Diana Nyad, and Other Inspirational Seniors

CNN reports 61-year-old Diana Nyad had to abandon the first shark cage-free swim from Florida to Cuba about half way through the 103-mile undertaking. Nyad was attempting this to show people all over the world that it is never too late to set goals for yourself and you can do anything you set your mind to, even if you are older. Both the wind and currents contributed to her decision to stop the swim, plus asthma and shoulder pain.
Here are three other senior citizens who defied the odds and exceeded expectations of what was expected of someone their age.
The Huffington Post reports Min Bahadur Sherchan became the oldest person ever, at age 76, to scale 29,035 feet-tall Mount Everest in 2008. The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed Sherchan had indeed become the oldest person to scale Mount Everest; in 2009, they awarded him a certificate and put him in the record books. Sherchan is a former soldier in his home country of Nepal and wanted to climb for world peace, which is what kept him determined throughout the climb.
HealthLine reports that, at age 91, Edith McAllister from San Antonio, Texas, is a daily water skier and has stayed mobile and independent even in her older years. McAllister believes in daily physical activity and thinks you just need to keep going and not stop in order to stay healthy. Instead of just sitting around the house waiting for life to pass her by, she gets out there on the water and just has thetime of her life, which she probably learned from her father -- also an avid water skier.
ESPN reports Ken Mink, 73, from Arrington, Tenn., became an inspiration after he became part of the Roane State Community College basketball team. Mink had been kicked out of a junior college basketball team when he was younger for something he did not do and was committed to get back on the court again before it was too late.
Mink came onto the court defending the ball, shooting free throws, and dribbling the ball as he ran just as well as a lot of the men younger than himself. This was an excellent moment and an inspiration for older people everywhere; it showed that all you have to do is set your mind to do something and ask to become part of a team and you might get your shot.
Jolie Bookspan, "91 Year Old Water Skier", Health Line
Wright Thompson, "The Legend Of Ken Mink", ESPN

By Jeanne Rose | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Tue, Aug 9, 2011 http://news.yahoo.com/diana-nyad-other-inspirational-seniors-194500497.html
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September 2011 is the first World Alzheimer's Month

We are excited to share with you that September 2011 is the first World Alzheimer's Month and today is Alzheimer’s Action Day. This is a great opportunity to show your commitment to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease!

There are nearly 15  million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers providing 17 billion hours of unpaid care—valued at 202 billion dollars— annually.  Caregivers are under tremendous physical and emotional strain, with over one-third of family caregivers reporting symptoms of depression.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be extremely difficult. The emotional toll of seeing a loved one slowly slip away can be significant. Given the serious nature of Alzheimer’s symptoms, including memory loss, wandering and hallucinations, around-the-clock care is often the only way to ensure the health and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. Most family caregivers who try to provide the necessary level of 24/7 care eventually feel overwhelmed and burned out.

If you find yourself in this situation, one solution is to arrange for respite care.  This can include developing a weekly schedule of relatives, friends or neighbors who will fill in for a few hours to enable you to run errands or simply enjoy some leisure time with friends. Home Care Assistance specializes in Live-in Care through our dedicated team of screened, trained and insured caregivers.

Help us raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease by changing your Facebook profile picture for a day to the Alzheimer’s Association “END ALZ” graphic that can be found here.  While you’re on our Fan Page, we encourage you to share a link you find interesting or to leave a comment related to Alzheimer’s disease and how it has affected someone you care about.

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), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

10 habits for a heart healthy lifestyle


Heart disease is a top killer worldwide -- but our lifestyle choices can go a long way toward reducing our risk. In honour of World Heart Day in September, we round up the basics to living well.
It may be the strongest muscle in your body, but your heart is still vulnerable to disease. Each year, cardiovascular disease claims over 17 million lives around the world. By 2030, that number could reach 23 million, according to the World Heart Federation. It’s one of the top causes of death worldwide — even in countries that have access to health care and prevention.
Medicine has come a long way preventing and treating cardiovascular disease and saving lives, but we have to do our part too. Lifestyle choices can make a difference in how long and how well we live.
Here’s what experts say we should be doing to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Enjoy a healthy diet

We often hear that this or that food is good for the heart, but you don’t need to load up on super foods. Experts still say the best way to get those beneficial good fats and essential nutrients is through eating a healthy and varied diet. Eating well shouldn’t feel like deprivation with heart healthy foods like salmon, nuts, olive oil, legumes, lean meats and low-fat dairy. Foods that are high in fibre also help lower cholesterol.
And dare we say eat more fruits and vegetables? They’re packed with essential vitamins and nutrients we need for good over all health — like antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamin C, to name a few.
We know what foods shouldn’t be staples in our diet: bad fats (like saturated fats and trans fats), processed foods and foods high in sugars and salt. These foods can contribute to weight gain, unhealthy cholesterol levels, glucose intolerance and chronic inflammation in the body — all of which take a toll on the heart.
 (For more information, see 6 keys to healthy eating and Top foods your heart will love for ideas.)

Drink in moderation (if at all)

While some studies have shown that alcohol — particularly red wine — offers some small heart protective benefits, but experts advise caution. Consuming too much alcohol can increase heart risk and contribute to weight gain, liver disease, chronic inflammation and other conditions.
How much is too much? For some people there is no safe amount — like if you’re taking certain medications or have certain health conditions. Otherwise, guidelines recommend no more than one or two standard drinks per day to a limit of nine per week for women and 14 for men. However, experts don’t recommend starting drinking as a prevention strategy. (For more information, see the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s advice.)

Get active (and stay active)

Exercise has many benefits for the heart– such as lowering blood pressure, helping control blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and increasing good cholesterol levels. Experts estimate that people who aren’t currently active can cut their risk of a heart attack by as much as 35-55 per cent simply by getting more exercise.
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How to become an optimist


When times are tough it's easy to expect the worst. But a positive attitude benefits your health, your happiness -- and your productivity.
Research shows that having a positive attitude can make a huge difference in promoting better health and an improved sense of well-being — which in turn can lead to improved confidence and productivity.
And while optimists are often accused of oversimplifying or being unrealistic, the Mayo Clinic says that people who tend to view situations in a positive light experience a higher level of both physical and mental functioning than their pessimist counterparts.
Optimists, for example, have:
- Greater resistance to catching the common cold
- Reduced risk of coronary artery disease
- Easier breathing if you have certain lung diseases, such as emphysema
- Better coping skills during hardships
- Less negative stress
Further, studies have found that optimistic people decreased their risk of early death by a full 50 per cent compared to those who were more pessimistic. (For more, see Will your personality determine how long you live?)
Retrain the brain
If you’re not a natural optimist, can you change the way you think — and become more upbeat? Experts say yes, that with practice, people can basically retrain their brains to think more positively. Mainly this has to do with monitoring — and changing, if necessary — the ’self-talk’ or the automatic stream of thoughts that runs through your head, endlessly, every day. These thoughts can be either negative or positive, and can be based on logic or on misconceptions and lack of information.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some common forms of negative self-talk include:
Filtering. This happens when you magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, after a fantastically productive day at work, you suddenly realize you forgot one task – and it is this task you focus on instead of the ones you did accomplish.
Personalizing. In this case, when something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. Did your company lose an important account? You think it must be entirely your fault — when in reality other factors came into play.
Catastrophizing. This happens when you automatically anticipate the worst in any given situation. Your boss asks to see you? It must be bad news.
Polarizing. In this instance there is no middle ground: You view things as either good or bad, black or white. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you’re a total failure.
Silence the internal critic
Instead of automatically giving in to them, challenge your negative thoughts. You can weed out negative self-talk by replacing thoughts that are based on irrational thinking with rational, positive ones. For example, if you’re feeling out of the loop at the office, instead of saying to yourself: “No one bothers to communicate with me”, say instead, “I’ll see if I can open the channels of communication.”
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Keeping your kidneys healthy - Seniors' Health - Body & Health

Keeping your kidneys healthy - Seniors' Health - Body & Health

Ward off kidney disease

Diabetes and high blood pressure are 2 of the leading causes of kidney disease. If you have diabetes, you can reduce your risk of kidney damage by managing your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, you can help protect your kidneys by getting your blood pressure to a healthy level. There is much you can do to help manage these 2 conditions or, in some cases, to prevent them. By doing so, you'll benefit your overall health - not just your kidney function.

Diabetes and your kidneys

About half of those who have diabetes will develop early signs of kidney damage. Unfortunately, though, early kidney damage has few symptoms, so it's important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney function. It's also important to be aware of the risk of kidney damage so that you can do as much as you can to minimize it.
While you may not be able to completely protect your kidneys from the effects of diabetes, the following steps will help your kidneys stay as healthy as possible:
  • Keep control of your blood sugar levels with the help of your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Ask your doctor about regular urine and blood tests to monitor your kidney function.
  • Check your blood pressure regularly - your doctor can advise you on your target blood pressure and how often to check.
  • Eat a healthy diet - your doctor or dietitian can advise you on the best foods for you to choose or avoid.
  • Try to quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.
Your doctor may also recommend that you take a medication called an ACE inhibitor (e.g., lisinopril, enalapril) to help protect your kidneys.

High blood pressure and your kidneys

The complications of high blood pressure are serious. You may be aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, but did you know that it could also cause kidney damage? If you already have kidney disease, maintaining a healthy control of your blood pressure can help protect your kidneys.
What can you do to help control your blood pressure?
  • Consult your doctor about your "target" blood pressure.
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly as recommended by your doctor. Many pharmacies sell blood pressure cuffs that you can easily use at home. If you discover your blood pressure is higher than it should be, speak to your doctor. You may need to adopt some lifestyle changes (see below) or take a medication (or combination of medications) to help lower your blood pressure.
  • Follow a low-fat, low-salt diet (such as the DASH diet).
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Keep a healthy body weight.
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol that you drink.
  • Try to quit smoking.

Ward off kidney stones

Passing a kidney stone can be an extremely painful experience. And aside from the pain, kidney stones also pose a risk of kidney damage and urinary tract infection.
One in 10 Canadians will experience a kidney stone during their lifetime. Kidney stones are usually made of a substance called calcium oxalate, but the stones may also be made of uric acid or cystine. Once you have developed a stone, your options are:
  • to pass the stone when you urinate
  • to have it surgically removed
  • to have it dissolved with medication
  • to have it broken up through a special procedure using high-energy shock waves (extra-corporeal shock wave lithotripsy or ESWL)
Your best course of treatment will depend on factors such as the type and size of the stone.
What can you do to avoid a kidney stone?
  • Drink plenty of water! Aim for at least 2 L (about 8 glasses) of water daily. If you are exercising, you'll need to drink extra, as your body will lose some fluid through perspiration and therefore this fluid will not pass through your kidneys.
  • Keep a healthy body weight. Recent studies show that weight gain and obesity increase your risk of forming a kidney stone.
  • Consume a diet that has normal dietary amounts of calcium and is low in salt and animal protein.
  • If you've had kidney stones in the past, you may need to avoid or restrict certain foods in your diet (e.g., foods that are high in oxalate such as organ meats or chocolate). Your doctor can advise you on this.
  • If you still develop kidney stones despite dietary and lifestyle changes, you may need to start taking medications as recommended by your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether one of your medications may be increasing your risk of kidney stones.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team

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), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

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