Tips for a High Protein Diet

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Protein is used as a building block for the body. It’s important for the body to function correctly, and there must be enough protein in the body to:

  1. Build and maintain bone, muscle, and skin
  2. Heal wounds
  3. Promote growth
  4. Maintain or gain weight
  5. Resist or fight infection

Where does protein come from? Protein can be found in most animal products (meat, fish, cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.). There are also vegetarian sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, seeds, and soy.

Some easy ways to increase protein intake include:

  1. Melt cheese on sandwiches, hamburgers, or vegetables
  2. Use cottage cheese or yogurt as a dip for raw fruits and vegetables
  3. Add beans to soup and other dishes
  4. Have 3 servings of dairy a day
  5. Choose meals with meat or fish in them
  6. Sprinkle nuts or seeds on fruit, cereal, or ice cream
  7. Spread peanut butter on sandwiches, toast, fruit slices, or raw vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, and celery

How much protein is needed? The amount of protein needed varies depending on age, body size, activity level, and state of health. On average, older adults need 1 gram of dietary protein per kilogram of body weight a day. Some individuals may need more protein than others.

A few reasons why protein needs increase include:

  1. Post-surgery
  2. Cancer
  3. Weight loss
  4. Open wounds
  5. Infection
  6. Certain medical conditions

Commercial nutritional supplements such as Ensure or Boost can help increase protein intake. Food is the preferred source of protein, however these can help for those with decreased appetite, or who find it difficult to consume adequate amounts of food. These can often be purchased in grocery stores or pharmacies. There are also some reasons why the body would need less protein.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Ways a Retirement Community May Help Your Health

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Although retirement typically brings decreased stress level, and more free time. It may also put a damper on your health, after an extended period of time. The free time can quickly turn into laying around all day. And, the stress levels may creep up again when thinking about health, or future care.

Not to worry, there can be a way to leave some on these problems behind. Retirement communities could help. Here are a few possible health benefits of living in a retirement community:


Having a support system at any stage of your life is key. But, especially when you are retired. It may be beneficial to your health to live in a community where you can develop a fresh support system. And, many retirement communities host events where you can invite friends and family from outside. This will allow you to maintain your current support systems as well!


Whether it’s walks outside the community, crafts or music, retirement communities often have endless activities for all stages of living. This will allow you to keep your mind and body in tip-top shape! When looking at communities, be sure to ask about the activities that they offer.


Peace of mind is invaluable. When you live in a continuum care retirement community, you have the opportunity to progress through levels of care. As your needs change, so will your level of care. And, that peace of mind may help to decrease stress levels.

Through your support system, increasing activity, and receiving care, you may flourish during your retired years. And, by establishing these things, you may improve your overall wellness!

Staying Fit Through Retirement

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Staying fit and healthy through retirement can be a challenge. Many of us find a routine during our career that works for our health goals. But, what about when this routine is flipped upside down? You may think that you’ll have more time, so this couldn’t possibly pose a problem, right? Wrong, when you fall out of routine you’re at risk to decrease your activity levels.

Being retired, it’s important to focus on increasing your activities of daily life. Or, the activities that you do throughout the day, that you don’t count as your workout. This could be walking from the car into the grocery store, or doing your laundry. These activities will increase your daily caloric expenditure, which can decrease after retirement.

It’s also important to plan ahead. When will you work out? What exercises will you do? Answering these questions will accomplish a few different things. First, setting a time will hold you accountable to go. It can be easy when retired to have the, ‘I have all day,’ mindset. And, setting your workout routine will make it easier once you start working out. You’ll be less likely to quit or cut the workout short.

Lastly, setting a goal will get you going on the days you would rather not. Do you want to get stronger? Leaner? Or, do you want to decrease your stress levels? Despite what your goal is, it’s important to write it down and refer to it when you are feeling sluggish. It can allow you to think long term and excel, despite your mood.

Adjusting to retirement can be tough. And, staying fit through retirement can be tougher. But, with increasing your activities of daily life, planning and setting goals, you can excel!

What work outs have you tried since your retirement?

Preparing to Transition Parents into Assisted Living

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There comes a time in the lives of some older adults when independent living is no longer an option. However, it can be difficult for a family to make the decision to move a loved one into a community, especially when the individual feels that he or she is getting along just fine.

Hiring an at home caregiver might be an option, however, when an individual has a condition that requires 24-hour monitoring or skilled nursing care, moving to a long-term care community might be the best option. While it can be tough, transitioning can be made easier with some planning. Consider these tips and suggestions for how to transition parents who require more than at home care.

Be sure you make visits before the care is necessary. If you anticipate your parent or loved one will need to move to an assisted living or long-term care community, consider visiting various locations. If your parent can visit with you, they can get a first-hand look and ask questions. Involving your parent allows them to have input into the process.  Not all communities are the same, so visiting can help you eliminate those that don’t appeal to you or your parent.

Unfortunately, residential care is not cheap. You can count on most, if not all, your loved one’s resources being used to cover the bill.  For these reasons, families cannot afford to wait until the last minute to learn about payment options. If an older adult owns a house or has money in bank accounts, they may be required by law to tap into those resources to pay for residential care. Contact your local senior services or county social services agency to learn about resources to help cover the costs. Older adults with limited resources may qualify for special Medicaid programs for long-term care.

Preparation can go a long way when transitioning your parents to a community. But, the benefits are endless. It will limit worry and stress, and ensure that everyone is on the same page during the transition.

5 Tips to Start Living a Healthy Lifestyle

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Almost everyone aspires to be healthier, but many people don’t make it past the contemplation stage. If you are one of those people, consider these tips to help you begin your journey toward a healthy lifestyle.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

The United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) recommends filling half of your plate with healthy fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they are low in fat. Fruits and vegetables can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of some cancers, and they can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Drink More Water

Water helps remove toxins from the body, aids in metabolism and hydrates the brain. People who don’t drink enough water can become dehydrated quickly, especially during hot weather. If you drink mostly soft drinks, coffee or tea, try replacing at least half of those liquids with water each day.

Decrease Your Screen Time

If you are always watching a screen, whether it is a television, computer or tablet, you are probably sitting most of the day. Sitting for long hours in one position contributes to obesity. In fact, some researchers have described too much sitting as having some of the same health effects as smoking! When you are not in front of a screen, you are more likely to engage in activities that require movement.

Get a Least 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night

The amount of sleep you get can impact your health. Eight hours of sleep not only helps you feel rested, but sleep quality also affects body weight. People who get adequate sleep tend to be healthier overall.

Prepare More Meals at Home

Many Americans eat out on a regular basis. And, most of those meals are full of fat, salt and sugar. If you eat out several times a week, trade a few of those meals for healthier home prepared options like a green salad with baked or grilled chicken or a bowl of homemade vegetable soup.

Tips for Traveling with Seniors

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I think we all can remember the vacations, or weekend trips that were spent with the people who mean the most to us. Family vacations are a great way to bond and create these everlasting memories. But, don’t say goodbye to a vacation, just because a family member is getting older. These trips are important, so here are a few tips to make traveling with an elderly loved one more enjoyable.


Talk to their doctor.

Especially if there are pre-existing health conditions or concerns. You’ll want to consult with your loved one’s health care professional to ensure it’s safe to travel. They may also have recommendations for traveling, including length of stay and activity level during the trip.


Consider accommodations ahead of time.

If your loved one has trouble walking or is in a wheelchair, you’ll want to ensure that the proper accommodations are made. For example, certain seats while traveling on an airplane may be more accessible. It can make all the difference to purchase a rental car that can easily fit a walker or wheel chair, if necessary. You’ll also want to ensure that your hotel or condo can accommodate the medical equipment your loved one may need.


Consider physical activity.

It may be wise, depending on the activity level of your loved one, to consider the amount of strenuous activities that you plan. For example, deep sea fishing may sound fun but, a dolphin tour may be more relaxed and easier for the whole family to enjoy.


Pack wisely.

Make sure to pack for the weather. If you are traveling somewhere warm bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. If it’s a cold destination be sure to bring hats, gloves, and handwarmers. No matter where you are it’s necessary to bring snacks and water, as well as their important medical information.


Remember to relax.

It’s important to remember that this is a vacation. One person shouldn’t spend all their time caregiving. You need to relax and unwind too. There are many ways to do so, for example an early morning yoga class. For more assistance, you could also consider hiring a travel companion.  This person could be helpful if your loved one will need help with daily activities. A travel companion can help you and your loved one feel more comfortable.


Have you traveled with a loved one before? If so, what tips do you have to make the trip go smoothly?

How to Help Your Aging Parents with Their Finances

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If mail is piling up, your parents are making unusual purchases, or if their memory is poor it may be time for someone to help handle finances. It can be a frustrating process for the entire family when parents age and money becomes a problem. But, feuds over who is responsible for the care can diminish family bonds. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make the process go a bit smoother, despite the level of care your parent needs and the amount of money they have left.

1.) Prepare everyone. This process can be simplified by talking to your parents before money is an issue. This dialogue will allow your parents to feel more comfortable talking about their finances. And, you will have a better idea of what to expect in the future.

2.) Take care of yourself. It’s important to start by taking time for yourself to effectively take care of anyone else. This could mean a lot of things to various individuals. But, at the end of the day it’s making time for you and the things that give you energy. You can’t help others until you’re well yourself. As a caregiver, you can be pushed to your limit. You could be at risk to suffer from stress and sleep deprivation. Without maintaining your own health, you could soon be the one needing care.

3.) Get them organized. Ensuring that your parents are organized is essential. Create a record of account numbers, passwords, and other important financial information. This will make it much easier for you, when it comes time for your help.

4.) Enlist a support system. Many times, if family and friends all pitch in the duties can be spilt up to a manageable list (that’s free of charge). Think about communities that you or your parents are a part of. Could anyone from church run mom or dad to the grocery store every Wednesday? Or mow the lawn? You would be surprised at the support that is available when you ask.

5.) Stick to their budget. Although it’s hard when a parent needs in-home care, it’s often necessary. Be honest with people at various facilities that you’re looking at. Some communities have options for people with little money. But, at the end of the day you should be focused on providing affordable and necessary care for your parent.

Through preparation, care and a set budget, the process of helping your parents with their finances can be far less daunting. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice in this time of need.

What is a Living Will?

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A living will is a legal document that explains the medical treatments you would, and wouldn’t, want to be used to keep you alive, if you were unable to communicate. This document also includes other decisions that may need to be made including pain management and organ donation.

Although it may seem like simple yes or no answers, these are big decisions. When thinking about your living will, consider the things that are most important to you. What makes your life worth living now? Is it being self-sufficient? Do you want your life extended despite the circumstances? Or, do you only want care if a cure is possible? Questions like these can help define what you truly wish for.

Sometimes it can even help to discuss your wishes with your doctors, friends, and family.

Many end-of-life care decisions should be addressed in your living will, including:

  • Resuscitation which will restart the heart when it has stopped beating. You should specify if, and when you would want to be resuscitated by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or by a device that delivers an electric shock to stimulate the heart.
  • Mechanical ventilation maintains breath if you’re unable to breathe alone. Indicate if, when and for how long you would want to be placed on a mechanical ventilator.
  • Tube feeding provides nutrients via a tube to the stomach when someone is not capable of eating on their own. Include if, when and for how long you would want to have a feeding tube in your living will.
  • Dialysis, which will remove waste from your blood and manage fluid levels, can be a treatment option if your kidneys no longer function. Think about if, when and for how long you would want to receive this treatment.
  • Antibiotics or antiviral medications can be used to treat many infections. If you were near the end of life, would you want infections to be treated using these medications?
  • Comfort care, which includes interventions such as, dying at home, pain medications, or even ice chips can be included in your living will. Anything that can be used to manage pain and keep you comfortable, while considering your other treatment options, should be noted.
  • Organ and tissue donations can be specified in your living will. If your organs are removed for donation, you will be kept on temporary life-sustaining treatment until the procedure is complete. To help avoid any confusion, you may want to state in your living will that you understand the need for this temporary intervention.
  • Donating your body for scientific study also can be specified. Contact a local medical school, university or donation program for information on how to register for a planned donation for research. Then, indicate this information in your living will.

Your living will must be signed by you and a witness. This document may need further authorization to become valid depending upon the state, so check your local regulations. This document will not go into effect until you are unable to communicate, or make your own decisions.

You’ll want to keep the original in a safe place, then provide your doctor and health care agents with a copy. You should also keep a card in your wallet, specifying that you have a living will, as well as informing family and friends about your living will.

For more information, please contact your primary care doctor.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mayo Clinic, Caring Info


How Your Golden Years Can Get Better with a Pet

By | Wesley Woods at New Albany | No Comments

Most Americans own a pet, and many of them are older individuals. As people age, they often exercise less and face more serious health concerns. This is where a furry companion can come in! The benefits of owning a pet as you age are endless.

According to a study on ScienceDaily, researchers at Loyola University discovered 5 to 15 minutes of animal therapy each day was associated with a 28 percent drop in the need for oral pain medication among patients recovering from joint-replacement surgery.

The American Heart Association has also researched the effects of owning a pet and found:

  • Pet ownership may be associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factors and increased survival rate among patients. This could be due to increased activity, triglyceride levels, or decreased stressed.
  • Dog owners engaged in more walking and physical activity than non-dog owners, and were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity. They even walk about an hour more per day than those without a dog.
  • Owning pets may be associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a lower incidence of obesity.
  • Pets can have a positive effect on the body’s reactions to stress, acting an anti-stress mechanism.
  • Pets can help seniors overcome loneliness and depression. All the love and affection can help, but pets also provide a sense of responsibly and purpose. Seniors who had pets often got up, talked, and smiled more than those without.

Of course, you should never get a pet just based on the health benefits. Pets also need care and love on a regular basis but, if you are interested the next step may be to determine the type of pet you can handle. For older populations, small dogs or cats are often the best bet!

Resources: The Journal of Physical Activity and Health, ScienceDaily, The American Heart Association

Fall Bucket List to Complete with Your Grandkids

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Fall is right around the corner. And soon, you’ll walk outside to crisp chilly air, leaves of all different colors and the smell of delicious fall foods. The grandkids may be back to school, but, no matter what the case may be, we have the perfect fall bucket list for you. Below you’ll see our list that includes the best fall activities that people of all ages can complete!

Painting Pumpkins

This is all the fun, without the danger that carving pumpkins presents. So, this activity is great for all ages. For the best painting results, use acrylic paint and have a combination of sponges and different size brushes.  Or, if you’re really feeling adventurous, take things outside and make it a finger painting activity!

Collect Fall Leaves

This season brings a beautiful array of colors. Take your grandkids around the block to pick out their favorite fall leaves in all different shades. Fall leaves are fun to frame too. If you want to take the activity a step further, frame the leaves, add the date and you’ll be left with a fun keepsake.

No-bake Pumpkin Pie

We know your grandkids love helping in the kitchen. But, staying away from the stove with a little one can be tricky, especially when baking. Not to worry, there are delicious recipes for no-bake pumpkin pie, a classic fall favorite. Check out this one from AllRecipes, and get to stirring!

Create Fall Wreaths

This is a fun craft for a chilly afternoon. You can go to the craft store, or rummage through old decorations in your basement for items to put around the wreath. And, you can even make the wreath fame by bending two wire hangers. Your grandkids will enjoy creating this masterpiece, and your door will have new décor.

Attend a Game

Do your grandkids play fall sports? If so, this is a perfect time to attend a game and cheer them on. It’s not too hot, and not too cold. If they don’t play fall sports, then taking the grandkids to a high school football game in the area can be just as enjoyable.

Keep this list handy for all the fun fall days with your grandkids, just add warm apple cider and they will be all set! Warning: they might not want to go back home.