All Entries For senior health

Is Diet the Most Important Factor for Senior Health? Maybe Not.

Healthy habits are important at any age, but it can be easier to get away with poor habits in your 20’s than in your 50’s and 60’s.  As we age, it becomes even more obvious that a balanced diet, regular exercise and taking good care of our bodies will help us live a longer, higher-quality life.  There are many factors to consider when it comes to good health, so which are the most important?  According to a recent survey, there are consistent habits those seniors who consider themselves in “great” health have in common.
Posted 7/3/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 17 comments   15,457 views
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Regular Exercise Benefits a Senior's Mind and Body

My grandma was a regular walker in the later years of her life.  She never wanted to walk near her Florida condominium because she didn’t want her neighbors to see what she was up to.  So she’d drive to a private beach a few miles away and walk in their parking lot.  (You couldn’t actually see the beach from the parking lot, but that’s another story.)  I remember she looked forward to those walks because they made her feel good.  Eventually she stopped walking, which was right around the time that both her physical and mental health started to decline.  New research validates the idea that regular exercise for seniors has more than just physical benefits.
Posted 4/27/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 16 comments   13,619 views
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Life Lessons from Those Who Have Lived It

When I was in college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I chose to major in business only after ruling out a bunch of other things.  After graduation I went to work in corporate America, and quickly discovered that it just wasn’t for me.  Some people told me I was crazy for quitting, because I’d never have the financial stability that I had in this job.  They were right, but quitting and starting down a new career path in health education is a decision I’ve never regretted.  To me, it was more important to be happy and less important to be financially well-off. 
Every day I struggle with how to make my life as happy and fulfilling as possible.  There are never enough hours in the day to do all of the things I want to do:  work, have hobbies of my own, spend quality time with my spouse and each of my children, and the list goes on and on…  So I just try to prioritize and make the most of the time I have, because I never want to look back on my life with regret. 
Posted 2/10/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 36 comments   13,909 views
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Poll Finds More Baby Boomers Need to Get Moving

The majority of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are reaching an age where health becomes more of a concern.  That means a healthy diet and regular exercise should be a priority to help reduce the risk of problems like heart disease and diabetes.   But according to a new poll, only half of baby boomers are exercising as much as they need to, and more of them are obese and overweight compared to those who are older and younger.  If you're in this age group, what can you do to help reverse the trend?
Posted 7/28/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 37 comments   17,240 views
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You Can Teach an Old Body Fit Tricks

I've found that as I get older, making sure I take good care of my body and get enough rest is very important. I used to be able to do a hard workout and get up the next day and do it all over again. I never used to stretch after workouts (shame on me), but I've had some injuries in the recent past that reinforce the need to be kind to my body and give it what it needs. "I'm not a kid anymore," is the excuse I've always made, assuming that as I age, gains in fitness won't come as easily and I'll have to take even better care of myself. But according to some new research, part of my logic might be a little faulty.
Posted 4/28/2011  2:17:35 PM By: Jen Mueller : 34 comments   22,108 views
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Lifting Weights Isn't Just For the Young

When you think of weight lifting, especially at a gym, images of muscular men and thin, young women might come to mind. It's easy to be intimidated, or think that after a certain age the only exercise you really need is a daily walk. But that's not true. New research is showing that adults who start a regular strength training program can help minimize muscle loss and increase independence as they age.
Posted 2/22/2011  5:51:33 AM By: Jen Mueller : 62 comments   21,097 views
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In Memoriam: Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne, founding father of the fitness movement in the United States, died at home on Sunday at the age of 96.

Those of us who were around during the early days of television may remember him best for his syndicated exercise show, which first appeared in 1951 and stayed on the air for 33 years. I don’t remember exactly when I started watching the show, but I do remember being impressed by the two white German shepherds who often shared the stage with Jack.

When I was somewhat older, I also remember being struck with how honest, simple, and direct his message was. He didn’t try to sell you any dubious gadgets, techniques, or diet plans, even though he certainly had the opportunity and the means to do so. He preached a simple diet of natural, whole foods, along with basic strength training and regular physical activity—as he put it on most of his shows: "Exercise is king; nutrition is queen. Put 'em together and you've got a kingdom!"

The other key ingredient in LaLanne’s approach was constantly challenging yourself to do the best you can. And when it came to setting and achieving personal challenges, he truly led by example...
Posted 1/26/2011  3:40:29 PM By: Dean Anderson : 150 comments   23,898 views
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Celery Could Help Retain Your Memory

Celery is often wrongly touted as an example of a negative calorie food. People like to believe low calorie foods like celery take more calories to digest them than they contain so they have no influence on weight. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a negative calorie food. Although, celery does have a high water content, which makes it a great choice for juicing while also being low calorie and high in fiber, it is not calorie free. Although it may not be a negative calorie food, new research suggests it could be a memory super food.

Posted 10/21/2010  10:40:32 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 110 comments   18,960 views
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Diet and Exercise Influence Alzheimer's Disease Risk

Last summer I shared about my grandmother and provided information regarding an opportunity to participate in The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Grand Opportunity (ADNI-GO) Study. Because of that blog, we received an interview opportunity with Dr. Michael Rafii, MD, PhD to learn more about groundbreaking Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research.

Dr. Michael Rafii, MD, PhD, is co-director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at UCSD Perlman Ambulatory Care Center in La Jolla, California and Assistant Professor of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego. He is also the Associate Medical Core Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) specializing in cognitive disorders, including dementias such as Alzheimer's Disease. We focused our questions on what we care most about – healthy eating and exercise. We think you will find his responses very applicable especially if you or someone you love may be at increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Posted 10/7/2010  10:55:18 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 15 comments   13,895 views
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You Are Never Too Old to Boost Brain Power with Exercise

Numerous studies have shown the intellectual benefits of exercise for children. Physical activity has been shown to increase test scores, improve concentration and improve overall academic achievement. As P.E. classes and recess time are being cut, parents have a greater responsibility to incorporate exercise into after-school activities. But kids aren’t the only ones whose brain power gets a boost from exercise. New research shows that adults can benefit as well.
Posted 9/21/2010  5:03:44 PM By: Jen Mueller : 54 comments   15,994 views
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A Grand Opportunity for Alzheimer's Disease

Ronald Reagan, Charlton Heston, Rita Hayworth, and Mary Ellen Westerman are all people that had one thing in common. The first three names are people that were important to the world in one way or another but the last was someone that was important to me. Mary Ellen Westerman was my grandmother and although she was physically healthy when she turned eighty, like millions of other people she battled a degenerative disease of the brain.

This degenerative brain disease is known as Alzheimer's and it causes a gradual loss of memory, judgment, and ultimately the total ability to function. As was the case with my grandmother, dementia typically appears in older people as subtle forgetfulness that worsens and limits their ability to function normally in many aspects of daily life. Familiar settings become confusing, memories focus on places and experiences from many years before, and routine tasks turn into a challenge. The decline of my grandmother stood in stark contrast to my then newborn son. As he was learning to walk, talk, and feed himself, she was losing her ability to do the same. Eventually like most others, she required total care during her advanced stages of the disease before losing the battle due to general body wasting. It is estimated that about 5.3 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately for my family, not only does the risk of contracting the disease go up as we get older, it is also higher if a family member has had the disease. Since my husband also lost his grandmother to the same disease, I suppose the race is on to see which of us forgets the other first.

I previously told you about a participation opportunity for the VITAL study, a research study designed to see if taking omega 3 fatty acids or vitamin D supplements could reduce the development of cancer, heart disease and strokes in healthy people. Now there is another opportunity I wanted to bring to your attention.

Posted 6/14/2010  5:28:43 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 87 comments   16,344 views
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Senior Playgrounds Offer New Exercise Options

Who says that playgrounds should be just for kids? London's Hyde Park area is set to open a new outdoor playground specifically geared toward older adults. The equipment will be designed to improve balance, flexibility and strength through low impact activities. Could you see a demand for something like this in your area?
Posted 3/5/2010  10:15:50 AM By: Jen Mueller : 115 comments   17,834 views
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A Younger Look May Mean Living Longer

Have you ever had someone ask your age, and then be shocked at your response? "You look so young! I never would have guessed it!" I used to hear those comments all the time before I had kids, but I think the lack of sleep and stress of children has aged me a little. It's definitely been worth the tradeoff, but now a new study reveals that looking younger may mean you live longer.
Posted 12/22/2009  1:42:33 PM By: Jen Mueller : 111 comments   19,321 views
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Obtaining Your Family's Medical History: Do You Know Yours?

As children our mother’s know everything about our health history. She knows what vaccines we received, what ailments we suffered from, even when we lost our first tooth. But how many of us know our own family’s medical history? While it may seem a tad uncomfortable to ask such personal questions from our parents, unlocking their health history many times can unlock the door to our own health.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 96% of Americans rank the need to know one’s family health history as important, however only one-third of us actually take the time to assemble this data. This information is vital not only for you, but for your physician or health care provider as it can help them to determine your risks for many health issues including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.

Posted 10/24/2009  5:38:31 AM By: Nancy Howard : 71 comments   22,125 views
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How Do You Feel about End-of-Life Nutrition and Hydration?

One of the roles I performed as a Clinical Dietitian was helping medical teams determine artificial nutrition needs for people when they had difficulty taking adequate food and fluids by mouth. Sometimes that nutrition and hydration support came in the form of a special IV formula and other times required a liquid formula combination delivered through a tube into the stomach or intestines. The goal was to provide adequate fluid and nutrition support following surgery or a prolonged illness so the patient could return to health as quickly as possible.

I have personally been on the other side of nutrition and hydration support decisions as well. When my sister-in-law was in intensive care on a ventilator for over five weeks, specialized IV support was vital and necessary to provide all of her nutrition and hydration needs. The need for nutrition and hydration support was straight forward because the care plan obviously intended to promote healing and restored health. The situation was different when my grandmother with Alzheimer's disease was no longer able to eat or drink sufficiently. The family conversations related to artificial nutrition and hydration were different as well. We had to take a deeper look at how we really felt about nutrition and hydration.
Posted 8/27/2009  6:24:04 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 183 comments   24,452 views
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