Is the Senior Driver in Your Family Safe Behind the Wheel?

December 3, 2018

Concerned about senior driver safety? This information will help you objectively assess their skills.

The topic of driving safety can be a contentious one between seniors and those who love them. For many, driving represents independence. Knowing you can hop in your car and head out to appointments and errands allows most of us to feel empowered and in control of our lives.

Unfortunately, aging brings undeniable physical changes, some of which can make driving more difficult. In honor of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, here are some tips that adult children should know about safety and senior drivers.

Assessing an Older Driver Skills

Adult children sometimes use age as the only factor in determining if a parent is safe behind the wheel. There is evidence to show that age does play a role in driving safety. Senior driver research confirms that fatal accidents begin to rise around the age of 75 and spike significantly at the age of 80.

But age shouldn’t be the primary determinant of driving safety. While aging does cause physical changes, not everyone ages the same. An active 80-year-old may be a safer, better driver than a 60-year-old who lives with a serious health condition.

A few, more objective ways to evaluate an older loved one’s fitness for driving include:

  1. Condition of the vehicle: An older driver’s car can tell a story. Is your senior loved one’s car in good physical shape? Do you see scrapes on the side mirrors and side panels or dents in the fenders? A close inspection of the vehicle can help you spot potential concerns.

Sometimes a senior driver might have a problem with depth perception and not realize it. They may be bumping in to things because they don’t realize how close they are.

  1. Conduct a ride along: Adult children and younger family members often act as a senior’s driver when they head out together. This might keep them from realizing how much the older adult’s driving skills have deteriorated.

Try to discreetly arrange a ride along to see how well the senior performs behind the wheel of their car. It will help to do this during busy traffic times, at dusk, or after dark. Consider the following questions as you observe your loved one’s driving skills.

Is the senior too confident or overly anxious while driving? Are they adhering to the rules of the road? Is looking behind them or over their shoulder difficult or even painful? Are they keeping up with traffic or going too fast or too slow? Each of these factors can impact their safety on the road.

  1. Safe driver evaluation: You can also take advantage of more formal senior-driver safety evaluations. The American Automobile Association (AAA) has a free self-rating tool titled Drivers 65 Plus. This brochure includes 15 questions designed to assess an older adult’s driving skills. If you prefer an in-person approach, a professional driving specialist might be the answer. You can search the American Occupational Therapy Association’s driving specialist database to find a professional near you.

A final suggestion is to make sure your senior loved one has an annual eye exam. Vision loss is more common as we age and can have a significant impact on older driver safety.

Transportation Services at Legacy Senior Living

If your senior loved one decides it is time to hang up the car keys, exploring transportation options together should be a priority. At Legacy Senior Living communities, transportation is one of our most popular services.

Whether it is transportation for a group outing or for a physician appointment, we make it easy for residents to stay connected. Call the Legacy community nearest you to learn more!

Pets as Therapists: A Relationship That Promotes Healthy Aging

November 7, 2018

In honor of Adopt a Senior Pet Month, Legacy Senior Living shares information on how pets improve older adults’ lives and why you should consider an older pet.

Sharing your life with friends and family who love you unconditionally is increasingly important as we grow older. For many, pets are family. They are a source of companionship and affection, especially for seniors.

Having a pet can give retired adults a sense of purpose after their kids are grown and gone.

In honor of National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, we explore the role pets can play in the lives of seniors and how adopting an older pet might help seniors.

The Benefits of Owning a Pet during Retirement

Older adults who are pet owners enjoy many health benefits. According to the American Heart Association, having an animal to love and care for helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research also shows that seniors who have a pet exercise more and experience less depression.

Other benefits of having a furry companion include:

  • Socialization: Walking a dog is a great way to meet the neighbors and develop new friendships, which is an important part of aging well.
  • Purpose: Having a pet to care for helps seniors develop a healthy daily routine and a sense of purpose. This is especially beneficial for older adults who live alone.
  • Lower stress: The very acts of petting a cat or scratching a dog’s ear can help lower stress. For an older adult with a chronic health condition or someone who is grieving, pets can be very therapeutic.

If you are considering adopting a pet for yourself or a senior loved one, here’s what you should consider.

Adopting a Senior Pet

First, think about the senior’s budget and how much they can realistically spend on a pet each month. Some types of pets are more expensive to maintain. Whether it is grooming expenses for long-haired cats or veterinary bills for animals known to need extra care, be sure you understand the financial costs of any potential pet.

Also consider the animal’s temperament. For example, a high energy dog like a Jack Russell or a Boxer might be too much for an older adult.

Take the senior’s living situation into account as well. A cat might be better for an older adult who has limited outdoor space or doesn’t live near a dog park.

Our final suggestion is to consider adopting an older pet. Local shelters usually struggle to find homes for them even though they generally make great companions. Most are house-trained and calmer than a puppy or kitten.

Many local shelters have websites you can use to learn more about the animals currently up for adoption and the process to become a pet parent.

Life Enrichment at Legacy Senior Living

Helping older adults live their best quality of life is at the heart of everything we do at Legacy Senior Living communities. From life enrichment activities to wellness programs, we invite you to visit the Legacy community nearest you to learn more today.

Busting the Dangerous Myths about Flu Shots and Seniors

October 1, 2018

Flu shot myths often keep people from being vaccinated. For older adults, that can be especially dangerous. Here’s what you should know.

Every fall, old flu shot myths—and a few new ones—begin to make the rounds. Recent false social media posts have gone as far as to say flu shots are linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease among older adults! It’s misinformation like this that may prevent seniors from getting a flu shot.

While younger, healthy adults may be able to fight off the virus, older adults who have a chronic health condition or a weakened immune system might not. For seniors, the flu can be deadly. During a typical flu season, seniors account for 70 to 85 percent of flu-related deaths, and 50 to 70 percent of hospitalizations for influenza.

Let’s bust a few more common myths about flu shots.

Protecting Seniors from the Flu: Common Flu Shots Myths

Myth #1: Flu shots contain an active flu virus

People of all ages have the misperception that the flu shot works by exposing you to a small dose of the flu. This persistent myth says that by being exposed to a small dose of flu, you build your immunity against it.

For older adults trying to stay healthy, the idea of being exposed to even a minor case of the flu may be frightening. That’s why it’s important to help seniors understand that this is a myth. An influenza vaccine contains only an inactive strain of the flu. You can’t get the flu from the flu shot.

Myth #2: Only seniors and children need a flu shot

This myth can put older adults at risk of getting the flu. While young adults and healthy middle-aged people might not think they need a flu shot, it’s a measure that helps prevent them from spreading the flu.

Adult children of an aging parent and family caregivers especially need to protect themselves against the flu. They can unwittingly spread the virus to immune-compromised seniors without even being aware they have it.

Myth #3: If you get a flu shot too early, you won’t be protected all season

Some adults delay getting vaccinated until mid-winter when the flu begins to make an appearance. Many do so because they believe receiving the vaccine too early will prevent them from being protected all flu season.

The truth is, a flu shot typically offers protection for a whole year. The immunity doesn’t wear off in a month or two. You are better off getting the vaccine early before the flu begins to make its way around town.

Myth #4: Because the flu shot doesn’t change much, you don’t need it every year

Each new flu season heralds a new strain of the flu. While some years might be similar, they are rarely ever the same. Researchers adapt vaccines to target those changes so people are protected against the strains expected to be bad that season.

Help Seniors Get Accurate Information on Flu Shots

In an average flu season, 200,000 people are hospitalized for the flu, and 36,000 people die from it. Older adults account for the majority of these. You can help protect the seniors in your life by educating them on the importance of the flu vaccine and encouraging them to be vaccinated.

Interested in more information about health and well-being for older adults? Visit “Aging Well” on the Legacy Senior Living blog. We share the latest news and research throughout the month on living an active, independent life as you grow older.

Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors and Their Families

September 5, 2018

Falls Free: National Council on Aging

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults. In honor of Fall Prevention Awareness Day, we share tips to keep seniors safe.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has once again designated the first day of fall, September 22, as Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The day is designed to shine light on how dangerous falls are for older adults, what the most common causes are, and how caregivers and loved ones can help a senior lower their risk.

From a sedentary lifestyle to poor lighting in the home and medication side effects, here’s what seniors and caregivers should know.

Learn the Facts about Falls and Older Adults

The statistics on older adults and falls are shocking. According to NCOA, falls continue to be the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among seniors. Each year, one in four adults over the age of 65 will experience a fall. Every 11 seconds an older adult is treated for a fall in an emergency room, which adds up to 2.5 million seniors a year.

Research also shows:

  • Seniors don’t always tell: While reports show that one in four older adults will fall each year, experts say the true number is likely one in three. The difference is that many seniors don’t tell their family or their physician they’ve experienced a fall because they are afraid they will be forced to give up their independence.
  • Repeated fall risk: Once an older adult experiences a fall, they are likely to fall again. In fact, two-thirds of older adults who fall once will fall again within six months.
  • Serious injuries: Head injuries and broken bones are two of the most common injuries seniors experience as the result of a fall. Specifically, injuries often include a traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, hip fracture, broken arm, or broken wrist.
  • Danger of a broken hip: Hip fractures are especially dangerous for older adults. Studies show that 20% of seniors who break a hip will die within one year. 95% of hip fractures are the result of a fall.

Contrary to popular belief, falling isn’t a normal part of aging. Many falls among seniors can be prevented if risk factors are identified and addressed.

5 Common Reasons Older Adults Experience a Fall

  1. Sedentary lifestyle: While it might seem counterintuitive, avoiding activity can increase the risk for falls. Seniors who are concerned they might fall may cut back on their physical activity. Doing so can lead to weaker muscles, decreased stamina, and poor balance. Each can raise the risk of falling. The “Live Well” program at all Legacy Senior Living communities offers residents enjoyable ways to stay active at every age.
  2. Home hazards: Falls around the home, especially in the bathroom, account for the majority of injuries older adults experience. From poor lighting to tough-to-access bathtubs, older homes aren’t usually designed with a senior in mind. An occupational therapist can be a good resource for help conducting a safety assessment of an older adult’s home.
  3. Medication side effects: Some medications are known to have side effects that can increase the risk for falls. Drowsiness, dehydration, and dizziness are a few to look for when reviewing a senior’s medication list. If you have any doubts about whether your loved one’s medications might put them at higher risk for a fall, review their prescription and over-the-counter medication lists with the pharmacist.
  4. Vision loss: Another reason an older adult might fall is vision problems. Outdated glasses, cataracts, glaucoma, and other types of eye disease can all contribute to falls. Ophthalmologists recommend older adults have an annual eye exam to identify and intervene in potential problems early.
  5. Poor nutrition: A poor diet can lead to muscle atrophy, a weakened immune system, and balance problems. These all contribute to a fall. A well-balanced diet should be a part of every fall prevention plan.

Assisted living communities can often help seniors lower their risk for falls. From a thoughtfully-designed environment to healthy meals, contact us today to learn more about fall prevention programs at Legacy communities.

Managing High Blood Pressure During Summer Humidity

August 6, 2018

5 steps to preventing a humidity-related health crisis

Summer heat and humidity can be especially dangerous to people with high blood pressure. Here’s what seniors and caregivers should know.

Many of us are aware that weather can play a role in triggering certain health problems. Seniors who suffer from arthritis symptoms, for example, often say winter leaves them feeling tough. Older adults who like to spend time outdoors working in the garden usually realize they need to be careful not to become dehydrated. But people aren’t often aware of the danger associated with high humidity and high blood pressure.

Research shows that high humidity can have serious health consequences for people with high blood pressure and heart disease. For those who live in southern climates, that’s important to know.

As part of Legacy Senior Living’s commitment to quality care for older adults, we are sharing this information for family caregivers to review.

The Connection Between High Humidity and High Blood Pressure

Experts say risk begins to rise when the outside temperature is over 70 degrees and the humidity is at 70 percent or greater. That’s because high humidity and hot temperatures cause the heart to work harder. In fact, the body might need to circulate twice as much blood per minute to remain cool than it does on an average day.

The problem is when there is too much moisture in the air, also known as high humidity, the body has a difficult time sweating enough. While most of us think of sweating as a nuisance, it’s important because it helps cool the body down. Excessive sweating also increases the risk for dehydration because it lowers the amount of fluid in the body. That places even greater strain on the heart.

Who Is Most at Risk for Illnesses Related to Heat and Humidity?

Though heat and humidity can be dangerous to people of all ages, some factors make adults even more vulnerable to a heat-related crisis:

  • People age 50 and over
  • Adults with heart, lung, and kidney problems
  • Seniors who follow a low-salt or low-sodium diet
  • People who have a circulatory disease or problems with circulation
  • Adults who take diuretics, sedatives, and blood-pressure medication

Warning Signs Caregivers Should Learn to Recognize

If you are a senior or the caregiver for one, it’s important to take a few minutes to review and learn the warning signs of heat- and humidity-related illnesses:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating or an inability to sweat
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Swelling in extremities

If you or a loved one are exhibiting more than one or two of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical intervention immediately. In most cases, that means calling 911 for help.

5 Steps to Preventing a Humidity-Related Health Crisis

Here are a few steps you can take that may help you or a senior loved one avoid a heat- or humidity-related medical crisis:

  1. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and consume foods that have high water content such as cucumber, melon, berries, leafy greens, and tomatoes.
  2. Avoid mid-day heat: Heat and humidity usually reach their peak between noon and 4:00 pm. Schedule errands, chores, and outings around those times whenever possible.
  3. Wear a hat: Invest in a natural fiber hat with a brim that shields the face.
  4. Eat smart: Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages, as well as alcohol. They can contribute to dehydration and increase the odds of a heat-related crisis.
  5. Apply sunscreen: Many people fail to apply sunscreen or don’t apply it often enough. This can lead to sunburn or even a more serious case of sun poisoning. Follow the directions on the sunscreen bottle closely and apply it any time you will be outdoors or riding in a car.

For more articles and resources on health and safety topics for seniors, we encourage you to bookmark the Legacy Blog and stop back often. We share new resources every week!

Stay Independent at Every Age

July 3, 2018

Stay independent at every age

In honor of Independence Day, Legacy Senior Living shares tips to help older adults stay independent at every age.

Maintaining independence is important to adults of any age, including seniors. Having the ability to manage a household, come and go as you please, and remain self-sufficient is something older adults often cite as their goal for retirement.

What can seniors do to protect their independence?

As we celebrate Independence Day and our nation’s birth, we have a few tips you and the seniors in your life may find helpful for remaining independent.

Checklist of Tips to Help Seniors Stay Independent

Here are a few suggestions you can use to stay safe, healthy, and independent during retirement:

  • Conduct a safety audit of the home or hire a physical or occupational therapist to do so. Creating a safe environment can help you avoid disabling falls and other hazards that might be lurking in your home.
  • Make exercise a priority. Physical fitness is one of the keys to a long, healthy, and independent life. Walking, swimming, practicing chair yoga, and biking are all low-impact forms of exercise. Also try to work strength training in a few days a week. Go4Life, a senior fitness program from the National Institute on Aging at NIH, has great resources to help you get started.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that takes into consideration how nutritional needs change with age. My Plate from the United States Department of Agriculture is a helpful tool you can use to plan menus.
  • Follow your doctor’s orders. Whether it is scheduling routine health screenings, like a mammogram or cholesterol test, or a mandate to work on lowering your stress level, listening to your physician is important for protecting independence.
  • Stay engaged with your social network and greater community. Isolation is a known health risk for older adults. It can lead to diabetes, depression, obesity, and more. You can maintain your health and your independence by staying socially connected. It could be by volunteering, joining a club, taking a class, or just regularly spending time with family and friends.
  • Nurturing the spirit also helps older adults maintain independence. That doesn’t have to mean being part of a religious organization. Some seniors find communing with nature through hobbies, such as bird-watching or gardening, keeps them connected with their spirit.
  • Give your brain an aerobic workout every day. Hobbies like arts, crafts, and music promote cognitive health. Taking classes, reading, writing, and exploring new challenges do as well. By keeping your brain healthy, you can live a more independent lifestyle longer.

Independent Living at Legacy Senior Living

Residents in independent living at Concordia of Bella Vista in northwest Arkansas, Renaissance Marquis in Rome, Georgia, and Heritage Place at Legacy Retirement Village in Cleveland, Tennessee, enjoy the benefits of an active living community. Because the chores and repairs associated with home ownership are handled by staff, residents are free to explore new passions and interests or reconnect with old ones.

We invite you to call the community nearest you to schedule a private tour to learn more about living independently at every age!

5 Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening During Retirement

June 7, 2018

Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening

Gardening offers therapeutic benefits for people of all ages and that includes active seniors and adults with dementia. Digging in the dirt helps to nurture and heal the body, mind, and spirit.

In honor of National Gardening Week, celebrated from June 3rd through June 9th, we are sharing a few of the therapeutic benefits associated with gardening during retirement years.

5 Ways Gardening Keeps Seniors Healthier

  1. Reduce stress and manage anxiety: Research published in the Journal of Health Psychology revealed that gardening can decrease cortisol levels in the brain. Cortisol is known as the body’s “stress hormone.” When you are feeling anxious and stressed, cortisol levels often rise. Seniors can combat that increase by spending time digging in the dirt.
  2. Improve stamina and physical fitness: Gardening can be a real workout. It improves flexibility, range of motion, strength, and overall stamina. The best part of it is that gardening can be adapted to meet a senior’s physical abilities. Raised beds, window boxes, vertical gardens, and container gardens are all safer forms of gardening for seniors. Even these lighter forms of exercise can help you stay healthier.
  3. Connect with nature and boost mood: Communing with nature and soaking up the sun’s rays can increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the chemical that boosts mood and soothes the spirit. Remember to protect yourself by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses before you head outside.
  4. Reduce dementia risk: A growing amount of research indicates that gardening may lower a senior’s risk for developing dementia by as much as 36%. Experts believe the meditative qualities of gardening help reduce stress, which many consider a risk factor for dementia. Staying active also helps senior gardeners avoid some of the dangers linked to a sedentary lifestyle and higher risk of dementia, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  5. Boost the immune system: Without a doubt, gardening is dirty work. But all that dirt may actually strengthen the body’s immunity. Studies have shown that a type of bacteria often found in garden soil—mycobacterium vaccae—boosts the immune system. This friendly form of bacteria might help reduce symptoms caused by seasonal allergies and asthma.

Gardening Opportunities at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy communities throughout the south, we make gardening easier and safer for seniors. Residents at each of our communities can create vertical gardens using Juice Plus+® Tower Gardens.

See what Mary Katherine Fordham, an assisted living resident at Legacy Village of Jacksonville, has to say about being able to safely continue her hobby of gardening. She maintains three tower gardens using a process known as aeroponics. Visit the Legacy community nearest you to learn more!

Busting the 5 Most Common Myths About Aging

May 4, 2018

5 Most Common Myths About AgingThe misconceptions about aging are too numerous to count. In honor of National Older Americans Month, Legacy Senior Living busts some of the most common myths.

The myths and negative misconceptions about aging are too numerous to count. The most common ones range from assuming all seniors have poor health to the misconception that older adults can’t master technology. Visit any senior living community, including any of the Legacy communities across the south, and you will see firsthand just how erroneous these myths are.

Every year Congress designates May as Older Americans Month. It’s a time to raise awareness about the vital role seniors play in our lives and to help younger people better understand the aging process.

During Older Americans Month this year, we want to bust some of the common myths about aging and shine a spotlight on how seniors are living longer, healthier lives.

Aging With Grace: Separating Fact From Fiction About Growing Older

Myth #1: Most seniors have some type of health problem.

Reality: Researchers have made a lot of progress in determining how lifestyle affects aging. We no longer think successful aging is due to genetics alone. In fact, experts now say lifestyle trumps genetics for almost all diseases.

A healthy lifestyle includes daily exercise and well-balanced meals. Both are considered the keys to successful aging. Not smoking (and avoiding secondhand smoke), managing stress, and staying socially active are also important.

At all Legacy Senior Living communities, we encourage residents to “Live Well”. We partner with each resident to provide the education, support and services he or she needs to help maintain, and many times improve, their health and wellbeing. We work with our residents to customize their “Live Well” service plan. They will find many opportunities to follow their individualized plan through social interaction, balanced nutritional choices, physical activity, and spiritual involvement. As each resident grows and is able to accomplish more, we will work with them to continually upgrade and change their service plan to suit their needs. As a result, they will grow stronger physically, mentally and spiritually.

Myth #2: Older adults are lonely and sad much of the time.

Reality: While isolation is a risk factor linked to health problems among older adults, most seniors live engaged lives and are enjoying retirement. According to a study at Stony Brook University, happiness begins to increase at age 50 and keeps climbing for several more decades.

Myth #3: People feel old by the time they reach 60.

Reality: This is another myth researchers have disproven. In fact, a 2009 Pew Research study revealed that 60% of people over 65 actually felt much younger than the date on their birth certificate. Many seniors said they felt like they were 10 to 20 years younger than they actually were. Older adults who indicated they felt younger also said they were grateful for all of their blessings in life.

Myth #4: Seniors don’t use technology and social media.

Reality: Studies prove just how inaccurate this myth is. Older adults are the fastest growing age group on several social media platforms, including Facebook. According to Pew Research, 60% of older adults use the internet and 77% have a cell phone.

Myth #5: Your brain shrinks as you age so you can’t learn new things or adapt to new situations very easily.

Reality: This myth might stem from the fact that we learn differently as we grow older, but we don’t stop learning at any stage in life. Another reason this misconception might persist is that seniors are often emotionally attached to a home they have lived in for decades. As they downsize for a move to a senior living community or to a smaller home, what looks like a resistance to change may actually be an older adult coming to terms with the memories they are leaving behind.

Interested in learning more about this annual celebration of seniors? Visit Older Americans Month to download more resources and tools to help spread the word in your local community.

Learn How Volunteering Keeps Older Adults Healthier

April 9, 2018

National Volunteer WeekIn honor of National Volunteer Week, Legacy Senior Living shares the benefits of volunteering during retirement and tips to connect with a meaningful opportunity.

Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy leisure activities. A time to pursue new hobbies and reconnect with those left behind during the busy days of child rearing and a demanding career. It’s also a good time to consider the benefits of volunteering, giving you purpose while promoting your health.

An estimated nine million seniors volunteer every year. Seniors who volunteer just eight or nine hours a month have better mental and physical health than their peers who don’t volunteer. Experts say the benefits of volunteering may be to help seniors avoid the dangers of isolation and live with a sense of purpose that leads to a more physically active lifestyle.

In honor of National Volunteer Week April 15–22, we are sharing how volunteering your time and talent for an organization you believe in can help you stay healthier and happier.

The Senior Volunteer: Health Benefits of Volunteering

Most volunteers say that they get more out of volunteering than they give. This is something we hear often from the volunteers who are a part of the Legacy Senior Living communities throughout the Southeast.

We know that volunteering also helps older adults in many ways:

  • Building a new circle of friends, which is often tough to do in retirement years.
  • Learning new skills and continuing to use those already honed during their past career.
  • Boosting self-esteem and confidence.
  • Socializing and staying engaged with their community.
  • Avoiding isolation and loneliness, which can both contribute to poor health.
  • Increasing feelings of happiness and joy in daily life.
  • Staying active and more physically fit.

It’s a list that adds up to a win-win experience for seniors and the organization they volunteer their time with.

How can you find a volunteer opportunity during retirement years?

We have some ideas you might find helpful.

Finding a Meaningful Volunteer Opportunity

Here are a few tips for connecting with a volunteer opportunity:

  • Think about your interests: Have you always wanted to help rescue and rehabilitate animals? A humane society or animal shelter might be a good place to start your search. Do you have a passion for arts and crafts? Senior living communities like Legacy are always looking for volunteers to help organize classes and workshops for residents. Think about the things you enjoy doing and look for an organization that complements your skills.
  • Call your local United Way: Most local United Way chapters maintain a database of local agencies that are seeking volunteers. They can help match you with a volunteer opportunity that sounds appealing.
  • Online volunteer database: Another way to find a volunteer opportunity near you is by visiting an online matching service. Sites like VolunteerMatch and Create the Good walk you through a series of questions to help you find a local volunteer project that meets your criteria.

Thanking Our Volunteers

On behalf of the Legacy Senior Living staff, residents, and families, we would like to thank the volunteers who help enrich our communities every day. We appreciate having you as a part of our team!

7 Nutrition Tips to Help You Age Well

March 19, 2018

7 tips to help you age well

Nutrition plays a key role in aging well. Use these 7 tips to adopt a healthy diet at any age.

While most of us know that good nutrition is a key factor in determining how well we age, many of us aren’t exactly sure what constitutes a healthy diet. It seems as if there is a new diet being touted on television as the latest and greatest way to eat almost every week. It’s no wonder people are so confused, so we’ve collect 7 tips to help you age well with healthy eating habits.

March is National Nutrition Month, a time to raise awareness about the role a healthy diet plays in successful aging and what credible research says we should base our diet on.

7 Tips to Help You Age Well

Here’s what we know about healthy aging and diet:

  1. Fruit and vegetables: You can reap the rewards of a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants by creating menus comprised mainly of fruits and vegetables. Brightly-colored vegetables like spinach, beets, and kale, as well as deep-colored fruits like blueberries, black berries, and tomatoes are all good options to incorporate in to your diet. These foods can also help to decrease inflammation in the body.
  2. Protein: Older adults often fail to eat enough protein to keep their muscles and bones strong. Easy-to-prepare, low-fat protein sources, such as poultry, fish, legumes, beans, eggs, and nuts, are often best for seniors. Avoid protein sources that are high in fat, such as red meat.
  3. Dairy: Older adults are often diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes it is because they don’t spend as much time outdoors soaking up vitamin D from the sun’s rays, while other times it is because their body doesn’t process vitamin D and calcium properly. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone loss, bone fractures, and osteoporosis. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are all rich in vitamin D and calcium. Mushrooms, canned tuna, and sardines are other good choices.
  4. Limit refined sugar: Most of us eat far too much sugar, often without realizing it. The American Heart Association guidelines suggest that American women limit sugar intake to just 100 calories per day (about six teaspoons or 20 grams) and men to 150 calories per day (about nine teaspoons or 36 grams). The best way to keep sugar from creeping in to your diet is to read food labels, even for things that seem healthy. Ketchup, yogurt, fruit juice, protein bars, salad dressing, and canned fruits can all be hidden sources of sugar in your diet.
  5. Whole grains: Quinoa, oatmeal, grits, brown rice, wild rice, and whole-grain bread are all good things to include in your diet. These fiber-rich foods help stabilize blood sugar and manage cholesterol while also promoting digestive health.
  6. Avoid trans fats: By now you’ve probably heard that trans fats are bad for you, but like many people, you aren’t sure why. It’s largely because these unhealthy fats are linked to heart disease and other chronic health problems. Trans fats are especially high in some fast foods and convenience foods like frozen dinners.
  7. Stay hydrated: Water is another key part of a healthy diet. It helps flush toxins out of the body while also encouraging bowel regularity and a healthy immune system. If you or your senior loved one aren’t big water drinkers, foods like spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, melon, berries, cucumbers, and grapes all have a high water content that promotes hydration.

One final tip to help you create healthy menus for yourself or a senior you love is to take advantage of the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) calculator. The DRI was created by the Department of Agriculture to help calculate daily nutrient goals. Enter your height, weight, age, and activity level to receive a personalized report for everything from vitamin C to fiber.

The Latest News on Aging Well

If you’d like to stay up to date with the latest news on aging well, we encourage you to bookmark the Legacy Senior Living Blog and stop back often. We share new information and resources on our blog each week.