Walmart’s Oldest Employee Turns 103

Walmart's Oldest EmployeeIf you had a crystal ball and could look into your future, what would you be doing if you could see yourself alive and well at the ripe old age of 103?  If you said “working” you’d be in the minority, but that’s exactly what Loren Wade is doing even as he celebrates his 103rd birthday as Walmart’s most famous centenarian.

Walmart’s oldest employee works at the Winfield, Kansas Walmart where he’s been a faithful worker for the past 32 years.  It doesn’t take a math whiz to calculate that Mr. Wade started working at Walmart in his 70’s (yes I realize that’s enough to make many of us feel inadequate) proving that it’s never too late!

Walmart’s Oldest Employee

In a recent interview with The Today Show, Wade told Sheinelle Jones; “I like to meet the people and being here I get to talk to a lot of people, I like being occupied. I usually keep very busy, one thing or another. They see to it that I do.”  These are literally words-to-live-by, at least as far as Loren Wade is concerned.

Proverbs 17:22 reads;  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.  Mr. Wade seems to embody the spirit of that excerpt to it’s fullest.  Perhaps the key to longevity is found in the way Mr. Wade lives his life.  To be healthy, one must live healthy, exercise daily, and it seems more and more critical that it’s necessary to stay active in “your community” (whether that’s with your friends or your co-workers).

I keep thinking that when you’re 103 why don’t you quit? And then I think – well, as long as you’re able to work why don’t you just go ahead and work? – Loren Wade, Walmart’s oldest employee

Recent Alzheimer’s research has found a correlation between an active lifestyle (including aerobic exercise) and a decrease in mild cognitive impairment.  As we learn more and more about dementia and other cognitive diseases, we should remember what it takes to maintain a sharp edge… even at 103!  Happy Birthday Mr. Wade.  May you have many, many more.

Can Technology Keep Our Brains Healthy?

technology and seniorsSenior List co-founder Amie Clark was interviewed recently by the fine folks at NewRetirement.com.  If you’re unfamiliar with them, NewRetirement is a group “dedicated to helping people concerned about retirement find the information they need to create a secure retirement plan”.  They wanted to discuss technology, and how it helps or hinders aging adults today.  Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

What are the most common concerns you’ve heard from seniors regarding technology?

Technology is moving at lightning speed, and I hear from boomers and seniors who say they don’t know where to start. In addition, our visitors report that it can be difficult to weed through the clutter and decide what options they want (and really need) when they are researching products. – Amie Clark, The Senior List

Do you think keeping up with the trends of something as fast paced as the tech industry can keep the mind young, healthy, and strong?

Absolutely. I think the key to keeping the mind healthy is to keep learning and questioning. Engaging with other people is also such an important piece of keeping the brain operating on all cylinders. – Amie Clark, The Senior List

You can find the entire interview below (click on the image)

Can Technology Keep Our Brains Healthy?

Keeping Up with Tech Can Keep the Mind Young: With Amie Clark of TheSeniorList.com

Preventing Dehydration in Older Adults

dehydration in older adultsDana Larsen over at The Senior Living Blog gave us some great tips about preventing dehydration in older adults.  Her post titled “4 Ways to Prevent Elderly Dehydration” included some great tips on staying hydrated, and provided a few yummy recipes for what she calls “Summer Mocktails”.

Senior dehydration is a common health issue that can lead to bigger problems if proper hydration is not made a priority, such as urinary tract infections and low blood pressure. – Dana Larsen/Senior Living Blog

What causes dehydration in older adults?

Here are some of the reasons Dana believes dehydration is so prevalent among older adults:

  • The ability to notice changes in body temperature typically decreases with age.
  • As people get older, body water content decreases.
  • Many medications the elderly take make them more susceptible to dehydration.
  • The elderly often experience diminished thirst; which leads to a reduced fluid consumption.
  • With aging, the kidneys have a reduced ability to concentrate urine and retain water during water deprivation.
  • Specific conditions, such as reduced swallowing capacity, decreased mobility, comprehension and communication disorders, as well as, decreased mobility and/or incontinence can contribute to dehydration.
  • Many seniors have underlying health conditions that make them less able to adapt to heat.

Hydration and your Health

The Hydration for Health Initiative (H4H) is a think tank of professionals that believe in raising public awareness of healthy hydration.  H4H believes there are many health benefits to staying hydrated, and ensuring that we receive optimal amounts of fluids daily.  Some of those benefits include:

  • Proper hydration may have a positive impact on cognitive functions and mood. “Several studies, performed in healthy persons, looked at the effects of induced dehydration on cognitive performance and motor function: fatigue, mood, choice reaction time, short- and long-term memory, attention, arithmetics… It appears that a 2% dehydration is sufficient to impair functions and performances.” 
  • Proper hydration can prevent the recurrence of kidney stones.  “The role of increased fluid intake as a means of preventing recurrence of kidney stones is well recognized today. In fact, it has been used since the time of Hippocrates.”
  • Proper hydration can contribute to maintaining a healthy body weight.  “There is increasing evidence that the types of the fluids we drink can have a long-term impact on health, influencing the development of overweight, obesity or metabolic diseases.”  H4H advocates maintain that the best method for preventing dehydration in older adults is to drink water (as opposed to surgery/flavored drinks).

Proper Hydration in Older AdultsWondering what a “summer mocktail” is?  Well, Dana Larsen says these are yummy beverages that we can all make that are devoid of caffeine or alcohol.  Visit her post for some awesome summer recipes!

What Happens When You House a Preschool In a Retirement Community?

A preschool in a retirement communityI may seem like an odd question at first.  What happens when you house a preschool in a retirement community?  The answer is… MAGIC!  Present Perfect is a magical documentary that brings together each end of the aging spectrum.  Interestingly, at each end of the spectrum, there is a greater need for nurturing, and to be nurtured.  The fit makes perfect sense, but now (finally) someone has filmed the scene for us, and set the stage for further development.

Stepping into most any nursing home, it’s hard to ignore the sense of isolation one feels on behalf of the residents living there, and even harder to reconcile that with the fact that old age will inevitably come for us all. In our fast-paced, youth-obsessed culture, we don’t want to be reminded of our own mortality. It’s easier to look away. – Evan Briggs

Picture Perfect Trailer

Film maker Evan Briggs on why the Present Perfect project is important:

Present Perfect explores the very real experience of aging in America- both growing up, and growing old. It was filmed in a preschool housed completely within a retirement home, powerfully capturing the subtleties and complexities of the young children’s interactions with the elderly residents, while challenging us to consider what we’re doing- and what we’re not- to prepare future generations for what’s to come.

What value does a person have to others throughout their life? Are we asking for the right contributions from each other? How do we measure and define a successful life? While this film doesn’t shy away from confronting some difficult realities, it is ultimately a life-affirming story of hope that, we believe, just might lead to serious positive change.

The folks at Present Perfect are in the midst of a KickStarter campaign in order to raise the funds to finish the project in its entirety. You can support them by jumping to the link provided.

Exercise For Seniors Proven Important

exercise for seniors growing in importanceHuffPost recently summarized the results of a new study entitled “Associations among Physical Activity, Diet Quality, and Weight Status in US Adults“.  It was done by researchers at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC) and published in The Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.  The study was one of the first to look at associations among moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, diet quality, and weight status within and across age groups in US adults.

Purpose: Nearly 70% of adult Americans are overweight or obese, but the associations between physical activity, diet quality, and weight status have not been examined in a representative sample of US adults. – Russell Pate et al (University of South Carolina)

Study: Exercise for seniors

The study, consisting of 4,999 American adults (ages 20-70) noted that diet alone isn’t enough to stave off age related weight gain.  It further noted that exercise for seniors has a greater impact on weight gain than diet does.  Authors felt their findings provided support for “public health efforts to prevent obesity by promoting increased physical activity in adult Americans”.  Clearly we all need to be more cognizant of the role that both diet and exercise play in our overall health.

Overall, Americans’ activity levels are lower thanks to sedentary jobs, technology and better mass transportation options, according to the American Heart Association. We’re paying for those conveniences with our health; about 69 percent of adults are either overweight or obese, which increases risk for diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and reproductive problems. – Anna Almendrala, HuffPost

Balance is the key

In our opinion it’s important to note that balance is really the key here.  A consistent regimen of eating healthy foods (in proper portions) combined with (at least) the federal activity guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise per week are vitally important to both our physical and mental health.  As we age, we need these 2 healthy components more than ever to stay sharp, to feel our best, and to keep our bodies strong (muscles as well as bone structure).

What are you doing to keep yourself healthy these days?  Are you spending time at the gym? Do you have a particular walking/running routine?  We’d love to hear how you’re tackling these important issues in your life!  Let us know in the comments below.

Longest Marriage In America

Longest Marriage in America

“Behind every great man is a greater woman.”  So says Lee Cowan, a reporter for CBS Sunday Morning.  Lee was able to uncover some of life’s most complicated secrets during a recent visit to Hemingford, Nebraska.  The Longest Marriage in America (certified by the World Wide Marriage Encounter).  His story inspired us, and we wanted to share this lovely story of endearment with you.

Dale and Alice Rockey are each 99 years old. They met as kids just after the turn of the last century, in the small town of Hemingford, Nebraska. As Lee Cowan reports, the group Worldwide Marriage Encounter crowned the Rockeys the Longest Married Couple of 2015, having been husband and wife for 81 years. – Lee Cowan; CBS Sunday Morning

When asked about the secret to their longevity Alice Rockey answered “I always let him have my way”.  Clearly one of the (not so) secrets to their marriage is having a great sense of humor.  Enjoy!

Longest Marriage In America: 81 Years

Know other couples that have long marriages with one another? Any secrets to pass along? Let us know in the comments below :)

Sleep Problems And Dementia

Sleep Problems and Dementia RiskDid you know that this week is “Sleep Awareness Week“?  Sleep awareness week starts March 2nd and ends on the 8th with daylight savings time, when we all spring forward.  Here’s what The National Sleep Foundation says about Sleep Awareness Week:  “Sleep Awareness Week is an annual public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep. The week begins with the announcement of the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll results and ends with the clock change to Daylight Saving Time, where Americans lose one hour of sleep.

Sleep Deprivation and Dementia Risk

As part of sleep awareness week we wanted to discuss a few very important topics with you.  The first is the role that sleep deprivation can have on Dementia risk.  Sarah Stevenson wrote a great article recently for A Place For Mom’s “Senior Living Blog”.  It’s entitled Hard Facts About Sleep Problems in the Elderly.  In her article Sarah discusses the link between sleep deprivation and insomnia on dementia risk.  She writes; “Unfortunately, older adults are more likely to have health issues that disturb their sleep, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. A 2011 study at the University of California, San Francisco, showed a clear association between sleep-disordered breathing in older women and the risk of cognitive impairment.”  That means that a good night sleep doesn’t just feel good the next morning… It is good for you, and your cognitive health!

Sundowning

Another very interesting sleep related issue to be aware of (especially for Alzheimer’s sufferers) is called sundowning.  HealthLine describes sundowning as “A symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Confusion and agitation worsen in the late afternoon and evening, or as the sun goes down. Symptoms are less pronounced earlier in the day.”  Sarah Stevenson believes that sleep disruptions are one of the factors that contribute to sundowning in those with cognitive impairment, and we’re inclined to agree with her.

Sleep problems and dementia are 2 big issues facing aging adults today, and it’s important to be aware of some of the signs and symptoms.  If you have more questions about sleep related issues and your health, contact the National Sleep Foundation at NationalSleepFoundation.org.  For more information on Alzheimer’s Disease visit the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.

Photo credit: National Sleep Foundation

Healthiest Cities Ranked

Healthiest Cities in the U.S.Ever wondered where your city ranks in terms of fitness?  Living here in Portland Oregon, we know that PDX is one of the healthiest cities around.  Portlanders are generally very fit and (if you believe Portlandia) very weird… Of course this is just the way we like it!  By the way, if you’ve ever watched Portlandia and wondered – are Portlanders really like that? We are.  

This month BetterDoctor.com published their list of the fittest cities in the U.S.  BetterDoctor.com, a website that helps consumers find the best doctor for their needs, gives us some interesting statistics to ponder.  These statistics rank-order cities on either how “fit” cities are, or how “sedentary” they are.  Some of the cities on the “fit list” are my favorite places to visit, and where many of my friends and family have settled in.  (*Special Note – These cities would also be great considerations for retirement for active adults.)

Here are the criteria themes they considered when ranking the fittest cities:

  1. Do other people in the city exercise?
  2. Are other residents fit?
  3. Do residents have access to high-quality parks and outdoor spaces?

Top 20 Healthiest Cities

Here are the top 20 fittest cities in the U.S. as ranked by BetterDoctor.com. The score you see following each city is their “fit cities index score”.  How does your hometown rank?

  1. Aurora, Colo., 75.2
  2. San Francisco, 73.6
  3. Oakland, 72.3
  4. Albuquerque, 70.9
  5. Seattle, 70.9
  6. Denver, 70.5
  7. Portland, Ore., 70.0
  8. Sacramento, 68.4
  9. Irvine, Calif., 66.8
  10. San Diego, 66.5
  11. Scottsdale, Ariz., 63.8
  12. San Jose, Calif., 63.5
  13. St. Paul, Minn., 63
  14. Minneapolis, Minn., 62.8
  15. Honolulu, 62.2
  16. Colorado Springs, Colo., 62.2
  17. Reno, 61.9
  18. Washington, D.C., 61.2
  19. Virginia Beach, Va., 58.4
  20. Boston, 58.3

All About (Healthy) Portland

Yoga For Seniors: Benefits and Best Poses

Yoga For SeniorsThere are many different kinds of Yoga from the sweltering hot to the laughing kind.  Yoga for seniors is nothing new, but offers a unique approach to keeping fit.  No matter your age, keeping your body flexible, mobile and in good shape is important. While the amount of exercise needed by older adults is less than other age groups, it is still crucial that seniors commit to exercising on a regular basis.

While it is well known that it is beneficial for seniors to take part in cardiovascular exercise, like power walking, flexibility training is just as important. Taking part in flexibility exercise, like Yoga, is not only beneficial in terms of fitness, it is also beneficial for general health. For additional cardiovascular and flexibility exercise ideas for older adults, you can have a look online at Anti Aging World.

Many older adults suffer from long-term health conditions, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, and insomnia. Some studies have suggested that practicing yoga for seniors on a regular basis may help to ease the symptoms of these conditions. Regular yoga sessions may also help to combat fatigue, alleviate chronic pain and reduce stress levels.

It is unrealistic to expect seniors to be able to be as flexible as in younger years, but learning some simple yoga poses can improve quality of life. For example, certain yoga poses increase core strength and balance, which can help to reduce the risk of fall-related injuries.

Yoga for Seniors: Improve Sleep Habits

Many seniors suffer from insomnia, however practicing yoga may help get a better night’s sleep. Studies have shown that yoga can help to improve sleep duration and reduce the time required to get to sleep. This may be because the physical demands of the poses, combined with relaxation and breathing techniques burn energy. By sleeping better at night, you should feel better and more energized during the day.

Chronic Pain Relief

Many older people suffer from chronic pain in their muscles and joints – usually attributed to arthritis. Yoga is known to help reduce chronic pain and make it more manageable.

Reduces High Blood Pressure

Studies have found that Yoga can contribute to reducing high blood pressure levels, which can often be a serious health worry for older people. The calming techniques used in Yoga, combined with the physical activity, can help to lower blood pressure.

Improved Flexibility and Mobility

As we age, our range of motion and flexibility decreases. But, Yoga can be used to increase flexibility and range of motion through physical poses that stretch muscles out and help to lubricate the joints.

Seniors may find that poses involving smooth movements may be more beneficial than poses that require them to stay still. Just a few days of yoga exercises or classes might be all it takes to limber you up and improve mobility and balance.

Most beneficial Yoga poses for seniors:

  1. One-legged Wind Releasing Pose:

This is a nice, easy stretch that stretches out the muscles in the middle to lower back and the hips. It can help to reduce lower back pain.

Start by lying down on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground.
Pull your left thigh towards your chest.
Straighten your right leg on the floor and keep your foot pointed upwards.
Make sure you keep your pelvis on the ground.
Deep breath until your muscles relax, hold the pose for a few more seconds.
Then repeat with the other leg. 

  1. Staff Pose

An excellent pose for helping aches and pains. The Staff pose can help to strengthen the middle of the back, helping to improve posture. It can also help to make the knees more stable.

Begin by sitting on the floor and stretch your legs out. You may find it easier to sit with your shoulders against a wall.
Suck in your stomach and sit up as straight as you can.
Put your hands on the ground by your hips, make sure your fingers point towards your feet.
Flex your thigh muscles and press them down towards the floor, rotate them inwards and draw your groin muscles towards your lower back.
Gently flex your ankles and point your toes upwards, towards your body.
Hold the pose for ten deep breaths. 

  1. Chair Pose

Chair pose can be good for your heart if practiced on a regular basis. However, the Chair pose is somewhat challenging as it requires the use of many areas of the body at once.

Start by standing up with your feet close together.
Swing your arms to the side and up over your head, make sure the palms of your hands are facing inwards. While doing this, it is important to inhale.
Exhale and then bend your knees so that the tops of your legs and your stomach make a right angle – you should look like you are about to sit down.
Hold the position for as long as a minute.
Then stand up while inhaling, and then exhale and drop your arms back down.
If you struggle with this exercise, you can use a wall to help keep you stable.

  1. Seated Forward Bend Pose

The Seated Forward Bend pose can help to reduce high blood pressure. To avoid over-straining your back, you can use a chair to help you.

Begin by sitting down on a chair, keep your knees together and place your feet on the floor.
Take a deep breath and inhale.
When you exhale, lean forward, round your shoulders and bend your back slowly forward.
Allow your arms to dangle by your sides.
Hold this pose for four breaths.
This pose should allow your chest to rest on your thighs, and your forehead should be near your knees.
As your body becomes stronger and has more flexibility, you can get rid of the chair and do the position as a standing one.

By taking part in regular yoga sessions, not only can seniors improve their flexibility and mobility. Yoga can also be used to alleviate other health problems and conditions.

The Two Best Exercises For Seniors

exercises for seniors are important to maintaining a healthy bodyAs we age, our bodies begin to function at a slower rate. The typical response to this is to reduce the amount of physical activity we do. In fact, men and women over the age of 65 spend on average at least 10 hours per day in a stationary position. A lack of physical activity puts adults at an elevated risk of health complications. It also reduces our quality of life as the more time spent sitting still, the less able we are to move.

There is strong evidence to suggest that in addition to eating a healthy diet, we should exercise on a regular basis. This will lead to many health benefits and a longer life. Below we discuss two of the best exercises for seniors; swimming and walking. We also give you advice on how to organize your workouts to get the greatest benefit and enjoyment.

Exercises for Seniors: Swimming 

Swimming is a great form of exercise for older adults as it is low-impact and is suitable for people who suffer from sore or stiff joints. Swimming provides benefits for the whole body and swimming on a regular basis can reduce the risk of illnesses such as osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

If you are new to swimming, seek out beginner lessons at your local pool. These classes aim to teach beginners swimming strokes, breathing skills and help to build your confidence in the water. Often, community pools will cater to different age groups. There may also be other classes that suit your needs like individual sessions, water aerobics, and masters groups.

All you will need is a comfortable well-fitted swimsuit, a swimming cap and a pair of goggles to protect your eyes.

Whatever your fitness level, aim for 30-minutes of swimming each session. This will count towards the recommended level of weekly physical exercise.  If you like being in the pool, you might also enjoy aqua aerobics. This exercise is popular with older adults. It is, simply, aerobics in the water.

Exercises for Seniors: Walking

Walking is another excellent all-around activity that is perfect for older adults. It is also an easy and convenient method of physical activity. Consistent and regular walking in the fresh air can have a many benefits on your mental and physical health.

It’s never too late to start regularly exercising, so if you are new to frequent walks, start off slowly. Begin with a 15 minute slow walk each day. When you start to feel more comfortable in your stride, gradually increase the speed and the length of your walk. As with swimming, you should be aiming for 30 minutes each day.

If you have not done so already, invest in a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes. Your best bet for quality walking shoes is a sport or outdoor store. Ask the store assistant for advice on making the right footwear decision.  Some walking and running stores will even asses your gait and foot placement to recommend the best shoes for you.

To make walking more enjoyable, invite a friend, neighbor or relative to come along with you. Or, you could invest in a portable music player and listen to your favorite songs while walking.  Your community may have local walking groups and some indoor malls open their doors early to walkers before retailers are open.

Regardless of your activity of choice, the best advice is to “use it so you don’t lose it”!