Archive for December, 2013

Exercise for Seniors: It’s Never Too Late to Start

Posted on: December 30th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

“If exercise could be packaged into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.”
Robert N. Butler, M.D.Former Director of The National Institute on Aging

National Institute on Aging (NIA) indicates that an inactive lifestyle can cause older people to lose ground in four areas important for staying healthy and independent: strength, balance, flexibility, endurance

According to a study performed by NIA for people age 75 and older:

  • 40% cannot walk two blocks
  • 32% cannot climb ten steps
  • 22% cannot lift ten pounds
  • 7% cannot walk across a small room
  • 50% of those who fracture hips never walk independently again, with many dying from complications

The Many Benefits of Exercise for the Older Adult

Cardiovascular: improves blood pressure; decreases risk of coronary artery disease; improves congestive heart failure symptoms and decreases hospitalization rate; improves lipid profileLady Lifting Weights

Type 2 Diabetes: decreases incidence; improves glycemic control; decreases hemoglobin levels;improves insulin sensitivity

Osteoporosis: decreases bone density loss in postmenopausal women; decreases hip and vertebral fractures; decreases risk of falling

Sleep and Moods: improves quality of sleep; improves cognitive function; decreases rates of depression, improves Beck depression scores; improves short-term memory

Osteoarthritis: improves function; decreases pain

Cancer: potential decrease in risk of colon, breast, prostate, rectum; improves quality of life and decreases fatigue

Other: decreases all-cause mortality; decreases all-cause morbidity; decreases risk of obesity; improves symptoms in peripheral vascular occlusive disease

Benefits presented in the article “Promoting and Prescribing Exercise for the Elderly,” by Robert J. Nied, M.D., Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan and Barry Franklin, Ph.D., William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

 Before starting exercise, older adults and/or adults with chronic conditions should develop an activity plan with a health professional to manage risks and take therapeutic needs into account.                    

Activities to Improve the 4 Area of Fitness

  • Strength: resistance bands, weights, calisthenics, dancing
  • Balance:  yoga, chair exercises, dancing
  • Flexibility: yoga, chair exercises, dancing
  • Aerobic Endurance: walking, swimming, water aerobics, low impact aerobics, dancing, rowing

Consult your physician if exercise results in: chest pain, dizziness, cold sweats, extreme breathlessness, very rapid heart rate that lasts longer than 5–10 minutes after stopping activity.

Regardless of where you live, there are exercise programs suitable for all ability levels. Talk to your doctor, activity director, local community center or gym. Check out these online resources for more information.

Exercise doesn’t just improve physical well-being, it also provides energy, lifts our spirits, keeps us sharp, and helps us fully participate in all areas of life. Don’t forget, indoor and outdoor chores count as exercise too. The important thing is to do something on a regular basis. Move it, lift it, stretch it!





Easy & Beautiful Holiday Dessert

Posted on: December 23rd, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Easy & Beautiful Holiday Dessert. Feeds a crowd!

Jello Pudding Tiramisu serves a crowd ages 1 to 92!Showcased in a beautiful glass bowl, this dessert can be easily modified for those with diet restrictions. Just use low-fat, sugar-free, lactose-free, or gluten-free ingredients.

Ingredients: Kraft Tiramisu Bowl

  • 1-8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 2-3.4 ounce boxes of vanilla instant pudding
  • 1-8 ounce tub of non-dairy whipped topping like Cool Whip
  • 48 vanilla wafers or lady fingers
  • 1/2 cup of strong coffee (reg or decaf) cooled
  • 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate coarsely grated
  • 1 cup of fresh raspberries.

Instructions: In a mixing bowl, beat soften cream cheese until creamy. Add milk and dry pudding mixes. Stir in 2 cups non-dairy whipped topping. Line a 2 1/2 quart glass bowl with 24 wafers or lady fingers. Drizzle 1/4 cup of coffee over wafers or lady fingers. Top with 1/2 the filling mixture and 1/2 the grated chocolate. Repeat another layer then top with remainder of filling, raspberries, and chocolate. Refrigerate for 2 hours-24 hours.

Serves 14 -16.

Source: Tiramisu Bowl Recipe

Best Wishes for a wonderful holiday with family and friends!


Creating Holiday Cheer for the Homebound: A Top Ten List

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments


The Holidays can be difficult for a lot of people, especially the elderly. Older folks get blue for a variety of reasons including: isolation, loneliness, depression, nostalgia, and declining physical and mental health. Taking the time to visit an older relative or friend is a wonderful gift to give and you’ll receive much in return as well!

To insure a successful, engaging visit, plan it in advance and prepare. Consider the person’s cognitive and physical abilities plus dietary restrictions then put together a care package containing cheerful items that are meaningful and appropriate. Plan a holiday activity to do together such as singing carols or making homemade Christmas cards. Lastly, think about a few upbeat recent events in your life to share. We’ve listed ten ideas to help you create a wonderful visit with your loved one.a hand jpg softa

Top Ten List

  1. Family friendly jokes and stories. Surf the internet to find them. Laughter is one of the best medicines!
  2. Era Music. Bring perennial favorites like Bing Crosby, Perry Como,
    The Lennon Sisters, and Frank Sinatra.
  3. Games and Crafts. Think checkers, cards,
    even an electronic version of Wheel of Fortune. Assemble easy tree decorations, create a collage, do a puzzle.
  4. Photos. Dig out recent and old family pictures to share. Don’t forget the video.
  5. Pets. Bring a well-behaved pet to lift spirits and calm anxiety.
  6. Children. Bring grandchildren and great grandchildren. Equip them with conversational topics and school projects to share.
  7. Food. Prepare a few favorite dishes, some to eat together and some to freeze.
  8. Tenderness. The power of touch is amazing. Hug, hold hands, brush hair, give a light massage.
  9. Soft things. Give your loved one a colorful soft blanket, sweater, or shawl.
  10. Fragrant gifts. Try a fresh wreath or cinnamon pine cones.

Make the most of your visit with your loved one! Kim


Long Term Care for Seniors

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Long Term Care is a must topic of discussion for families with older members. The timing couldn’t be better. Throughout the holiday season, families join together to share traditional festivities and reminisce of holidays past. This family-focused time presents an ideal opportunity to talk with aging family members about their wishes concerning long term care.

Due to advances in medical technology and health care, people are living longer than ever before. In addition, the traditional family, which once included built-in care for elderly family members, is fast becoming obsolete. Today, 420-medicaid-home-caretaker-helps-husband-wifeit is common for adult children to reside in locations far from their aging parents. At the same time, the costs for long-term care services continue to increase.

Long term care insurance typically covers the costs for in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care. According to industry sources, eight million Americans currently have long term care insurance coverage, with some 400,000 new policies issued in 2007 alone. In addition, roughly 180,000 Americans with long term care insurance policies received benefits amounting to 3.5 billion dollars.*

According to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, 50% of those who applied for long term care insurance were between the ages of 55 and 64. Another 26% were between the ages of 45 and 54. As consumers—76 million baby boomers in particular—become aware of the cost-saving benefits of securing health discounts and obtaining more affordable coverage, the age of buyers continues to decline. In 2011, when baby boomers begin turning 65, the number of older people will dramatically increase between 2010 and 2030. In 2030, the older population is projected to be twice as large as in 2000.**

Therefore, it is important to raise awareness, assess risk, and stress the need for proper planning. The need for adequate coverage, especially for those who currently have no coverage, is fast becoming a national issue.

The Long Term Care Awareness Campaign continues to grow, involving a growing number of national organizations and government agencies. The expansion of this campaign allows more time to promote awareness and to provide in-depth educational programs.

We hope that you will take the time to analyze your needs, as well as the needs of close
family members, for long term care.

* Source: American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, 2008 LTCi Sourcebook.

** Source: American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, October 2009.