According to AARP, 33% of the 2,500 respondents to the “Grandparents Today” survey have at least one grandchild who lives more than 50 miles away. Some 50% said the had at least one grandchild living 200 miles away or more. These numbers tell us it’s safe to assume that many seniors are forced to keep up with their grandchildren or others in younger generations without actually seeing them face-to-face due to geographical restrictions. So, how’s the best way to do that? How can you as a senior keep in touch with younger family members and friends? How can you nurture these relationships?
Obviously, there are many ways to utilize technology to stay in touch. The miles disappear when you connect either through the phone using the Facetime feature or use video chat sites like Skype. You can have your grandchildren and adult children add you to their family share group on their cell phone. This allows you to see the photos they take and share with the family and they can see yours. You can also use platforms like Facebook or Instagram to keep up with what’s going on in your grandchildren’s lives or text them. If you aren’t well versed in how to use technology to do this, visit your local senior center to educate yourself on what’s available and how to use it. However, although technology is perhaps the easiest way to stay in touch, it’s far from the only method…
Send Care Packages
Get to know your grandchildren and send them personalized care packages. If they are small, you can include toys, their favorite candies, etc. If they are older, in the tween or teen years, include gift cards to favorite stores, gas cards, movie cards, pack favorite foods, etc. Also, include a handwritten letter inside the package. Many young people today find getting a written letter to be refreshingly different from the digital variety. Even if they don’t admit it, they will treasure these messages from you.
Send Written Letters or Emails
Yes, we just mentioned letters as part of a care package. However, the letters can be on their own as well. You can also opt for emails, word of warning— young people often ignore emails, so you should probably let them know you are emailing them via text if you plan on going this route. When constructing these letters, you don’t have to focus only on what’s going on in the here and now. You can use this as a way to share the past, communicate funny family stories, tell them their history, but of course, talk about anything relevant as well.
The younger generation is extremely stressed. They have a great deal of responsibility and pressure that simply didn’t exist in year’s past. Thankfully, you as their grandparent, or non-related friend, have a wonderful opportunity to encourage them and be part of their support system, even if they live miles away. In fact, even if you don’t live far away from your grandkids, you can use these tips to improve your relationship and stay in touch when you are unable to get out of your house to visit. Just make an effort to know them. That’s the main goal. That above all else will make the biggest difference.
Creative Ideas for Staying in Touch with Grandchildren from Afar
Embracing The Okinawa Diet to Live to 100
A long, fulfilling life isn’t guaranteed, even if you do everything right. However, your chances of living long into your twilight years and even reaching the centennial mark are likely increased if you adopt the Okinawa diet principles. Read on to learn more about this amazing way of eating and discover how it could positively impact your life:
What is the Okinawa Diet?
This particular way of eating comes from the people who reside on the island of Okinawa, which is located off the coast of Japan. The island is situated between the Philippine and China Seas. Okinawa is known as a blue zone, which means the people who reside there tend to live extraordinarily long lives when compared to regular populations. Many experts believe the longevity experienced by the people of Okinawa is primarily a result of their diet. This unique way of eating is a cultural preference of the Okinawa people and the result of food availability or limitations in the area. Overall, it involves eating foods that are high in carbs yet low in fat and calories. It promotes soy products and vegetables. Rice, noodles, fish and pork are also consumed, but in smaller amounts.
The Okinawa People Think Differently About Food
While we as Americans often think of food socially or choose our diet based on what tastes good, the Okinawa culture categorizes food differently. To the Okinawa people, food is medicine. Their diet consists of spice and herbs like mugwort and turmeric, which have been proven to provide health benefits. The foods are nutrient dense and are high-antioxidant foods that promote proper body function.
What The Okinawa Diet Looks Like
Below is an example of the Okinawa diet:
- Vegetables: (58-60%): Most of the Okinawa diet consists of vegetables. Green papaya, pumpkin, Chinese okra, carrots, cabbage, bitter melon, daikon radish, bamboo shoots, kelp seaweed and sweet potato are all examples of vegetables enjoyed in this diet.
- Grains: (33%): The other large portion of the Okinawa diet is made up of grains, including noodles, rice, wheat and millet.
- Soy Foods: (5%): This includes edamame, natto, miso and tofu.
- Seafood and Meat (1-2%): This includes a great deal of white fish and seafood with the occasional pork. Meat in this diet encompasses all cuts and organs.
- Misc: (1%): This includes dashi or broth, spices, tea and alcohol. It’s important to note, though, that jasmine tea is consumed liberally by the Okinawa people.
What Should be Avoided on the Okinawa Diet?
It seems there are always some no, no’s to avoid on any diet, and this one is no exception. The following are foods that should be avoided:
- Legumes: The only legume allowed is soybeans.
- Processed foods: This includes processed cooking oils, snacks, breakfast cereals, grains and refined sugars.
- Animal products: Yogurt, butter, cheese, milk and eggs are considered bad on the Okinawa diet.
- Meats: Poultry, beef and other processed meats, such as sausage, hot dogs, salami, ham, bacon and additional cured meats are to be avoided in this diet.
Of course, sticking to such a restricted diet can be almost impossible in our culture. Thankfully, you can make some of the changes, without incorporating all the changes outlined and still yield positive results.
The Okinawa diet is basically comprised of plant-based, nutritious foods, especially sweet potatoes. This diet promotes an ample supply of fiber and foods with antioxidants. This diet, which embodies the cultural and dietary preferences of the Okinawa people, is one to aspire to, even if you can’t follow it exactly. Embrace the Okinawa diet to increase your chances of making it to your 100th birthday!
“As serious as a heart attack” became an expression simply due to the severity of the cardiac event. Having a heart attack is scary. Consequently, resuming life as you were pre-heart attack can be almost impossible. In some ways, that might be a good thing, because you likely need to make some lifestyle changes. However, you can’t become scared to live your life simply because you have experienced the life-altering event of a heart attack. To reduce your risk of ever experiencing a heart attack again and to embrace your new post-attack existence, read the following tips:
How to Prevent Heart Attack Recurrence in Honor of National Heart Health Month
Take Prescribed Medication
If your doctor prescribed certain medication for you to take regularly after your heart attack, follow their orders. Sure, not all medications are fun to take. There are side effects. We understand. However, your doctor knows what they are doing, so heed their advice and keep the proper medication in your system. Doing so will reduce your risk of ever experiencing another heart attack. If you are struggling to endure specific side effects, talk to your doctor. Perhaps they can switch the medication to another brand to reduce side effects.
Go Through Cardiac Rehabilitation
If your doctor recommends cardiac rehabilitation, make sure to attend. Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program that is created for heart attack survivors. It was designed to help patients rehabilitate properly after going through the trauma of a heart attack.
Don’t Skip Out on Follow-Up Appointments
Once you are feeling better and your heart attack becomes more and more of a memory, you can tend to skip out on follow up doctor visits. Don’t! Each appointment, though they might seem repetitive to you, is designed to monitor your cardiac progress and prevent another episode from happening. Be honest with your doctor during these visits. Tell them your fears and concerns. Bring up any issues with medication side effects or diet, but whatever you do, go to your appointments. They are necessary.
Manage Post Heart Attack Risk Factors
While you might not know exactly what caused your first heart attack, you can reduce your risk for subsequent attacks by managing known risks. This includes adhering to a specific diet, taking all your prescribed medications, ending bad habits like smoking and more. This can also include beginning and continuing an exercise regimen designed to work your heart.
Having a heart attack is scary. It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed, not only with your recovery, but with your life post heart attack. Thankfully, there are many support groups out there where you can meet with other survivors, share stories and encourage each other throughout your recovery process. You are not alone as a heart attack survivor, so why approach your recovery alone?
As a heart attack survivor, you should feel blessed to still be living life here on earth each day. However, that doesn’t mean that this process of recovery will automatically be easy for you. In fact, it will likely be difficult. After all, your life will likely change in virtually every aspect after experiencing such a life-altering event. Thankfully, by embracing the above tips, you are well on your way to living life well after a heart attack.
The month of February, known as the American Heart Health Month, is the ideal time to increase your focus on heart health. According to Millions Hearts, one in every three deaths in America is related to cardiovascular disease. This means heart health is a crucial aspect of everyone’s overall health and life expectancy. In honor of this special month, let’s look at some vital numbers you need to know that reveal your overall heart health and tell you what you need to improve:
Numbers You Need to Know For Heart Health Month
- Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Your blood pressure is the measurement of the force that pushes blood against the blood vessel walls. Having high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for both heart attack and stroke. A healthy blood pressure is 130 or lower on top and 80 or higher on the bottom. Don’t wait to experience symptoms of a high blood pressure to have it checked. Hypertension is known by medical professionals as “the silent killer” because it is notorious for striking without warning. There are usually no symptoms at all to look for, so regular visits to your doctor to check blood pressure levels are wise.
- Cholesterol: Your body makes two types of cholesterol. One is known as the good, or HDL, and one is known as the bad or LDL cholesterol. They are measured together and then combined with 20% of your triglyceride score to determine a total overall cholesterol level. A healthy or ideal cholesterol score is 200 or below. If you measure from 200 to 239, you are considered a borderline risk. If this number is above 240 or more, you are diagnosed with high cholesterol. When your cholesterol is high, this means it is building up along your arteries, which can eventually lead to heart disease if left unchecked.
- Resting Heart Rate: This number indicates how many times your heart beats in a minute’s time when you are at rest. If your resting heart rate is on the lower end, this suggests cardiovascular fitness. Conversely, if your resting heart rate is elevated, it could indicate a potential cardio issue. You can check your resting heart rate on your own. The best time to do so is first thing in the morning. Take your pulse for 15 seconds, then multiply this number by 4 to get your resting heart rate. Ideally, a healthy resting heart rate is anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Keep in mind, some medications can alter your heart rate, so take that into consideration when contemplating this measurement.
- Blood Glucose Level: Your blood sugar numbers are fluid, changing depending on the time of day and what you eat. However, your fasting blood sugar rate should be less than 100 if you have a healthy blood glucose level. A number higher than this could indicate your body is struggling to regulate blood glucose levels. This can eventually lead to diabetes and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you do not have a way to measure our blood sugar levels at home, ask your doctor to check it during your regular checkups.
Keep the numbers above in mind this February to truly embrace Heart Health Month. Each one could indicate a potential issue with your cardiovascular health that should be addressed to ensure optimal heart health and increase life expectancy.
A trip to visit long-distance family and friends can be a great gift. However, there are some steps to follow to ensure your traveling experience is pleasant and positive overall. Read on to learn more:
Find Travel Discounts
As a senior citizen, you are able to benefit from a wide range of traveling discounts. Research airlines, cruise lines and buses to find out when the best time is to travel and what discounts are available for seniors.
Request Senior Accommodations
Another way to ensure a positive experience when traveling is utilizing senior accommodations. Free wheelchair service, row seats for disabled travelers and dietary specifications for meals are all available to you as a senior when traveling.
Prepare Your Medication And Any Applicable Documentation
If traveling out of the country, you will obviously need an updated passport, and in some cases, specific vaccinations. It’s important to have that ready and prepared ahead of time. In addition, all your prescriptions should be filled and prepared for your trip. Also, it’s a great idea to have copies of your prescriptions as well as any applicable medical statements made, so you can have them on hand should a medical event take place when you are away from home.
In general, the lighter you can pack, the better. When traveling, you don’t have to heft heavy luggage through an airport or bus or train station. Put all your medications in a freezer bag and carry that with you. Keep in mind, you should avoid wrapping any presents that you are taking along via plane, as the airport security will likely demand to see what’s inside.
Consider Security And Safety
Be aware of your surroundings when traveling. Unfortunately, as a senior you are a prime target for pickpockets and con artists. Always stay alert and cognizant of your surroundings. Also, if possible, avoid carrying a purse with cash or credit cards. Instead, hide money or use a money belt under a blouse or on a neck cord.
Ensure Any Destination is Senior Friendly
Make sure your destination is senior friendly. This includes ensuring any destination has ramps, handrails, etc. If you are staying with family at their home, carefully communicate any needs you might have, but make sure you don’t come across as demanding. However, in most cases, your family will want to accommodate your needs and ensure you are comfortable during your stay. If finances allow, you can instead opt to stay in a handicap room at a hotel, where there are elevators, handicap bathrooms and handicap parking.
Try Senior Friendly Tours or Cruises
If you want to travel for leisure or even want to book a few activities during your stay with family, you can try some senior tours or cruises. This is a great way to spend the day or a few days. Many tour companies cater to you as a senior and set up specific tours with your needs and preferences in mind.
Remember the above information when you set up your holiday travels to see family and friends. The overall experience of traveling should be one of joy and anticipation, and with a little forethought and planning, you can ensure that is the in fact the case.
The American Diabetes Association estimates some 25.2% or 12 million seniors live with diabetes. If you are one of them, you have likely heard how the condition can make you more likely to experience a fall. Have you ever wondered why, though? What about the disease of diabetes increases your risk of falling? Read on to find out…
The condition of diabetes causes the body’s glucose rates to increase. This can and often does cause nerve damage within the body. The medical term for this is neuropathy. According to experts, almost half of all diabetics will develop some sort of neuropathy as a by-product of the disease. Nerve damage, especially to the nerves in the toes, feet and spinal cord can cause a loss of muscle tone and sensation in the ankles and feet. This in turn can make it harder for you to walk and increase your chance of losing your balance. A study published in the PLOS One Journal found those individuals with neuropathy or nerve damage had a much greater risk of falling than those without such damage.
Functional Disabilities and Vision Issues, Also a Problem
Neuropathy isn’t the only problem linking diabetes with an increased risk of falling. If you have diabetes, you are also at a greater risk of developing functional disabilities. This can make tasks like climbing stairs arduous and even walking for extended periods of time problematic. Diabetes can also result in retinopathy, which happens to be the top cause of vision loss in diabetics. Of course, reduced vision and functional disabilities, along with muscle loss only add to your fall risk.
Low Blood Sugar Another Factor
Although diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose measurements, when you take medication and/or insulin in an attempt to lower your increased levels, this can result in another problem altogether, that being low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. This condition can cause you to become woozy, and lose your balance, which of course increases your risk of falling. According to the Medicine journal, diabetic patients who have a history of hypoglycemic episodes were at an increased risk of falls.
Medications, Yet Another Factor Leading to Falls
Another strike against you as a diabetic when it comes to your fall risk is your medication regimen. As a diabetic, you likely take an abundance of medications. Many experts feel taking several medications can increase your fall risk. Some studies even suggest your risk of falling goes up 7% with the introduction of each additional medication.
Why Falling is so Bad
As the information listed above proves, being diabetic can increase your risk of falling in a variety of ways. Though taking a fall might sound innocuous, you should know that it is the most common factor that causes traumatic brain injuries in older adults according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also can cause bone loss and a loss of independence so it should be avoided when possible.
Diabetes is a common disease and as such is often considered a minor one. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, though, especially when you consider how much simply having the condition can increase your risk of falling.