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calendar icon 8 September, 2016

Home Health Care: It’s not the end of Something – it’s the Beginning of Something Else!

As seniors grow older, life changes, and there’s no getting around it. Spouses get sick and die, children grow and move away, diseases come and go (or come and stay) and often, it gets difficult for the senior to do the things he or she once did. In these situations, many seniors and their families begin to consider home health care. Unfortunately, many people view home health care as a synonym for hospice – care that only very sick or dying people receive. Because of this, many seniors, friends, and family members have a difficult time swallowing the concept of in-home care, and accepting that it may, in fact, be the wisest idea for a senior at a given point of life. In the end, though, this viewpoint only harms the senior and all of the people who love him or her. In reality, home health care is a great opportunity for both seniors and their relatives to live freer, happier, more dignified lives. By switching the perception of home health care from something disastrous to something wonderful, seniors and their family members can begin to see how beneficial and helpful these programs can truly be.

What is Home Health Care?

Home health care is a broad term, but it is used to refer to any health care that is carried out in the home. This care could be minimal (light housework and occasional medication assistance) or intensive (nighttime care and full-time, live-in help). Contrary to what many people believe, home health care is not only available to seniors who are very ill or dying. In fact, many seniors who are still active, healthy, and spry utilize home health care as a way to stay independent and mitigate certain diseases or conditions. For example, a woman who suffers from severe arthritis but is not cognitively impaired in any way may utilize home health care simply because her family lives far away and she finds it difficult to do her laundry and prepare meals. Likewise, a man in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease may receive home health care that provides medication assistance, house cleaning services, assistance with the activities of daily living, and nighttime care. The services of home health care vary widely, and the form it takes in any given situation will depend largely on a person’s unique needs, requirements, and desires.

What Does Home Health Care do?

Again, the benefits of home health care depend largely on a person’s situation. For some seniors, home health care may amount to nothing more than some light housework and an occasional check-in. For others, home health care is critical maintenance care that allows them to maintain a level of independence and dignity. As a general rule, though, home health care offers the following benefits:
  • It helps to decrease loneliness. Seniors who live alone are at elevated risk of isolation and secondary symptoms, like depression, hopelessness, increased risk of mortality, and feelings of sadness or abandonment. Because not all seniors’ families can be nearby, home health care helps to fill in an important gap in many seniors’ lives, and can provide the companionship and attention needed to prevent a senior from feeling isolated.
  • Home health care helps seniors stay independent. If friends and family aren’t available to help a senior around the home, many seniors find themselves moving into assisted living facilities simply because they can’t do small things like cook or clean for themselves anymore. A difficulty with life's little responsibilities doesn't always necessitate assisted living, though, and seniors who are otherwise fit to live on their own can extend their independence for months or even years with the help of home health care.
  • It can decrease the cost of care. In many cases, assisted living is much more expensive than home health care. Because of this, it’s a popular option among seniors who need a bit of extra assistance but don’t want the expense or changes associated with leaving their homes for assisted living facilities. This is one of the largest perks of home health care, and is one of the most common reasons seniors and their families choose to use it.
  • Home health care can help spot or prevent certain diseases. In many cases, seniors who live alone may not curative critical symptoms of developing diseases. While this may sound impossible, it’s not at all uncommon for a senior to write a reoccurring symptom off as a normal sign of aging. Unfortunately, this can have disastrous outcomes. With the help of home health care, though, seniors can catch early symptoms of new diseases or conditions. This, in turn, allows time for corrective treatment and can help the senior maintain his or her health in the long term.

Home Health Care is the Beginning of a Better Life

While it may be tempting to regard home health care as the sign that a senior is declining beyond reach, it’s a wonderful way to facilitate quality care for the elderly without requiring them to sacrifice their independence or dignity. By allowing a senior to remain in his or her home for as long as possible, home health care supports freedom and can help seniors maintain their health and enjoy happy, independent lifestyles for much longer than seniors without any in-home help. While the applications of home health care vary depending on needs and individual requirements, it’s clear that there are many ways for home health care to assist seniors. From medication management to intensive, round-the-clock nursing, home health care adapts to a unique senior’s needs and requirements rather than the other way around. This, in turn, allows the senior access to skilled, quality, tailored health care at a fraction of the cost of assisted living or similar services. Because of all of this, it’s essential for friends, family members, and seniors themselves to stop regarding home health care as a sign of the end. In fact – it’s a sign of great things to come! With the help of in-home care aides, most seniors report feeling younger, healthier, more alert and independent, and better equipped to participate in all of the activities of daily life. Because of this, home health care can go a long way toward making seniors feel more optimistic, happier, and better equipped to walk into their golden years happy, healthy, and excited about all of the great things that lie down the road! Whether a senior is suffering from a chronic condition or simply needs some additional help around the house, home health care is an excellent way to promote independence while also ensuring that the senior gets all of the quality medical care and attention he or she needs to thrive.  
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calendar icon 31 August, 2016

15 Foods That Can Help You Sleep

When it comes to sleep, we’re willing to try pretty much anything. From breathing exercises to hormonal sleep aids like melatonin and even white noise machines. Did you know, however, that getting to sleep might be as easy as changing your diet? It makes sense that certain foods can help us sleep. After all, certain foods boost our energy, enhance our focus, and fill us up with healthy fats, so why shouldn’t they also lull us off to dreamland? If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider filling your plate with the following fifteen foods.

15 Foods That Help Us Sleep

  1. Almonds

Almonds are a wonder food – rich in minerals like magnesium, which is critical for helping us get to sleep and stay asleep longer. In fact, one study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that magnesium levels are directly linked to poor sleep quality and a less restful night. With this in mind, consider eating a fistful of almonds as a post-dinner snack to help you drift off to sleep.
  1. Walnuts

Walnuts are famous for their high tryptophan content – an amino acid that’s widely known to promote feelings of sleepiness. It’s the same thing that makes you feel drowsy after eating a big turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. What’s more, walnuts stimulate the production of melatonin, which is a powerful natural sleep aid produced by the human body.
  1. Cheese

At some point or another, most of us have drunk a glass of warm milk to get to sleep, but the fact is that any number of dairy products will do the trick. Because dairy products are high in calcium, and because the brain needs calcium to produce melatonin, dairy products are ideal for helping us get to sleep peacefully and stay asleep longer. As a bonus, calcium helps to regulate the movements of the muscles, which can decrease jerky, startling sleep movements and help you sleep soundly.
  1. Romaine Lettuce

Leafy greens are good for all sorts of things, but they’re also a powerful sleep aid. Lettuce, in particular, contains high levels of lactucarium. Commonly called “lettuce opium,” this powerful substance is a sedative that helps promote feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. With this in mind, focus on including salads in your dinnertime routine if you’re having trouble sleeping. The sedative properties of lettuce, combined with a good bedtime routine, may just work wonders for your sleep patterns.
  1. Corn Chips

While corn chips are a bit less healthful than the other foods on this list, they have a powerful place in the world of sleep-inducing foods. This is because corn chips have a very high glycemic index, which essentially means that the human body burns through them quickly. This causes a sudden spike in blood sugar, which then results in a dip in energy. While eating high-glycemic index foods is not recommended for stable mood and energy levels, it can be a helpful way to nudge yourself over the edge and into sleep.
  1. Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of vitamin B6, which is essential for healthy sleep. While vitamin B6 plays several roles in the human body, one of its most critical is to regulate sleep and help metabolize tryptophan. If you’re not a salmon fan, you can get the same vitamin B6 boost from tuna, halibut, garlic, and even pistachios.
  1. Jasmine Rice

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007, people who ate a meal that included a healthy portion of jasmine rice fell asleep faster than individuals who ate any other type of rice. Because jasmine rice has a high glycemic index, it works much the same way corn chips to do re-wire your body’s priorities and help you drift off to sleep more quickly.
  1. Cereal

Cereal is a surprising power food when it comes to getting to sleep. Because it combines protein in the form of milk and high-glycemic carbohydrates from the cereal itself, it appeals to two of the main things your body needs to drift off easily.
  1. Tart Cherry Juice

If you’re struggling to get to sleep, forget the nightcap and reach for some tart cherry juice instead. According to a study conducted by Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester scientists and published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, a glass of tart cherry juice has sleep-producing benefits that can help battle the symptoms of insomnia and restless sleep. Just make sure the brand of cherry juice you buy is unsweetened since a large dose of sugar could throw off the benefits of the cherry juice itself.
  1. Teas

Chamomile, passion fruit, and mint teas can all be helpful to relax the body and help you get off to sleep. This is because these teas contain high levels of glycine, a sedative chemical that relaxes the body and helps you get off to sleep easier.
  1. Wildflower Honey

Honey is a rich source of natural sugar and, if you’re looking for help sleeping, it may be just the thing. Unlike processed, white sugar, honey raises the body’s insulin levels while also allowing tryptophan to work its magic on the body. For best results, mix a tablespoon of honey into a cup of mint or chamomile tea and sip in the thirty minutes leading up to bedtime.
  1. Kale

While romaine lettuce is a powerful sleep aid, so is its healthful companion, kale. Kale and other dark green vegetables are packed to the gills with calcium. Also found in dairy products, calcium makes it easier for the body to make and use melatonin and can help promote a restful night of sleep. To get the most out of your green leafy vegetables, whip up a salad that includes a mixture of spinach and mustard greens, as well.
  1. Lobster

While it may not be the most cost-effective pre-bedtime food, lobster is a fantastic source of tryptophan, which can help lull you into a restful sleep. If lobster isn’t in your taste or budget, reach for shrimp or other crustaceans instead.
  1. Chickpeas

A staple of middle eastern foods, chickpeas are rich in tryptophan and can help facilitate a healthy night of sleep. For best results, enjoy a few tablespoons of homemade hummus with hearty, whole-grain crackers about an hour before trying to fall asleep.
  1. Elk Meat

Elk meat is rich in tryptophan and, while it may be difficult to come by, is one of the most effective foods for falling asleep fast and staying asleep all night. For best results, pair it with a carbohydrate dish (like a pesto pasta) to ensure that the tryptophan moves through the brain as easily as possible.

Falling Asleep is Now Easier Than Ever

While falling asleep can feel stressful, these fifteen foods can take the edge off. By supplying the body with the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids needed to promote healthy sleep, these delicious and nutritious treats have carved out a critical place for themselves in the diets of people struggling to sleep better and enjoy more restful nights.  
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calendar icon 25 August, 2016

Benefits of Seniors Getting Out in Nature

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” Getting outdoors is important for people of all ages and walks of life. In addition to wiping the internal slate clean, lifting our spirits, and giving us a chance to reconnect with life’s most important things, getting outdoors is a great way to relax and take peace from the natural beauty that surrounds us. While being outdoors is critical for all people, it’s especially essential for seniors. Recently, research conducted by the graduate students at the University of Minnesota proved that green, outdoor spaces have the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of seniors. According to the research, seniors who spend ample time in blue and green outdoor areas, such as grassy parks or on the edge of koi ponds, enjoy increased feelings of connectedness and renewal. With these results in mind, it’s clear that getting outdoors on a regular basis is an incredibly important step for seniors who want to safeguard their health and live a more fulfilled life.

Why Getting Outside Matters

Woman getting out in natureAs the University of Minnesota study points out, a senior’s day-to-day life can be mundane. Thanks to things like declining health and limited mobility, most seniors aren’t able to go out and explore new places like they once did. This leads to a senior feeling isolated and stuck in the same daily routine. Without the experience of getting outside, monotony goes unbroken and can enact an adverse impact on the senior’s happiness. Luckily, simple things like the sound of flowing water or the sight of birds eating at a feeder can easily break up the daily routine and offer mental and spiritual relief for seniors. In addition to helping to add some freshness to everyday life, getting outdoors also encourages seniors to increase their physical and mental activity levels, which, in turn, can contribute to warding off things like dementia, cognitive decline, immobility, and disease. This, perhaps, is one of the largest benefits of getting outdoors for senior. Simply sitting in a green space or listening to the sound of falling water helps people feel more alive, and for seniors who struggle with depression or feelings of hopelessness, this is an immeasurable gift. According to Richard Ryan, a prominent psychology professor at the University of Rochester, “research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for the things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illness. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings.” By breaking up daily routines, exposing seniors to new things, and providing an outlet for frustration and sadness, exposure to the outdoors can improve a senior’s sense of well-being and increase happiness across the board. What’s more, seniors who get outside on a regular basis feel less tired – Ryan’s research reports that a whopping 90% of people feel more energized after a day connecting with nature.

Five Facts About Outdoor Exposure for Seniors

1. Being outside boosts vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is directly related to an improved immune system and a more positive outlook. Spending about 15 minutes of time each day in the sun is an ideal way for seniors to boost their vitamin D levels.

2. Nature can help boost immunity.

By helping seniors feel more positive and increasing mental health, the great outdoors help seniors build and maintain healthy immune systems.

3. Being outside helps seniors feel more energized.

Tired? Take a walk! Getting outside is a great way for sluggish seniors to feel more active.

4. People who spend time outside recover from injuries faster.

Exposure to natural light is powerful, and people who spend lots of time outdoors can recover from injuries faster.

5. Being outside helps seniors improve focus.

Being outdoors gives the brain a break from everyday multitasking and allows it to form new memories and heal itself from over-extension. This contributes to higher attention levels and improved mental health.

How to Help Seniors Get Outdoors

Unless the senior in your life is particularly spry, a challenging hike is probably out of the question. There are, however, dozens of ways to encourage seniors to get active and spend time outdoors. Here are a few easy places to get started:

1. Hang a bird feeder outside a senior’s window

People of all ages love bird feeders, and adding one to a senior’s view is an excellent way to bring some of the dynamic and beautiful interactions of nature just a bit closer. In addition to being easy to maintain, bird feeders are also perfect for virtually any housing situation – even those with limited outdoor space. Because bird feeders don't require any porch or patio square footage, they’re ideal for places like apartments and assisted living facilities. To take the experience of the bird feeder just a step further, get the senior a birding book and notate and identify each new bird species seen. Ideal for people with limited mobility or declining health, a bird feeder is a great way to experience nature without exhausting the senior in the process.

2. Arrange pots of colorful flowers outdoors

Flowers are bright, cheery, and a wonderful way to increase a person’s enjoyment of nature. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to plant and maintain. If a senior has a patio or deck, run a rim of planted, colorful flowers around it. Ideal for brightening the view and providing some of the serenity of nature without all of the efforts it takes to get outside, flowers and other planted greenery is a great way to help a senior improve his or her outlook.

3. Spend some time by water

If the senior is in decent health and can venture outdoors either by walking or in a wheelchair, spend some time near a body of water. Ponds, lakes, streams, creeks, and rivers are all ideal. The slow, trickling noise of moving water has been proven in multiple studies to calm people and promote a feeling of relaxation and well-being. Spending time by water as often as possible is a wonderful way to help seniors connect with the outdoors and enjoy the experience of new things and dynamic places. Plus, it’s something that is accessible for virtually every senior.

4. Go for a walk

Most cities and towns have paved community trail systems designed for walking or biking. What’s more, most retirement or assisted living facilities have paved walkways designed for strolling. For seniors who are physically able, going for a walk is a prime way to get out and enjoy nature. Because walking is a low-impact activity that boosts the heart rate slightly, it’s a wonderful way to reap the benefits of both exercises and the outdoors at once. For best results, keep walks well within the senior’s comfortable distance range and alter the route to pass a body of water, if at all possible.

5. Have a picnic

A picnic is a great way to combine the healing benefits of getting outdoors with the positive benefits of being around friends and family. For a successful picnic, pack up the loved ones and some tasty treats and head to a favorite place, like a lake or riverside, for a nice outdoor meal.

Getting Outdoors: A Critical Health Move for Seniors

Getting outdoors is a wonderful way for seniors everywhere to improve their health and wellbeing and combat some of the typical rigors of age. In addition to promoting mental and emotional health, getting outdoors is also a wonderful way for seniors to improve their physical health on a daily basis.  
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calendar icon 25 August, 2016

Recognition of Our Aide of the Month

In a show of appreciation, we received the following email about one of our lovely aides: I'm writing this email to say thank you for sharing an amazing aide with us. Omotolla Williams came to us in July and since her arrival things have really changed for our family. My mother Louise Aarons is a blind woman who has Parkinson's disease and dementia. My mother also has a brain tumor which sits on the top of her brain. We are so thankful that we have been placed with such a caring, positive and gentle person to look after our loved one! We would like to see Omotolla stay with our family permanently as we all have grown to love her and she has become a part of our family! It is definitely fitting for Omotolla to be awarded aide of the month! I'd nominate her for aide of the year if I could! Thank you again. Best, Carla Garrido for Louise Aarons
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calendar icon 24 August, 2016

14 Home Safety Tips for Seniors Who Live Alone

Today, roughly 28% of seniors live alone. This adds up to nearly 12.5 million people. While many seniors enjoy living alone and want to maintain their independence for as long as possible, living alone can pose some serious security threats to seniors. Luckily, there are ways to ensure that living alone is safer for seniors around the country. Read on to learn more.

14 Simple Safety Tips for Seniors Who Live Alone

For many seniors, living alone is ideal. Whether they want to continue driving, caring for themselves, or interacting with their friends and communities in the ways that they always have, living alone is a major benefit for many seniors around the country. For seniors who want to continue living alone as long as possible, these fourteen safety tips can help maintain independence and security for years to come.

1. Stay in good health

One of the biggest risks for seniors who live alone is injury. If a senior slips and falls and there is nobody around to help, a simple concussion could quickly become life-threatening. Because of this, it’s essential for seniors who live alone to stay as healthy as possible. Things like exercise, a healthy diet, an active social life, and drinking plenty of water drastically cut down on the health risks that face solitary seniors, and make it much easier for seniors to remain safe and happy in their own homes.

2. Build a close circle of friends

Senior isolation is a big problem, and it’s one of the single most dangerous things for seniors who live alone. While living alone doesn’t always mean being lonely, the two things go hand-in-hand for many seniors, and it’s a potentially life-threatening mixture of things. According to a 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, senior isolation has a dramatic impact on mortality rates: increasing them markedly in seniors ages 52 and older. What’s more, senior isolation can contribute to depression, poor health, and the worsening of cognitive decline. With that in mind, it’s clear that one of the primary things seniors living alone can do to stay safe and healthy is to maintain an active social life. Seeing friends on a regular basis is a fantastic way to boost health and wellbeing and to develop a support system so that, if anything does go wrong, the senior has people to call on.

3. Keep plenty of medication on hand

If a senior who lives alone runs out of medication, it can be a devastating situation. Because of this, specialists recommend that the senior keep extra medication on hand so that running out prematurely doesn’t lead to a disastrous event. In addition to preventing frantic trips to the pharmacy, this approach also makes it easier to stay on track in the event that a senior misplaces his or her medication.

4. Develop a disaster kit

All people (and especially seniors) should have a disaster preparedness kit on hand. This kit, meant to be used in the event of power outages, freezing weather, or natural disasters, should include survival supplies like dried food, blankets, bottled water, flashlights, matches, candles, and medical supplies. Ideal for tending to one’s own needs while help arrives, this simple little disaster kit can make severe weather or rolling blackouts easier for a senior to endure on his or her own.

5. Keep the home in good repair

A home that features preventable hazards like exposed cords or slippery stairs is dangerous for seniors who live alone. In fact, the National Institutes of Health reports that 1.6 million seniors go to the emergency room as the result of falls each year. With this in mind, keep the home in good repair to prevent dangerous hazards that could harm a senior.

6. Lock doors and windows

When a senior lives alone, the risk of theft and burglary is very real. Because of this, it’s wise for seniors to be smart about home security. This means locking doors and windows and ensuring that the entire house is locked up when nobody is home. In addition to preventing break-ins, this step also helps ensure that the senior’s safety stays intact.

7. Consider an alert system

In the last several years, there have been several new senior alert systems to hit the market. Things like Life Alert and similar alert systems can be very helpful for seniors who live alone. In the event of a fall or accident, the senior just presses a button (worn on a necklace most commonly) and help is summoned. This is an excellent idea for any senior who lives alone.

8. Install a peephole in the door

Seniors are often targeted by scammers and thieves. Because of this, it’s smart for all seniors to install peepholes in their doors so that they can keep tabs on who is knocking before they decide to open the door. While this is a simple security tip, it’s one that can go a long way toward ensuring the senior’s safety and security for years to come.

9. Install a home security system

Depending on a senior’s needs and requirements, a home security system is a wonderful way to keep the senior safe and secure. Available in various configurations and options, home security systems keep a visual eye on the home and property so that the senior (or his or her family members) can keep an eye on the goings-on and spot any suspicious activity.

10. Develop a list of emergency contacts

Emergency contacts are critical for any senior who lives alone. To ensure safety and proper care in the event of an accident or injury, all seniors should develop a list of emergency contacts and keep it by the phone. This list should include the senior’s medical professionals, family members, and friends.

11. Install motion-activated lights

Motion-activated lights help spot suspicious activity and stop it in its tracks. For the utmost in safety and security, install these lights over prominent windows and doors on the senior’s property. This helps prevent break-ins and ensures that the neighbors or passers-by can spot an attempted burglary if one were to take place.

12. Have friends or family pick up packages when the senior travels

If the senior goes away to visit friends or family for a period, a friend or family member should retrieve the senior’s mail and packages from the doorstep so that the house doesn’t look vacant. This can discourage would-be thieves and help keep the property safer.

13. Install handholds and bars in the bathroom

The bathroom is a very dangerous place for seniors who live alone. Thanks to water and slippery floors, this is one of the highest-risk places for a fall. Because of this, seniors should consider installing handholds and bars in the bathroom (around the shower and toilet) to make falls less likely.
  1. Check-in often

Seniors who live alone should check in often with friends and family members. This allows the support system to help if something is awry and makes it easier for loved ones to spot potential dangers.

Senior Security Starts Here

For seniors who live alone, home security is a real concern. Luckily, these simple tips make it easier for seniors to stay safe in their own homes, both now and in the future.  
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calendar icon 18 August, 2016

Feeling Tired? 13 Ways Seniors Can Boost Energy Levels

For most seniors, hitting the age of 65 doesn’t mean slowing down. As we age, though, it’s common for our energy levels to dip and many seniors find that, despite wanting to get out and enjoy their golden years, they simply don’t have the energy they once did. This can be a frustrating and discouraging experience. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. With a few simple tricks, seniors can boost their energy levels and jump back into life once more. Read on.

Get Active! 13 Ways for Seniors to Improve Their Energy Levels

  1. Take a hike

Even if your knees aren’t up for a major climb, a brisk walk along a neighborhood trail or an indoor track is a fantastic way to make you feel alert and focused. For best results, take a walk outside (but don’t forget to wear sunscreen) to enjoy the added boost of Vitamin D. If walking isn’t your thing, you can also consider an energizing morning yoga sequence or a fun Jazzercise class. Any brisk activity that doesn’t wear you out will work wonders on your energy levels. Research has shown that exercise boosts the efficiency of your cardiovascular system and improves neurotransmitters associated with energy production, like dopamine, so get out there and get active!
  1. Drink plenty of water

Getting dehydrated has a devastating effect on energy levels, especially for seniors. According to Human Kinetics, body dehydration of as little as 2% can result in a 30% decrease in capacity for activity. With that in mind, make it a conscious effort to drink about 2 liters of water each day. If you notice yourself feeling sluggish or tired, drink a glass of water and have a healthy snack. Your energy levels should perk right back up!
  1. Avoid smoking

While many people believe that smoking increases energy levels, just the opposite is true. While nicotine produces a short burst of energy, the effects are short-lived, and individuals who smoke tend to experience more drastic dips in energy levels than their non-smoking counterparts. Because smokers have a diminished lung capacity, their lungs aren’t able to supply as much oxygen to the brain and muscles as those systems need to function at their peak capacity. This, in turn, leads to fatigue and declining energy levels. With this in mind, avoid smoking. If you currently smoke and would like help quitting, visit
  1. Amend your diet

While it’s an often-overlooked factor, diet has a significant impact on our energy levels. Diets that are too rich in carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods will make you feel groggy and listless. On the other hand, foods rich in quality protein, vitamins, and lean fats are ideal for sustained energy and an alert and positive outlook. Turn to whole food sources like chicken, tuna, and turkey as well as eggs, seeds, and leafy greens for optimal energy levels.
  1. Get a good night’s rest

If you’re not sleeping well, you can’t expect to feel rested and active the next morning! Unfortunately, many seniors suffer from sleep problems that impair their ability to wake up feeling refreshed. Consult your doctor if you have ongoing sleep issues. Some things, such as sleep apnea or chronic insomnia, may need medical attention to be adequately resolved. Once you’ve done this, turn your attention to developing healthy sleep habits, such as banning electronics from your bedroom, making the space as dark as possible, keeping the room cool, developing a bedtime routine, and using a white noise machine if you’re a light sleeper. While these are simple tips, they can go a long way toward making you feel more rested and giving you more energy during the day.
  1. Meditate

Meditation works wonders for everything from our health and well-being to our energy levels. Multiple studies have proved links between meditation and increased productivity, focus, and energy. Because meditation allows your brain to “shut off” for a period, it can help you recharge and re-focus, much the same way a mid-day nap would. If you’ve never maintained a meditative practice before, don’t worry. Today, there are dozens of ways to get into meditation without the requirement of prior experience. Look around your community for a local meditation group or yoga center that offers meditation sessions. If you can’t find one, use an app like Headspace for quick, guided meditations to help you feel more energetic.
  1. Address your stress

When left untreated, stress can balloon into an all-consuming thing that sucks up our energy and makes it difficult to function during the day. Because of this, it’s essential to develop methods for dealing with stress in healthy and positive ways. Meditation can help, as can getting out for a relaxing walk. Consider talking to a therapist if your stress is rampant, or call up a trusted confidant for a heart-to-heart. When we control our stress, we have more energy left over for the most important things in our lives.
  1. Call a friend

Connecting with other people is critical for feeling engaged, happy, and loved, and it can help ban feelings of sluggishness, as well. If you find yourself feeling sleepy in the middle of the day, call a friend for lunch or coffee. This simple little perk may be all you need to feel active and alert once more.
  1. Play brain games

You’ve heard the saying “use it or lose it,” and it’s just as true for your mind as for your body. When you keep your mind active, you put sluggishness and lethargy at bay. Luckily, it’s easy to do. Play brain-focused games like chess or scrabble or get a subscription to a brain training service like Lumosity to help keep your brain active and engaged. As an added benefit, playing brain games like this can also help prevent dementia and cognitive decline!
  1. Get excited about something

Sometimes, people who aren’t learning anything new or taking in unique experiences will feel lethargic and tired. Luckily, this is a simple fix. If it’s been awhile since you took on a new challenge or learned something new, consider adopting a new hobby or joining a class. Simple things like arts courses or book clubs can go a long way toward making you feel more engaged and giving you something to get excited about each day. Sluggishness be gone!
  1. Supplement your diet

Feelings of excess tiredness are often the result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency. If you’ve made changes to your lifestyle but still notice that your energy levels are lacking, consider supplementing your diet with vitamins like E, C, B, or A. Talk to your doctor about the specifics.
  1. Go on a vacation

Sometimes, feeling lethargic and tired is a result of having been in the same place for too long. If you can, take a small vacation with your friends or family. A change of scenery can go a long way toward shifting your perspective and helping you feel more active and engaged every day.
  1. Be careful with the caffeine

If you’re an avid coffee drinker, it may be wise to cut back. While many people use coffee to wake up, it can actually have the reverse effect if consumed in large quantities. Because coffee is both a vasoconstrictor and a diuretic, it dehydrates the body. This, in turn, can lead to a boost in blood pressure and feelings of sluggishness and lethargy. With that in mind, limit yourself to one cup of Joe a day and resist the urge to brew yourself another pot in the afternoon since doing so can interrupt sleep patterns.


Nobody likes to feel sluggish and tired. Luckily, these 13 tips can help you ward off sleepiness and participate in your life actively once more!      
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calendar icon 15 August, 2016

Seven Online Tools That Help Make Retirement Savings Last

If you’re planning for retirement, it’s likely that you’re interested in tips and tricks to make your efforts more efficient. It’s no secret that retirement planning has never been easy – past studies have revealed that only 18% of seniors expect to be better off in retirement than they are now. While preparing for and living well during retirement requires discipline, careful planning, and plenty of foresight, today’s innovative online tools can help make the process more intuitive. From tracking your investments to helping you budget your monthly expenses, today’s web-based tools are a fantastic way to make retirement planning just a bit easier. Here are seven of our favorite online retirement tools:
  1. You Need a Budget

Even if you’ve saved hard throughout your life for retirement, the only way to make those funds last is through careful money management tactics. You Need a Budget is a budgeting tool that offers educational videos, a user forum, and plenty of tutorials to help you learn to manage your money better. The tool offers a free trail month and then costs $60 after the 34-day trial period is over. While this may seem like a big investment – it’s worth it. Available on Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android, the app plugs in to your financial information and helps you keep track of your spending by importing information from your checking accounts, credit cards, retirement funds, and various other financial platform. What’s more, the app isn’t complicated, which is surprising for one that does so much. It’s easy to use, offers mobile apps for all devices, and can help you manage your money and learn to make your retirement savings last. you need a budget retirement savings
  1. Personal Capital

Personal Capital is a free investment tracking tool that’s popular among people planning for and living in retirement. In addition to tracking the performance of your investments, Personal Capital provides an easy-to-understand asset allocation breakdown and syncs with data from both tax-advantaged and taxable accounts. People love Personal Capital for its easy chart and graph displays and simple retirement planning tool, which allows users to adjust their investment strategies, analyze the performance of current investment portfolios, and keep tabs on their overall net worth. Additionally, Personal Capital offers a simple cash flow analyzer, so you can keep track of your daily, weekly, and monthly spending, as well as an innovative fee analyzer that helps prevent seniors from paying too much in fees on broker accounts, including mutual funds and retirement and investment accounts. personal capital retirement savings
  1. Moneydance

Moneydance is a simple personal finance platform that allows users to manage any currency from one simple online platform. Moneydance is available on Linux, Windows, and OS X and offers complete, integrated support for online banking. Depending upon what users prefer, Moneydance allows financial transactions to be uploaded manually or for the platform to connect with your financial institution to import transactions automatically. The home dashboard acts like an electronic checkbook ledger and displays every transaction you make, so you always know where your funds are being allocated. Additionally, Moneydance allows users to set up automated transactions for things like monthly payments, which makes financial management easier and less stressful. Despite the fact that it does so many things, Moneydance is simple, streamlined, easy to use, and amazingly flexible. Moneydance offers a limited free trial (usually about 100 transactions), after which users will need to pay $50 for full access to the app. moneydance personal finance retirement savings
  1. BlackRock Portfolio Analysis

Unlike the other tools mentioned so far in this article, BlackRock’s Portfolio Analysis isn’t so much a tool as it is a page. Hosted by reputable financial agency BlackRock, Inc., this page offers several helpful tools and resources that can help you get a handle on your retirement savings and learn what you can do to help them stay healthy. The page includes things like a tool that can provide side-by-side comparisons of five closed-end or open exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, or indices. The page also features a hypothetical portfolio tool which can help users understand how acquiring new funds will allow the portfolio as a whole to perform. Ideal for seniors who have extensive investment platforms and want to ensure that they continue to perform well and provide a constant stream of income during retirement, BlackRock’s Portfolio Analysis page is a great one-stop-shop for investment advice. blackrock portfolio analysis retirement savings
  1. My Calculators

One of the simplest tools on the list, My Calculators offers a selection of pared-down financial calculators, including savings and investment calculators, 401k calculators, retirement calculators, and rate and yield calculators. With this selection of calculators, it’s simple to determine how long your retirement savings will last with monthly withdrawals. The calculators factor in inflation and available Social Security payments and give users an idea of their after-tax withdrawal rate. my calculators app retirement savings
  1. Budget Simple

Yet another online budgeting tool, Budget Simple allows users to focus on their personal finances and ensure that they’ve developed a budget that works well for them. The tool helps users analyze finances, spending, and saving, and create a budget that allows them to meet financial or investment goals. The tool works by analyzing a user’s finances and then creating personalized suggestions on areas where money can be saved, how a user can plan better for set financial goals, and how to make retirement savings last. Budget Simple is a fantastic way to make developing and maintaining your retirement budget easy and the tool offers a simple, approachable, user-friendly dashboard and platform. Ideal for seniors who want to make a budget but aren’t comfortable with complex tools or involved online platforms, budget simple is a great way to manage money without feeling overwhelmed. budget simple app retirement savings
  1. Mint

Mint is a comprehensive online financial tool that allows users to build budgets, keep tabs on credit scores, and gain access to customized financial tools and tips. The service plugs directly into a bank account and offers users alerts if any unusual account charges pop up. The service also encrypts all financial information for maximum security. mint app retirement savings


For seniors who need help budgeting their retirement funds, these seven innovative online tools are a fantastic place to start. From building monthly budgets to tracking funds and getting on-the-go account notifications, these tools can make planning for and living well during retirement easier than ever.
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calendar icon 7 June, 2016

Seven Tips to Help You Care for An Ill Spouse

Caring for an ill spouse is always a difficult process, but it’s especially trying for seniors. In addition to coping with their own aging process and potential health issues, seniors who are caring for ill spouses must also contend with the emotional and mental strain of watching their loved one become ill and die. This can be exhausting and can easily have an adverse impact on the health of the surviving spouse. Fortunately, there are many ways to make caring for an ill spouse just a big easier for seniors to manage.

1. Ask For Help 

One of the most important things seniors caring for their ill spouses need to remember is that it is okay to ask for help. Often, spouses feel the need to provide for their sick husband or wife’s care all on their own. While this is a valid feeling, the execution of it often leads to seniors who feel overwhelmed, get injured, or become ill themselves. Fortunately, you can avoid this by asking for help. Asking for help is a pivotal part of providing quality care for your aging spouse. With this in mind, consider asking an adult child or a neighbor to assist you with tasks that are physically challenging for you (lifting heavy objects, for example) or hiring a housecleaning service to lighten your load. In addition to allowing you to focus more fully on your spouse’s care, these steps can also go a long way toward helping ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed or chronically stressed.

2. Know Your Limits

It’s difficult to provide quality care if you’re injured, ill, or disabled. Because of this, it’s important to know your limits well enough that you won’t push yourself past them in an effort to care for your spouse. This means not doing jobs that are too difficult for you to manage and not sacrificing your health to look after your spouse. While it can be difficult to know your limits and set boundaries surrounding them, it’s an important aspect of providing quality care for an aging spouse.

3. Find A Home Care Agency 

For a senior that’s been attempting to provide a spouse’s care all on his or her own, finding a quality home care company can be a lifesaver. Contrary to what many people believe, hiring a caregiver doesn’t mean you have to relinquish responsibility for your spouse’s care entirely. It simply means that you can share the burden of round-the-clock care with someone else. In-home caregivers can assist you with daily activities like helping your spouse bathe or get dressed while also helping to manage things like medication schedules, doctor appointments, and chores like house cleaning and cooking. While many seniors are reticent to hire an in-home care aide, doing so can be a huge help. While it’s difficult to care for an aging spouse at any point in life, it’s especially difficult when the healthy spouse is older than 60 and not as physically able as they once were. Because of this, hiring in-home care assistance can be a great way to safeguard your health while also providing your spouse with the care he or she needs.

4. Make A Choice About Your Attitude 

While caring for an aging spouse is a difficult process, it’s also a continuation of the vows you took when you married. By remembering this and seeing your care as an act of tenderness toward your spouse rather than a burden you must cope with alone, you can make a conscious choice to be happy and to care for yourself well throughout the entire process. There are many trying aspects of caring for an aging spouse, and making a choice to maintain a positive attitude and be happy throughout can impact the care you’re able to give and help enhance your satisfaction and mood. If you need help looking on the sunny side of things, consider joining an online support group or seeing a therapist.

5. Don’t Forget To Care For Yourself 

Caring for an ill spouse can be all-consuming and many seniors get so wrapped up in the tasks at hand that they forget to eat, drink, and exercise as they normally would. While this is a normal response to the extraordinary burden of caring for an aging partner, it’s also a dangerous place to put yourself. If you’re not healthy, you can’t provide quality care, which does nothing for your spouse. Keep yourself in good health by eating well, sleeping enough, drinking enough water, and getting some exercise in on a daily basis. While it may seem like a small step, these things can have a huge impact on your ability to provide quality care. One of the best things you can do while caring for your spouse is to set aside some time – even if it’s only ten minutes – each day for “you time.” This can help safeguard your mental health and ensure that you’re getting the respites you need to stay healthy and happy.

6. Safeguard Your Mental Health 

Spouses caring for their ill husbands or wives are at a high risk for depression and anxiety. Because of this, it’s important that you safeguard your own mental health while caring for your loved one. Consider seeing a counselor or therapist or simply making time each week to meet with a trusted group of friends or confidants. Having space to vent your frustrations, sadness, or difficulty is incredibly healthy and can help ensure that you don’t go crazy while attempting to care for your spouse.

7. Know Your Options

While spouses caring for sick husbands or wives often feel alone, there are dozens of community and local organizations that can often offer a helping hand. Depending upon your unique situation, things like Meals on Wheels or an adult daycare program may be appropriate. You may also have access to free assistance from a church or community group. If you’re struggling to care for your spouse on your own, don’t be afraid to explore the options available to you in your local area. This can help relieve some of the burden you feel surrounding your spouse’s care and may make the entire thing more bearable for you.


While caring for an aging spouse is a difficult experience, there are many things seniors can do to make the process easier, less stressful, and more manageable on a daily basis. From enlisting the help of friends and family members to hiring an in-home caregiver, seniors aren’t as alone as they may think. Additionally, seniors can safeguard their physical and mental health by ensuring that they’re sleeping enough, eating well, drinking enough water, and exercising daily. Some seniors may also benefit from seeing a therapist or counselor to cope with feelings of grief, anxiety, or depression. These measures can go a long way toward ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of the spouse providing the caregiving in order to make sure that the ill spouse gets all of the care he or she so badly needs.    
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calendar icon 14 April, 2016

The Ten Biggest Fears of Senior Living, Resolved

If you believed everything that society told us about senior living, you’d think that senior living is a place the elderly go when they have no more options and can no longer care for themselves. How dismal! Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the often-perpetuated myths about senior living are false. By debunking these myths, seniors can understand more fully what senior living means and how it can benefit them.

What is Senior Living?

Senior living facilities are places where seniors can live with as much or as little assistance a they want or need. While senior living facilities do indeed provide a whole host of essential care services, they also provide fun, companionship, stimulation, and exposure for active seniors from all walks of life. Options included in most senior living facilities include independent living, assisted living, nursing care, rehabilitation, and more!

The Ten Biggest Fears About Senior Living

While many seniors appreciate the benefits offered to them by senior living, not everyone fully understands these facilities or what they offer. If you or your loved one has concerns about moving into a senior living facility, read on for our answers to the top ten concerns about senior living:
  1. Senior living means I’ll lose my independence

Many people believe that moving into a senior living facility is akin to giving their freedom away on a silver platter. Fortunately, this isn’t true. There are many different options available to seniors who chose to move into a senior living facility. People who choose the assisted living option, for example, will get help with cooking, cleaning, laundry, or whatever else they may need. Seniors who choose independent living will enjoy their own apartment with no help, unless they need it down the road. The entire goal of senior living is to support seniors at all life stages. Because of this, the assistance offered ranges from light cleaning to intensive rehabilitation care. Older people in senior living will never receive help they don’t need and won’t have to worry about being infantilized or coddled.
  1. Senior living is lonely

One of the biggest myths surrounding senior living is that it is an isolating experience. People worry that moving to a senior living facility means that they’ll sacrifice all of their relationships and lose interaction with their friends and family. While this is an understandable fear, it’s not altogether rooted in reality. Senior living facilities support interaction with friends and family and provide a whole host of opportunities for new relationships to form. Seniors living in senior living facilities will enjoy community events, classes, social hours, and educational opportunities that allow them to meet other seniors while also enjoying a comfortable living space where they can entertain their pre-existing friends and family. While seniors worry about isolation in senior living, many people find that their social lives become more active when they move into a senior living facility.
  1. Senior living is unaffordable

It’s true that senior living can be a large financial burden. It’s also true that there are dozens of financial options to help seniors afford senior living. From Social Security to VA benefits, there are scores of ways to make the cost of senior living more manageable. Additionally, seniors can choose from a variety of senior living programs – some elaborate and some more simple – to fit their budgets and their lifestyles. While senior living is often regarded as the most expensive care option, it’s important to consider that, in many cases, it’s less expensive than staying at home and hiring full-time in-home care.
  1. Senior living will make me age prematurely

While many people worry that moving to a senior living community makes them “old,” the opposite is often true. Between the activities available at a senior living community to the customized care intrinsic in the structure of these facilities, it’s completely possible to look and feel younger than ever while also enjoying the enhanced ease, social activity, and free time a senior living community offers. Senior living facilities aren’t a trap for the aging – they’re a way to increase a senior’s quality of life across the board.
  1. I can’t trust the senior living staff

Many seniors considering senior living worry about the competence and trustworthiness of the staff. They may also worry that their children will just drop them off in this strange place and that their care will be totally unmonitored from then on out. Fortunately, this isn’t true. The fact of the matter is that senior living facilities are meant to make seniors comfortable. If you’re not comfortable with your caregivers, something is wrong. Good senior living facilities are run by professional senior care personnel that care deeply about the health and well-being of the residents and legitimate senior communities pride themselves on improving the happiness and quality of life for their residents. Seniors who are concerned about the staff at a new facility should make this clear to their family members, and close contact should be maintained during the first few weeks of care.
  1. I won’t have control over my own life

Many seniors confuse the schedule of a senior living community with that of basic training or boot camp! While it’s true that there are plenty of activities to take part in, it’s important to remember that they’re all voluntary. Nobody is going to force a senior at a senior living facility to take part in arts and crafts if they don’t want to and many seniors live in senior living communities while maintaining the patterns and habits of their regular lives. As a senior ages, it’s possible that their need for care will increase. In this case, a senior living facility may be the best choice for both the senior and his or her family. It’s important to remember, however, that senior living facilities respect the autonomy of their clients and aren’t on a mission to force people into abandoning their daily routines and habits.
  1. I’ll be bored

While many seniors worry about being bored in a senior living facility, they need only to talk to the people who already live there to understand this isn’t a genuine threat. Senior living facilities take the happiness of their residents seriously, which is why they offer such a wealth of activities. It’s not uncommon for a senior living facility to provide field trips, hair salons, language classes, social hours, games, cooking classes, or therapy animal sessions. More likely than note, a senior living facility exposes seniors to more activities then they’d have access to in their own homes!
  1. Family won’t visit in a senior living facility

While many seniors worry that their friends and family will forget about them in a senior living facility, the opposite is often true. The fact is that older people in assisted living communities often have more time on their hands and enjoy more time with their friends and family than they did before. Plus, many senior living facilities do special family days that encourage a senior’s children, siblings, or other family to visit and participate in fun activities.
  1. Senior living means I’ll have to give up my taste

Many seniors worry that living in a senior living facility means they’ll have to renounce their ability to decorate or manage their own homes. While additional assistance is available to those who need it, the purpose of a senior living facility is not to rob a senior of his or her personality or style. Seniors are encouraged to decorate their living spaces they way they’d like to and are encouraged to continue participating in the things they love.
  1. I’ll have a hard time integrating into senior living

Many seniors worry that they won’t make friends or fit in in a senior living community. While adjusting to a new way of life can be difficult, many seniors find that they enjoy a senior living community and become more comfortable with the new pattern over time. While it’s unfair to say the transition will be seamless, most seniors find actually enjoy living in a senior living facility. While seniors may feel many fears surrounding the concept of senior living, many seniors truly enjoy their transition to a senior community. From providing assistance with daily chores to helping seniors meet new friends and be more active, there are many benefits to senior living facilities and many seniors find that these communities improve their happiness and quality of life.  
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