Health and Wellness

Active Aging Redefines Health and Wellness

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What does it mean to be healthy as we get older? For most of us, it’s simply the opposite of illness. And staying healthy equates to managing diseases and chronic conditions.

But there is a movement to expand the definition of health and wellness in order to accommodate the idea that being healthy is the process of getting the most out of what life has to offer — regardless of physical age.

Click above to learn more about active aging.

Parkinson’s Disease and Nutrition

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic movement disorder. PD involves the failure and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these neurons produce dopamine, a chemical involved in bodily movements and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.

Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following:

  • Tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
  • Bradykinesia or slowness of movement
  • Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination

Common nutritional concerns for people with Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Difficulty eating due to uncontrollable movements
  • Swallowing dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Medication side effects (e.g., dry mouth)

Nutritional concerns vary by individual based on signs and symptoms and stages of disease. It is important to work closely with a doctor or dietitian to determine specific recommendations.

When it comes to nutrition, what matters most?

  • Increase calories. If a tremor is present, calorie needs are much higher. Adding sources of fat to foods (e.g., oil and cheese) is one way to do this.
  • Maintain a balanced diet. Eating properly involves eating regularly. If uncontrollable movements or swallowing difficulties are making it hard to eat, seek the advice of an occupational or speech therapist.
  • Maintain bowel regularity. Do so with foods high in fiber (whole grain bread, bran cereals or muffins, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes) and drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Balance medications and food. Individuals taking carvidopa-levadopa may need to adjust the amount of protein eaten and the time of day it is eaten, or take their medication with orange juice. If side effects such as dry mouth are making it difficult to eat, work with a health care professional to help manage these.
  • Adjust nutritional priorities for your situation and stage of disease.

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

Giving Thanks!

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Happy Thanksgiving! What a wonderful thing!  A whole day dedicated to giving thanks for what we have individually, and as a family or group!

If you are looking for a reason to be thankful, research has shown that being thankful is actually good for your health. Can an “Attitude of Gratitude” really change your health?

Click above to learn more.

Peg’s Perspective: Human Connection and Mirror Neurons

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Do you ever wake up and feel like you can conquer the world?   Yes—me too! And, if you carry that mood with you all day, chances are many people will pick up on it. They may say things like “You’re in a good mood today,” or “You look good today!” or many other phrases that we love to hear.  But have you ever stopped and asked yourself how these people know that you’re in a good mood? Or how your positive mood is impacting those around you?

Click above to learn more!

Staying Hydrated When It’s Hot!

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It’s summer, we are naturally spending more time outside. Enjoying our time playing with grandkids, gardening, and long neighborhood walks are many of the highlights of summertime. Make sure you stay hydrated while you are living life well this summer!
The Wesley Communities Dietician, Lisa Kaylor Wolfe, shares her suggestions on staying hydrated in the heat of summer.

A Peek into Our Kitchen: Winter Farro Grain Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

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After a long day of work, you come home and want a quick, healthy snack. But, cookies, chips and soda are all the foods that come to mind first. Sound familiar? At Wesley Woods at New Albany, we try to have healthy snacks premade, and ready to take on the go, should our residents, staff or family members need a quick treat. One of our chef’s, James Bline, favorite recipes is Winter Farro Grain Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette. This serves as a great snack or side dish during the wintery months, and it can be made in advance and stored in your refrigerator. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Salad
    • 1 butternut squash peeled seeds removed then diced
    • 4 parsnips peeled and diced
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
    • 4 tablespoons butter separated
    • 3 cups farro grain
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 large shallot minced
    • 4 cup chicken stock
    • 3 cups finely shredded kale
  • Dressing
    • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons cranberry juice
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼ cup olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss butternut squash in olive oil season with salt and pepper and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
  • Toss parsnips in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, roast in oven for 15-20 min or until tender. Cool.
  • Heat a pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons butter, sauté shallots and garlic.
  • Add farro grain and lightly toast.
  • Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes or until tender. Cool.
  • Heat a pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons butter, sauté kale until wilted.
  • When all ingredients have cooled, toss all together.
  • In a small bowl mix cranberry juice, balsamic vinaigrette, salt and pepper. While whisking slowly add the olive oil.
  • Toss vinaigrette with the salad mixture and transfer to a serving dish.

What are your favorite healthy winter weather snacks?