Dawn Allcot

Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer in Seniors


Are you a woman over the age of 60? If so, you could be at greater risk for ovarian cancer than your younger counterparts.

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5 Signs Your Senior Community Is High-Tech

is your senior community high tech?

Seniors, just like so many of us today, have grown accustomed to technology. From remote controls to our smartphones, FaceTime to Facebook, many seniors are just as tech-savvy as their younger counterparts.

If you’re considering a move to senior living, you may want to look into a community that will feed your need for futuristic gadgets and the convenience of today’s technology. Here are five signs your senior community is high-tech.

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5 Tools to Help Seniors Stay Safe While Driving


Approximately 500 seniors are severely injured in traffic accidents each day, with another 15 dying in car crashes, according to recent statistics from the CDC. Younger drivers have faster response times and are more likely to bounce back after an injury.

In spite of the dangers on the road for seniors, older drivers also tend to be safer drivers. They tend to stay close to home, wear a seat belt, are less likely to drive drunk and many avoid driving in bad weather. Some may also avoid night driving or driving in congested areas during rush hour traffic.

If you’re a senior who’s concerned about your safety on the road, but still feel confident in your driving abilities, there are several tools you can use to make driving even safer.

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Technology Offers New Ways to Measure Blood Sugar Levels


Diabetes is one of the more common illnesses associated with aging. More than 25 percent of all seniors in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

While the disease carries many dangerous side effects and symptoms, one of the biggest daily annoyances for diabetics is the need to prick their fingers for blood samples several times a day. While necessary to maintain safe blood sugar levels, the process can be uncomfortable and lead to constant bruises and a continuous dull pain in the fingers. Taking blood from other areas, such as the fleshy part of the palm, is not much better and can lead to less accurate readings.

But two new devices have made the news recently and could revolutionize the way diabetics measure their blood sugar. This may result in more diabetics checking their blood sugar more frequently and gaining better control of their sugars and, as a result, the disease.

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New Study Gauges Effectiveness of GPS Tracking for Seniors


GPS tracking devices and other technology can help seniors live at home longer, if that’s their desire, while also assisting caregivers in Memory Care communities to protect seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia who may be at risk of roaming. But how effective is it?

A collaborative research project in Canada, run by researchers at Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, and funded by Innovation and Advanced Education within the Government of Alberta, seeks to find out.

The Locator Device Project has provided 10 clients in two Canadian cities with GPS technology from SafeTracks GPS of Red Deer. The technology provides caregivers with real-time location information via text or email, accessed through computers, tablets or smartphones.

The study, in addition to providing real information on the effectiveness of GPS tracking for seniors, also offers training opportunities for occupational therapy student researchers in Calgary.

One caregiver enrolled in the project to keep a better eye on her grandfather-in-law stated on the Alberta Health Services website, “The locator device gives us all peace of mind.”

Challenges of GPS Tracking
While the GPS tracking itself is reliable, caregivers could face challenges in getting seniors to wear new devices or remembering to carry a smartphone with GPS tracking installed as an app. That “peace of mind” could be shattered if a caregiver finds a loved one has left home – and left the GPS device behind. Fortunately, there are ways to encourage a loved one to use the device.

Using GPS Tracking More Effectively
Devices that blend into the wearer’s lifestyle are more likely to be accepted by patients with Alzheimer’s. For instance, fashionable bracelets or pendants might be worn by women with Alzheimer’s. If a man or woman is accustomed to wearing a wristwatch, they might not balk at a GPS locator watch that also tells time.

You might also consider devices that can be hidden inside outerwear or shoes. If an Alzheimer’s patient already carries their smartphone everywhere, a GPS tracking app might be the best solution, requiring nothing to remember and no change in their daily habits.

Finally, GPS devices only used on certain occasions might be helpful. For instance, visitors to parks in the Three Rivers Park District in Minnesota can receive a GPS tracking device free for the duration of their visit. The device sounds an alarm if the Alzheimer’s patient (or a child, for that matter) leaves a specific perimeter. The device also makes it easier to track down a loved one in minutes if they do wander from sight.

Adopting new technology to aid in caregiving is a personal choice. Certainly, tools are available to help caregivers work more effectively. The technology chosen and how it’s introduced can make all the different in success.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

What Do Seniors Want From their Community?


What do seniors want from their communities? Whether they are in an independent living senior community, assisted living facility or a town with people of all ages, seniors’ needs and desires don’t differ greatly from what the rest of us want in a hometown.

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The Importance of Social Capital for Seniors


Studies show that money does, in fact, make people happier, but only to a certain degree. In fact, researchers at Princeton have put a price on just how much happiness money can buy or, rather, how much money it takes to buy happiness. People’s happiness tends to increase the more money they have, up until they reach an annual salary of $75,000.

After that, additional income won’t make you any happier and, depending on what it takes to earn that income, could actually make you less happy. The moral? Once our basic needs are met, having more “stuff” doesn’t add anything to our lives – except, of course, more stuff.

It also stands to reason that if your basic needs can be met for much less than that, as with many seniors in senior living communities where they pay one price for all their living expenses and even some medical care, you can be just as happy with less money than that $75,000 benchmark.

The Wisdom in Buying Experiences, Not Things
When you use money to buy experiences such as vacations or special events and create memories with loved ones, you can feel happier. But it’s not the money, or even the event that’s making you happy, as much as it is the people you’re with. This is what psychologists call “social capital,” and it’s a very strong argument for moving to a senior community to enjoy your retirement, filled with people that you can connect with and activities that are fun and fulfilling.

These connections with others are what researchers and psychologists call “social capital,” and it’s been proven to reduce some traits of aging, including cognitive decline and depression, and may even improve a person’s overall health.

The True Value of Social Capital
Bryan James, an epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, evaluated 1,100 seniors over a 12-year time period and discovered the rate of cognitive decline was 70 percent lower in people with frequent social activity.

According to an article published at Berkeley’s Greater Good website, even when James and his colleagues statistically controlled for health risk factors like smoking seniors who stay socially active have a 43 percent less rate of disability.

Yvonne Michael of the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia, PA, is another epidemiologist who studies social capital and seniors. She discovered that seniors living in places with high social capital, in areas where you could trust your neighbors and where neighbors helped each other, had greater mobility and improved health. In another study, not limited to seniors, she found that adults in areas of high social capital were more likely to get screened for diseases at the appropriate ages, leading to earlier interventions and improved health.

Can Senior Communities Expand Social Capital?
This research underscores the importance of finding a senior community where you can forge strong social connections, where good health and exercise are a part of the culture, and where you can live well and have your physical and emotional needs met while spending within your means.

Fortunately, senior communities today continue improving their standards and introducing exciting, fulfilling activities that allow seniors to do just that.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

5 Easy Ways for Seniors to Save on Vacation


You’re enjoying your retirement but you’d like to get away. Of course, you’re on a fixed income and don’t want to spend a lot.

You’ve read all the “budget travel tips” articles, but you’re way past the age of wanting to couch-surf or stay in a hostel in Europe. Thanks to your independent living senior community and the meal options offered, you haven’t cooked dinner in years. Why start now? Can you still enjoy your dream vacation on a budget? Of course you can.

Here are a few money-saving tips to enjoy a vacation without sacrificing comfort, convenience, or amenities.

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Easy Ways to Reduce the Sodium in Your Diet


You’ve just been diagnosed with high blood pressure and you’re hesitant to go on medication. There’s good news! With some lifestyle and diet changes, it’s easy to treat high blood pressure the natural way.

Doctors say that reducing sodium intake can be an important first step in reducing your blood pressure or even preventing high blood pressure. Limiting sodium intake to 2,300mg per day will help, and if you can reduce your intake to 1,500 mg per day, you should see optimal results.

It’s not as hard as you might think to cut the salt from your diet and reduce your sodium intake. When they’re not doused in salt, you may even find yourself enjoying the rich flavors of foods even more.

Read the Labels
Sodium sneaks into our diet even when we can’t taste it. For instance, cheese, many fast food and canned vegetables have close to 2,000mg of sodium per serving, and most of these don’t taste particularly salty.

Throw Away Your Salt Shaker
Aside from fast food and instant soups, adding table salt to your meals is one of the biggest culprits of sodium in a diet. Simply eliminate the salt shaker from your table and in a day or so, you’ll discover you don’t even miss it. Instead, use pepper and fresh herbs and spices such as garlic, oregano, basil or cilantro, depending on what you’re eating.

If you’re on blood pressure medication or have kidney problems, avoid salt substitutes, as many of these contain potassium chloride, which can be harmful. Certain salt-free seasoning blends, though, can add flavor to your food with just a shake, without harming your health. Just read the labels to be sure there’s no potassium chloride in the seasoning blend, or make your own seasoning blends from your favorite combination of spices.

Find Substitutes for Favorite Snacks
It’s obvious that foods like potato chips and pretzels are high in salt and sodium. If you crave that crunch, consider air popping your own popcorn and then seasoning it with a spicy, salt-free seasoning blend. Dehydrated apple chips you make yourself are also a tasty snack, or sprinkle fresh kale with olive oil and garlic powder and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes on each side, or until crunchy, for a unique treat that satisfies that chip craving while providing lots of added nutrition.

Choose Organic and Fresh Foods
Many people who grow their own foods in a garden or shop at local farmer’s markets comment on how much more flavorful these fruits and vegetables are. Likewise, many people who switch to organic fruits, vegetables, meats and poultry note a more pleasing flavor.

People commonly add salt to foods in order to give it more flavor (canned vegetables and processed foods are a good example). Instead, look for natural foods with a rich flavor to begin with and you won’t have to rely on added salt for flavor.

Allow Yourself a “Cheat Snack” Once in a While
A high blood pressure diagnosis and living on the DASH diet doesn’t mean you’re destined to survive without sweets or salty snacks forever. Allow yourself a “cheat” every few weeks. But keep in mind once your taste buds become accustomed to the myriad of bold new flavors that exist beyond salt and sugar, you probably won’t even be interested in cheating after the first few months.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

Muscle Cramps: No Joke for Seniors


By now most of us have seen Lebron James as he writhed in agony from muscle cramps during the NBA Finals. His dramatic reaction to a combination of overheating and vigorous exercise quickly sparked a meme, “Lebroning,” where fans make humorously painful (or painfully humorous?) expressions as they are carried away by friends.

But if you’re 60 or older, you might already know that muscle cramps are no joke. Athletes, and anyone else, for that matter, can suffer cramps at any age. But for some people, cramps become more frequent in the senior years. They can also become more painful. This is because our nerve pathways and muscles degenerate as we get older, making it harder to fight off, or tolerate, these painful spasms.

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