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Healthy eating as we age

food-salad-healthy-lunch

Eating well should be a goal at any age, but especially as we get older. When we age, we need to watch how the changes in our bodies interact with the items that we’re consuming.

A healthy diet is key to living a better life. It will help improve energy levels, allow you to better fight off illness, and give you the mental acuteness you need.

How does our body change?

There are multiple processes that take place in our bodies as we age.

These include:

  • Lowered senses: Our sensitivity to salt and bitter leave first, which may make you want to add more salt to items.
  • Digestion slows: Your digestive system slows down, meaning it is more difficult to process certain vitamins and minerals that are important for mental alertness.
  • Metabolism slows: Adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine will help avoid unnecessary weight gain

What should I be eating?

The key is the find foods that are healthy and delicious. It is one thing to try to eat lots of kale and spinach, but if you dislike the taste you will end up getting sick of the items quickly.

Here are some foods you should be including in your diet:

  • Fruit: (2-3 servings per day)
  • Vegetables: (2-3 cups per day) of dark, leafy greens (spinach, broccoli) and colorful veggies (carrots)
  • Grains: (5-10 ounces) Stay away from processed white flour and try more whole grains with nutrients and fiber
  • Oils: (5-8 teaspoons) Eat foods full of healthy oils like olives, avodacos, and nuts
  • Calcium: Limit your milk consumption to 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat types. 1 cup of yogurt, 1-1.5 oz of cheese, 1 cup of cottage cheese.
  • Protein: (5-7 oz) Eggs, tofu, nuts, peanut butter, fish, poultry

Snack smart

You can snack between meals if you feel yourself getting hungry. But be sure that they are healthy snacks low in calories, sodium, saturated and trans fat. These include items like Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, and grilled chicken.

More fiber

As we age, our digestive systems become less efficient. That means we need to be eating much more fiber than we used to. Women over 50 should be eating at least 21 grams per day and men over 50 should eat at least 30 grams.

Here’s how you can get your fiber in:

  • Whole grains
  • Wheat cereal, barley, oatmeal
  • Beans and nuts
  • Vegetables like carrots, celery
  • Whole fruits (including the peel)

Skip the sugar & empty calories

We probably don’t need to be reminding you, but stick to drinking water. Sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea, and energy drinks may taste great but they are not doing your body any good.

Also stay away from “empty calories” which include many items in the middle aisles of the grocery store including cookies, alcohol, and chips.

Resources

Healthy Eating after 50
National Institute on Aging

Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors
National Council on Aging

Eating Well As You Get Older
NIH Senior Health


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How to spot the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

hands-walking-stick-elderly-old-person

It’s something not many of us want to think about or start considering for our parents, grandparents, or other elderly relatives and friends. As we age, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease only become more and more probable. That’s not to say that older people will develop memory loss, it’s that it tends to affect us as we enter old age.

What do you need to look for when it comes to the onset of Alzheimer’s? Are there certain symptoms, characteristics, traits, or behaviors that are common amongst those that are developing the disease?

We will go over many of the most common symptoms that can help you spot Alzheimer’s and alert you to taking your loved one to a doctor as soon as you can.

Confusion of time or place

This is a common one amongst people with Alzheimer’s disease. It involves losing track of dates, days of the week, or even the year. If this happens once, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. But if it continues to happen often, you might want to see a specialist.

Changes in vision

This isn’t as well known as the memory loss symptom of Alzheimer’s. Those that develop the disease can notice changes in their vision either near or far, and even when telling colors apart.

Daily tasks become challenging

As the disease progresses, it may become hard to do things that were once very routine and familiar. Take note if your loved one is finding it difficult to complete daily tasks.

Difficulty problem solving or planning

They may find it hard to keep track of things like bills, keeping appointments. It may even become difficult to follow a recipe they once used many times before.

Losing track of where you are

This is a scary one. Your loved one may find that they are in a place and discover they aren’t sure how they got there. Sometimes we hear of elderly people that have gone missing, only later to say they have no idea how they ended up where they did.

Forgetting important information

This is one you may notice early on, especially for something important like a birthday, holiday, or anniversary.

Types of Alzheimer’s Disease

Common Alzheimer’s Disease

This is what most people are familiar with. It’s the typical Alzheimer’s disease that progresses at old age.

Genetic Alzheimer’s Disease

This rarer form of the disease is attributed through genes. Sometimes the symptoms can show up in someone’s 30s, 40s or 50s.

Resources

10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
WebMD

Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet
National Institute on Aging

 


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Senior Scams to Watch Out For

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If you’re lucky, you haven’t been the target of a scam, even luckier if you have been targeted but managed to figure out what was going on before you got swindled. The problem with scams nowadays is that they are so easy to perpetrate due to the low cost of running them. Many scams happen through the mail, email, or phone. Through the mail, if you receive something you were not expecting, it’s best not to believe it, especially if it’s something that sounds too good to be true. The same goes for email.

A common email scam is called the Nigerian Prince or 419 scam. This scam involves an email from someone claiming to represent a distant family member of yours. This family member is dying or sick and they need you to take their money. Another example is that the email is claiming to be a foreign government or agency needing your assistance. The sum of the money is usually in the millions. All you have to do to receive this money is to give them your contact info and wire them some money for fees.

It may sound like a crazy scam, but it is a huge industry in foreign countries because it costs almost nothing to send these emails and if they can just get one person to send a few thousand dollars it makes it worthwhile.

In regards to seniors, there are many disreputable people out there looking to take advantage. Below are some of the common scams that have been discovered that specifically target the elderly.

Investment Scams
Many seniors are planning for retirement and thus looking to invest their nest egg. People take advantage by offering investment schemes that are looking to take your money. Before investing anything with these groups or individuals, it is best to get a second or third opinion from a trusted friend or professional.

Sweepstakes Scams
Everyone loves free money, and scammers love to target this. You may receive a phone call, email, or letter claiming that you won a sweepstakes or lottery. All you have to do is send them a payment to unlock the prize. They will even send you an official looking check to make it look like you really won, but when you go to deposit the check it turns out to be fake.

The Grandparent Scam
This scam is scary, because it preys on your willingness to help your family. I have actually seen this scam in action and knew someone who was very close to sending the scammers money. The scammer will call you, claiming to be a relative like a grandchild. They will often ask “Hi Grandma/Grandpa, do you know who this is?”. That way they will know that you already think they are your relative. Then they will bring up a problem about finances like a late rent payment or they need money for some unexpected issue. They will ask for the payment through Western Union, MoneyGram, or even Visa Prepaid cards. The scammers will ensure you tell no one by saying “Please don’t tell my parents”. If you ever encounter something like this, the best way to ensure it is truly a relative is to ask them something only they would know such as their mother’s name, pet’s name, favorite vacation spot. Asking for money through Western Union is often a sign that it is a scam.

Telemarketing Scams
These scams are easy to perpetrate because they involve no paper trail or face to face interaction. Once the scam is complete, it is nearly impossible to recover money. One way to avoid phone scams is not to take calls from anyone you don’t know personally, especially if that person is bringing up the subject of money.

One common phone scam is to call and tell a person they found a big sum of money and will split it with you if you make a payment in good faith. There is often a second person involved who will act as a professional like a banker or lawyer to add legitimacy.

Charity scams are huge! They are increasingly targeting seniors; the worst ones targeting those with memory loss or dementia. If a charity calls on the phone, no matter what they ask don’t donate! It can be hard to say know to a fund that says they will help children or animals or some other cause, but many of these charities will end up donating only a small portion of the funds they raise and keep the rest for themselves. Sometimes, the callers claim to be charities and are actually fakes. Your best bet is to take down the name of the supposed charity and look them up on a site like Charity Navigator or Charity Watch that tracks charities and their finances.

Resources
Charity Watch
Charity Navigator
Senior Frauds– FBI
Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors – National Council on Aging


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Inspirational Quotes for Seniors

Source sayingimages.com

We wanted to share some fantastic quotes from over the years about being elderly.  Some of them really are words to live by!

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C.S. Lewis

“You know you’re getting old when you look at a beautiful 19-year-old girl and you find yourself thinking, ‘gee, I wonder what her mother looks like?'” -Anonymous

“Young men think old men are fools; but old men know young men are fools.” -George Chapman

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The oldest trees often bear the sweetest fruit.” -German proverb, origin unknown

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” -Satchel Paige

“Learning acquired in youth arrests the evil of old age; and if you understand that old age has wisdom for its food, you will so conduct yourself in youth that your old age will not lack for nourishment.” -Leonardo da Vinci

“To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Old age is no place for sissies.” -Bette Davis “The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” -Frank Lloyd Wright

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent that is to triumph over old age.” -Thomas B. Aldrich

“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.” -Muhammad Ali

“People are always asking me when I’m going to retire. Why should I? I’ve got it two ways: I’m still making movies, and I’m a senior citizen, so I can see myself at half price.” -George Burns

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” -Mark Twain


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Easy Ways to Prevent Common Injuries

As we age, our physical health may begin to decline. It may be harder to stand up quickly or walk for long distances. If you or a loved one live on their own, it is a good idea to install some safety measures throughout the house. They may not seem necessary, but if they can prevent a fall, then it is very worthwhile. Falls are the most common injury seen in older Americans visiting the emergency room. These falls can do real damage as the body ages. There can be bruises or bleeding, but also broken bones, hips, or concussions. Take a look at some of these injury prevention ideas that you can implement in the house.

Prevent common injuries

Wear Non-Slip Shoes

This is a very cheap, simple way to try and prevent falls. Shoes with a lack of traction can easily cause you to tumble. Invest in a comfortable, easy to put on pair of shoes with a non-slip sole. Velcro is recommended as laces can become untied and tripped on.

Replace Carpeting & Remove Rugs

If your home has areas where the carpeting is coming up, you should replace it. It is easy for someone to get a foot caught. It is a good idea to get rid of rugs. These can move when stepped upon and cause a fall.

Double Railing for Stairs

One railing may seem like enough, but having railings on both sides helps a lot. It will allow you to put your body weight on the railings, making it easier to climb the stairs. You can then focus on making each step, rather than worrying about balance.

Motion-sensor Lights

These lights can be switched on once someone walks into the room. They are great for the night, if you need to get up and do something. The motion sensor will sense your movement and turn on the light. This allows you to better see where you are walking.

Grab Bars & Shower Seats

These should be placed in areas like the shower or tub. Inside the bathing area it is also useful to have a steady shower seat, so you don’t need to stand for a long time. Placing non-slip mats inside the shower and outside will ensure you don’t slip easily on the wet surface.


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How to Maintain Independence as You Age

Here at Just Like Family Homecare, we want to help you or your loved one maintain independence for as long as possible. Sometimes you need a little help getting to the grocery store, doing household chores, or walking the dog. Our caregivers are always here to assist in any help you may need. Our transportation business, Concierge Transport Services, also caters to those wanting to maintain an independent life. We provide helpful drivers and comfortable vehicles to get you to doctor’s appointments, the airport, or just to the supermarket.

Maintain independence

Many of us out there balk at the idea of receiving help from others. We are independent and enjoy doing things on our own, even if it may take a little longer. As we age, it gets a little more difficult to maintain a fully independent life. Some of us are lucky and have great health til a very old age. Others may need some assistance every now and then. It is a good idea to stay physical for as long as possible. Walking daily is a great, low impact exercise that keeps your muscles moving and active.

It may be tough to admit, but our eyesight tends to decline as we age. We may need glasses or bifocals to see properly when before we had 20/20 vision. It is important to update your prescription as soon as you notice a decline. Poor eyesight can lead to accidents like slips, or, if you are still driving, fender benders. To ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers, you should be testing your eyesight regularly. If you notice a marked decline, it may be a good idea to forgo driving. Driving is a key part to our independence, but there are many safe alternatives out there for getting you from point A to point B. Even asking a friend or family member in advance is worthwhile. Don’t feel like a burden, your friends and family will be happy to help you out! There may even be a bus or driving service in your area that caters to the elderly.

There are some small fixes you can have done to your living space that can help you maintain independence. Items like shower seats or handrails will allow you to safely bathe yourself. Place non-slip mats inside the shower/tub and just outside. Making sure your floor is level, is also important, as this will help prevent slips and falls. Adding a grab bar near the toilet is also useful. As is raising the toilet, so sitting and standing is easier.

If you or a loved one needs some extra assistance to help maintain independence, or just wants a little extra help, Just Like Family Homecare has you covered.


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The Best Cell Phones for Seniors

Best Cell Phones for Seniors

It is hard to imagine a time when we didn’t have constant access to our phones. When was the last time you had to use a payphone? Most of them are gone now, because cell phones have become so ubiquitous. For many senior citizens though, cell phones are difficult to get used to. The buttons on many are small, the screen text is hard to read, and there are many complicated menu settings. It is a great idea to get for family member a cell phone, as it will ensure you have constant contact with them. If they are required to stay in bed, it may be difficult for them to get up and reach their home phone. Below we will go over two of the best cell phones for seniors.

Snapfon ezTWO3G

Snapfon styles itself best cellphones for seniorsas “the cellphone for seniors”. The phone was designed with large buttons and numbers for those with less than optimal sight. There are simple menus, an LED flashlight, enhanced volume and speaker capabilities, and a speaking keypad. The phone is also hearing aid compatible. A large SOS emergency button on the back of the phone, if help for 3-5 seconds will alert up to five responders by voice and text. A loud siren also goes off, so anyone nearby can hear that the user is in need of help. The phone can be used on Snapfon’s plan or, for an extra charge, unlocked to be used on a GSM cell provider (not Verizon or Sprint).

Jitterbug 5best cellphones for seniors

This is a simple, affordable device is one of the best cell phones for seniors. The keypad features large numbers and buttons that are easy to see. They are even backlit so you can see them in the dark. You can use the Jitterbug with hearing aids (M4/T4). A great feature about this phone is that it can hold its charge in stand-by mode for up to 25 days. The screen features large text and the menu has Yes/No questions rather than a confusing menu. The phone also has a camera. The most basic plan starts at $14.99 a month.