20 Signs Your Parent Might Need Home Care

For most people, knowing when it’s time to think about hiring home care for an aging parent is a painful thought. In most cases, our parents age slowly, going from the joyful, attentive caregivers we’ve enjoyed all our lives to distracted, forgetful people we don’t fully understand.
Maybe you’ve noticed that your mom has begun to tell you the same stories over and over again, or that your dad frequently leaves the stove on. Maybe you have a parent who’s started to get lost, or who is having a hard time dressing, eating, or cooking on their own.

Whatever the case may be, watching your parents age can be difficult, and worrying about their care be gut-wrenching. Unfortunately, it’s critical to face these realities to ensure that your parent is getting the care he or she needs to age gracefully, with dignity, and with support, and recognizing the signs that indicate your parent needs in-home care is the first step.

20 Reliable Signs That Your Parent Needs In-Home Care

No matter how old your parent may be, or whether he or she has been ill up until this point, these 20 signs are a sure-fire indicator that the time to hire in-home care has arrived.

1. Your Parent Has Begun To Miss Meetings, Appointments, And Obligations

Forgetfulness is a dangerous sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and parents who have started to miss important social events may be exhibiting the early signs of memory loss. Even if your parent’s memory is still sharp as a tack, missing scheduled appointments can indicate embarrassment about a difficulty or inability to get dressed, or challenges driving, navigating public transit, or walking, all of which indicate a need for additional support.

2. Difficulty Standing on His or Her Own

If you’ve noticed that your parent is having a hard time standing up out of his or her favorite chair, it’s time to hire in-home help. While this may seem like a small symptom that can be attributed to arthritis or stiff joints, it’s important to remember that, without help, your parent could easily be stuck for hours or days if they can’t get up on their own.

3. Bruising or Wounds on Your Parent’s Body

When seniors start to have trouble walking, dressing, or cleaning on their own, it tends to show up as unexplained bruises or wounds on the person’s body. Evidence of falls, slips, or accidents in the home, these unexplained injuries can be alarming to family members.

Although your parent may play them off as nothing, it’s your job to know that any parent who is being injured in his or her own home needs some level of in-home care and assistance.

4. Poor Home or Personal Hygiene

Maybe you notice that the trash hasn’t been taken out in days or that your mom’s refrigerator is full of rotting, spoiled food. Perhaps you’ve begun to notice that your father isn’t showering or shaving anymore.

While symptoms like this may seem like simple forgetfulness, it’s important to remember that rotten food in the refrigerator may indicate that your parent isn’t eating and that poor personal hygiene can put your parent at risk of infections and other unpleasant symptoms.

5. Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s. When a parent starts forgetting critical things, like whether or not they’ve taken vital medication or how to turn off the stove, the condition can quickly become dangerous.

6. Confusion

Parents who get lost, frustrated, or angry are displaying confusion. An early sign of Alzheimer’s and dementia, this symptom warrants home care and additional assistance.

7. Evidence of Bathroom Accidents

Soiled pants or underwear, messed bathrooms, and an unpleasant body odor are all signs that your parent is having difficulty using the bathroom on his or her own, and needs compassionate assistance to maintain their dignity and quality of life.

8. Decline in Housekeeping

If your mom has always kept a neat home, but now the sink is piled high with dishes, and the unopened mail is spilling throughout the entryway, she’s likely having trouble managing her housework, and could use additional assistance.

9. Signs of Financial Trouble

Financial trouble is one thing that frequently befalls seniors without their friends and family noticing. If your parent has begun to bounce checks or get many late payment notices, forgetfulness may be playing a part in making the finances harder to manage.

10. Seclusion

Seclusion is a dangerous thing for seniors. In addition to increasing a senior’s risk of mortality, isolation can have a negative impact on a senior’s health and contribute to the development of dementia and cognitive decline. If your elderly parent has begun to isolate him or herself, hiring in-home help can prevent the situation from worsening.

11. Weight Loss Or Gain

Extreme and sudden weight loss or gain can be a sign that your parent is having trouble feeding him or herself, forgetting whether they’ve eaten, or eating for emotional comfort.

12. Extreme Moodiness

Severe mood swings or moodiness can be a sign that your parent is suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or depression. Hiring an in-home caregiver can ensure that your parent has someone around to monitor the symptoms, and sound the alarm if they get worse or change drastically.

13. Car Accidents

For seniors, losing their right to drive can be a devastating occurrence. Unfortunately, many seniors continue to drive past the point where it’s medically advisable, and they put themselves and others at risk as a result. If you notice dents or scratches in your parent’s care, he or she may need additional assistance to ensure their safety and well-being.

14. Poor Medication Management

According to MdMag, most older adults in the U.S. fill between 9-13 prescriptions on an annual basis. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that these medications can become difficult or impossible to manage as age and forgetfulness set in. Fortunately, an in-home caregiver can help seniors manage their medication correctly, and ensure that they’re not duplicating doses or taking the improper amount of any given medication.

15. Depression

It’s not uncommon for seniors to suffer from depression as they age, especially when their spouse has passed away, and they’re alone. In these cases, an in-home caregiver can help by providing companionship and support.

16. Wandering

If your parent has begun to wander out of the house and get lost, in-home help is critical, both for the senior’s safety and your peace of mind.

17. Boredom

In some cases, in-home assistance can help elderly parents who are just bored and in need of more consistent companionship. In addition to performing household duties, in-home caregivers can also play games with seniors, accompany them to social events and appointments, and help them learn new things.

18. Difficulty With Mobility

It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience difficulty with mobility as they age, and an in-home caregiver can make it easier for your parent to get around and maintain his or her freedom.

19. Dangerous Behavior

If your parent has begun to exhibit dangerous behavior or suicidal tendencies, hiring in-home help can give them the support they need to be happier and more fulfilled.

20. Poor Personal Care

Personal care is critical not only for your parent’s well-being but also for their outlook and sense of self-worth. With this in mind, hiring an in-home caregiver to help your parent uphold their personal care routine can be critical. 

In-Home Care: The First Step to the Rest of Your Parent’s Life

While the decision to hire in-home care for an aging parent can be difficult, taking the first step is typically the smartest way to ensure your parent ages gracefully, with all the care, support, and assistance he or she needs to be happy and healthy throughout.

10 Lifestyle Choices To Promote A Healthy Heart

February is American Heart Month, and anyone who has been close to someone with heart disease knows exactly how important it is to keep your heart healthy and functioning well. While many people think it’s tough to keep a heart in great shape, the fact is that there are dozens of simple lifestyle choices that can promote a healthy heart and keep your ticker beating strong and sure for years to come.

10 Proactive Steps to Support Heart Health

Whether there’s a history of heart disease in your family, or you simply want to live a healthier, longer life, these ten simple lifestyle tips are ideal for supporting cardiovascular health and overall wellness.

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Diet has far-reaching implications for all aspects of health. From supporting a healthy weight to decreasing the risk of diabetes and cancer, excellent nutrition can make you look and feel better. But did you know it can also help support a healthy heart?

According to the American Heart Association, a healthy diet is one of the best weapons in the fight against heart disease. Per their recommendations, people who want to eat for a healthier heart should start focusing on eating more leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Low-fat dairy products and skinless fish and poultry are also recommended. 

2. Get Active

Regular exercise is nearly as critical as diet when it comes to creating a heart-healthy lifestyle. In addition to promoting circulation and increasing the strength of the heart muscle, regular activity can help lower cholesterol, keep body weight in check, and support a happier and healthier outlook on life. As if that weren’t enough, regular activity can also lower your risk of dying from or being affected by heart disease.

For best results, develop an aerobic exercise routine that includes activities like walking, running, swimming, biking, or interval training. Each of these exercises promotes optimal heart health and keeps you feeling great. 

3. Lose Some Weight

Losing weight changes your body’s balance of calories consumed to calories expended. If you lose a bit of weight, it helps your body function better and reduces strain on your heart. The American Heart Association reports that bodies in a healthy weight range circulate blood more efficiently, have an easier time managing fluid levels, and are less at risk for conditions like cancer, diabetes, sleep apnea, and, yes, heart disease. While eating well and exercising regularly will help you lose weight, it’s also wise to talk with your doctor to develop a unique weight loss plan that is healthy and sustainable for you.

4. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

While it’s true that very moderate amounts of alcohol can have heart protective benefits, going overboard can have disastrous effects. To ensure that the alcohol you’re consuming helps rather than hurts your heart health, follow these guidelines:

  • Limit Your Alcohol IntakeEverydayHealth.com says that heart-healthy drinking is incredibly moderate. While a 5 oz. glass of wine with dinner or a 12 oz. beer can give your heart a bit of a boost, going over more than one drink a day will have opposite effects.
  • Stay Away From Sugary Drinks. In addition to packing excess calories, sugary drinks like cocktails made with syrup or blended margaritas can spike your blood sugar and wear down your teeth. Stick to beer, wine, or mixed spirits instead.

5. Stop Smoking

If you smoke, now is the time to stop. If you don’t smoke, be careful never to start. Smoking is one of the most damaging things you can do for your heart, and the effects are notoriously difficult to reverse. According to recent statistics, smoking is the cause of more than 440,000 cases of premature death annually. In addition to putting people at risk of developing heart disease, smoking also increases the risk of cancer and lung problems.

If you are a smoker and you need help quitting, visit the American Lung Association website for resources, or go to quit.com for additional support.

6. Keep Your Blood Pressure in a Healthy Range

While you can take blood pressure medication if you have chronically high blood pressure, it’s possible to keep it within normal ranges without medication, for many people. Many of the things that contribute to overall heart health will help with this, such as losing weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. While high blood pressure affects 1 out of four American adults, it’s a major risk factor for heart disease, and should be treated accordingly.

7. Stress Less

Stress is one of those things that can have a disastrous effect on virtually all aspects of your health – from destroying your happiness and mental wellbeing to putting you at increased risk of heart disease, depression, and anxiety. To keep your heart healthy and strong, it’s critical to limit the stressors in your life. While researchers aren’t currently certain that stress causes heart disease, the correlation between stress and heart disease is clear – especially since excess stress often leads people to behave in ways that do cause heart disease, like overindulging in alcohol or smoking.

To lower your stress levels, establish a daily mindfulness practice or pick up a new hobby. Activity is also an excellent stress-management tool, as is maintaining healthy social relationships. Effective stress management allows you to take a break from the stressors that cause you anxiety, and focus on positive, healthy habits instead. Keep in mind that chronic stress or stress that is giving way to anxiety or depression may require an appointment with a doctor.

9. Start Laughing

They say laughter is the best medicine, and it’s true when it comes to your heart. When you laugh, it massages your heart’s endothelium, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack. Laughter also increases blood flow and helps to manage blood pressure levels. Fortunately, laughing more is much easier than starting a diet or exercise regimen!

To keep your heart healthy and the corners of your mouth turned up, be sure to make time for meetings with treasured friends and family that make you smile. You might also choose to see a comedy show or watch a favorite movie. The more you laugh – the more your heart will thank you! 

10. See Your Doctor Regularly

In addition to living a healthy lifestyle, seeing your doctor on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do to keep your heart strong and catch any warning signs as they pop up. Remember that doctor visits typically become more frequent as you age, so be sure that you’ve found a great primary care physician that you’re happy sticking with.

A Healthier Heart Starts Here


In celebration of American Heart Month, people from all backgrounds and walks of life are pledging to take the first steps to lead happier, healthier lives – and now you can, too! With these ten tips, it’s easy to support heart health and enjoy a trimmer, more active lifestyle in the process.




How You Can Get Paid Taking Care Of Your Loved Ones

While many people want to care for their loved ones when they need it, financial concerns often get in the way. Depending on a loved one’s required levels of care, it can quickly become a full-time job that limits a caregiver’s ability to work and care for their other family members.

According to AARP, there are more than 40 million unpaid family caregivers in the country, all of whom dedicate a significant portion of their time, energy, effort, and personal resources to caring for their ill or ailing loved ones. In fact, each caregiver spends an average of $6,954 each year on the out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving. This represents 20% of the average caregiver’s annual income.  Long-distance caregivers spend even more: $11,923.

It goes without saying that this is a huge portion of a caregiver’s income and that dedicating that much unpaid care to family members can easily create lots of hardship in a caregiver’s life. Fortunately, things are beginning to change.

Thanks to a recent push by the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, it’s now possible for caregivers to get paid for taking care of their loved ones. While there will undoubtedly still be thousands of unpaid caregivers working tirelessly to care for their family members, CDPAP represents a ray of hope that can make this noble effort easier and more accessible for thousands more.

What is CDPAP?

CDPAP is a New York-based care program that allows Medicaid-eligible patients to take control of their in-home care. Under CDPAP, qualifying patients have the power to hire, monitor, and let go of their home caregivers, rather than trusting an outside agency to manage the effort for them. This allows elderly or ill patients to select a caregiver with whom they’re comfortable, and make their own decisions about their in-home care.

How CDAP Allows Family Members to Be Paid for In-Home Care

One of the most unique aspects of CDPAP is that it allows home care patients to hire people who already care for them, such as a loved one, sibling, child, friend, relative, previous aide, or neighbor. 

This is critical on two levels. On the one hand, this flexibility allows the patient to take a real stand in his or her care, and select the person he or she feels most comfortable and at ease with. This is worlds different than traditional care programs, which match patients with caregivers without much thought to the patient’s preferences or comfort. 

Beyond that, however, CDPAP is also a virtual miracle for the thousands of unpaid family caregivers who provide a collective $470 billion in unpaid care annually. When these caregivers work out arrangements with their loved ones, they can be paid under CDPAP, thus limiting the financial burden they must take on to provide care, and making caregiving more realistic and feasible for caregivers who also have family or other dependents. 

How the CDPAP Process Works

For families who want to access paid, in-home care, under New York’s CDPAP, these are the steps you’ll need to follow: 

1. Check With Your Medicaid Provider 

The first step is to ask your Medicaid provider about your eligibility for CDPAP. Different plans cover different numbers of paid care hours each week and knowing where your program stands will give you the foundational information you need to arrange your in-home care accordingly. You can also reach out to agencies like CDPAdirect which provide services ranging from free consultations all the way to getting both the caregiver and patient signed up.

2. Select Your In-Home Care Provider 

Next comes the portion of CDPAP where you appoint your in-home care assistant. Again, because CDPAP allows this person to be a friend, family member, or neighbor, you can designate a family caregiver if that’s who’s already been providing your care, or if that’s who you would feel most comfortable receiving care from.

If you’re interested in hiring someone who doesn’t have any previous experience with in-home care, CDPAP will work with you to design a plan to train, monitor, and retain quality in-home care with the person of your choice. Remember that you’re always in control of your care under CDPAP, so you can make changes to your aide, shift schedules, and alter your care as you see fit. 

3. Enjoy Quality Care 

Once you’ve designated your in-home care assistant, CDPAP will set you up with the tools, systems, and functions you need to create a symbiotic home care relationship. From helping you manage payroll (and enrolling the caregiver in the CDPAP payroll system) to helping you provide training when and where it’s necessary, CDPAP works with your Medicaid provider to create a caring environment that’s financially stable for your care assistant, and comfortable for you. 

Finding Out More About CDPAP

If you’d like to learn more about CDPAP, visit www.cdpapdirect.com. They will assist you with any questions you may have about your specific case, and whether or not you qualify for CDPAP. By calling the number or filling out the form you’ll be able to speak to a CDPAP specialist to help you get started.

Whatever you choose to do, learning more about CDPAP is the first step in receiving quality care, and ensuring your hardworking family caregiver is compensated properly for it. 

CDPAP: A Ray of Hope for Family Caregivers and Their Loved Ones 

Family caregivers are some of the hardest-working individuals under the sun. Frequently saddled with the stressors of financial hardship, the pain of watching a loved one become ill, and the time and resource constraints of caring for their own families as well, these compassionate people do their share (and then some) to care for the people around them.

Fortunately, the Consumer Directed Personal Care Assistance Program is out to change that. By providing payment for people who care for Medicaid-eligible seniors in their homes, CDPAP makes in-home care easier and more accessible for family caregivers, and safer, more enjoyable, and more comfortable for patients from all walks of life.

Learn more about CDPAP today, and find out if it can make your in-home caregiving more sustainable for everyone involved.


12 Tips to Help Protect Seniors from Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S.

Right now, more than 15 million U.S. residents have their identities stolen each year, with losses exceeding a total of $50 billion annually.

While it’s true that identity theft can (And does) affect anyone, seniors are at increased risk. Today, senior identity theft is growing rapidly, and people ages 50 or older are frequently the target of scams and fraudulent activity.

While various factors make seniors especially vulnerable to identity theft, deceased spouses, dementia and cognitive decline, a failure to check credit reports regularly, and often substantial saving or checking account balance are some of the primary draws for identity thieves.

Luckily, there are many ways that friends and loved ones can help protect seniors from the burden of identity theft.

Read on to learn more.

Why are Seniors Vulnerable to Identity Theft? 

While many factors influence seniors’ vulnerability to identity theft, including the ones mentioned above, the issue is complex and multi-faceted. Even seniors who aren’t affected by dementia or cognitive decline are frequently the target of identity theft, but why?

On one hand, the answer may be generational. As a general rule, seniors grew up during a period when people were quick to trust one another, and credit card and banking scams were not as prevalent as they are today.

Alternately, seniors are often concerned about not seeming dependent or overly needy, so they may not ask for help or verification from a friend or family member when something seems fishy, or when they receive an odd phone call asking for personal information.

Finally, seniors may be at increased risk of identity theft because the human brain changes with age. According to a 2012 study conducted by psychologists at UCLA, senior citizens quite literally process risk differently than their younger companions. When presented with mildly risky or dangerous situations, the older people in the study displayed less activity in the portions of the brain responsible for responding to danger, which suggests that they may not recognize or respond to risk the same way as their younger counterparts. 

To help protect seniors from identity theft, it’s critical to understand the various factors that place them at increased risk.

12 Ways to Help Protect Seniors from Identity Theft


1. Find trustworthy caregivers

While it may sound shocking, some of the main culprits in senior identity theft are the senior’s caregivers. Because these people have access to the senior’s personal documentation, credit cards, and checking account numbers, it’s easy for an unsavory caregiver to create fake accounts in the senior’s name or wreak havoc on checking and savings account balances.

With this in mind, vet all caregivers thoroughly and consider conducting background searches and checking references. While this may seem paranoid, it’s the first (and arguably most critical) step in ensuring a senior’s identity remains safe and sound.

2. Help the senior be aware of common scams

It’s reasonable for a senior to get excited about a phone call or email stating they’ve won a million dollars and, if nobody bothers to tell them about common scams and frauds, it may not occur to the senior that these types of interactions aren’t legitimate. With this in mind, seek to be informed about common frauds and scams and pass the information along to the senior citizen.

The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force operates a website called StopFraud.gov, which offers a wealth of information on common scams and how you can protect yourself and others. Check it regularly and keep your senior informed of what you learn. Better yet, turn the senior him or herself onto the website and have them check it frequently.

3. Monitor a senior’s financial activity

One of the most efficient ways to keep a senior out of identity theft troubles is to monitor their financial activity carefully. Since many common scams come in the form of credit card or email scams, monitoring credit card and bank statements can be a useful way to catch fraudulent activity before it blows up.

4. Check in often

While it may seem nosy, checking in often can help keep seniors safe from identity theft. Don’t hesitate to ask your senior friend or relative if they’ve received any suspicious calls or emails lately. While some seniors may get frustrated by these questions (believing they couldn’t possibly be the victims of identity theft), it’s worth it to ask.

While it may cause a small tiff, the tough conversation is ultimately worth it if it protects the senior from financial or personal hardship. Soften the conversation by reminding the senior that identity scammers are excellent at what they do and that the scams may not even seem like scams.

5. Enroll the senior in identity theft protection

There are various credit monitoring services designed to monitor personal and financial information for any red flags. Plans are affordable and can be a crucial tool in the ongoing battle for keeping seniors out of the clutches of identity theft.

6. Shred unneeded personal documents

Old personal documents that contain sensitive information like the senior’s birth date, social security numbers or banking information should be shredded or burned. This prevents them from falling into the wrong hands (in many cities and states, it’s common for identity thieves to comb through trash on public streets in search of such documents) and causing havoc.

7. Verify the validity of any “Free” services gated with personal information

Seniors are often targeted by scammers offering free or highly discounted medical services in return for personal information. While these proposals may seem outstanding, they’re often fraudulent. If the senior in your life receives any such offer, check the company with the Better Business Bureau before proceeding.

8. Encourage the senior to check credit reports often

Since seniors are typically not applying for mortgages or other large loans, they may not check their credit reports as often as younger people. Unfortunately, this is how so much fraudulent activity goes unnoticed for so long.

To be on the safe side, encourage the senior to check his or her credit report at least once a year. This can help keep tabs on financial and personal information and ensure it’s not being used incorrectly.

9. Help the senior understand link scams

Many scammers masquerade as reputable companies and use fraudulent links to gain personal information. Help the senior understand how these scams work and how to stay safe: instead of supplying personal information via a questionable link, go directly to the company’s website and complete an application or sign-up process there.

10. Maintain open communication about phone scams

Many identity scams use callers pretending to be court representatives or medical establishments, claiming outstanding balances for past bills. Instead of giving personal information to these callers, help the senior understand the need to call the company directly instead, and resolve the issue there.

11. Consider hiring an attendant

In the grips of dementia or Alzheimer’s, many seniors begin to make risky financial decisions and become intensely vulnerable to scammers. If this is the case with your loved one, consider hiring a professional caregiver to keep the senior out of financial trouble and away from the clutches of scammers.

12. Get the senior a secure mailbox

With a traditional, street-side mailbox, it’s easy for anyone to steal a senior’s sensitive mail. To protect your loved one, opt for a secure mailbox option like a post office or locking box.

Senior Identity Theft Stops Here

Seniors are a vulnerable population when it comes to identity theft. Luckily, you can help your loved ones stay secure with these twelve helpful tips. In addition to protecting a senior’s personal and financial information, these steps also go a long way toward ensuring healthy, happy, secure golden years for the senior in your life.






13 Ways We Can All Counter the “Disadvantages” of Old Age

People have varying impressions of old age.

Some people believe that getting older is a beautiful thing and that it offers the perfect opportunity for people to spend quality time with their friends and loved ones. Some people, however, believe that aging is frightening and that people who are getting older lose their freedom and well-being in the process.

Whichever side of the aisle you find yourself on, it’s undeniable that there are disadvantages to aging, and many people dread it because of that. Luckily, there are several smart ways to combat those disadvantages and ensure that aging is as graceful and enjoyable as possible.

Read on to learn more.

13 Ways to Beat the “Disadvantages” of Getting Older

Aging, just like anything else, is a battle of mind over matter.

While it’s true that we can’t prevent certain chronic diseases by maintaining a positive outlook, it’s also true that we can make the process of aging much more enjoyable and civil by maintaining a sense of optimism. Whether you’re a senior interested in improving your quality of life, or a senior’s loved one who wants to help boost outlook and create a happier, healthier lifestyle for the person you love, here are thirteen smart ways to do it.

1. Seniors feel as if life is “passing them by.”


Seniors often feel that they have become irrelevant. In many cases, a senior’s spouse has died, and the person’s social relationships may have declined from what they used to be.

In these cases, it’s easy for older people to become depressed or to feel neglected and forgotten. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a given for all seniors.

Instead, it’s easy to combat this “disadvantage” by ensuring that seniors are included in family gatherings, social events, and community affairs. In addition to combatting feelings of loneliness, this also helps to encourage the development of new relationships and experiences.

2. Dating can be difficult


Encourage seniors to join like-minded groups, clubs, and organizations. While dating may look different at 70 than it did at 17, it’s far from impossible, and many seniors find that they sincerely enjoy dating at an older age.

3. Seniors often feel tired and worn out


While it’s normal for older adults to feel less energetic and outgoing than they used to, it’s not normal to expect to spend every waking moment of the day in seclusion because of it. Instead of feeling worn out all the time, seniors can boost their energy by engaging in exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of high-quality rest, and spending time with family and friends. If tiredness persists, a trip to the doctor may be in order, as certain supplements may help boost energy levels.

4. Exercise and activity can be trying or painful


To stay in optimal health, seniors need to stay active. Unfortunately, this often becomes more difficult with age. To keep joints, bones, and the cardiovascular system healthy and functional without becoming exhausted in the process, seniors need only to adjust their activity type and level.

For example, if a senior used to be a long-distance runner but finds that difficult, something like water aerobics, yoga, or swimming may be ideal. While many seniors assume that aging means the end of their active lives, it’s more typical that an adjustment is all that’s needed.

5. Seniors often have a difficult time feeling attractive


Aging means changes in the body and appearance, but seniors don’t have to feel self-conscious as a result.  

Many seniors find that visiting the salon or indulging in beauty or self-care rituals that they couldn’t justify when they were younger (such as facials, massages, or pedicures) are all wonderful ways to feel more attractive.

6. The senior may feel “out of whack” with the times


It’s common for seniors to be confused about Justin Bieber and The Kardashians. Luckily, it’s easy for seniors to feel more engaged and involved in either learning more about the pop culture of today or spending time with people who treasure the same eras and memories they do.

Seniors who have no interest in reading pop culture magazines will enjoy taking part in themed parties or getting together to rehash old memories with friends. 

7. Driving can become difficult or disallowed


One of the things seniors dread most about aging is the loss of certain freedoms, like driving. While it’s inevitable that some seniors will lose their driving privileges, this doesn’t have to mean the end of an ability to do things for oneself.

In fact, there are many ways for seniors who can’t drive to get around. In many cases, public transit may be a good option. In other situations, a senior may enjoy using a senior-specific shuttle that helps seniors run errands like shopping. In many cases, seniors even choose to enjoy a nice leisurely walk to their destination.

While the right answer will differ depending on a senior’s health and energy levels, getting older doesn’t have to mean a total loss of freedom. 

8. Being away from family can be lonely


One thing many seniors struggle with is being far away from family and friends. Luckily, regular phone calls, Skype sessions, and hand-written letters can help close even the largest physical gaps and ensure happy, close relationships between seniors and their families. 

9. Seniors are often bored in their day-to-day routines


Let’s be frank: getting older can be boring! Luckily, seniors can combat this boredom by signing up for an art course, auditing a class at the local university, volunteering, or learning new things. While old age presents many challenges,

it also offers a level of free time that allows seniors to take full advantage of opportunities and better themselves in dozens of ways.

10. It can be difficult to find clothing that a senior likes


Many seniors find that, as they age, their previous fashion tastes don’t work well with their lifestyles. Luckily, this is just a matter of adjustment. While seniors may not be able to wear the flared dresses or dapper suits they once favored, it’s easy to find clothing that a senior loves and feels comfortable in. A simple shopping trip might just be in order!

11. Seniors aren’t used to the fast pace of today’s world


Go slower. Seniors have a right to be somewhat alarmed by how quickly everything moves nowadays, and it can benefit them (And us) to slow down and be more intentional during our time with them. When we’re not rushing or hurrying, we have space and freedom to enjoy our interactions with the senior rather than racing through them.

12. Seniors often don’t feel well


Seniors who have conditions that can be treated with diet, exercise or medication will often feel better after receiving the proper care. While it’s unrealistic for many seniors to expect that they’ll feel as spry at 80 as they did at 20, there’s also no reason to assume that aging has to mean feeling poorly at all times.


13. Seniors have a difficult time adjusting to older age


Help the senior understand that every life stage is beautiful, and there are many things to love about aging. While many seniors have a difficult time facing getting older, accepting the realities of it and moving into the next phase gracefully make the entire process easier for seniors to bear.

The Disadvantages of Old Age, Turned Upside Down

While many people fear “the ravages of age,” it’s possible for seniors and caregivers to take a series of simple steps to make aging into a positive, upbeat, exciting process rather than a disappointing and frightening one. 


Having a Purpose in Life May Help Shield You from Dementia

As it stands today, the number of adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is projected to double by 2020.
The rise in Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline has led some health professionals to call the current prevalence of dementia the “Alzheimer’s epidemic.” In light of this, doctors, healthcare professionals, and individuals around the world have been working tirelessly for years to develop approaches that could slow or prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.

One of the few things that has shown promise, however, is far less scientific than you may think.

According to recent studies, having a sense of purpose or meaning in life has the potential to slow the effects of dementia and cognitive decline.

Read on to learn more.

The Rush University Medical Center Study

One of the leading studies on this topic came from Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center. Here, scientists have been conducting a long-term study on seniors (more than 1,500 of them) since 1997. For the purposes of this study, all seniors were not affected by dementia at the time the research began.

Throughout the course of the study, each participating senior was given a yearly check-up that assessed their physical, mental, and cognitive health and well-being. In addition, each senior was asked questions designed to measure his or her sense of purpose and meaning in life. Each question was graded on a scale of 1-5.

The people who scored the highest points on these questions were ranked as having a strong sense of purpose in life, while the people with low scores had a weak sense of purpose or no sense of purpose at all.

Over the study’s active years, 246 of the study’s more than 1,500 participants died, and their brains were evaluated for signs of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline – specifically the plaques and tangles that can so often create memory loss and cognitive difficulties.

Of the participants who died during the course of the study, the ones with a high sense of purpose were as likely to have evidence of physical brain changes as the participants with a low sense of purpose, although they scored much higher on tests that measured things like thinking and memory.

As a result, the study concluded that people who have a strong sense of purpose in life are generally better protected from the effects of Alzheimer’s than their purpose-less counterparts.

Keep in mind that, while developing a sense of purpose will not cure or guarantee the avoidance of Alzheimer’s, this research goes to show that the positive brain effects associated with having a sense of meaning in life may go a long way toward protecting the brain from memory loss and cognitive decline.

Why a Sense of Purpose Helps to Slow Alzheimer’s

While the studies suggesting that a sense of meaning in life can slow Alzheimer’s are promising, few people understand how, exactly, a sense of purpose does this. Here are a few of the current theories:

A sense of purpose improves “neural reserve.” 

Neural reserve is a term used to refer to the brain’s resistance to damage. When a human brain has a high level of neural reserve through connections and activity, it is less susceptible to damage than a brain with lower levels of connections and activity. Because the brains of people with a pronounced sense of purpose have a high level of neural reserve, they’re less vulnerable to the effects of Alzheimer’s than brains with lower neural reserves.  

Having a sense of purposes improves the brain’s processing power. 

Scientists have known for years that learning new things and maintaining social relationships is good for brain health, and a large part of the benefit of having a sense of purpose could just be that it encourages both of these things. If a senior feels as if volunteering in a homeless center is his or her sense of purpose, for example, that senior is more likely to take courses, meet new people, attend events, and interact socially than a house-bound senior with no sense of purpose.

The brain performs best when it is put to work. 

According to an article published in The Atlantic on the topic, the human brain works the best when it is engaged in meaningful and exciting work. When seniors remain interested in the stimulus and experiences around them, they keep their minds active, curious, and flexible. This, in turn, creates a neural environment in which cognitive decline and dementia are less likely to thrive.


How Seniors Can Develop a Sense of Purpose: 4 Tips

While some seniors have an intrinsic sense of purpose, others must work to develop it. When you take into account the neuroprotective benefits of doing so, however, it immediately becomes clear that it’s well worth the effort. Here are several tips for seniors who want to develop their sense of purpose to the fullest:

1. Experiment with volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to build and maintain a sense of purpose, and it’s something that virtually all seniors can do. Most organizations are hungry for volunteers, and the possibilities are virtually endless.

Try reading to children at a local library or serving meals in a local soup kitchen. Donate your time to meals on wheels to help other seniors or consider working in advocacy or outreach for a women and children’s shelter.

The level of volunteering you choose to undertake will depend largely on your energy, spare time, and interests, but if you find something you truly love you may find that volunteering quickly gives you the sense of purpose you’ve been looking for.

2. Get involved with a friend’s organization

If a friend or family member has something they feel passionately about, consider looking for ways to get involved. In many ways, this kills two birds with one stone. In addition to helping you keep your social life active and dynamic, it also exposes you to new causes you may or may not feel passionate about.

3. Refer back to what you wanted to do as a child

As children, we all have great loves we forget as adults. If you’re struggling to find a purpose in life, try going back to these childhood passions. Maybe you wanted to be an artist or work with animals.

Maybe you wanted to be an astronaut or travel to exotic places. Whatever your childhood passions may have been, they can be useful tools for helping you to find your passion and purpose as an adult.

4. Keep exploring

Sometimes, finding your purpose in life is harder than it sounds, and you may have to look for quite a while to find something you feel excited about.

Don’t let this dissuade you. It’s well worth the time and effort it takes to find something you love, and doing so can go a long way toward protecting your brain and enriching your life throughout your golden years.

The Case for a Sense of Purpose

A sense of purpose may sound like a lofty idea, but it’s actually a hugely important factor in living a healthy, dementia-free life. Because a passion or a sense of purpose keeps seniors alert, engaged, and curious, it can help to protect the brain from the ravaging effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

10 Creative Ways to Pay for in-Home Care

In-home care: while it’s one of the most helpful types of care available, it can also be a financial stressor. More than a few people have had the experience of waking suddenly in the middle of the night, panicked about how they’ll pay for their in-home care and what will happen if they can’t manage it.

For people who are injured, ill, or aging, and can’t manage all of the tasks of daily living on their own anymore, in-home care can be a lifesaver. In addition to taking the burden of caring for an aging loved one off friends and family members, in-home care also serves to enhance the quality of life and provide critical medical assistance in the place where a person is most comfortable – his or her home. 

If you’re starting to think about how you’ll pay for in-home care, or you’re already struggling to make ends meet, here are ten creative ideas to cover the cost. Read on.

First Things First – Is In-Home Care Expensive?

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for calculating the cost of in-home care. Prices vary widely depending on where you live, what type of care you need, and the skill level of the person you’d like to hire. According to Caring.com, home health aides made an average of $16-$29 hourly in 2011, and home healthcare costs are only rising by an average of 1.15% annually.

Depending on your level of need and your financial circumstances, in-home care may be a simple thing to afford. On the other hand, though, it may be a financial stressor, and you may be looking for ways to make it work more easily for your family.  

10 Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of In-Home Care

Regardless of what your needs may be, these ten simple tips can help you cover the cost of in-home care and get the attention you deserve.

1. Get long-term care insurance

Long-term care insurance is insurance that is designed to cover the cost of things like long-term nursing, admittance to an assisted living facility, ongoing medication, and more. While not all long-term care policies cover in-home care, some do, and it’s an avenue that’s well worth exploring. 

The only negative factor about long-term care is that most policies have a disqualifying age, after which you cannot purchase the insurance. Because of this, you must plan to purchase long-term care insurance while you’re still healthy. This will allow you to take advantage of the policy when you eventually need it to cover in-home care. 

2. Use annuities to your advantage

Annuities are one thing that few people think of to pay for in-home care, but they can be instrumental in helping make the cost more manageable. A hybrid between a personal investment account and an ongoing insurance plan, annuities represent money that a senior has invested and earns interest for. After the money has matured for a given period, the senior can begin making withdrawals.

In addition to helping seniors grow their money, annuities are designed to help cover the costs of living as a senior ages, since they pay a consistent income stream for a set number of years, or until the senior dies. 

Annuities sums aren’t viewed as assets when a senior applies for Medicaid, and the income earned from them is often enough to cover the cost of in-home care and more.

3. Apply for Medicaid and use its benefits to pay for in-home care

Medicaid is a program designed to help low-income seniors cover their health needs. While Medicaid coverage laws vary depending on the state you live in, all Medicaid plans are designed to cover in-home care for at least a short period. 

In some cases, Medicaid may even cover long-term in-home care, if the person utilizing it would otherwise be in a nursing home. 

4. Consider applying for a reverse mortgage

While few people know this, reverse mortgages were developed to help seniors stay at home for as long as possible. Here’s how a reverse mortgage works: once a senior has paid a significant amount of equity into his or her home, he or she can start taking some of that equity out, in the form of lump-sum or ongoing payments. 

While reverse mortgages can be ideal for some seniors, they do have parameters that can rule some people out. Here’s what they require:

  • The senior must be 62 or older
  • The senior must own his or her home, either free-and-clear or with little money left on the loan
  • The bank that issues the reverse mortgage appraises the home and determines payment values based on a loved one’s age and payout requirements

5. Look into using veteran’s benefits

If you were an armed forces members, you might be able to use military benefits to cover the cost of your in-home care. The only downside of this approach is that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is notoriously difficult to navigate, and you may find yourself working very hard to get the benefits you’re owed. While you’ll have to contact a representative to understand your individual eligibility, here are the policyholder parameters for veteran’s benefits:

  • You must have served at least 90 days of active duty
  • One of those days must have been during wartime
  • You must have been honorably discharged

If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible to receive disability payments that can help you cover the cost of your in-home care.

6. Look over your life insurance policy

If you have life insurance, you may find that it can be used to cover your in-home care. If you don’t have dependents that will rely on the life insurance, consider dipping into your policy and using “accelerated” benefits to cover the cost of your in-home care. 

Accelerated benefits are features of certain life insurance policies that allow the policy holder to take advantage of the insurance benefits within their policy before death. Ideal for paying for in-home care, these benefits are typically reserved only for those who need ongoing in-home care or have been disabled by chronic conditions. 

If you have a life insurance policy and no dependents relying on it, consider this option. As a rule, insurance policies will allow holders to pull out between 25%-100% of their death benefit as an accelerated benefit.

7. See if Medicare is right for you

While it’s tough to get Medicare coverage to provide for your in-home care, it is possible, and it’s worth evaluating. Medicare is issued when a person leaves a hospital or long-term-care facility. In some cases, those benefits can extend to covering the cost of in-home care as a form of rehabilitative therapy. 

Keep in mind, though, that these benefits can be limited and may not be right for everyone.

8. Pool resources within the family to cover the cost of in-home care

If none of the above options appeal to you, you can consider pooling resources within your family. Things like collective sibling agreements and personal savings can go a long way toward covering the cost of in-home care and are some of the most common options people take when considering how to offset the expense.  

9. Develop an in-home care savings fund

Many people have savings funds for medical emergencies, vacations, and more, so why not establish one to cover the cost of in-home care. While this takes some planning and dedication, it can be a straightforward and stress-free way to cover the cost of in-home care down the line.

10. Sell off assets

For some seniors who don’t have dependents or people relying on inheriting assets, selling assets can be a functional way to get the extra funds required to cover the cost of in-home care. Of course, this approach depends entirely on the senior’s unique circumstances, and won’t be right for everyone. 

The Case for In-Home Care

For seniors who can no longer care for themselves alone, in-home care can be a wonderful way to enhance quality of life and ensure safety and happiness for years to come. It can be expensive, though, and these ten tips can help offset the cost and make it easier for you and your family members to cover the expenses associated with in-home care. 

10 Ways Knitting can Improve Your Overall Health

So you want to improve your health. What’s your first step? Maybe you get a gym membership or start power walking around the mall on rainy days. Maybe you purchase a few helpful diet books and start trying to incorporate more leafy greens into your meals. Maybe you take up yoga or tai chi. Those are all great efforts, but the answer to good health may be simpler than you think.
According to a recent article published by The New York Times, the simple act of knitting can provide some serious health benefits. And it’s less expensive than a gym membership.

Here’s what you need to know.

How knitting Can Improve Health and Wellbeing

Not convinced that picking up a pair of knitting needles can help you live longer and be happier? Here are the facts:

1. Knitting helps reduce stress

Knitting features a repetitive motion much like those found in yoga. As such, it offers many of the same relaxing benefits. While learning to complete the stitches can be difficult, at first, people who have zoomed past the learning curve typically find that knitting or crocheting can lower the heart rate, decrease the blood pressure, and reduce the amount of cortisol the body dumps into the bloodstream.

2. Knitting can boost self-esteem

There’s nothing quite like crafting an item from scratch to help you feel good about yourself. While yoga and meditation both provide some of the same relaxing benefits of knitting, knitting does something that neither of those pastimes does: it provides a tangible payoff in the form of a hat, scarf, or sweater.

For people with low self-esteem, seeing these things come together from nothing can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and simply looking at the things they’ve created can help boost confidence and provide a dose of happiness for dedicated knitters near and far.

3. Knitting can replace addictive habits

For people struggling to stop smoking or drinking, or to navigate the stress and anxiety caused by death in the family, knitting can be a massive help. Programs like prisons and schools regularly use craft-making activities like knitting to help calm anxious individuals and boost social skills, and people struggling with addiction have routinely found that the repetitive and calming act of knitting can go a long way toward replacing their addictive behavior. 

4. Knitting may help you control your weight

Thousands of people throughout the country eat out of boredom. Thousands more eat when they’re feeling stressed or lonely. Over time, these emotional eating habits can lead to severe weight gain, which has an adverse impact on the quality and enjoyment of life. Fortunately, craftwork of any type (including knitting) can help control these urges.

By putting the mind into something positive and constructive, like making something, it’s easier to avoid emotional food cravings and focus on eating only when you’re hungry, rather than when you’re simply stressed or afraid. 

This is a simple payoff, but it’s one that can work wonders to improve the quality of your life and health.

5. Knitting can help keep arthritis in the hands at bay

If you’ve noticed your hands beginning to get arthritis as you age, knitting can help. Because knitting requires small, repetitive movements of the hands, it helps the fingers and joints remain dexterous in the golden years, which can translate into increased daily comfort and fewer arthritis symptoms moving forward.

6. Knitting can lessen eating disorders

While this may seem like an outlandish benefit, a study conducted by the University of British Columbia in 2009 found that 38% of women (all of whom suffered from anorexia nervosa) found that knitting helped them manage the problem. 

What’s more, 74% of participants said that knitting helped them decrease their anxiety and keep their fears at bay. Because of this, knitting is often used in eating disorder treatment programs and can be ideal for people who have struggled with eating disorders in the past.

7. Knitting can decrease depression

If you’ve been feeling blue lately, knitting may be just the thing to help you. According to a study conducted by Betsan Corkhill, an England native, wellness coach, and founder of the “therapeutic knitting” site Stitchlinks, 54% of respondents in an informal survey said that knitting helped them feel happy or worked to alleviate their depression.

This may be due to the relaxing benefits of knitting, or to the fact that focusing on something positive makes it much harder to focus on negative, time-consuming thoughts.

8. Knitting can help manage chronic pain

Because knitting requires all of a person’s focus, it can decrease chronic pain and help the brain re-focus on the positive, thus reducing a person’s experience of pain. 

Because of this, and because it is a low-intensity activity, it can be ideal for individuals who have cancer or are coping with painful, chronic conditions.

9. Knitting can stave off the effects of cognitive decline

According to a 2011 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, participating in cognitive activities like knitting and crocheting can help prevent or decrease the effects of cognitive decline. In the study, 1,321 people between the ages of 70 and 89 were evaluated and interviewed about the cognitive activities they participated in. The study determined that the seniors who engaged in craft making activities had lower rates of cognitive impairment and memory loss.

With this in mind, it’s clear that something as simple as knitting can go a long way toward improving mental health and staving off cognitive decline with age.

10. Knitting can help you be a part of a community

Multiple studies have shown that maintaining social relationships is critical as we age, and knitting is a great access point for doing this. By joining a knitting group, attending craft shows, and more, knitters can show off their wares and make new friends along the way.

The Case for Knitting

Simple, low-impact, and easy for virtually everyone to enjoy, knitting is a fantastic way for people to manage pain, feel happier, and stay active as they age. Plus, it’s an excellent way to produce some truly unique wearable items for yourself and your family!



7 Ways to Reduce Your Fear and Anxiety Now

You know the feeling: you wake up in the middle of the night with a knot in your chest. You’re unbearably anxious, but about what? Maybe it hits you while you’re driving, watching traffic merge onto the freeway or negotiating uncontrolled intersections. Maybe it comes when you meet new people or enter new experiences. 

Today, anxiety is one of the most common disorders to affect adults in the U.S. Approximately 40 million people age 18 and older suffer from anxiety disorders right now.

Fortunately, anxiety and fear are both highly treatable, and people who suffer from either can often find relief through a mixture of at-home and clinical remedies.  While only about 1/3 of the people currently suffering from anxiety get treatment, individuals who want to reduce their fear and anxiety can learn some helpful tips in this article.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of intense nervousness or unease. It commonly affects people when the outcome of something is uncertain, or the environment is unfamiliar. While everyone experiences worry, anxiety is a different sensation and may be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as gastrointestinal upset, tension in the chest, a loss of appetite, nausea, or even vomiting. 

7 Sure-Fire Ways to Reduce Anxiety and Fear Today

If you suffer from anxiety or fear in your daily life, follow these seven tips to begin reducing it:

1. Practice breathing exercises

Breathing is a powerful tool that can have a massive effect on the brain’s “fight or flight” response. In fact, taking long, slow breaths can help decrease stress, stimulate the vagus nerve (which mediates the “fight or flight” response in the nervous system and lowers heart rate), and lower blood pressure and heart rate. 

The next time you’re feeling anxious, focus on your breathing. Take several long, slow exhales (of at least 3 seconds in length), and then move into long, slow exhales which take at least seven seconds to complete. 

After about four or five of these, you’ll notice your anxiety beginning to ebb, and your heart rate and body systems returning to normal.  

2. Practice visualization

Part of the reason that anxiety is so powerful is that it drags the brain into a loop. Instead of focusing on the good of a situation or experience, people who suffer from anxiety get caught in a loop of negative and frightening thinking. Fortunately, you can pull yourself out of this by practicing visualization.

Visualization is simple. When your head starts to spin, and you get fearful, practice imagining the situation in your mind. Instead of focusing on what will be frightening or painful about it, visualize it going well, and imagine yourself navigating it calmly. While this will help calm your mind in the short-term, it can also contribute to improving the outcome of the situation in real life by allowing you to prepare for it in advance.

3. Activate the thinking side of your brain

Anxiety and fear are emotional responses, and it’s easy to short-circuit them by asking the thinking (rather than the emotional) side of our brains to take over. Here are a few simple ways to do this:

  • The next time you’re anxious, place it on a scale from 1-10, with ten being incredibly fearful and one being relaxed. This does two things: it forces you to take an aerial view of your anxiety by putting a number on it, and it allows you to begin thinking about your fear in a rational way, which in turn allows you to combat it.
  • Ask yourself some simple questions. Questions like “Am I making this worse than it is?” “Is this fear grounded in reality?” “Am I overreacting?” “What can I do to fix this?” will go a long way toward allowing you to get a grip on your anxiety and look at it from a rational standpoint.
  • Ask yourself if you can worry your way to a solution. Some problems can be thought through to the point of a solution. In other situations, though, this will just drive you crazy. If you can’t “worry yourself to an answer,” let it go and try your best to take proactive steps to combat it down the road.

4. Practice being AWARE

AWARE is an acronym people who treat anxiety use to describe the process of moving through the fear and dread. Here’s what it stands for:

  • A: Accept the anxiety and understand that fighting it will only make it worse
  • W: Watch the anxiety and notice how it ebbs and flows, rises and falls. Don’t get attached to holding onto it or “making” it go away.
  • A: Act like you normally would. If you panic, your mind will go right along with you. If you stay calm and act like nothing is wrong, though, you mitigate your panic response and enhance your reasoning capabilities. 
  • R: Repeat the “A-W-A” steps as frequently as you need to get the feeling under control.
  • E: Expect that your anxiety will melt away soon. 

While it takes some practice to implement these steps reliably, focusing on them now is a good way to ensure that you get a better handle on your anxiety in the future.

5. Meditate

Meditation is a tool for calming the mind and decreasing attachment to our emotional selves. Long since used by leaders around the world, a regular meditative practice can go a long way toward decreasing your anxiety and making it easier to function daily.

Fortunately, meditation is also more accessible than ever before. Apps like Headspace make it easy to meditate for just a few moments every day, and you don’t need to dedicate a huge brick of time to the practice. 

While there are dozens of paid meditation programs you can participate in, it’s easy to access meditation without spending a dime. Simply find a quiet space, sit in a comfortable position, and focus on your breath for ten minutes. While it takes a while to get comfortable with the act of meditation, you’ll notice effects on your fear and anxiety in a short period.

6. Get enough sleep

Everything looks worse when you’re tired, and the simple act of getting enough sleep can be instrumental in helping you combat your fear and anxiety. With this in mind, shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep each night and take naps throughout the daytime as you need it.

7. Talk it out

Talk therapy, or even a coffee with a loved friend, can be amazingly helpful for people suffering from fear and anxiety. The simple act of voicing your worries and concerns can help destabilize them and help you see a clear path forward. Plus, talking to a therapist can help you learn more tools to combat fear and anxiety, and see to it that they have less of an impact on your life going forward. 

A Happier Life Made Simple

Fear and anxiety can be crippling, and people who suffer from them often feel as if they’ve been robbed of their enjoyment, happiness, and ease. Fortunately, these seven tips can help you begin the battle with fear and anxiety, and live a happier life starting today. 


6 Proven Methods to Improve Your Memory as You Age

Memory loss: it’s one of the things people fear the most about aging. While memory loss comes in a variety of shapes and forms, many people imagine themselves unable to remember a loved one’s phone number or forgetting special days. 

While these things are a reality for some seniors, memory loss doesn’t have to be an essential component of aging. In fact, people who take proactive steps to improve their memories with age can enjoy a lifetime of mental sharpness and clarity. Read on.

What is Memory Loss?

Memory loss is forgetfulness that exceeds normal levels. For example, a young person may forget the name of a performer for a moment, and then recall it in conversation several minutes later. This is not memory loss. Instead, it’s a standard spell of forgetfulness.

If a senior begins to forget things like whether the stove is turned on, where he or she lives, or whether a visitor is a daughter or a neighbor, this is considered memory loss.

According to Medline Plus, memory loss is caused by normal aging or by injuries to the brain, including brain tumors, concussions or head trauma, brain infections, or stroke. 

While most people experience bouts of forgetfulness throughout their lives, memory loss is a problem that is most prevalent in seniors. According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of every eight seniors experiences memory loss as they age. Surprisingly, this memory loss affects young seniors the most prominently, with 44.7% of older persons between ages 60-64 reporting memory loss. 

While some level of memory loss is normal throughout our lives, excessive or ongoing memory loss can be signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia. As such, it is important for people who want to keep their minds healthy as they age to take proactive steps to preventing memory loss.  

6 Smart Ways to Improve Your Memory as You Get Older

If you’d like to stave off the effects of memory loss, follow these six tips:

1. Keep learning new things

Learning new things is by far one of the best actions you can take to protect your memory and keep your mind sharp. Harvard Health Publications reports that higher levels of education are associated with improved mental functionality in old age. This may be because of several reasons. 

On the one hand, learning new things keeps people in the habit of using their minds, and may translate into higher levels of mental challenge and development with age. On the other hand, learning new things has been shown to help promote neuro-generative activity in the brain, and improve the brain’s ability to make new connections and keep existing connections healthy.

Fortunately, learning new things is simple, and you have many options if you’re interested. Pick up a new hobby or audit a class on a platform like edX. Take a dance class at your local community center or learn a new language. 

You don’t have to do something as drastic as going back to school to learn something new. You simply have to dedicate yourself to using your brain and making lifelong learning the top of your to-do list.


2. Don’t buy into the myths about aging and memory loss

The mind-body connection is one that’s often underestimated in our society. When it comes to memory loss, people who believe that aging and memory loss go hand-in-hand may actually experience increased memory loss. In fact, Harvard Health Publications reports that seniors exposed to repeated, negative stereotypes about memory loss and aging do worse on memory tests than their counterparts who avoid the stereotypes. 

With this in mind, don’t buy into the myth that aging means an automatic loss of memory. Take proactive steps to keep yourself healthy, and don’t believe the hype.


3. Engage all your various senses

The mind is a “use it or lose it” thing, and engaging all your senses helps keep each of them stronger. Memory works best when all our senses are engaged, and, because of this, it’s typically recommended that seniors pick up new hobbies that engage the senses.

For example, consider cooking. When you make a pizza from scratch, you have the scent of the ingredients, the feel of the dough as you knead it out on the counter, and the sight of bubbling cheese to look forward to.

If pizza isn’t your top priority, you’re not limited to cooking. In fact, any tactile hobby, like pottery, will work beautifully.


4. Focus your memory to where it’s needed most

The mind takes in thousands of tiny bits of information each day and, with age, this can quickly become overwhelming. Because of this, professionals recommend that seniors learn to economize their brainpower. For example, instead of clogging your head up with the 15 things you need to do next Tuesday, write it down in a planner. 

By getting it out of your head and onto a sheet of paper, where it’s easy to remember, you free your brainpower up for more important things, like learning new skills, building new relationships, and more. 


5. Reinforce your memories with repetition

Repetition is a powerful tool for solidifying memories and making short-term information long-term. With this in mind, use repetition in your daily life to boost your memory as you age. When you meet someone new at a gathering, repeat their name to yourself verbally. When you’re learning a new skill, repeat it several times until you feel like you have it down pat. We can’t expect our brains to perform well without the benefit of repetition, and the simple act of repeating something to ourselves can go a long way toward helping us remember it.


6. Take care of yourself physically

Good nutrition and adequate hydration make all the difference when it comes to protecting your memory. Simple things like inadequate hydration can have a devastating impact on memory, and studies have found that people who eat brain-boosting foods, such as fish, once each week have a massive 60% lower risk of developing dementia as they age. 

That said, fortify your diet with plenty of clean, fresh water, foods rich in omega-3s, and healthy fats.  Your brain will thank you for it!

Healthy Memories Start With Preventative Care

While conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia do affect some seniors, getting older doesn’t mean your memory must go out the window. With these six tips, it’s easy to take good care of your memory as you age, and enjoy a clear mind and sharp memory throughout your golden years.