Tag Archives: health

Age in Place – Are You Prepared or Is There a “Rest Home” in Your Future?

Age in Place
Image by JacobLund@iStock

You are worried about what will happen to you as you get older.

You do not want to lose your independence.

Living somewhere else is not acceptable.  You love your home. 

It is your right to age on you own terms and in your own way

Everyone must plan for the future and how you will live as you approach your 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond.  The decisions you make today can affect your health, comfort, and safety during those years.

Many people are making  the decision to “age in place.”

Age in Place

The CDC defines this as “the ability to live in your own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

At first glance, it seems like the ability to age in your home is simply a matter of keeping yourself healthy and active for as long as possible. That is an important piece of the puzzle, but not the only piece.

Choosing to age in place isn’t just about your home and your ability to remain active. It includes your connections and involvement with everything in your community.

Familiarity with your community/neighborhood gives you the confidence to move about and to engage with friends and neighbors.

I also allows for easy access to familiar health-enhancing resources like doctors (and other service providers), parks and walking trails, book club, and yoga class, etc. 

Risks of Isolation

The benefits of staying at home are important, but there is a downside.

A new study at Brigham Young University shows that prolonged loneliness and being socially isolated is the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. While friendships and meaningful relationships with others support our immune system, reduces our stress levels, and can actually reduce the risk of developing dementia.  

The author of the study and psychology professor, Tim Smith, said that the United States is facing a possible “loneliness epidemic,” revealing that more people live alone today than at any other time in recorded history.

The study’s co-author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, states that,

Loneliness should be considered a serious health issue. Just as one starts planning financially long before retirement, we should also consider our social resources in planning for retirement.”

 It is easier to work on preventing loneliness than trying to work your way out of it.

These social resources of the choice to age in place include planning how you will stay connected and involved in your community.

Do you have a family – siblings, adult children, and grandchildren – nearby? Do you have both long-term friendships and a way to meet and make new friends?

If not, you can consider a service like Silvernest that provide ways to meet like-minded people – in this case, to make a roommate match. Having someone living in your home with you helps to create a new friendship and provides a safety net should you need help.

Home Adaptations

Now (not later) is the best time to plan and execute changes to your home that will keep you safe and comfortable.

No one likes to look at things that scream, “You are getting older,” like ugly grab bars in the bathrooms. Thank goodness the design of these features has come a long, long way. When you are ready, take the time to shop around. You can find things that keep you safe and are also aesthetically pleasing.

You may find that it’s the little things that limit you – like kitchen utensils or the height of your toilet. These can be easily fixed. There are great alternatives that people of any age would enjoy.

If you aren’t already familiar with them, check out the universal design features of OXO kitchen products, or bathrooms from Kohler that are designed well without feeling old.

Projects, like leveling floors from room to room, living on a single level, and widening doorways, are all important adaptations, but they are also more costly. This is particularly true of homes in older, desirable neighborhoods.

Experts advise that if you plan to age in your home, make adjustments while you are working and have an income to support the costs. Also, the disruption caused by home improvements is easier to live with when you aren’t recovering from an accident or struggling with a health problem.  

Take an inventory of your home. Look for anything that seems annoying or limiting to you now – even in the slightest. This will only be exacerbated as you get older.

Technology for the Ages

If you have aging parents, stay on the lookout for the developments in technology that will help them stay connected and remain as independent as possible.

Apps are available for caregivers to keep you informed on their care and activities.

We live in a “sharing economy” that makes it possible to have almost anything delivered to the front door.

Ten years ago it would have been unimaginable to get into a stranger’s car or to have a roommate as you age, but companies like UberLyft and Silvernest have made it the norm – and these are services you will rely on more as you get older.

The world offers many advantages that early generations couldn’t have imagined as they aged.

The most important advantage you have right now is your planning window to age in place. 

With a bit of thought, you can make plans that support both your physical and mental health and keep your home the vibrant and safe place it is today.

This is an adaptation with permission of the original article published at Silvernest.com.

Related Topic:  7 Foods that Accelerate Aging

Crossing the Weight Loss Plateau

Hitting the Weight Loss Plateau

Is Part of the Process

Weight Loss Plateau
Image by Kris Robinson

This is a follow up to a previous post from a few days ago in which I talked about the dreaded dieter’s plateau – the point in the dieting process that always appears no matter how much you do not want it to.  You are moving along great, the pounds are coming off, you feel confident that you will reach your goal and suddenly the scale seems to be broken – it doesn’t change from day to day. It is maddening! You start to think if things don’t change soon, you will go backwards and gain all you have lost.  What can you do?

First – recognize that hitting a plateau is part of the process. Instead of letting it get you down and knocking you off track, look at it as an opportunity to clear your head, intensify your focus and develop a strategy to move forward toward your goal.

Below are eight things you can do to re-light the spark that ignited your determination in the beginning and get across the plateau to higher ground.

  1. Check your ultimate goal – is it realistic and healthy?

When you are stalled it is critical to consider your ultimate goal carefully.  Ask these questions: 1) Is the weight you are planning to reach realistic?  2) Is your expected rate of weight loss reasonable and healthy? 3) Are you going about it the right way? Whatever the answers, don’t let them discourage you or be a reason for quitting. Simply make the necessary adjustments to keep you moving forward.

Hopefully you have chosen a healthy, nutritionally-rich weight-loss program. If so, you should be losing one to two pounds per week. Also, remember that everyone’s body is different, with its own ideal weight and size. An easy trap to fall into is the desire to look like your friend, a model, or a celebrity.

Comparisons are dangerous and goals that are based on such comparisons are faulty. Your body knows your ideal weight, so listen and pay attention to what feels right.  A good marker can be set by using a Body Mass Index Calculator to find your ideal weight. (Be sure to read the information to understand how it works.)

The ideal weight range is wide enough that you can figure out which end of the range should be your goal.  As I get older I tend to feel better a little on the heavier side. Be sure to factor in age and your current health. Remember that healthy weight is a lifestyle – not a diet!

  1.  Switch to eating high-protein/low-carbs for a while

You must eat enough protein – even on a diet – to maintain your lean muscle mass.  When you cut your protein down too low, you will lose weight, but it will come from both your fat and muscle tissue, which is not healthy.

In order to preserve muscle tissue during a weight loss regimen, men need 150 grams of protein per day, and women need 100 grams.  If you made a mistake in the beginning and have already lost some muscle tissue, you should seriously consider adjusting your diet to include more protein in order to sustain your muscle tissue and jump-start your diet again.

Every diet or weight loss program must include the necessary nutrients to preserve your body’s muscles. If you have chosen one that does not do that, make the necessary changes NOW.

  1. Incorporate aerobic exercise and resistance training into your routine

A great way to boost metabolism is to make aerobic exercise a regular activity.  For people under 35, a 30-minute brisk walk – three to four times a week will do wonders. Over 35 or terribly out of shape because of prolonged lack of exercise, you should start with 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a week and build up slowly.

Another great exercise choice is weight training with free weights or machines, if you are up to it. It is an excellent way to increase your metabolism almost overnight – as much as 5% to 10%.  Workouts several times a week will increase muscle mass, which burns more calories faster. Studies have shown that a solid weight training workout can boost your metabolism for as long as 21 hours after.

  1. Look for hidden carbs that may be stalling your progress

Stay alert and pay attention to what you are eating.  When your weight loss slows to a standstill (hits a plateau), check for hidden carbohydrates that may be piggy-backing unnoticed into your diet. For example – sugar can be found in very unlikely places, especially condiments such as salad dressing, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce, etc.

Processed foods such as gravies and sauces that are found on frozen veggies must be avoided – they often contain sugar, milk solids and cornstarch. AND, watch out for low-fat foods.  Yes, they take out the fat, but they add a lot of sugar and sugar products as flavor enhancers.

If you can’t immediately identify the culprits, put on your detective hat. . . for a couple of days make a list of everything you eat and drink, and read labels. Then, each night study the list and find the hidden carbs that may be keeping you stuck. Once you know what they are, you can stop eating them and break through the plateau.

  1. Stop eating refined and processed food

Eliminate all refined foods from your diet – especially refined sugar and grains.  In case you don’t know, this includes all white rice and all white flour products such as white bread, pastries, pasta and crackers.

The second group is anything that contains refined sugar – even small amounts. This group includes soda pop, sugar-coated breakfast cereals, pop-tarts, cookies, cake and most desserts.

This is probably the simplest step, but for many people one of the hardest. However, if you can take the step, chances are you will experience a huge dieting breakthrough that will not only jump start your diet again, you will have more energy and feel better than you have in a long time.

  1. Stay away from caffeinated drinks and diet sodas

The jury is still out on these but, there are enough studies that support the ill effects of both caffeine and diet drinks for people who are trying to lose weight that it isn’t worth the risk.

According to a report from researchers at Purdue University, drinking diet soda may not only be as bad for your health as the regular stuff, but it may be causing you to pack on the pounds.

Drinking just one can of diet soda per day is “enough to significantly increase the risk for health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.”

The report explains that diet soda and artificial sweeteners trick the body into thinking that it is consuming real food and sugar even though it isn’t, which could lead to metabolic confusion and over-consumption. Diet soda should not be considered a “healthy” alternative to regular soda – learn to drink water instead.

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, caffeine affects cravings for food because it raises the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol raises heart rate and blood pressure and tells your body to increase its energy stores.  Cravings are always a challenge when dieting, so don’t add to the problem by drinking caffeinated drinks. One last thought on caffeine . . . . avoid completely the energy drinks which are very bad for your overall health on many levels.

  1. Be sure you eat enough

How much and how often are you eating?  When you cut back on either, or both, quantity and frequency, it can negatively impact the way your body functions and easily create the weight loss plateau. There is a lot of evidence that eating small amounts, frequently can satisfy your hunger and produce better results than if you were to eat the same number of calories in three whole meals space evenly throughout the day.

When hunger pangs hit, munch on healthy, low-calorie, crunchy snacks such as sliced carrots, celery, jicama, green peppers, zucchini, and cucumbers. Eat as much as you want – no hidden culprits will be found.  You can also treat yourself to a few raw almonds a couple of times during the day for a slightly sweet, healthy snack.

  1. Stay completely hydrated

Water is an important component of any diet.  You must stay hydrated with a continual replenishment of water.  Dehydration can actually slow down your weight loss. Become one of those people who always have a bottle of water in their hands or sitting next to them as they work.  Hydration not only helps the body burn fat efficiently, it also helps control your hunger.

A high-quality aloe concentrate added to your water can be an excellent aid in keeping your digestive tract working at its best.  Also consider taking a probiotic supplement to assist in maintaining healthy intestinal flora.

  1. Keep Your eye on the prize – stay motivated

If you are like most of us, once you decide to begin a serious weight-loss program and commit yourself to the process, there is a sense of right-mindedness and excitement about the end result; and, the excitement mounts as the pounds began to fall off, one-by-one. Keep that feeling alive in your mind and tap into it whenever doubt and discouragement start to creep in.

Remember what helped you make the decision to start losing weight. Think about your primary motivation and see if it still works, or if you need to find a stronger motivation. Then, keep reminders in critical places such as your master bathroom mirror and/or the refrigerator.

A picture of you looking great is often helpful – maybe a before and after from years past – maybe a favorite dress or new suit, or the perfect swimsuit for your summer vacation that you can’t wait to wear.

We all have our hot points – for me it is simply the way I feel when I a slim that motivates me the most.  What is yours? I know you have one (or two). Find it and keep it clearly in your mind’s eye – or physically where you can see it every day.

Most important of all – don’t forget – THE PLATEAU IS TEMPORARY. Don’t let it defeat you.

To a lighter, thinner YOU! 

Nancy

 

My New blog – Cooking and Health

I am so happy to be back and delighted to introduce my new blog (the old one, but different and better than ever). At least, I can say that I am working fast and furiously to make it so.

Keyboard with fast hands
Image by laffy4k

Sorry, I have been absent – hope you missed me. Unfortunately, I contracted pneumonia (for the first time ever in my very long life). It took me down, but good!  I was sick for several weeks and have just begun to feel healthy and fully functional again over the last couple of weeks – so, I am playing catch-up.

It the process of getting back in full swing, I evaluated what I have been doing on this blog for the past few months and decided a change was needed.

Since I am passionate about both cooking and health, blending the two seemed to be the way to go. So, this is my plan . . .

I will post two articles a week – on Monday and Thursday. The articles will cover a variety of topics including cooking tips,  cooking healthy, eating well, and the relationship between diet and health. There will also be articles about health in general – mind, body, and spirit. I love to write and to share information with people that can help them in any way – so this is the perfect focus for me.

Finally, since I still love cookbooks and recipes, rather than publishing a recipe each day, I will publish the “Recipe of the Week” on Saturday.  My choices will come from any source that catches my interest, but primarily from my cookbooks that were created from my personal collection of recipes. I prefer those because they are time-tested and well-loved recipes of my family and friends, which makes it a pleasure to share them with you.

I hope you will join me on a regular basis and let me know what you think – comments and questions are always welcome.

Nancy