Eat berries to keep your brain clean

It has been well documented that berries are one of the healthiest foods to eat but recent research supports the fact that berries are very important in maintaining brain health. fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, acai berries and other deeply colored berrie, as well as even walnuts, stimulate microglia cells which clean up and recycle toxic debris linked to age-related mental decline. Over time, if the toxins are allowed to accumulate, they will interfere with brain function. These berries contain polyphenolics which protect the brain from biological wear and tear.
"In previous work we showed that supplementing the diets of aged mice with berry extracts improved their ability to process information" -- Shibu Poulose, USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.
Paula Bickford of the University of South Florida was encouraged by the results presented by the American Chemical Society. Bickford hopes that these findings will promote healthy eating and teach individuals that it is never too late to recover your body. "Most of what goes on in the aging brain is a damaging buildup of debris, and it can be removed. It's never too late to start eating berries."

In addition to berries, other deep red, orange and purplish blue fruits and vegetables contain these plant compounds. Look for red radishes, carrots, cherries, cranberries, acai berries, purple and red grapes and plums.

Source: AARP

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Canada one of top countries in cancer survival

In a recent study published in The Lancet, Canada places highly compared to top countries such as the United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway in survival rates for lung, breast, colorectal and ovarian cancers. The study was an initiative of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP), an international partnership of clinicians, academics and policymakers seeking to understand how and why cancer survival varies between countries. The ICBP study analyzed survival rates for four cancers - lung, breast, colorectal and ovarian - in six developed countries.

Based on the voluntary participation of four Canadian provinces - British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario - the study data show that Canada's survival rates for these select cancers are among the highest, along with Australia and Sweden in the study. The study is based on population data for 2.4 million adults diagnosed with colorectal, lung, breast or ovarian cancer between 1995 and 2007. The six countries were chosen based on their comparable wealth, universal access to healthcare and the nature of cancer data available.

"Overall, Canada is performing well internationally when it comes to cancer survival - and the survival rates for all participating countries show improvement over time. Canada will continue to contribute and learn from international data as this study continues, while also working within our own borders to reduce cancer's significant burden on our population, our health system and our economy: 174,000 cancer diagnoses and 76,000 cancer deaths every year is still very high." -- Dr. Heather Bryant, Vice-President of Cancer Control at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer works with provincial cancer agencies in developing a national cancer strategy to bring a coordinated approach to reducing the impact of cancer on Canadians. Many other nations that are successful in dealing with cancer have such a national strategy.
"The provinces in this study have organized approaches and systems to provide their citizens with world-class cancer care. Having both an interprovincial context and international comparisons allows us to understand our strengths and gaps, and to focus our improvement efforts. The international benchmarking findings are heartening for Canada, and a reminder to continue to strive for optimal care." -- Dr. Terry Sullivan, President and CEO of Cancer Care Ontario.
Canada's national cancer control strategy was funded by the federal government in 2006, and the Partnership opened its doors in 2007 to begin implementing it. Working with partners across the country - many of whom were instrumental in developing the cancer strategy - the Partnership is helping to improve the consistency and coordination of the cancer system across Canada's 10 provinces and three territories.

Source: Canadian News Wire

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Financial planning advice for your 80s, 90s, and 100s

As more seniors live well into their 80s, 90s, and 100s, the need for long-term financial planning becomes more imperative. Particularly, those stricken with deteriorating health or mental diseases must deal with a multitude of costs such as living arrangements and medical care. In the case of dehabilitating mental diseases such as dementia, arrangements should be made as soon as possible while they still can be made.

Perhaps the most important decision to be made is where you intend to live in your elderly years. If you already have a home that is paid for, it is still important to have money saved to cover the costs of health care. In many unofrtunate circumstances, seniors have been forced to sell their homes to sover these costs. Often times, living alone in a house can be dangerous and arrangements should be made for home health care or residential care. All of these factors should be considered when planning for your future.

Make sure to watch out for elder financial abuse by having an enduring power of attorney. It is a good idea to require the attorney to provide full transperancy of financial information with those involved. If a family member can demand a financial update from your attorney it makes stealing and other abuses much harder to commit. Use your power of attorney to get someone to do the banking for you rather than have a joint account. This reduces the tension and complications involved with sharing finances with family members and loved ones.

The need for compassionate, independent legal and financial advice is just as critical at this stage of life as it is at any other. The difficulty lies in the loss of control that some seniors experience because of failing health or simply by being too trusting.

Source: The Globe and Mail

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Going to church, not religion, makes people happier

It has often been believed that people who attend church tend to be happier than those that do not, however new research findings show that there is more to the story.
New studies done at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard believe the reason that churchgoers seem to be happier than those who do not attend church is because they socialize on a regular basis. 

“Our finding is that even among the people who have the same number of close friends, people who have close friends in a congregation are more satisfied. I think it’s because they meet a group of close friends together on a regular basis and participate in religious activities that are meaningful, they share a sense of community or sense of belonging” -- Dr. Chaeyoon Lim, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin.
Lim and another researcher, Dr. Robert Putnam from Harvard University, surveyed 3,000 people and “found that 28 percent of those who attended church weekly were “extremely satisfied” with their lives. People who never attended church were less so. Just over 19 percent claimed to be ‘extremely satisfied’.”

More research will be conducted to determine the correlation between religion and happiness.  The question remains: Would the same results be produced if religion was taken out of the picture and instead the group of friends got together regularly and shared meaningful activities?
So if religion isn’t for you, don’t fret. Lim’s findings suggest that, “religious faith alone may not improve [your] subjective well-being.”

Source: Home Care Blog

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

The relationship between mental health and body health

If you suffer from depression or an anxiety disorder and you have a chronic illness such as diabetes or heart disease, you have a considerably higher risk for disability and premature death. People who are in the early or middle stages of dementia or Alzheimer's are likely to be depressed or anxious which futher impairs their mental cognition. Someone who suffers long-term severe mental illness is expected to live at least 10 years and perhaps even 30 years less than the average person.

The Surgeon General of the United States described the relationship between mind and body as such: "There is no health without mental health. There is no mental health without health. Sound mind, sound body."

Each year almost 25% of the population will get a diagnosable mental or substance use disorder. However, only 40% of people with these disorders get the appropriate treatment. The primary cause of this problem is that many people just don't know when they need help and when they do, there are not enough qualified mental health professionals available. While we may chalk it up to the ups and downs of everyday life, deteriorating mental health is very serious and can take hostage of our lives.

Here are five tips to maintaining your mental health:
1) Stay active and involved with other people such as colleagues, friends and family
2) Maintain a balance in your life to reduce stress
3) Get regular screenings for mental health problems
4) Seek treatment for the earliest and smallest symptoms of mental health problems
5) Call a mental health centre near you.

Source: The Huffington Post

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

10 symptoms that could signify Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is caused by rising blood sugar and often sneaks up on many people because of its subtle symptoms. "Almost every day people come into my office with diabetes who don't know it," says Maria Collazo-Clavell, MD, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The best method of prevention for diabetes is a blood sugar test. If you notice any of these symptoms please consult your doctor or get a blood sugar test.

10) Increased urination/excessive thirst
The kidneys kick into high gear to get rid of all that extra glucose in the blood, hence the urge to relieve yourself, sometimes several times during the night. The excessive thirst means your body is trying to replenish those lost fluids and manage high blood sugar.

9) Rapid weight loss
Because the insulin hormone isn't getting glucose into the cells, where it can be used as energy, the body thinks it's starving and starts breaking down protein from the muscles as an alternate source of fuel. The kidneys are also working overtime to eliminate the excess sugar, and this leads to a loss of calories (and can harm the kidneys). "These are processes that require a lot of energy," Dr. Collazo-Clavell notes. "You create a calorie deficit."

8) Excessive hunger
Excessive pangs of hunger, another sign of diabetes, can come from sharp peaks and lows in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels plummet, the body thinks it hasn't been fed and craves more of the glucose that cells need to function.

7) Skin problems
Itchy skin, perhaps the result of dry skin or poor circulation, can often be a warning sign of diabetes, as are other skin conditions, such as acanthosis nigricans. "This is a darkening of the skin around the neck or armpit area," Dr. Collazo-Clavell says. "People who have this already have an insulin resistance process occurring even though their blood sugar might not be high. When I see this, I want to check their blood sugar."

6) Slow healing
Infections, cuts, and bruises that don't heal quickly are another classic sign of diabetes. This usually happens because the blood vessels are being damaged by the excessive amounts of glucose traveling the veins and arteries. This makes it hard for blood -- needed to facilitate healing -- to reach different areas of the body.

5) Yeast infection
"Diabetes is considered an immunosuppressed state," Dr. Collazo-Clavell explains. That means heightened susceptibility to a variety of infections, although the most common are yeast (candida) and other fungal infections, she says. Fungi and bacteria both thrive in sugar-rich environments.

4) Fatigue
"When people have high blood sugar levels, depending on how long it's been, they can get used to chronically not feeling well," says Dr. Collazo-Clavell. "Sometimes that's what brings them into the office."

3) Blurry vision
Having distorted vision and seeing floaters or occasional flashes of light are a direct result of high blood sugar levels. "Blurry vision is a refraction problem. When the glucose in the blood is high, it changes the shape of the lens and the eye," Dr. Collazo-Clavell explains. The good news is that this symptom is reversible once blood sugar levels are returned to normal or near normal. But let your blood sugar go unchecked for long periods and the glucose will cause permanent damage, possibly even blindness. And that's not reversible.

2) Numbness
Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, along with burning pain or swelling, are signs that nerves are being damaged by diabetes. "If (the symptoms are) recent, it's more likely to be reversible," Dr. Collazo-Clavell says.

1) High blood sugar
Several tests are used to check for diabetes, but a single test result is never enough on its own to diagnose diabetes (the test has to be repeated). One is the fasting plasma glucose test, which checks your blood sugar after a night (or eight hours) of not eating.

Blood glucose above 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) on two occasions means you have diabetes. The normal cutoff is 99 mg/dL while a blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes, a serious condition on its own.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Have a stress-free holiday season

By Dr. Kathy Johnson

With the holiday season upon us and in full force, it is no surprise that with all the holiday cheer also comes holiday stress! All the shopping, decorating and family get to gathers can make your head spin!  With that said, here are some ways to reduce stress during the holiday season.

If you’re a caregiver for an elderly loved one, help make their gift shopping easier by taking them to the mall when there are no or little crowds. You can even skip the mall entirely and help your loved one purchase their holiday gifts from a catalogue or online in the comfort and safety of their home.

As a caregiver, you are attending to the needs of your elderly loved ones, but don’t forget to take some time for yourself as well.  Caregiver burnout during the holiday season could turn you into a Scrooge! Bah-humbug!

Something fun for you to do with your loved one is cooking together.  Family meals are at the heart of most holiday traditions.  As a caregiver, try to plan out the meals ahead of time because some ingredients may have to be modified to accompany the dietary restrictions of the senior.

Hopefully these tips will make your holiday less stressful and more enjoyable!

Courtesy of Home Care Blog

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