Lifestyle Choices That May Lower Your Risk for Cancer

December 9, 2019

Lifestyle choices can lower—or raise—your risk of developing cancer. Here’s what adults of all ages should know.

A cancer diagnosis can be life-changing, whether it is for yourself or someone close to you. When you see the statistics, it’s easy to understand why cancer is such a frightening word to hear from a doctor. In 2018, it’s estimated that 1,735,350 people were diagnosed with cancer in this country, and 609,640 died from some form of the disease.

While some types of cancer are linked to genetics, others can be influenced by lifestyle choices. The latter include lung, liver, and skin cancers. By making smart lifestyle choices, you may be able to lower your risk for some types of cancer.

Cancer Prevention: Lifestyle Choices That May Impact Your Risk


  • Stay active

When it comes to staying active, exercising and avoiding sitting for long periods of time are two separate but equally important factors. Here’s what you should know about each.

A sedentary lifestyle is dangerous. So much so that researchers are now saying it may be as bad for your health as smoking! It is linked to higher risk for several types of cancer, including prostate and pancreatic cancer. Researchers believe this is due to the weight gain and obesity common among people who are sedentary.

You may also be able to lower your risk of cancer by exercising at least 30 minutes, five times a week. Breaking up the exercise into two daily sessions might be easier on a busy schedule, or for an older adult who is just getting back into exercising. For example, a brisk 15-minute walk in the morning combined with a 15-minute yoga session in the evening can help you stay fit.

  • Avoid exposure to tobacco

The connection between smoking and lung cancer is indisputable. Smoking is linked to between 80 and 90 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses. But tobacco also contributes to other forms of cancer, such as throat, kidney, stomach, liver, and mouth cancer. If you use tobacco of any kind, whether it is smokeless tobacco or cigarettes, the best thing you can do to lower your cancer risk is to stop.

Secondhand smoke is deadly too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 41,000 deaths a year are linked to secondhand smoke. Those who live with smokers should require them to smoke outdoors.

  • Follow a healthy diet

Your diet can also impact your odds of developing cancer. Some research shows that consuming processed foods and red meat may put you at higher risk. Avoid ready-to-eat and frozen foods such as lunch meat and processed meats, canned soups, frozen dinners, and other foods that contain a high concentration of preservatives and additives.

Instead, opt for a diet that is primarily plant-based. Green vegetables, colorful fruits, whole grains, legumes, and walnuts are believed to help ward off cancer. One example of a diet that emphasizes plants and other whole foods is the Mediterranean Diet, which is linked to lower incidences of many diseases, including cancer.

  • Protect yourself from the sun

Skin cancer is one of the fastest-growing forms of cancer. You can help prevent it by taking steps to protect your skin. Apply and reapply sunscreen when you will be outside or riding in a car. Avoid being outdoors during the hottest hours of the day. Wear long sleeves and a hat that shields your face.

  • Drink alcohol in moderation

People who consume more alcohol experience higher rates of cancer. Researchers believe it isn’t only the alcohol that is the problem. Risky behaviors commonly associated with overindulging in alcohol may also contribute. For example, heavy drinkers are more likely to eat unhealthy foods and forgo exercise.

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Should you be interested in learning more about housing options for older adults, we invite you to call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you. One of our experienced team members will be happy to help!

What to Do If You Are Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

October 7, 2019

If you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you might be overwhelmed. These tips can help you figure out what to do next.

After Alzheimer's diagnosis

Hearing the news that the forgetfulness you’ve been struggling with is Alzheimer’s disease is tough to comprehend. It’s common to worry about your future, and how your new diagnosis will impact the people you love. If this is the situation you find yourself in, we have a few suggestions we hope will help you cope.

Preparing for Life with Alzheimer’s Disease

1. Give yourself time to process the news

If you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s easy to assume that living a quality life isn’t possible. Seniors who hear this news often think they’ll need to immediately move to a memory care community. Unless your physician has made that recommendation, give yourself and your loved ones time to come to terms with this diagnosis.

Talk to a counselor or join a support group for adults living with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association in your area can connect you with both of these resources. It will likely benefit your family members if they join an in-person or online support group, too. ALZConnected has information and forums for both the senior who has the disease and the family members who love them.

2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, research shows lifestyle choices may slow the progression of the disease. A healthy diet, exercise, and sleep are vital.

The Mediterranean Diet is one that is often recommended. It is based on menus that are heavy in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and whole grains, and light on dairy and red meat. Researchers believe the heart-healthy benefits of this diet help to protect the brain.

It may also be beneficial to find fitness activities that lower stress. Swimming, biking, walking, and chair yoga are a few to try.

3. Talk with an attorney

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to meet with an attorney and discuss what legal documents you’ll need to have in place. A legal professional can help to determine what you need, such as a will, a power of attorney, or a trust. These documents will ensure that your voice is heard when it comes time for family members to make decisions on your behalf.

An elder law attorney might be especially helpful. You can find one by searching the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys database.

4. Get to know local dementia care options

It will probably give you and your family members peace of mind to know there are a wide range of Alzheimer’s care options. From home care agencies that provide assistance with grocery shopping, menu planning, personal care, and light housekeeping to dedicated memory care communities—the choices are abundant.

You might find it easier to have a trusted loved one explore these options with you or possibly on your behalf. It’s usually better to do this before you actually need to utilize any of these services.

Memory Care Services at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living, our nationally acclaimed memory care programs are known as The Harbor. We strive to make them a peaceful, secure refuge from the challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. We encourage you or your loved ones to call the nearest community to learn more.

7 Things You Can Do That May Cut Your Risk for Dementia

May 15, 2017

Tips on Cutting Your Risk for DimentiaScience is finding out every day that there are things we can do that may help cut the risk of dementia later in life. Here are 7 changes you can make right now.

 

As the country ages, it’s hard not to think about the looming risk of dementia. Luckily, the scientific community is doing its best to help by conducting research on lifestyle changes that may reduce that risk. Here are seven of them you can start working on today.

1. Hit the Gym (or the sidewalk)

In 2013, a long-term study on the health habits of over 2,200 men published its results after 35 years of data. One of the findings was that regular exercise reduced the risk of dementia in their subjects. Following a healthy lifestyle in general may be a huge determining factor in your risk of dementia, but regular exercise, as this study revealed, is a crucial piece of the puzzle.

2. Hit the Books

Even if you never considered yourself a bookworm, taking up activities that challenge your intellectual side may help ward off mental decline. A study published in JAMA Neurology showed that not only does staying mentally active help in this regard, but the sooner in life you start the better.

Luckily, intellectual enrichment comes in many forms. So most people have no trouble finding something they enjoy that also challenges the mind. Playing music counts, for example. So does socializing, believe it or not. Anything that brings out your creative side is helpful too, like painting or drawing. Reading can really do the trick since it opens up a world of learning that’s hard to replicate by any other means.

3. Fire Up the Keurig

You don’t have to own a Keurig to ward off dementia, but they do say caffeine consumption may reduce the risk of dementia. While experts all have slightly different recommendations, the most common consensus seems to be drinking two cups of coffee a day might help prevent dementia. Talk with your physician for their take on caffeine, especially if you have any type of cardiac disease.

4. Take a Vacation (or a Break or a Short Breather)

We all know that stress does horrible things to the mind and the body, but now there’s evidence that it may also be linked to dementia. A long-term study in Sweden found that, of the women in their study, those who experienced higher levels of stress were more likely to have developed dementia later in life.

So take all the necessary precautions to keep your stress levels down, whether it’s taking big vacations from time to time or allowing for tiny breaks at work to take a few deep breaths.

5. Eat to Please Your Heart

There are several reasons to eat well, and now you have one more to add to the list. Eating to keep your heart in top shape may protect your brain, too. Try a Mediterranean diet consisting of:

  • very little red meat
  • lots of fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • fish
  • olive oil nuts
  • low-fat or fat-free dairy products

6. Be Social

Making friends and keeping them might be another good way to ward off mental decline. The stronger your social network, the better off you will be, say researchers. They’re not entirely sure why friends help, though it could be that they help you better manage stress which might allow you avoid depression.

7. Seek Treatment for Depression

Speaking of depression, scientists may have found a link between depression and dementia. So if you or a senior loved one is battling depression, seek treatment now. You may be doing your future self a very big favor.

Learn more about dementia by checking back here often. We will routinely share what we learn about memory-related diseases right here on our blog.

If an older adult you love has dementia, know that our memory care program is nationally acclaimed. We’re proud to serve families whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Call us to learn more today!