My mother always said that before you can love anyone else, you must love yourself and take care of yourself. One of the best ways to love yourself…is to take care of yourself. That can be hard to do if you are always trying to take care of everyone else. February is American Heart Health Month, which makes it a perfect time for us to hard look at our heart health. Seniors are at a particular risk when it comes to heart issues. A staggering 84 percent of seniors over the age of 65 die from heart disease. Here are the warning signs and steps to take towards better heart health according to everdayhealth.com.
The warning signs of heart disease often don’t appear until you’re having a heart attack. Symptoms of an emergency or impending heart attack may include:
Weakness or a sensation of light-headedness
Having a hard time catching your breath
Feeling nauseous or vomiting
Feeling very full or having indigestion
Pain in the chest or an uncomfortable pressure in the chest
Unusual pains in the back, shoulders, or neck
An irregular heartbeat
Steps to Take
You can keep your heart healthy no matter how old you are, but it does take effort — possibly even changes in your everyday habits, such as eating a heart-healthy diet and increasing your activity level. Here’s how to get started:
Get enough exercise This means at least 30 minutes of exercise almost every day of the week.
Quit smoking If you do smoke, it’s not worth the risk.
Eat a heart-healthy diet Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables while limiting saturated fats, salt, and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty meats.
Watch your numbers Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, and make sure they’re under control with medication.
Reduce your alcohol intake Excess alcohol consumption can worsen health conditions that contribute to heart disease, like blood pressure, arrhythmias, and high cholesterol levels.
Minimize stress in your life Stress can compound many heart disease risks that seniors already face, steering you toward an unhealthy lifestyle. Find healthy outlets to relieve stress and lower your heart disease risk.
Watch your weight Too many pounds can add up to increased heart disease risk. To help prevent heart disease, maintain a healthy body weight for your size.
You can also find more heart health information on the website millionhearts.hhs.gov. They even have a heart age calculator that can be a real eye opener. There is no better time than right now to focus on your heart health. If you have concerns talk to your doctor. Take time to take care of you.
Ah yes, we are now possibly tearing open the wrappers of many a piece of candy and finishing off those sugary treats as we enter November and the month of the Thanksgiving Feast! Perhaps that is why November is considered National Diabetes Month. This observance was created so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. The American Diabetes Association reports that “half of all Americans age 65 or older have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. An estimated 11.2 million (nearly 26 percent) Americans over age 65 have already been diagnosed with diabetes, a figure that will continue to increase if we do not act to prevent diabetes in this population.”
There are many things the “experts” tell us to do to get to and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes: Choose healthy foods, make healthy meals, be active 30 minutes a day. But where should you start? It’s can be overwhelming. And it can be even harder if you have a lot of changes you want to make.
It’s easier to make lifestyle changes one step at a time. Think of each small step as one piece of your effort to change your habits. Making changes one step at a time gives you the best chance to reach and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that making just a few small changes can make a big impact on your weight and health. Learn how to make these changes step-by-step.
Things that you want to consider are:
Weight: Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol.
Diet:Always ask your healthcare provider about healthy eating plans and what you can and can’t have in your diet. Each person is different and industry standards have changed.
You may want to check with your health care provider or dentist if you find chewing difficult, don’t want to eat, or have trouble with your dentures.
You feel that life events such as the death of a loved one or moving from your home are keeping you from eating well.
You think your medicines may be making your food taste bad or affecting your appetite.
You think you should take a daily vitamin like iron or vitamin C.
Exercise: Physical activity can do a lot for your health, even if you haven’t been very active lately. Take a walk, do chair aerobics, just get up and move if you can! As with all health changes, discuss your exercise plan with your primary care physician.
It’s been about four years since I had my shoulder surgery. It was by far not my first surgery, but it was the first procedure that I recall having intensive physical therapy. Now granted, I’m in my 40s, but I truly believe that the success that I experienced with my shoulder recovery was due largely in part to my “buy in” to doing physical therapy. October is National Physical Therapy Month. Physical therapy for the elderly can be such an important part of the healing process as well as a factor in continued health.
The following is helpful information for seniors and the advantages of physical therapy interventions per medicine.jrank.org:
Physical therapy has an important role in healthcare delivery and relates to maximizing function, preventing decline, decreasing pain, and treating physical illnesses. For elderly individuals, who often have decreased physical reserve, any medical illness or injury can lead to decline. Inactivity and bedrest, a common consequence of illness or injury, contributes to and intensifies muscle weakness, causing deterioration in walking and loss of function.
Illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, fracture, or stroke, can affect walking and balance directly. Chronic diseases, such as arthritis, may cause pain or restriction of movement. Exercise, activity, and other physical therapy interventions can, therefore, have a profound effect on overall health, restoring an individual’s ability to perform the daily activities required to live independently in the community.
The physical therapist typically works closely with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, physicians, social workers, and occupational therapists, to refine both diagnosis and treatment. This interdisciplinary approach allows for the integration of all domains of health to more fully address the needs of the elderly.
If you or someone you know can benefit from physical therapy for strength and healing contact your primary care physician to see what options may be best for you.
While strumming his guitar my Dad once told me that when it came to singing or playing an instrument that you must use it or lose it. That’s crazy I thought. I mean if you have an ability, you have an ability… right? WRONG! Try singing after not having done it in a few years and you might be shocked at the quality or tone that you produce. It’s not pretty, trust me. Just in the way that you must utilize a talent to keep it going, you also must work your brain to keep it healthy.
According to John E. Morley, MD, director of St. Louis University’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and author of The Science of Staying Young, “simple games like Sudoku and word games are good, as well as comic strips where you find things that are different from one picture to the next,”In addition to word games, there are other brain stimulating activities.
Socialization to improve the brain situation! According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies show that seniors who regularly participate in social interactions can retain their brain health. So keep connected with others. For those friends and family that live far away, correspondence by e-mail or social media or even writing letters can keep you connected. Don’t stay holed up in your house alone. This is not healthy for you on multiple levels including your brain.
Keep Moving! A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that, among seniors, “moderate physical activity is associated with a reduced incidence of cognitive impairment after 2 years.” Simply taking a walk or doing chair exercise is a great way to get that heart pumping and keep the blood flowing to the brain.
Lay Your Cards on the Table Playing games with others is another way to maintain and increase brain health. Regularly playing board or card games, or engaging in other intellectually stimulating games with others helps keep your mind active.
The vitality of your brain is the superhighway to your overall health. There are also many brain healthy foods that physicians recommend. Check out the following list from healthable.org for a list of Foods to Keep Your Brain Fit!
After all the fun and festivities that the holidays bring, it is commonplace for most to begin thinking of making changes to begin a new year. New Year Resolutions are a good thing for folks of all ages. Making resolutions regardless of our age, creates a sense of purpose for all of us. It helps us to focus on the things that are the most important. Seniors can especially benefit from this if resolutions are made to prevent illness and injury. Making resolutions such as participating in a new physical activity, developing a new exercise routine, or eating better are all good goals for seniors. But what is the best way to do this and succeed?
Write it Down
Writing down your resolution is only half the battle! Chart it and not only document your defeats, but celebrate your victories! According to a study by the University of Scranton research shows that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Writing it down puts it in black and white and gives a sense of accountability. Trying to lose weight or exercise more? Writing it down or having someone chart it for you will help you track your success.
Keep it Simple
Now most of us have heard of the KISS system. You know, Keep It Simple Stupid! Now while this may sound ridiculous, it is rather ingenious. If you have a simple and small goal that you want to achieve….and you have written it down…well, then it is more likely to stick with you! According to psychologist Lynn Bufka, “it’s more sensible to set simple small attainable goals, rather than a singular overwhelming goal”. A resolution to lose weight is a bit more daunting than to just cut out soft drinks. It’s less restrictive and much more clear cut. So, pick something small to change and work on that.
Give Yourself a Break
If you do have a slip up, don’t give up! Remember that you are only human. Have you been dieting and feel like you could eat your weight in chocolate?? Well…don’t do that and try to A-V-O-I-D feeling deprived. Eat a small piece of chocolate. Have a cheat day. Are you trying to exercise more? Start slowly. Don’t feel like you must exercise every day if this is new to you. Maybe your target is walking two or three times a week to start with.
Set yourself up for success and keep your goals realistic.
By taking small steps, making your goals clear and realistic you stand a better chance of making 2017 your best year yet. You also want to check with your physician first before making any changes to your diet and exercise plan. If you feel like Assisted Living is a goal for you or a loved one this year, reach out to us today. Our staff is trained to help our residents with the activities of their daily life. We would love to welcome you home to a Great Oaks Management Property in 2017.