About Amie

Avid runner with a love of team-relays. Expert on senior-care issues, especially senior housing solutions. Loves working with seniors and families. Co-founder of The Senior List and The Senior Resource Network.

Physician Cures Her MS With Diet- Are You Eating Enough?

Eat Seven Fruits and Vegetables per DayI first learned about Dr. Terry Wahls this morning on my favorite radio station, Kink.fm.  The morning host had just finished her book and was remarking about this woman who had cured her multiple sclerosis (MS), discarded her wheelchair, and had done it all with food, not drugs.  In addition, she went on to say that a new study has been released that directly links the amount of  fruits and vegetables in a person’s diet to lifespan.

Eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42% lower risk of death from all causes.

Yes, you read that right- seven portions, not the usual five we have heard about for the last several years.  As a self-proclaimed food-nut myself, I was very interested to read about Dr. Wahls and her health transformation from changing how and what she ate.

You can read about the Seven Fruits and Vegetables Study here.  Another interesting note from the study is that canned fruits and vegetables seemed to increase the risk of death by 17%!  Yikes!  Not surprisingly, the amount of sugar, especially in canned fruits seems to be to blame.

It may seem unrealistic (and can be expensive) to increase fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, but our takeaway is that some is better than none, at any age.  If you are getting  three servings,  try increasing it to four, then, five, and eventually up to seven.  I find that making a smoothie first thing in the morning helps me knock 2-3 servings out.  Here are some great recipe ideas for smoothies that I found helpful when I was just getting started.

Have you found easy ways to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption?  We want to hear about it!  Comment below!

US guidelines urge more cholesterol meds than Europe

US guidelines urge more cholesterol meds than Europe (via AFP)

US guidelines for prescribing cholesterol-lowering drugs to people over 55 call for many more to be taking the medications than in Europe, researchers said Saturday. The findings raised new questions about how popular drugs like Lipitor (atorvastatin…

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10 Tips To Total Healing

10 Tips To Total Healing (via Honey Colony)

By Kathy Gruver, Buzzworthy Blog Though one of the most basic things our bodies do, healing is complicated by bio-individuality, our mental states and our environments. I believe we can enhance our healing using mind-body techniques, but we can’t…

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What Boomers Look For In A Retirement Community

Boomers on computerMedia Post’s Engage Boomers Blog wrote a nice piece on the 5 things boomers are looking for in a retirement community and we thought we’d pass a few of these tidbits along.  There are a few obvious features, and a couple not-so-obvious.

Today’s baby boomers are looking for pet friendliness, spacious living quarters and sustainability (environmentally functional) just to name a few.  Boomers today live active lifestyles, and their not looking to get bogged down!  Lot’s of activities are a must in any modern day retirement community, and a quality food menu is an absolute essential!!!!

The article doesn’t mention it, but it goes without question – staff friendliness, attentiveness and professionalism rank extremely high among the attributes of top retirement communities.  People really do make the difference.  What are you looking for in a top rated retirement community?

PRISONS GET GRAYER, BUT EFFORTS TO RELEASE THE DYING LAG

PRISONS GET GRAYER, BUT EFFORTS TO RELEASE THE DYING LAG (via City Limits)

Phil Lyons sat with four other inmates, shackled and handcuffed inside a dark blue windowless van with no air conditioning. It was 2010, New York’s hottest summer in history. While they roasted in the van, according to the story that Lyons told his…

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Book Review: Plan Ahead: Tools for the Caregiver

plan ahead caregiver workbook for senior careWhile there are many books for caregivers and senior care in general, few are able to distinguish themselves as part workbook, part resource and part guide.  The author, Walt Sonksen has done a nice job putting all three together in this easy-to-read caregiver workbook.  In this book, Walt shares life experiences, as well as those lessons learned  from the deaths of his own parents.  The book encompasses many aspects of family care…  Such as gathering personal information and wishes, transition planning, safety concerns, caregiving options, financial and legal issues, and community resources.

 This handbook is meant to be used before a crisis so the family and their designated caregivers can spend more quality time with their family member.

Plan Ahead: Tools for the Caregiver is a workbook that can be used and written in and is small enough to fit in a purse or tablet pouch.  This is a tool that you will use over time and will add to it as you go along the journey of caregiving. Some of the information is specific to Oregon and Washington, the author resides in the Northwest, however a reader who is resourceful will be able to access similar information for their own area.   The book is geared to the adult caregiver and is focused on senior care, but could apply to any caregiving situation (dependent children, etc…).  Throughout the book you will find checklists, tidbits, personal stories and encouragement.  Several well-respected leaders in the elder care field are also contributors to topics like senior living options, downsizing and moving, and mental health.

The book can be purchased on Amazon for a list price of $16.95.  Additional details and a downloadable Emergency Medical Packet are available at the website, www.planaheadtools.com.


 

February is American Heart Month- What are you doing to care for your heart?

February is American Heart MonthFebruary is American Heart Month and I just celebrated by taking a brisk walk.  It’s important to show some love to your heart since Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one killer for men and women in the U.S. and is a leading cause of disability.  CVDs including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure can be prevented by healthy habits like diet and exercise and not smoking.  The CDC offers some great tips to improving heart health, check out their website for expanded information- remember each step in the right direction is a step closer to a healthy heart!

1. Work with your health care team- make sure you are seeing your doctor at least once a year for regular check-ups.  Even if you are feeling great, they can check for things that may otherwise go unnoticed (like diabetes and high blood pressure).

2. Check your blood pressure and cholesterol- I have to keep reminding my kids that the blood pressure machines at the drug store aren’t toys to play on while we wait!  High blood pressure typically has no symptoms, so check it regularly.  A blood test for cholesterol is recommended every five years.

3. Eat a healthy diet and keep a healthy weight- An apple a day….  Adults should be eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, foods low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium and high in fiber.  If you need help planning meals, selecting the right foods, physical activity ideas and exercise trackers, ChooseMyPlate.gov is a terrific resource.

4. Exercise.  Often.- You don’t have to run out and join a gym.  It’s easy to get your blood moving doing daily activities like taking the stairs, raking the yard, or parking at the far end of the parking lot.  The Surgeon General recommends that adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.  That’s less than 25 minutes per day to show some love to your heart.

5. Don’t smoke and limit alcohol-  If you smoke, quit.  Talk to your doctor about strategies and medications that can help you with the addiction.   Alcohol overuse can increase blood pressure.  Men should limit alcohol intake to two drinks per day and women to one.

6. Manage diabetes and take your heart medication- Work closely with your health care team to ensure your diabetes is being managed the best way possible.  If you are taking heart related medications, make sure you are taking the right dose and follow directions for the medication correctly.  If you are having any side-effects or concerns about the medication, bring this to the attention of your health care team right away.

If these recommendations seem overwhelming, take it one step at a time.  Ask friends and family to support you and share your goals with them.   For more inspiration, check out these Hearty Healthy Pins.

Making a Difference, One Wave at a Time

elderly woman waves to kids and they wave backIt’s not hard to find inspiration on the web, a few minutes spent on youtube or facebook is all it usually takes to make us tear up.  The waterworks get turned on when we see inspiration and seniors in the same story.  This delightful video has it all- smiles, humor, sweetness, and tears. Tinney Davidson is a widow who has impacted kids in a big way, with a small wave. This year, the kids decided they would show her how much her small daily act meant to them.  If this doesn’t melt your heart, you should probably see a doctor.  And speaking of your heart, did you know that February is American Heart Month?

 

 

Medical Alert System Satisfaction Ratings

The Senior List surveyed medical alert system subscribers and found that customer satisfaction results are mixed (at best).  The survey which spanned late 2013 to February of 2014 illustrated how vulnerable medical alert providers are to competition in this space.  A full third of respondents noted that when their agreement (contract) was up, they were leaving their current provider.  This is in stark contrast to 18% of respondents that said they were very satisfied, and they would recommend their medical alert provider.  Key takeaway: There are some really good medical alert providers… and some to stay away from.

Medical Alert System Satisfation SurveyThe medical alert landscape is changing.  This industry is going digital and mobile.  An industry that once tethered users to within 600 feet of the home (base station), has grown wings.  What was once dubbed “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” has now morphed into “I’m going shopping, but just in case I’ll take my medical alert system along”.

A number of manufacturers now monitor their users via a cellular signal just like the phone in your pocket.  This allows family members a safety-net in case of emergencies.  Another nice feature of cellular based medical alert systems is that they have built in GPS tracking to locate users if needed.

If you’re interested in the good, the bad, and the ugly of medical alert systems make yourself familiar with the comments section while you browse through our product reviews.  Folks here aren’t afraid to speak up… Especially if they’re not happy. Keep this in mind when you’re taking in comments from any product review site however.  Folks expect providers to at least meet expectations, and when they don’t, there can be a backlash.

What’s interesting (and telling) is to see the response (or lack thereof) by providers after a misstep.  Quality medical alert providers are transparent, responsive and fair to their customers.  Stay away from the ones that are rigid, secretive and unresponsive.

Lesson learned:  Do your homework.  Ask the right questions.  Know your rights.  Read the fine print.

Top 5 Dementia Articles for 2014

canstockphoto1476746We thought it fitting to provide you with a new top 5 list to ring in the new year.  Listed below are the top 5 articles on DEMENTIA for this, the first week of 2014.  We hope you find it both interesting and informative.  As always, if you have comments, suggestions, or additional resources to add we invite you to participate in our comments section below!

Top 5 Articles on Dementia

1.  Bringing Dementia Patients Back To Life (The Atlantic; Jan. 5, 2014):  This article focuses on the many misconceptions of a dementia diagnosis, and it focuses what dementia patients CAN DO, not what they can’t.  Money Quote: “In some cases, unresponsiveness may say less about a patient’s disability than a failure on our part to offer something worth responding to.”

2. Heart Disease Could Be Tied To Dementia For Older Women (Reuters; Jan. 2, 2014)  Reuters reacts to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association entitled Cardiovascular Disease and Cognitive Decline in Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study.  This study looked at the relationship between heart disease and cognitive decline in elderly women.  Researchers confirmed the association noting that “Women who’d had a heart attack, in particular, were twice as likely to see declines in their thinking and memory skills”.  Money Quote:  “Understanding the connection between heart disease and dementia is important because heart disease is reversible but Alzheimer’s disease is not, O’Brien said.”

3. What Is The Global Impact Of Dementia (CBS News.com; Jan. 4, 2014)  CBS News VIDEO discusses the global impact (including economic implications, human implications and potential therapies). Money Quote: “Where we’re really lacking – is drugs that can hit that inflammation response where the brain’s immune cells are turning against it.  We really have nothing that can help you.  Ibuprofen and current anti inflammatories won’t do it.”


4. A Daily Dose Of Vitamin E Slows Ravages Of Dementia (Daily Express – UK; Jan. 1, 2014)  For the first time, US researchers have found a benefit of adding Vitamin E to the diets of mild to moderate dementia sufferers.  Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and the Veterans’ Administration Medical Centers in Minneapolis are reporting that “the annual rate of functional decline among dementia sufferers was reduced by 19 per cent thanks to a daily vitamin E supplement”.  This particularly study noted that those taking Vitamin E were able to carry out everyday tasks for longer periods of time.  Money Quote:  “Now that we have a strong clinical trial showing that vitamin E slows functional decline and reduces the burdens on care-givers, vitamin E should be offered to patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.”

5. The Younger Face Of Dementia: Ottawa Man Shares Wife’s Battle With The Disease (CTV news.ca- Jan. 6, 2014)  When people think of dementia they think of it as an older person’s disease, but as Matthew Dineen explains – his wife was just 41 when she began exhibiting signs of the disease.  Today, Lisa Dineen lives in the secure wing of a Ottawa nursing home, a stand-out among the elderly residents there.  A year ago she was diagnosed with FTD (Frontotemporal Dementia) a devastating brain disorder for which we know no cure.  Money Quote:  “We have people who get a divorce … their families leave them because some of them start acting very inappropriately. They don’t understand that it is a brain disease, they don’t understand that they are not doing it on purpose.”