CareNotes: The Home Care Newsletter Vol 5. Issue 4
CareNotes: The Home Care Newsletter Vol 5. Issue 4
Letter From the Editor:
This month’s newsletter is focused on lifestyle changes that can promote longevity. Our mission is to change the way the world ages; this includes educating people on health-related topics, especially as they concern increasing quality of life and decreasing conditions such as stroke and high blood pressure. Knowledge truly is power when it comes to health awareness; it is important that you are fully aware of the lifestyle changes you can make so that you may lead the happiest, healthiest life possible.
In this month’s newsletter, I will discuss ten habits that will help you live happily to 102. For example, you will learn how flossing your teeth prevents inflammation in the arteries, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. I will also explain how incorporating citrus fruits, almonds, fish, and coffee into your daily diet can help prevent the onset of dementia, as well as how the consumption of low-fat dairy products can help lower your risk of stroke. Lastly, I would like to congratulate Linda Abramenko from Home Care Assistance of Calgary, Alberta for being selected for this month’s Caregiver Spotlight. We would like to recognize Linda for the compassionate care she provides to her clients on a daily basis.
10 Habits to Live Happily to 102
As detailed in our award-winning book, Happy to 102: The Best Kept Secrets to a Long and Happy Life, while one-third of our healthy longevity is based on genetics, two-thirds depend on lifestyle factors within our control. Lifestyle factors such as healthy eating habits, physical exercise, mental stimulation, sense of purpose and social connectedness can make the difference not only in how long we live, but how well we live. We promote these factors in the Balanced Care Method™, our proprietary training for caregivers, to ensure they are equipped with the skills needed to help our clients thrive. There has been a wealth of studies in recent years examining how people can increase their lifespan by making adjustments to their daily routine. Here are 10 habits to help you live happily to 102!
1. Stay productive: A productive life is a healthier life, but work isn’t the only way to stay productive. According to Luigi Ferrucci, Director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, in societies where people stop working entirely, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrocket. A good tip for older adults who are retirees is to volunteer for a cause they are passionate about or dedicate time to learning a new skill or hobby.
2. Floss: Flossing has more benefits than helping you maintain a beautiful smile. A 2008 New York University study showed that daily flossing reduces bacteria-causing gum disease. Bacteria entering the bloodstream can result in inflammation in the arteries, which is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
3. Move: Your body is a well-oiled machine and needs to keep moving to stay strong, even if it’s only for 30 minutes a day. According to Jay Olshansky, a professor of medicine and aging at the University of Illinois in Chicago, “exercise is the only real fountain of youth that exists.”
4. Eat fiber: High-fiber diets have a host of health benefits, including lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are great sources of fiber.
5. Sleep: Getting at least six hours of sleep is critical to physical and emotional health. Sleep is vital to your body’s physiological processes, such as hormone regulation.
6. Get your vitamins from foods: People who have high levels of certain nutrients, such as beta-carotene and Vitamin E, have a slower rate of cognitive decline than those who do not. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that taking vitamins containing these nutrients provides the same anti-aging benefits. A good rule of thumb is to “eat the fruit and veggie rainbow” as colorful fruits and vegetables tend to be higher in vitamins.
7. Don’t stress: Find a healthy way to cope with stress, such as taking up yoga, meditation or exercise. According to Dr. Thomas Perls, founding director of the New England Centenarian Study, stress is an “aging accelerator”. Dwelling on a bad experience or stressful situation will only speed up the aging process.
8. Keep a routine: Consuming the same diet and participating in the same activities for the majority on one’s life keeps the immune system healthy and strong. To keep your body in equilibrium, do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
9. Connect through exercise: Regular social activities can be helpful for avoiding depression. Some psychologists think that one of the biggest benefits older adults derive from exercise is the social interaction that comes from walking with a buddy or taking a group exercise class.
10. Be conscientious: The book The Longevity Project, by Howard Friedman, details a study that followed 1,500 children for eight decades. It contains comprehensive details about their personal histories, health, activities, beliefs, attitudes and families. The children who were prudent and dependable lived the longest. Friedman hypothesized that this was because conscientious types were more inclined to follow doctor’s orders, take the right medicines at the right doses and undergo routine check-ups.
4 Dietary Tips to Help Prevent Dementia
It’s no secret that what you eat directly affects your physical and mental health as well as your general well-being. Recent studies also suggest that one’s diet plays an equally integral role in brain health. Gene Bowman, a scientist at Oregon Health and Science University, found that people in their late 80s who ate diets rich in vitamins B, C, D and E, scored higher on cognitive tests than those who were deficient in these vitamins. A few, simple changes to one’s diet can boost the intake levels of these important vitamins.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Citrus Fruits – Citrus fruits are extremely rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that improves blood vessel function and skin health. Additionally, a recent study revealed that vitamin C helps to dissolve plaque build-up in the brain, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s.
2. Almonds – Vitamin E, a naturally occurring antioxidant found in nuts, has also been linked with lowering an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E promotes healthy blood vessels that produce oxygen rich blood, crucial to a healthy mind.
3. Fish – Over the past several decades, scientists have closely studied the beneficial effects linked to omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in oily cold-water fish such as salmon and herring. A balanced diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids decreases inflammation in the body and enhances heart function.
4. Coffee – For all of you coffee lovers, numerous studies have touted the health benefits of a daily cup of joe. A 2009 University of South Florida study demonstrated that caffeinated coffee reduced levels of plaque forming protein which causes cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, decaffeinated coffee does not have the same effect.
While all the foods mentioned above are helpful in preventing the onset of dementia, they are just one piece of the larger puzzle. Lifestyle behaviors and genetics also factor into the equation, but being mindful of the foods you eat is an important step in your preventative plan.
Study Links Low-Fat Dairy Products to Lowered Stroke Risk
Hoping to lower your stroke risk? A recent Swedish study reports that you can help lower your risk of stroke by increasing your consumption of low-fat dairy products. 7,500 adults took part in the 10-year study by filling out a food diary to track what they ate on a daily basis. The outcome of the study showed that those who consumed around four servings of low-fat dairy products daily reduced their risk of stroke by 12 percent.
Susanna Larson, an associate professor of epidemiology at Karolinsk Institute in Stockholm and lead author in the study explains that a combination of nutrients found in low-fat dairy foods helps lower one’s blood pressure, a key risk factor for stroke. While the study showed the correlation between low-fat dairy product consumption and reduced stroke risk, it did not show that dairy products with a higher fat content had the same effect.
It should be noted that other researchers studying the same area, however, are not convinced that consuming low-fat dairy products helps to reduce stroke risk. Adam Bernstein, M.D., for example, says that he did not find the same connection when he conducted a simular study. Bernstein explained that Swedish people have different diets than the individuals in other parts of the world and the fat percentage in Swedish dairy products varies, but is usually about a half a percent less than the standard.
Although consuming low-fat dairy products is not enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we can learn from the participants in the Swedish study and consciously eat a healthier diet that will lower blood pressure and reduce stroke risk.
Caregiver of the Month Spotlight: Linda Abramenko
This month's Caregiver Spotlight honors Linda Abramenko from Home Care Assistance of Calgary, Alberta for her dedication to enhancing the lives of her clients so that they can live happier, healthier lives at home.
When Linda was just 17 years old, she had the opportunity to spend some time with a registered nurse who inspired her current career path. The nurse would show Linda her text books and share stories about her experiences in nursing. Hearing these stories sparked an interest in nursing for Linda and prompted her to start working at a nursing home. Over the years, Linda has explored other industries, but she returned to what she loves most: caregiving. Linda says, "Caregiving will be the last job I ever have because I will never go back to anything else." Working as a caregiver and helping others comes naturally to Linda, who she shares a passion for providing care with numerous family members who are also in health and wellness fields.
Linda joined Home Care Assistance in August 2011 and has since then shined as a dedicated and compassionate caregiver with an unwavering work ethic. She is always punctual, flexible and willing to go above and beyond her assigned duties and responsibilities to make sure her clients are happy. Calling caregiving "one awesome job," this mother and grandmother says she loves working with the elderly. Linda enjoys the wit and wisdom that so many of her clients share with her and says bringing a smile to a client’s face makes her day.
As one client said, "We hit the jackpot with Linda." We are happy to say, we feel the same!
On behalf of everyone at Home Care Assistance, we are proud to call Linda Abramenko a member of our family. Thank you, Linda, for working toward our mission to change the way the world ages.