pain in seniors
Physical Wellness

Secret Weapon Against Senior Pain: You Won’t Believe This Simple Trick!

It's no secret that seniors often deal with pain. Even the most active among them have experienced discomfort at some point. But what is pain? It's a protective mechanism signaling potential or actual damage to the body, prompting us to take action to prevent further harm. Pain is crucial for survival, alerting us to injuries or dangerous situations.

Understanding Pain: Pain varies for different people. It can be localized or chronic, with chronic pain often leading to emotional turmoil. Just like hunger can make us irritable (hangry), pain can make us angry, which we might call "paingry." Pain hinders our ability to enjoy life fully and impacts various aspects of our daily activities.

Effects of Pain on Daily Life:

  1. Productivity: Pain makes it hard to focus. A simple headache could signal dehydration, reminding us to drink more water.

  2. Physical Activities: Who wants to walk when their foot hurts? Caregivers often struggle to understand this. A good exercise for empathy is putting a pebble in their shoe and walking around for a day.

  3. Social Events: While super seniors prefer not to discuss their pain at social gatherings, attending these events can actually help distract them from their discomfort.

  4. Mental & Emotional Health: Pain often leads to depression and mood swings. For example, a toothache can make even the most dentist-averse person appreciate dental care.

  5. Sleep Quality: Pain can disrupt sleep, causing fatigue and making pain management harder. Sometimes, the culprit might be an old mattress.

  6. Daily Tasks: Everyday activities like cooking or combing hair can become challenging due to pain.

  7. Travel and Transportation: Simple actions like getting in and out of a car or turning the steering wheel can be painful.

The Big Tip: Get Moving! 

The most effective way to manage pain naturally is to stay active. Incorporating gentle exercises and stretches can significantly reduce pain. Julia Marie’s 30-day Yoga Weight Loss Challenge is a great resource. Check out her episode #4. Her program focuses on gentle movements that won’t strain your joints, offering tips to keep you moving without causing harm.

STAT: The more you move a joint, the less pain you’re going to have. Ask any physical therapist. There’s a reason you see them after a joint replacement. 

Additional Natural Ways to Alleviate Pain:

  1. Eat More Fiber: A fiber-rich diet improves gut health and reduces inflammation. Healthy seniors often eat fresh fruits and vegetables rather than processed "healthy" snacks.

  2. Choose Simple Foods: Opt for foods with one or two ingredients. Avoid items with long, unpronounceable ingredients lists.

  3. Warm Up Muscles and Joints: Apply heat to painful areas to increase blood flow, which aids healing.

  4. Stay Socially Active: Engaging in social activities helps distract from pain and boosts mental health.

  5. Try Natural Herbs: Consult a functional medicine doctor for expert advice on natural remedies for pain.

  6. Sleep Well: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. If you wake up during the night, listening to soft music or an audiobook can help you fall back asleep.

  7. Relax More: Take time for yourself to unplug from technology and live in the moment. This can help reduce stress and pain.

Managing pain doesn't always require medication. By making small lifestyle changes and staying active, seniors can significantly reduce their pain and improve their quality of life. Remember, the key is to keep moving and stay engaged in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

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24.06.17_09 Dehydration Dilemma Solved! 5 Easy Hacks Seniors Can Use to Stay Hydrated
Physical Wellness

Dehydration Dilemma Solved! 5 Easy Hacks Seniors Can Use to Stay Hydrated

Hydration Day is celebrated in June.

Why do our doctors tell us to always drink more water?  If we want to lose weight, we are told to drink more water.  If we have a headache or we are tired, we know we should drink more water. 

But we hate water. It tastes funny. It’s hard to remember to drink it. 

Can’t I just put some flavor in it, albeit sugar water?

How about coffee or tea?  That’s water!

How about soda, that’s carbonated water?

So what’s up with water?

1. Enhanced Cognitive Function and Mental Clarity

Benefit: Staying hydrated helps maintain optimal brain function. Dehydration can lead to confusion, memory issues, and fatigue, which are particularly concerning for seniors.

Goal: To stay mentally sharp and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Desire: To enjoy activities like reading, puzzles, and conversations with loved ones without the frustration of forgetfulness or mental fog.

2. Improved Digestion and Regularity

Benefit: Adequate water intake aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation, a common issue among older adults.

Goal: To maintain a comfortable and regular digestive system.

Desire: To enjoy meals and social dining experiences without discomfort or the need for frequent medical interventions.

3. Better Joint Health and Mobility

Benefit: Water helps lubricate and cushion joints, which can reduce pain and stiffness, especially in conditions like arthritis.

Goal: To stay active and mobile, reducing the need for pain medications and improving overall quality of life.

Desire: To participate in physical activities, whether it’s a morning walk, gardening, or playing with grandchildren, without the hindrance of joint pain.

4. Healthy Skin and Appearance

Benefit: Hydration helps maintain skin elasticity and reduces dryness, making skin look healthier and more youthful.

Goal: To preserve skin health and prevent issues like dry skin, itching, and irritation.

Desire: To feel confident in one’s appearance and reduce the need for expensive skincare treatments.

5. Enhanced Kidney Function and Detoxification

Benefit: Drinking enough water supports kidney function, helping to flush out toxins and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney stones.

Goal: To maintain optimal kidney health and avoid the discomfort and complications of UTIs and kidney issues.

Desire: To enjoy life without the disruption of frequent medical appointments or hospital visits due to kidney-related problems.

Practical Tips to Encourage Hydration in Seniors:

  1. Keep Water Accessible: Place water bottles or glasses within easy reach around the house.
  2. Flavor It Up: Add slices of lemon, cucumber, or berries to water to make it more appealing.
  3. Track Intake: Use a journal or an app to monitor daily water consumption.
  4. Routine Reminders: Set regular reminders to drink water throughout the day.
  5. Social Hydration: Encourage drinking water during social activities like meals or group gatherings.
  6. Attached drinking a glass to an activity.  Example: "Before loading the dishwasher, I must drink a glass of water." 

You don't have to drink gallons of water. In fact, that's dangerous. 

It's been suggested that you drink 8 glasses of water a day but ask your doctor.

Spread it out throughout the day and definitely drink a glass upon waking (before your coffee or tea) as you haven't had any in 8 hours of sleep!

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Physical Wellness

 Chair Yoga: Why Seniors Won’t Try It

You're thinking about trying chair yoga, but you're not sure if it's right for you. Let's take a closer look at what chair yoga has to offer and some of the worries you might have about giving it a shot.

The Good Stuff About Chair Yoga

Getting More Flexible and Moving Better: Chair yoga helps you loosen up and move easier. It's all about gentle stretches and movements that make everyday activities feel less stiff and awkward.

Building Strength and Keeping Steady: Doing chair yoga regularly can help you get stronger and stay steady on your feet. That means fewer wobbles and a lower chance of taking a tumble.

Chilling Out and Feeling Calm: Chair yoga teaches you breathing and relaxation tricks that can help you chill out and lower stress. It's like hitting the relaxation button on your brain.

Soothing the Aches and Pains: If you deal with aches and pains, chair yoga might be just the thing to ease them up. The gentle movements can help you feel better and move more comfortably.

Making New Friends and Feeling Included: Joining a chair yoga class is a chance to meet new people and feel like you belong. It's like joining a little club where everyone's cheering each other on.

The Tough Stuff You Might Worry About

Feeling Too Stiff or Sore: You might worry that you're not flexible enough or that chair yoga will make you feel even stiffer. It's normal to have doubts, but chair yoga is designed to meet you where you are and help you get more flexible over time.

Worrying About the Cost: Money can be a concern when it comes to trying new things like chair yoga. But there are often affordable options out there, like community center classes or online videos, so you don't have to break the bank to give it a try. Look at Julia Marie’s YouTube for a soft gentle yoga you can do in your home.

Wondering if It Really Works: You might be skeptical about whether chair yoga can actually help you feel better. It's okay to have doubts, but many people find that it really does make a difference in how they feel and move.

Being Nervous About Looking Silly: Trying something new in front of others can feel a little nerve-wracking. But remember, everyone's there to support each other, and nobody's expecting perfection. It's all about giving it your best shot and having fun along the way.

Feeling Like You're Not Interested Enough: Maybe you're just not sure if chair yoga is your thing. That's okay! There are plenty of other ways to stay active and healthy. But if you're curious, it might be worth giving it a try to see how it feels.

Your Own Challenges and Limiting Beliefs

Despite its numerous benefits, seniors may encounter challenges and harbor limiting beliefs that prevent them from embracing chair yoga:

  1. Physical Limitations: Seniors with mobility issues or chronic health conditions may doubt their ability to participate in chair yoga. They may fear exacerbating existing injuries or feeling embarrassed about their perceived limitations.
  2. Financial Concerns: Cost can be a significant barrier for seniors considering chair yoga. Some may worry about affording class fees or investing in specialized equipment, especially on a fixed income. Try Julia Marie's classes for free.
  3. Skepticism about Effectiveness: Seniors who are unfamiliar with yoga may question whether chair yoga can truly deliver results. They may harbor doubts about its ability to improve flexibility, strength, and overall well-being.
  4. Fear of Judgement: Seniors may feel self-conscious about trying something new, especially in a group setting. They may worry about being judged by others or feeling inadequate if they struggle to keep up with the class.
  5. Lack of Motivation or Interest: Some seniors may simply lack the motivation or interest to start chair yoga. They may prefer other forms of exercise or leisure activities and see no compelling reason to try something new.
  6. I can’t bend with a belly full of food or I might throw up.
  7. I can’t touch my feet.  Will I need shoes?
  8. I tried that. It didn’t work.
  9. I can’t take my shoes off. (You don’t have to)
  10. I can’t raise my arms. 
  11. What if I have to go to the bathroom? (You get up and go and we probably all go, too!) 

Taking the Plunge and Giving It a Go

You might have worries about trying chair yoga, but there are ways to ease your concerns and see if it's right for you:

  • Start slow and take it easy. Chair yoga is all about going at your own pace and doing what feels comfortable. You should never feel pressured to do something that hurts. 
  • Look for classes or streaming resources that feel welcoming and supportive. Finding the right fit can make all the difference. Or, do it at home 5 minutes a day. (I started with 10 minutes a day and then moved up to 20. I never do more than 25 minutes a day because that's all I need to stretch out my cramping joints. I don't do those classes in the gym because they beat me up. I like slow and easy)
  • Keep an open mind and give yourself permission to explore something new. You might just discover a new favorite way to move and relax. I always feel better after yoga. Even when I don't feel like doing it. I know in a few minutes my day will change and my body will love me for it!

Whether you're a senior or you care for a senior, always join in. It will double the rewards and minimize the excuses. 

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enlarged heart
Physical Wellness

13 Causes of An Enlarged Heart

Do you have or recognize any of these in yourself or someone you care for?

If so, this should be addressed soon.  See their doctor or your own doctor to get a full workup and make sure your heart is not enlarged. 

You may not even have symptoms so recognize these causes early. 

Causes*

An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) can be caused by damage to the heart muscle or any condition that makes the heart pump harder than usual, including pregnancy. Sometimes the heart gets larger and becomes weak for unknown reasons. This condition is called idiopathic cardiomyopathy.

Conditions associated with an enlarged heart include:

  • Heart condition present at birth (congenital heart defect). Problems with the structure and function of the heart can cause the heart muscle to get larger and weak.

  • Damage from a heart attack. Scarring and other structural heart damage can make it harder for the heart to pump enough blood to the body. The strain can lead to heart swelling and eventual heart failure.

  • Diseases of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy). Cardiomyopathy often makes the heart rigid or thick. It can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

  • Fluid buildup in the sac around the heart (pericardial effusion). A collection of fluid in the sac that contains the heart can cause heart enlargement that can be seen on a chest X-ray.

  • Heart valve disease. Four valves in the heart keep blood flowing in the right direction. Disease or damage to any of the valves may interrupt blood flow and cause the heart chambers to get larger.

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). If you have high blood pressure, the heart may have to pump harder to deliver blood to the rest of the body. The strain can cause the heart muscle to grow larger and become weak. Be sure your blood pressure is under control.

  • High blood pressure in the arteries in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). The heart has to work harder to move blood between the lungs and the heart. The strain may lead to thickening or enlargement of the right side of the heart.

  • Low red blood cell count (anemia). In anemia, there's a lack of healthy red blood cells to carry proper levels of oxygen to the body's tissues. The heart must pump more blood to make up for the lack of oxygen in the blood.

  • Thyroid disorders. Both an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can lead to heart problems, including an enlarged heart.

  • Too much iron in the body (hemochromatosis). Iron can build up in various organs, including the heart. This can cause the lower left heart chamber to swell.

  • Unusual protein deposits in the heart (cardiac amyloidosis). This rare disease causes a protein called amyloid to collect in the blood and get stuck in body organs, including the heart. Amyloid protein deposits in the heart cause an irreversible thickening of the heart wall. The heart has to work harder to fill with blood.

  • Aerobic exercise. In some athletes, the heart becomes enlarged as a response to frequent and prolonged exercise. Usually, this type of enlarged heart isn't considered a disease and doesn't need treatment. (Some athletes use steroids to bulk up, and this is not good for the heart)

  • Fat around the heart. Some people have extra fat around the heart that can appear on a chest X-ray. Unless there are other heart conditions associated, no treatment is necessary.

*https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/enlarged-heart/symptoms-causes/syc-20355436

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causes of leg pain
Physical Wellness

Ready for Relief? Natural Solutions for Leg Pain Now

Are you experiencing persistent leg pain that's been disrupting your daily activities?

Whether it's a dull ache, sharp stabbing sensation, or throbbing discomfort, leg pain can significantly impact your quality of life. Understanding the root cause of your leg pain is crucial for effective management or cure and finding natural remedies to alleviate discomfort.

First, we have to figure out what’s causing the pain so let's delve into how you can identify the source of your leg pain and explore natural solutions to find relief.

Identifying the Source of Leg Pain:

Pinpointing the exact cause of leg pain requires careful consideration of various factors, including symptoms, lifestyle habits, and medical history. Here are some common sources of leg pain:

  • Muscle Strain: Overexertion or sudden movements can strain muscles in your legs, leading to pain and discomfort. This type of pain is often localized and may worsen with movement.
  • Joint Pain: Conditions such as arthritis or bursitis can cause inflammation and pain in the joints of the legs, including the knees, hips, and ankles. Joint pain may be accompanied by stiffness and swelling.
  • Nerve Compression: Conditions like sciatica, where the sciatic nerve is compressed, can cause radiating pain, numbness, or tingling sensations down the leg. Nerve pain may worsen with certain movements or positions. This kind of pain can send us through the roof!
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) or blood vessel disease: Reduced blood flow to the legs due to narrowing or blockages in the arteries can cause cramping, numbness, or weakness, particularly during physical activity. You can also get swelling. 
  • Overuse Injuries: Engaging in repetitive activities or sports without proper rest and recovery can lead to overuse injuries like shin splints or stress fractures, resulting in localized pain along the shins or in specific areas of the leg.
  • Radiating Pain:  Is this pain coming from somewhere else in the body and showing up in your leg, knee, ankle, or foot?

One guy walked into our Emergency Department with pain in his foot. There was nothing there and no known reason why he should have such awful pain. Moving up the leg and finally, into the buttock area, there was a bullet lodged  & partially blocking his artery that allowed blood to flow to his leg. He didn’t know he was shot. It’s a good thing we examined his whole body!

Natural Remedies for Alleviating Leg Pain:

While conventional treatments like pain medications or physical therapy can provide relief, many individuals prefer natural remedies to manage their leg pain. Here are some effective strategies you can try:

  • Rest and Ice: If your leg pain is due to a recent injury or muscle strain, rest is essential for allowing the tissues to heal. Applying ice packs to a joint helps and heat to muscles can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain.
  • Gentle Stretching and Exercise: Incorporating gentle stretching exercises and low-impact activities like walking or swimming can improve flexibility, strengthen muscles, and alleviate tension in the legs. Avoid high-impact exercises that may exacerbate pain. Just stretch
  • Herbal Supplements: Certain herbs and supplements have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce leg pain. Turmeric, ginger, and bromelain are examples of natural remedies known for their pain-relieving effects. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
  • Essential Oils: Topical application of essential oils like peppermint, lavender, or eucalyptus can provide soothing relief for sore muscles and joints. Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil and massage onto the affected area for temporary pain relief.
  • Acupuncture and Acupressure: Traditional Chinese medicine practices like acupuncture and acupressure can help alleviate leg pain by stimulating specific pressure points and promoting the body's natural healing response.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight puts added strain on your joints and muscles, contributing to leg pain. For every pound you are overweight, you just add 4 pounds of extra pressure on your knees. Hips, knees, and ankles are at most risk. 
  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can exacerbate muscle cramps and contribute to leg pain. Ensure you're drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day to keep your muscles and tissues hydrated and functioning optimally.
  • Mind-Body Techniques: Practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and alleviate tension in the legs. Incorporate these techniques into your daily routine for holistic pain management.

Seeking Professional Guidance:

If your leg pain persists or worsens despite trying natural remedies, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and personalized treatment recommendations. They can help diagnose the underlying cause of your leg pain and develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Remember to listen to your body, prioritize self-care, and seek professional guidance when needed. I can't tell you the number of patients who lost just 10 pounds and felt so much better. 

Here's to healthier, happier legs!

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loss of independence
Physical Wellness

How to deal with loss of independence as we age?

As we age, our bodies naturally experience physical and cognitive decline, making it difficult to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) independently — e.g., bathing, dressing, eating, and using the restroom.

The GOLD Standard

This is the gold standard by which professionals measure our abilities to function well in our daily lives, 

If we do not meet this standard, help is needed and accepted. This is not an “all or none” approach. Oftentimes, it’s just one thing we need help with or choose not to do anymore. 

What causes loss of independence in the elderly?

The natural effects of aging can sometimes make independent living harder than it once was. Difficulties with mobility make us not want to do as much as we used to. On the other side of the coin, we want to rest more in between our physical events, like cleaning the home, mowing the yard, gardening, etc. 

Behavioral health conditions such as isolation and loneliness may come into play if we are in pain or find our friends do not want to come out and “play” with us anymore because they are feeling their age. 

And then there are the financial strains. Will this make us move in with a family member? Do we really want to live with someone else and give up our beloved homes? Over 90% of us live in our own homes and never move. Can we afford this?

What 3 factors affect an elderly person's independence?

When you visit your Senior loved ones, check that their home environment promotes health and well-being. Do they love their home? Are they thriving or just surviving? 

Safety, nutrition, and mobility are major factors that impact a person's ability to live independently.

Which is the most common major challenge for older adults?

Enables seniors to live independently starts with their families treating them ith respect and dignity. Understanding their challenges helps us see what they see. 

We, seniors, may not want to express to our family members the following difficulties because our family wants to go from zero to ten and pull out all stops. 

  • Ageism and a lost sense of purpose. 
  • Financial insecurity. 
  • Difficulty with everyday tasks and mobility.
  • Finding the right care provision. 
  • Access to healthcare services.

Families need to realize that we seniors are just commenting on ONE thing and not our whole world. 

For example, if I tell my daughter I feel I have lost my sense of purpose in life, she may want me to move in with her so she can be my social manager. Or She may want me to join “meet-ups” and find new friends or get on a dating app and find a partner. Or she may drag me to the doctor or therapist to get evaluated for depression. 

Yet, all I was doing was telling her I was going through a phase. I didn’t want to “fix” but to just listen. 

How can both seniors and their families honor independence?

8 Strategies for Balancing Support and Independence for Seniors

1. Help us continue with hobbies and social activities. Maybe you like to do the hobby with us or know friends that would love to come over and do the activity with me.

2. Allow us to take part in day-to-day chores. If you’re cooking a big meal, invite me over to help. 

3. Allow us to make our own choices. We welcome your suggestions but we want to make our own decisions so give us options.

6. Encourage physical and mental exercise. When you’re out walking invite me along every once and a while. If you’re going to a park, can I come, too?

7. Ensure their home is safe. You may see things in my home that I do not see. Show them to me and let’s discuss them. I do not want to fall so I need to be safe. We both want the same thing here. 

8. Be in communication and know when to help and when to leave it alone. Sometimes, I just want to vent.  Ask me if I want your solutions or your ear just to vent. We don’t always need to fix it.

See my FREE Super Ager’s Starter Guide for more information on how you can stay healthy while aging. 

Super Ager's Starter Guide for Seniors
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chronic pain in seniors
Physical Wellness

Solutions for Chronic Pain in Seniors

Chronic pain is an all-too-common companion for many of us seniors, impacting our quality of life and ability to engage in daily activities. Whether it stems from arthritis, neuropathy, or other conditions, managing chronic pain requires a multifaceted approach tailored to meet our individual's needs.

Let’s explore the challenges of chronic pain we have.

Understanding Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as persistent discomfort that lasts for weeks, months, or even years. Unlike acute pain, which serves as a warning sign of injury or illness and typically resolves with time, chronic pain can be more complex and challenging to manage. 

with us seniors, chronic pain is often associated with age-related conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and degenerative disc disease.

The Impact of Chronic Pain on Seniors

Physical

Chronic pain can significantly impact our physical activities, like walking or cooking. We don’t feel like eating when we’re in pain. We lose our muscle and flexibility. 

Social

It can impact our social life.  When we are in constant pain, who needs to socialize and get out? Our friends and family don’t know or understand our pain, so why bother?

Mental:

It changes our mental attitude. We tend to get angry quicker. We snap at those we love as they are trying to help us. it can lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression, affecting sleep patterns.

Tips for Managing Chronic Pain in Seniors

Consult with Healthcare Professional for what you want

The first step in managing chronic pain is to consult with healthcare professionals, including primary care physicians, specialists, and pain management experts. They can conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify the underlying causes of pain and develop a personalized treatment plan. 

Explore Pain Management Techniques

Pain management techniques vary depending on the specialist yu go to. Some primary care or pain management doctors want to give you medication. Some orthopedic doctors want to do surgery. Some functional medicine doctors want to guide your lifestyle with better eating habits, weight loss, and stretching exercises. Some doctors just want to inject you with hormones. 

So you get to pick what kind of treatment plan you would like to try. 

Stay Active by stretching

Although chronic pain may make physical activity challenging, staying active is crucial for maintaining mobility and managing pain. Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi can help improve flexibility, strength, and endurance without exacerbating pain. It's essential to start slowly and gradually increase activity levels under the guidance of a healthcare professional. These exercises as well as Julia Marie’s 30-day yoga challenge release your endorphins, raising your attitude and making you feel better. 

Practice Good Posture and Body Mechanics

Poor posture and body mechanics can exacerbate chronic pain, especially if we have musculoskeletal conditions. Make sure you have good posture. (This will come with easy yoga). But more importantly, make sure you have a decent mattress. If you are waking up in the morning with a joint hurting, hello! That’s not on you. That’s a mattress problem. You wouldn't sit all day in a chair that hurts your back so why would you sleep on a mattress that does the same?

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

We are convinced here in our Senior Freedom Club that we deserve a healthy happy life after 50. We do not see life as a cycle of life but as a linear progression to better and better. As we reach for 20,000 super-senior members who want the most out of life, we also appreciate the example and legacy we are passing down to our children and grandchildren. 

For our sons and daughters to be able to say, “Grandma and grandpa lived well into their 90s or 100s and were active, healthy, and amazing. I’ll do the same."

Utilize Assistive Devices

We use assistive devices for safety, not to do the job for us. Our strength keeps our attitudes up, our endorphins flowing, and our energy on high and we love it. 

Seek Support and Stay Connected With the Right Person

Many of our super-ager members tell me they do not share their pain with their family and friends. Instead, they speak to their therapist about such matters. This way they don’t wear their friends and family down with negative complaints as they know they cannot do anything about it and they know they will eventually get tired of hearing it. A therapist gets paid to hear it and is the expert who can provide valuable emotional support and encouragement. Some Medicare programs pay for a counselor. Check yours out. 

Be the Active Ingredient

So take an active role in your pain management. Find the right doctor who fits your needs. Get on a plan and try it for at least 6 weeks. 

Don't give yourself excuses. Super-agers are free of pain by choice. They choose to define their life through healthy eating habits, exercise, stretching, and socializing with friends and family. They do not let chronic pain define their daily activities, family, or friends.  

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

About the author:  This author had suffered excruciating pain in the left shoulder from impingement and arthritis, and right knee pain from a torn meniscus for years. She finally took the advice she was giving her patients and members. She lost 30-plus pounds, started a daily yoga program, eats healthy foods 90% of the time, and found a mattress after 3 tries that finally does not hurt to sleep on. She is now pain-free. She had no surgery or medications. She skis, hikes, boats, bikes, and swims every week. 

Come join us healthy agers!

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Healthy Eating Habits for Seniors
Self Care: Staying Strong and Independant, Physical Wellness

The Surprising Impact of Healthy Eating Habits on Senior Wellness

Let's talk about something that's truly the cornerstone of wellness: healthy eating habits.

As we age, our bodies go through changes, and it becomes even more crucial to fuel ourselves with the right foods to stay vibrant and energetic. So, let's dive into some nourishing wisdom on how to maintain a healthy diet as we gracefully journey through our golden years. If you want to see more, then get my FREE Senior Starter Guide. Chapter 2 is all about Physical Mobility. 

SIDEBAR:  I have lost 30 pounds at age 70. I did it by getting off the sugar. Was it hard?  Yes, it was awful. Somedays, I wanted to eat my arm! I could not have sugar in the house. Worse were the evenings. After 2 weeks, the yearning died down. I only drank water with fresh lemon (and my coffee). I also realized I had to eat every few hours and I ate small portions. I had all my food planned out ahead of time. If I ate out, I ordered off the child's menu or had a side dish. No more big portions. Never took home food either. Over the holidays, I ate sugar and had to go through the torture of yearning for it for another 2 weeks and then it died down again. So, now I know, it's not worth it to eat sugar. I love what I eat! My dinner is either shrimp or chicken with stir fry vegetables from Costco. My seasoning is Green Goddess. It's so popular now that I can't get it at Trader Joe's because it's out-of-stock so I have to order it off Amazon. 

Here's my suggestions. I prioritized them for you.

Healthy Eating Habits

Prioritize Protein: Protein is the building block of muscle, and as we age, maintaining muscle mass becomes increasingly important. Incorporate lean protein sources into your diet such as fish, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts. These protein powerhouses not only support muscle health but also keep you feeling full and satisfied. But check with your doctor first about too much protien if you have kidney issues. 

Ditch the Sugar: You have GOT TO GET OFF THE  SUGAR! Sugar is addicting and it will take you up to two weeks to stop craving it. Sugary treats may be tempting, but they can wreak havoc on your health, especially as you age. Limit your intake of fresh fruit.

Stay Hydrated: Hydration is key to overall well-being, so don't forget to drink plenty of PLAIN water throughout the day. Dehydration can sneak up on us, especially as we age, so make it a habit to keep a water bottle handy and sip on water regularly. This will also help you loose weight.

Portion Control: As our metabolism slows down with age, it's essential to practice portion control to maintain a healthy weight. Use smaller plates, listen to your body's hunger cues, and avoid oversized portions to keep your calorie intake in check. The trick here is to NOT fast. You get so hungry you will overeat.  The best plan is to eat every 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime. 

Watch Your Sodium: Keep an eye on your sodium intake as excessive salt can contribute to high blood pressure and other health issues. Opt for herbs, spices, and other flavor-enhancing ingredients to season your meals instead of relying on salt. Your taste buds will thank you, and so will your heart.

Read Your Food Labels:  If you cannot pronounce the words then do not buy it. Food manufacturers have over 52 names for sugar.  They want to keep you addicted to it. Your best bet is to stay to the outside of the grocery store, eating only those products with 1 or 2 ingredients. 

Color Your Plate: Imagine your plate as a canvas, and colorful fruits and veggies are your paint. Aim for a rainbow of colors on your plate as each hue brings different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to the table. Think vibrant greens, deep purples, bright oranges, and rich reds. These colorful treasures not only make your meals visually appealing but also pack a powerful punch in terms of nutrition.

Mindful Eating: In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to rush through meals without truly savoring the flavors and textures. Practice mindful eating by paying attention to each bite, chewing slowly, and savoring the taste of your food. Not only does this enhance your dining experience, but it also helps prevent overeating by allowing your body to recognize when it's full.

Healthy Fats: Say hello to good fats! Avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are excellent sources of healthy fats that support heart health and cognitive function. Incorporate these fats into your diet in moderation to keep your brain sharp and your heart happy.

Whole Grains: Swap out refined grains for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread. Whole grains are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and helps keep blood sugar levels stable. Plus, they provide a steady source of energy to keep you going strong throughout the day.

Stay Flexible: Last but not least, remember to stay flexible and open-minded when it comes to your diet. Embrace variety, experiment with new recipes, and don't be afraid to indulge in your favorite treats occasionally. Balance is key, so enjoy your meals guilt-free and savor every bite.

You can't outwork a bad food diet

What I mean by this is that going to the gym to work off that piece of cake is not going to do it. There are not enough hours at the gym to work off sugary foods. 

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of well-being, especially as we age.

Remember, it's never too late to start prioritizing your health and well-being. Your body is your temple, so treat it with love, respect, and nourishing foods that fuel your soul. Here's to a lifetime of vibrant health and happiness!

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Physical Wellness

Super Senior Independence: Keeping Your Sight and Hearing

Most people don’t lose their sight or their hearing as they age. Sometimes, we choose to miss out. Sometimes, we don’t know what we are missing. And sometimes we would just like to be left alone. 

Unfortunately, there is still so much to life and we have the medical knowledge to fix what you are missing. Let’s explore these two areas so you might move forward to gain the joy and happiness that comes with our sights and sounds. 

Vision loss…

For most people, vision loss is a very gradual process, so seniors (and their family members) may not be aware of how compromised their eyesight has become. Caregivers can help keep tabs on a loved one’s vision by looking for an increase in:

  • Squinting or tilting their head when trying to focus.
  • Bumping into things or knocking objects over.
  • Discontinuing everyday vision-based activities like reading or writing.
  • Missing objects when reaching for them.
  • Falling or walking hesitantly.

Eye diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can have a significant impact on a senior’s functional abilities and quality of life. For some, impaired vision may even result in depression, withdrawal and inactivity.

How to be safe if vision is lost

Ensuring proper lighting is crucial for the safety and well-being of seniors, particularly those with visual impairments. Here's why good lighting is key and how you can optimize it:

Mind the Glare: Keep surroundings well-lit but be mindful of glare. Specialized lamps and bulbs can increase contrast and reduce glare, while covering reflective surfaces helps minimize distractions.

Task-Specific Lighting: Different activities require different lighting. Direct task lighting, such as gooseneck or clip-on lamps, is ideal for activities like reading, playing cards, or crafting. Under-counter lighting works well for illuminating larger work areas like the kitchen.

Consistent Lighting Levels: Avoid large discrepancies in lighting, such as a bright lamp in a dark room. As task lighting increases, ensure surrounding room lighting also increases. Keeping lights on during daytime hours helps equalize lighting from indoor and outdoor sources.

Fall Prevention: Minimize fall risks by using nightlights in bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms. Eliminate clutter and hazards like throw rugs and electrical cords. Create clear walking paths throughout the home, considering the needs of seniors, especially those with memory issues.

Household Organization: Designate spots for commonly used items and maintain consistency in placement. Using tactile and visual systems, like rubber bands or colored stickers, aids seniors in navigating their environment effectively.

Contrasting Colors: Contrast between light and dark colors aids in distinguishing objects and surroundings. Utilize contrasting colors in everyday items like cutting boards and bathroom accessories to promote safety and independence.

Magnification Devices: Magnification is essential for seniors with low vision. From simple magnifiers to advanced electronic units, these devices assist in tasks ranging from reading to intricate activities like filling an insulin syringe.

Low Vision Specialists: If you have never been to one of these folks you are so!!! missing out!  I culd not beleive how much stuff they had for my mom and her macular degenration. Work with low vision specialists who can provide personalized solutions and vision rehabilitation. They offer expertise in mobility training, organization techniques, and access to low vision aids, along with mental health support for coping with vision loss.

Provide Support: Encourage seniors to remain active and engaged in activities they enjoy. Offer assistance and companionship when needed, and foster open communication about any challenges or symptoms they may experience.

Hearing loss…

Alright, let's talk about hearing loss—something that affects a lot of us as we get older. In fact, about 20 percent, or 45 million, of American adults say they've got some degree of hearing loss. And guess what? The older you get, the more likely it is that you'll have some trouble hearing. Nearly half but not quite, of all Americans over 65 are dealing with some level of hearing impairment.

Now, hearing loss comes in all shapes and sizes. It can range from missing out on certain high-pitched sounds, like women and children's voices, to a total loss of hearing altogether. It can be something you inherit, or it can creep up on you from things like disease, injuries, certain meds, or just being around loud noises for too long.

One common type is presbycusis, which is just a fancy word for the kind of hearing loss that happens as you get older. It's like your ears saying, "Hey, I've been around a while, and I'm not as spry as I used to be." This type can happen because of all sorts of stuff, like changes in your inner ear, nerve issues, or even just good ol' aging.

Now, tinnitus—that ringing or buzzing sound in your ears—is also pretty common, especially in older folks. It's like your ears are trying to play a prank on you, but it's not so funny when it sticks around all the time. Sometimes it's from being around loud noises, other times it could be a sign of other health problems, like allergies or heart issues.

When it comes to hearing loss, there are two main types to watch out for. Sensorineural hearing loss is when there's damage to your inner ear or auditory nerve. It's like your ears are saying, "Sorry, we're closed for business—permanently." Then there's conductive hearing loss, where the sound waves just can't make it to your inner ear. Maybe there's too much earwax, fluid, or even a little hole in your eardrum causing trouble. The good news is, this type can often be fixed with medical or surgical treatment.

Do you see any of these in your life?

Now, if you're wondering whether you or your loved one might need to get those ears checked out, here's a quick quiz to help you out. If you answer "yes" to three or more of these questions, it might be a good idea to chat with a medical pro about your hearing:

  • Do you struggle to hear on the telephone?
  • Is it tough to hear when there's background noise?
  • Do you find it hard to follow conversations with multiple people talking at once?
  • Do you have to really focus to understand what's being said?
  • Do people seem to mumble or not speak clearly to you?
  • Do you often misunderstand what others are saying and respond in the wrong way?
  • Do you ask people to repeat themselves a lot?
  • Do you struggle to understand women's and children's voices?
  • Do people complain that you blast the TV volume too high?
  • Do you hear a constant ringing, roaring, or hissing sound in your ears?
  • Do certain sounds seem way too loud for you?
  • If you're nodding along to three or more of these, it might be time to get those ears checked. Better safe than sorry, right?

OK. It's a pain to grab cheaters, or not hear our phones or even see menus in dark restuarants, but we have eye doctors and hearing specialists who can keep up going. 

And please do not forget the Library of Congress with all the talking books you could ask for. It's all free!

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pain
Physical Wellness

What Most Seniors Don’t Know About Pain

It's no secret that seniors have pain.

Talk to even the most active seniors and they will tell you that at one time or another, they have experienced pain.

So what is pain?

It is a protective mechanism that signals potential or actual damage to the body, prompting us to take action to prevent further harm. Pain serves as a crucial aspect of survival, alerting us to injuries or threatening situations. Here are key aspects to understand about pain:

Pain can mean different things to different folks.

It depends if we have pain in one local area or if the pain is chronic.

Chronic pain tends to thrust our emotions into chaos. For example, many of you have heard of people who get angry when they're hungry, also known as hangry. There is also pain that can make us angry called “paingry”.

Pain will keep us from doing the very things that bring us an amazing life.

Productivity: We find it challenging to focus and stay on task when we are hurting. Every time we move, we want to scream, “Ow-Ow”. Headaches can tell us we are dehydrated. It signals us to drink more water. 

See our Super Ager's Starter Guide Chapter 2 with a 17-question quiz on your mobility. 

Super Ager"s starter guide

Physical Activities:  Who wants to walk when their foot hurts? Many of our family members who care for their seniors do not understand what it is like to live with pain.  We suggest they put a small pebble in their shoe and walk around with it for a day. When they do this, they get the picture. 

Social Events: Super seniors do not go out and enjoy events while talking about pain and doctor’s appointments. Instead, they find that these social events get their mind off the pain. They feel better after they’ve enjoyed an outing.  But many times we tend to pass up opportunities to socialize because of pain. 

Mental & Emotional Health: Pain leads to depression. It can cause overall mood swings and irritability. While most people hate going to the dentist, when they have a toothache, they are loving their dentists when the pain goes away!

Sleep Quality: Pain can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. Poor sleep quality contributes to fatigue, exacerbating the challenges associated with pain management. Many seniors do not realize that waking with pain in their joints may very well be due to their mattress and not them.  Changing a mattress is the first step. 

Daily Tasks: Doing everyday things like cooking can be a challenge.  Combing our hair when our arm won’t raise due to pain.  How can we put a dish in the refrigerator when it hurts to lift the dish?

Travel and Transportation: Getting in and out of a car. Even turning the steering wheel.  How about turning our heads to see who is in our blind spot?  Can’t?  Because it hurts too much.

With the effects pain can have on our daily lives, what is the solution?

Do we really want another pill?

How do Super-agers deal with pain?

Here are some natural ways to alleviate pain.  I’ve seen patients with complete bedrest get out and start moving again because they changed a few choices.

1 - Get moving. Get some stretches in.  See Julia Marie’s 30-day Yoga Weight Loss Challenge. She is spot on and does a wonderful job of challenging you to get stretching and moving without ripping your joints apart. Plus, her tips are amazing!

2 - Eat more fiber.  This is going to change your gut microbes and the amount of inflammation you have. As a side note, how much food are you eating?  How overweight are you?  Do your bones and muscles like the added weight? Food for thought: What do healthy seniors eat?  We see them eating fruits and vegetables they cut up themselves.  Not “healthy” sugar-filled fiber bars.

3 - Eat foods that have 1 or 2 items on the label. Healthy seniors will not eat foods with ingredients they cannot pronounce. Since there is no regulation on what is “organic” or “natural”, food marketing companies have gone hog-wild putting these words on labels. 

4 - Warm up your muscles and joints.  When you warm a local part of your body you are getting blood to that particular area by dilating the blood vessels in that area. Blood is the healing power of the body.  Get blood to those joints and muscles. 

5 - Social Networks.  Get out more and stay active.  You won’t dwell on your pain when you are busy thinking or doing something else. Besides, your friends and family miss you and want to see you. Stay in touch!

6 - Try natural herbs.  A better bet is to see a functional medicine doctor. They are experts on what will work for your pain and get you moving again.  I’ve seen super seniors go from lousy marriages and attitudes to wonderful new relationships with their spouses.  Nothing changed but the advice and habits they embraced.

7 - Sleep well.  Go to bed at the same time every night and try for 7-8 hours of good sleep.  Waking up?  Keep your phone nearby and listen to soft music or an audiobook.  Audiobooks are great if you are a worrier because you get into the book and fall asleep again.  The only problem is when you wake in the morning, you don’t know where you left off so you have to start all over again!

8 - Relax more.  Besides stretching, take time out for yourself. Unplug the cell phone and TV. Try living in the moment.  What’s it like to have nothing to do?  Hmmm.

Let's not forget our family caregivers!  If you are struggling to figure out how your loved ones are doing, check out Chapter 6 of the FREE Caregiver's Starter Guide. This has an amazing trick that will give you a reference point on how well your senior is doing!

caaregiver's starter guide

Another article you might like: Is This a New Refunding Scam?

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