5 Ways Owning a Pet Is Good for Your Health

We have a dog named Rocky. He’s a 1-year-old maltipoo who will cuddle us whenever we want, can jump his entire height, and runs faster than any little dog we’ve seen. (He also still pees on the floor, but that’s another story.)

Since bringing Rocky home, I’ve noticed the benefits this fuzzy addition has brought to my family. Now, experts are discovering that owning a pet is not only good for our mood; pets are good for our health.

If you are considering adopting a pet, here are five ways your health would benefit. Read more

5 Fun Activities to Do with Your Loved Ones in a Nursing Facility

It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re getting ready to visit your grandma at her nursing facility, but you are at a loss of how the two of you can spend fun, quality time together.

What are some things you can do that both of you will enjoy? This time is precious and it’s important to make the most of it.

Here is a list of different creative activities you and your loved one can do while they are in a nursing facility:

Crafts

Whether or not you’re a creative person, simple crafts can be a fun way to add some color to your time together. Crafts you and your loved one can do range from making holiday decorations to scrapbooking and even painting.

Mark Walker, director of therapy at Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, says staff members enjoy providing seasonal and holiday-oriented craft projects for the residents.

“We just finished doing a Valentine’s project where we cut out hearts and placed them all over the facility,” he said.

Not only are these activities fun, but they can also help your loved one’s cognitive and motor skills.

Hand massages

Some nursing facilities, such as Provo Rehabilitation & Nursing, offer hand massages as one of its regular activities. You can give your own loved one a hand massage or manicure as a way to rejuvenate and relax them. Regular touch also communicates multiple positive emotions that can create a deeper connection. Try using essential oils or hand lotion in their favorite scent.

Make connections (phone call, storytelling)

Use your time together to share and collect memories and stories. Chances are your loved one has some great stories from growing up that you haven’t heard yet. Once they are gone, those stories may be lost forever. Take the time to ask them about their life and favorite memories. Consider journaling or recording these conversations so you can keep them for years to come.

Entertainment

Another way to bond with your loved one is to find a mutual love of some sort of entertainment and enjoy it together. Whether it’s reading a book, playing a board game, listening to music or watching a favorite movie, entertainment is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with each other. Many facilities, such as Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, provide different types of media that you can enjoy together. Consider inviting your loved one’s friends at the nursing facility to enjoy with you.

“Usually our biggest focus is on hobbies that our residents do at home,” said Walker. “We often start up a bowling session, which is great for balance and upper body strength, and the Wii gaming system is an excellent tool. We like the Wii Fit Program because it encourages standing balance and weight-shifting activities.”

Outings

While you may have to take a few precautions, going out or exercising can be a fun way to spend time with your loved one. You can garden, go out to lunch, see a play, walk to the park, or even stretch outside. The fresh air and quality time is sure to make for a wonderful day together.

If you’re not sure what to do with your loved one who’s staying in a nursing facility, try one of these activities. Remember, the important thing is that you make the most of your time together.

This article was previously published by the Daily Herald and republished here with permission.

The Secrets to a Long Life Aren\’t Really Very Secret

As the oldest woman in the world, 116-year-old Emma Morano credits her long life to a breakfast of two raw eggs every day. She also credits her longevity to staying single. She walked away from her marriage when she was 38 years old, and she’s been single ever since. “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she said.

What sustains some people to live over a century, while others struggle with poor health? With some swearing by service or beer for breakfast, there are consistencies in the lives of centenarians. And some of them may surprise you. Read more

8 Ways to Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last,” said Zig Ziglar. “Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.” Most of us have things about ourselves we’d like to improve. A healthy lifestyle is no exception. This desire can come from wanting to change the way we look or feel, or heeding a doctor’s warning.

“Practicing preventative measures for maintaining good health is a habit you never outgrow,” said Liz Jacobsen, team lead at Lake Ridge Senior Living. “Whether it is getting regular checkups, adjusting diet, increasing exercise or eliminating harmful habits, healthy living starts with adopting healthy habits.” Read more

Juicy Tips for a Better Cleanse

Are your jeans feeling a little tight after a long winter’s nap? Or maybe you miss the much-needed energy you once had to tackle the day’s tasks. I feel the same way. These days, many people are turning to juice cleanses as the miracle solution for everything from quick weight loss and energy boosting, to treating the common cold and achy joints. For those who swear by the healing properties of a juice cleanse, there are many more who have concerns about their effectiveness and health. Both camps agree that there are worse methods out there for consumers, but is there a place for juice cleanses in our overall wellness routine? Read more

Bouncing Back from Accidental Falls

We do a lot for the people we care about, especially those who spent their early life caring for us. We make sure they eat right, exercise, spend quality time with friends and family, and visit their doctor. We do what we can to handle their changing needs, but one slip or misstep can make their world come crashing down. Accidental falls, or unintentional injuries, are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. The reasons vary, but experts attribute these injuries to diminished balance brought on by medications, poor vision, and the lack of exercise, namely strength training.

There are a number of safety measures a caregiver can take to reduce the risk of injury within their loved one’s home, such as lighting and removing clutter, but older adults can also use daily exercise to improve their sense of balance to better navigate the bumpy road ahead.

Here are five everyday tips to practice and implement to prevent falls:

  1. Squats
  2. Leg lifts
  3. Regular eye check-ups
  4. Simplify your home
  5. Take your vitamins

Squats

Did you know that squatting is the most primitive movement pattern known to mankind? In fact, our ancestors used to perform this type of movement in daily activities such as harvesting, hunting, gathering, cooking, eating, etc.

Scott Dagenais, rehab director at Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehab Center, advises grabbing a chair to hold onto for balance when performing this movement. The first step is to stand shoulder width apart and simply lower yourself down while engaging the core. Make sure to squeeze the glutes, keep your head up, and hold for a couple of seconds. To take the exercise up a notch, raise your toes up and then back down. Repeat this 10 times for three sets. This exercise helps with independent balance as it increases quadriceptive and glute strength.

Single leg stance

Movement can become a bit shaky as we age and especially as we move from side to side or reach up to grab something. The single leg stance is another exercise to improve balance to prevent falling in the elderly. This movement begins in the same stance as the squat, however, instead of dipping down, you lift your leg up to the side and then bring it back. Make sure to squeeze the glute, hold it for a few seconds, repeat, and alternate legs. As you become more advanced, try to close your eyes!

Regular eye check-ups

The Vision Council of America reports that approximately 75 percent of adults use some form of vision correction. According to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), “A rapidly increasing proportion of the aging population experiences eye problems that make simple daily tasks difficult or impossible, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses. Severe eye problems are not just a matter of ‘getting older.’ The risk of severe eye problems has been found to increase significantly with age, particularly in those over age 65.”

Make sure your loved one has a current prescription as directed by a doctor. Remember that tint-changing lenses can be dangerous, so be aware of the changes in the environment from a darkly-lit building to a bright, sunny day. By pausing and waiting for the lens to adjust, a bump or fall can be avoided.

Take your vitamins

By keeping your bones strong, you stay standing. The two key nutrients to defy osteoporosis are Calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is important because our bodies cycle calcium through the bones to keep them strong, while vitamin D aids your body in absorbing calcium and encourages bone growth. Health.com advises that adults up to the age of 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 200 international units (IUs) of vitamin D a day. Adults over 50 should get 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400-500 IUs of vitamin D.

 

 

Simplify your home

The older we get, the more items we tend to accumulate and sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to part with items that hold sentimental value. One of the things you can do to help your loved one clean up his or her home is to remove things that could easily be tripped over. This includes a throw rug, low-sitting bench, room heater, or a raised doorway threshold. Another risky item would be an electrical cord or any other kind of clutter, such as shoes.

 

Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand, except when you’re 65! By encouraging a daily exercise routine, monitoring vision, eating right, and removing dangerous clutter and other hazards from the home, your loved one will be ready to tackle whatever lies on the road ahead by staying on the path to good health and avoiding accidental falls.

 

What\’s up with the Green Smoothie?

Everywhere I look, the green smoothie has overtaken breakfast. My friends are blending for their kids. Our CEO is drinking one during morning meetings. Random people on the street are walking around with them. Read more

Lightening the Load of Obesity in Seniors

Much like those who adopt healthy living practices at an earlier age, older adults can feel immediate benefits of losing weight as well. Read more

Healthy Eating for Aging Adults: 5 Tips to Help You Live Longer and Stronger

You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Eating well is important for everyone at all ages, especially the older we get. According to the World Health Organization, are more susceptible to malnutrition due to changes that naturally occur with the aging process. Many diseases that plague the elderly are a result of dietary reasons. Studies have indicated that malnourished older adults tend to visit doctors, hospitals, and emergency rooms more often. Read more

Seniors and dental care: it’s something worth smiling about

According to the Center for Disease Control, a little over half (60 percent) of today’s senior adults visited a dentist in 2013 despite the fact that one in four of seniors aged 65 and older have gum disease. This segment of the population is in need of proper dental care since many of today’s serious diseases can be linked to tooth decay or gum disease. Read more