekblom-Bak, of the Åstrand Laboratory of Work Physiology of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm.
But until recently the research has mainly focused on exercise and has "forgotten" about the background activity that we do during daily life, she told Reuters Health.
Whether someone exercises vigorously or not, it still usually only takes up a small fraction of the day. That leaves the rest of the time for either sitting still or engaging in non-exercise activities, like home repairs, lawn care and gardening, car maintenance, hunting or fishing
For older people, who tend to exercise vigorously less than younger people, spending more time doing low-intensity activities like these could help cut down on sitting time, Ekblom-Bak and her colleagues write in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Between 1997 and 1999, more than 5,000 60-year-olds were invited to participate in the study, which began with a questionnaire about health history, lifestyle and daily activities, as well as medical tests and measurements.
At the study's outset, people who were more active on a daily basis, regardless of their exercise levels, tended to have smaller waists and healthier cholesterol levels.
The participants were followed for the next 12.5 years. During that time nearly 500 people had a first-time heart attack or stroke, and nearly 400 people died from any cause.
People who had reported high levels of daily non-exercise activity were less likely to suffer a heart-related event and less likely to die than those who were the least active.
For every 100 people reporting low activity levels who had a heart attack or stroke, for example, only 73 highly active people experienced such events. For every 100 of the least active who died, only 70 of the most active did.
"These are fascinating findings," said David Dunstan, of the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia
, "but not really surprising since other studies that have looked at this from a different angle - that is, describing the detrimental relationship between excessive sitting and mortality outcomes - are essentially showing the same thing but in reverse because there is such a high correlation between sitting time and nonexercise physical activity behaviors."
While sitting, muscles do not contract and blood flow decreases, which reduces the efficiency of many body processes, like absorbing glucose from the blood, said Dunstan, who studies heart health and exercise.
Non-exercise activity likely prevents the general slowing-down associated with sitting, he told Reuters Health.
"In addition to engaging in regular health enhancing exercise, people should be encouraged to also think what they do during the long periods in the day in which they are not exercising," he said in an email.
"Engaging in regular exercise is still important," Ekblom-Bak said. "We saw that those who exercised regularly and that also had a daily physically active life had the lowest risk profile of all."
Moderate-to-vigorous exercise helps strengthen the heart muscle and other body muscles, and may help regulate blood pressure more than general activity, Dunstan said.
But it is important for doctors and society in general to promote daily activity, not just exercise, she said.
"Human beings are designed to move," said Phillip B. Sparling, a professor of Applied Physiology and Health Behavior at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta who was not involved with the new study.
"Ideally, we should have a mix of all levels of activity," he said. "But, regardless of whether one exercises or not, the new message is to move more and sit less throughout the day."
British Journal of Sports Medicine, online October 28, 2013.
According to data from AARP's Healthy@Home 2.0 report
, 96 percent of seniors polled said that they want to continue living on their own for as long as possible.
One way seniors can remain independent and still have easy access around the clock to emergency assistance is a mobile Personal Emergency Response System (PERS), such as eResponder.
Mobile PERS like Alertcare America's eResponder enable seniors to talk to emergency care specialists 24/7 with the push of a button. eResponder has a built in microphone and speaker, and it works anywhere in the US with T-Mobile coverage. Seniors can feel confident moving around their homes and traveling around the US because access to help is always at their fingertips. So Long, Landlines: Saying ‘Hello’ to Independent Living
Alertcare America's eResponder does not require a landline phone connection, and it is fully self-contained with no base station needed. Other added benefits of eResponder include: 2-Way Voice System
Alertcare America's eResponder connects users with certified emergency care specialists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the event that a user has Alzheimer’s, wanders off, and/or doesn’t know where he or she is, the emergency care specialist can connect the user directly to 911 to utilize U-TDOA location technology to locate the user. Lengthy Battery Life
eResponder contains a rechargeable battery that can last as long as two months on a single charge! Lightweight and Shower-Safe
eResponder is compact and shower-safe, making it easy to bring with you wherever you go, including the shower. eResponder is a very small, lightweight, and comfortable-to-wear mobile personal emergency response system which enables users to break free from landline-based systems that work in and around the home. Simple to use, compact, and shower-safe, the Alertcare America's eResponder features 2-way voice communication and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 2 months on a single charge. eResponder allows seniors to live independently while having fast access to emergency care specialists anywhere in the US where there is T-Mobile cellular coverage. Specialists can send emergency personnel or loved ones to the user, depending on what is needed. If users need to be located, emergency care specialists can connect them to 911 to utilize U-TDOA location technology. Seniors now have the ability to get help anytime at the press of a button, at home and away from home.
Kale has many great benefits and is recognized as a nutrient rich food source. It's a high fiber, zero fat, iron rich, antioxidant that also has incredible anti-inflammatory properties.
A creative and tasty way to enjoy kale is by making a shake. I like to use the Nutribullet with kale as my base (about 1 cup). Broccoli is another great addition to a kale shake, but is optional depending on your preference. The next key ingredient is a good protein powder that does not contain processed sugar. The Whole Foods 360 brand, vanilla flavored whey protein is a favorite. I'll typically add 2 scoops. Next, add fresh or frozen berries to give your shake natural sweetness along with anti-oxidant benefits. For a liquid source, almond milk is a great choice.
You can get as creative as you want by using use fresh nuts, flax, hemp seed, goji berries or any super-food that you desire. Have fun with it, make it work for you and enjoy.
For more information on the benefits of kale, check out this link:http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html
Director, Alertcare America
How do we determine well being for us and our loved ones. Each person has their own story and I'm a firm believer that we don't always realize what the person next to us has gone through. The term well being can be different among individuals because each story is unique and to be appreciated.
Take a moment to reflect on your loved ones and those around you. Reflect on the goodness that they contribute to your life or the hope that you have for them as they face a life challenge.
At Alertcare America, we realize that our core is much more than having great products and solutions. Our core is serving others and our communities. We hope to spread that passion.
Our team is filled with individuals that have a story. Whether it's from a stroke, heart surgery, lupus, autism, a loved one suddenly getting lost while taking a walk because of dementia or a near tragic fall. We get it. These are our real life experiences at Alertcare America.
Feb 13 2014
WOMAN FOUND ON KITCHEN FLOOR CONVULSING WHILE ATTEMPTING TO CALL FOR HELP
SARASOTA, FL – Lois was lying on the kitchen floor. She was dizzy from dry heaving. When she had finally decided to press her button for help, she began convulsing. AlertcareAmerica team member Kellie came over the line asking Lois if she needed help… no response. Lois couldn’t speak. After attempting a few times to reach Lois, ACA team member Kellie said "help is on the way!” and disconnected. At once Kellie dispatched emergency services to the home.
Upon arrival EMS were able to easily enter the home with the information Kellie had given them. They quickly located Lois and began to assess her condition.
"I can’t imagine what could have happened to my mother had she not been able to call for help with your device” Susan, Lois’ daughter commented.
EMS transported her to the hospital. Once there, doctors were able to calm her symptoms.
Susan later told ACA that the doctor’s finally figured out what was wrong with Lois and prescribed her the medication she needs to combat her illness.
We thank AG team member Kellie for her strict adherence to Alertcare America’s procedures. We extend our gratitude to the PERS dealer who installed this system, giving Susan and many others like her, the comfort of knowing that their loved ones are always watched over.
"Care-giving for your loved ones can take up your entire life if you don’t have something as special as your device” Susan told ACA. "When she first got the device, she was skeptical. Now she never takes it off!” she continued.
We express gratitude for the ACA team and their dedicated and constant endeavor to protect the lives and properties of their customers.