Friday, February 26, 2016

7 Heart Healthy Shopping Tips for Seniors

Heart Healthy Shopping Tips for Seniors

Eating better is one of the Heart Association’s “Simple 7” factors for improved heart health. When you maintain a healthy diet along with regular physical exercise and other good habits, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll live longer — and of course we want our senior loved ones to stay healthy and vital for as long as possible, too. Here are some tips on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to succeed when the going gets tough.
1. Buy colorful fruits and vegetables.
Low in calories, high in vitamins, minerals and fiber — adults should get at least five servings per day of these nutrition powerhouses.
A Place for Mom senior nutrition expert Heather Schwartz recommends, “When getting ready to head to the check-out line, check the basket to make sure you have a variety of colored fruits and vegetables to ensure you get the rainbow of benefits each color has to offer. Colors indicate a concentration of a specific nutrient; for example, tomatoes are dense in lutein, which is great for your heart and eyes.”
2. Avoid buying high fat dairy or meat.
Look for skinless cuts of lean meat with the least amount of visible fat. Cuts that say “loin” after them, like sirloin and tenderloin, are often leaner cuts. Ground meats should have less than 20% fat, whether it’s chicken, turkey, pork or beef. Yogurt, milk, cheese and other dairy products should also be low in fat — 2% “reduced fat” or less.
The one kind of fat you do want your loved ones to get plenty of is fatty fish: two servings a week of salmon, trout, or other oily fish can help lower the risk of heart disease and increase the body’s level of healthy omega-3s.
3. Buy plenty of nuts and high fiber foods.
Fiber can help lower blood cholesterol, and it keeps you full, which helps you maintain a healthy weight. You can find fiber in fruits, veggies, beans and whole-grain breads and cereals, as well as in nuts. Almonds and walnuts also have plenty of other valuable nutrients and have been shown in recent studies to have a significant impact on heart health.
A study at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine found that Seventh Day Adventist patients who ate nuts at least five times per week cut their risk of heart disease in half.
4. Avoid buying butter.
We all know these are the culprits of poor dietary health, but this is particularly important advice for seniors. Avoiding these three can help lower cholesterol. A few easy tips to remember: try to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day, avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and follow the tips above for consuming lean protein and dairy.
Also, Heather Schwartz says, “Consider replacing butter with a more healthful spread like Smart Balance, Brummel and Brown, Benechol or Promise. Unlike butter, they have healthy fats in them and contain plant sterols which may help lower bad cholesterol.”

Friday, February 19, 2016

Home Care Tips for your Elderly Loved Ones

Home Care Tips for Elderly Loved Ones 
By Jennifer B. Buckley

If you are caring for an elderly loved one at home, you should make them as comfortable and safe as possible. This can reduce stress for you, as well as, your loved-one. The more secure your loved-one feels, the less the likelihood of them becoming confused, aggressive, or agitated. There are simple, little changes you can make to ensure a heightened level of contentment for your loved-one.
    Buy a small, lightweight pitcher. Keep it filled with water at all times in a convenient place for your loved-one to get at. Remind them periodically about drinking plenty of water and where the pitcher of water is located. Staying adequately hydrated can ward off a number of different ailments like headaches, sleeplessness, and appetite suppression. It’s great for overall health and well being.

    Avoid placing a lot of mirrors around your home. Mirrors can seem confusing for elderly people because they may not recognize their own reflection. Also, walking up to a mirror can startle or confuse them. If you like to have mirrors in your home, buy smaller mirrors and hang them relatively high on the walls. This is to prevent your loved one from seeing their reflection.

    Use large dials and number pads. If your loved one enjoys watching television, buy a remote with large numbers. If your loved one can still use the phone, make sure the keypad has oversized numbers. Also, place digital clocks around your home because they are easier for your loved one to read. This will keep them from getting frustrated with trying to read the traditional three-hand clocks.

    Buy your loved-one’s clothing in basic colors like black, tan, white, cream and green. This will make it easier for them to pick out their own outfit. In addition, place all their shirts on one side of the closet and shorts, pants and skirts on the other side. Take any clothes they haven’t chosen to wear in a while out of their closet and keep them in another closet or box.  
It is better for your loved one to make as many decisions as possible. This helps them to feel in control and a sense of importance. The main thing is to limit choices, too many can be confusing and overwhelming.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tips for Elderly Nutrition Needs

As people age, their diets may need to change, especially if their diets are not well-balanced. Generally, doctors will recommend a well-balanced diet for older adults, meaning that they should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains to maintain and improve overall health. According to Ruth Frechman, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, in addition to eating a healthful variety of foods, there are specific things a caregiver can incorporate into their their loved one's diet to boost his or her health.

Prepare meals rich in these nutrients
  • Omega 3 fatty acidsThe acids have been proven to reduce inflammation, which can cause heart disease, cancer and arthritis. They can be found in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, and different types of fish. Your older relative should have foods rich in this nutrient twice per week. If this is impossible, check with their doctor to see if an Omega 3 supplement would be beneficial.
  • Calcium The need for calcium increases as people age. This is primarily to preserve bone health. One added benefit of calcium is that it helps to lower blood pressure.The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults over the age of 50 get at least 1200 milligrams per day of calcium – equal to about four cups of fortified orange juice, dairy milk, or fortified non-dairy milks such as almond or soy. Leafy greens like kale and turnip greens are also great sources of absorbable calcium. Many people find it challenging to consume this much calcium per day by eating and drinking, so check with your loved one's doctor to see if he or she should take a calcium supplement.

Friday, February 5, 2016

10 Tips for Active Seniors

Regular exercise can keep you fit and help you stay independent as you age. Other benefits may include faster recovery from illness, reduced risk of chronic disease and better management of existing medical problems such as osteoarthritis. 

Here are some tips for staying active in your senior years.

  1. Choose activities you find interesting and manageable. You are more likely to stick to an exercise routine if it’s fun.
  2. Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine. Some activities may not be appropriate if you have been sedentary for a long time or suffer from obesity or a chronic illness.
  3. Start slowly and aim for small improvements. Be guided by your doctor about how long and how frequently to exercise. Keep track of your progress in a training diary for added motivation.
  4. Make exercise a social event. Invite friends along or sign up for a class so you can meet new people while getting fit.
  5. Improve your flexibility. Suggestions include yoga, stretching exercises, lawn bowls or dancing.
  6. Build muscle tissue with strength training. For example, you could lift weights or perform a modified form of calisthenics.
  7. Look after your bones. Weight-bearing exercise can reduce your risk of bone loss and osteoporosis as you age.
  8. Improve your heart and lung fitness. Opt for moderate intensity exercise for maximum benefit. As a general rule, aim for activity that means you breathe hard but are not left feeling breathless.
  9. Reduce your risk of falls. Include some balance and coordination exercises in your weekly exercise routine. Good options include tai chi, balancing on one leg and heel to toe stands.
  10. Build exercise into your daily routine. Walk to the shops or bus, spend more time in the garden or offer to walk a neighbour’s dog.

Note: Always stop and seek medical advice if you experience chest pain, extreme breathlessness or dizziness.

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