Shoo the Flu: Senior and Caregiver Flu Prevention Tips

October 1, 2019

Flu season can be especially hard on older adults. Use these tips to stay healthy and keep a senior loved one safe too.

Cup of Tea

Younger people often consider the flu to be more of an inconvenience than a serious health concern, which really isn’t the case. The influenza virus can be deadly, especially for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors account for as much as 85 percent of flu-related deaths and up to 70 percent of hospitalizations.

While receiving the flu vaccine is one of the best ways to avoid being bitten by the bug, there are other steps seniors and caregivers can take to stay healthy.

Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers

1. Limit personal contact

The flu virus can pass from one person to another very easily. A handshake, a hug, or sharing the same drinking fountain can put you at risk for catching the virus. This is especially true for older adults or people with a chronic health condition that causes the immune system to weaken. One way to avoid the virus is by limiting personal contact during flu season. A big smile and warm greeting can convey your happiness about seeing someone without putting you at risk.

2. Wash your hands often

Developing good hand-washing hygiene can help you keep the flu at bay. The virus can linger on doorknobs, credit card readers, and other public locations. Wash your hands with hot, soapy water throughout the day. For times when you won’t have access to hot water and soap, keep a small bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket.

3. Avoid touching your face

A quick scratch on the side of your nose, pushing the hair off of your face, rubbing tired or irritated eyes; if you’ve been exposed to the influenza virus and have it on your hands, these often unconscious actions put you at risk of developing the flu. Most people don’t realize how many times they touch their face throughout the day. Try to make a conscious effort to keep your hands away from your face during flu season.

4. Sleep seven to nine hours every night

Sleep is an important—but often overlooked—component of a healthy lifestyle. Lack of sleep can cause the immune system to weaken. When this happens, the body has to struggle more to fight off viruses. Health professionals say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If you are one of the many seniors who struggle with insomnia, talk to your doctor. There may be an underlying health condition that can be treated.

5. Commit to eating a healthy diet

A well-balanced diet is another must when it comes to keeping the immune system healthy and able to fight off viruses. A diet rich with vegetables, fruit, and lean protein is best. If you aren’t sure how to plan healthy menus, the online resource Choose MyPlate offers a variety of helpful tools.

On Guard for Flu Symptoms

Despite your best attempts at preventing the flu, you might find yourself or a senior loved one coming down with the flu. Call your physician immediately when the first flu symptoms appear. There are antiviral medications physicians can prescribe to help lessen the severity of symptoms and shorten the length of time you are sick. They must be started at the first sign of the flu to be effective, so don’t delay calling the doctor.

Live Well at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living communities throughout the southeast, healthy living is a focus every day. From nutritious meals to on-site wellness programs, we make it easier for residents to live their best quality of life. Call the Legacy community nearest you to learn more!

6 Ways to Sit Less and Why It’s So Important

September 3, 2019

A sedentary lifestyle can be as dangerous as smoking, say the experts. Learn how you can stay active during retirement.

Sitting is the new smoking. Experts now say that spending too much of your day sitting can be deadly. In fact, early mortality is directly impacted by how much time you sit every day. It is linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.

Research shows middle-aged and older adults who sat for 30 minutes or less at a time had the lowest risk for early death. It’s important to note, however, that this doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day exercising. You just need to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time.

If you aren’t sure how to move more and sit less, these tips may be of interest.

6 Ways to Sit Less and Move More

1. Invest in a fitness tracker.

While using a fitness tracker to count your steps each day is helpful, some of these devices come with another beneficial feature—a movement sensor. If you’ve been sitting too long, it will alert you that it’s time to get up and get moving again.

2. Move when you are on the phone.

If you spend time on the phone catching up with adult children and friends every day, it might be tempting to sit down while you talk. A better option is to keep moving. Whether it is walking around your living space or courtyard or even marching in place, staying in motion is good for your health.

3. Set goals for daily steps.

When you are retired and have more free time, it may be easy to lose track of how much you are walking each day. While lunch with friends or participating in an art workshop are great ways to spend your time, they don’t require a lot of movement.

It might be helpful to talk with your physician for a recommendation on how much walking you should be doing each day. You can break this down to a daily goal for the number of steps walked. Don’t be discouraged if you have to start slow and work up. The overall objective is to simply keep moving.

4. Adopt a senior dog.

Having a four-legged friend to love and care for is good for the body, mind, and spirit. Our canine companions keep us active and encourage us to walk more. Adopting an older dog might be more manageable for an older adult than an overactive puppy. The two of you can explore a few pet-friendly trails to walk together every so often.

5. Rethink how you watch television.

Watching the news or a few favorite game shows can be a great way to unwind. The catch is not to get in a rut and spend too much time sitting on the sofa. A healthier option is to limit how much time you spend in front of the television. When you do watch TV, consider riding a recumbent bike or getting up to stretch and take a brisk walk every half hour.

6. Volunteer for a youth organization.

Children help us stay active and young at heart. If you don’t have grandchildren or if they don’t live nearby, consider volunteering for a local youth organization or helping out in the nursery at your church or synagogue. You’ll likely stay busy and enjoy a boost in spirit that naturally occurs when you spend time with children. Alternatively, the Life Enrichment Coordinator at your community is great at bringing in young volunteers and hosting fun activities that are worth being involved in.

Many Ways to Stay Active at Legacy

At Legacy Senior Living communities, you’ll find a wide variety of life enrichment activities to participate in every day right in the comfort of your community. Our “Live Well” program is designed to meet the unique interests and needs of every resident. Call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!

Senior Hydration Basics during the Dog Days of Summer

August 5, 2019

Summer heat and humidity can put older adults at risk for dehydration. Learn how to keep a senior loved one safe and recognize warning signs of dehydration.

The hot, humid days of summer can present unique safety challenges for seniors. Adults with high blood pressure, for example, need to be especially cautious during periods of high humidity. The summer sun also places older adults at higher risk for heat-related illnesses, like dehydration, sun poisoning, and heat stroke.

Now that the dog days of summer are upon us, it’s crucial for seniors and family caregivers to take intentional steps to stay hydrated.

5 Ways for Seniors to Stay Hydrated during the Summer

  1. Boost fluid intake: To prevent dehydration during the hot, humid days of summer, you must eat the right foods and drink the right beverages. Water is usually best. Your physician can help determine how much you should be drinking based on your weight. If you or your senior loved one don’t care for the taste of water, try adding lemon or lime wedges, cucumber slices, or berries to improve the taste. Increasing the amount of foods you eat that have high water content including melons, pears, cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, and popsicles can also be beneficial.
  2. Avoid caffeine: Guzzling drinks like iced coffee and soda might taste great, but the caffeine they contain can put a senior at higher risk for dehydration. While 8-ounce cups may not have much caffeine, super-sized cups or having multiple caffeinated drinks can create a problem. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes fluids to pass through your system faster. That fluid loss can cause dehydration.
  3. Limit alcohol: Summer is often a season for celebrations—many of which include alcoholic beverages. Similar to caffeine, alcohol can contribute to dehydration. If a senior will be spending time outdoors in the heat, it’s best to limit or avoid consuming alcoholic beverages.
  4. Review medication side effects: Many older adults aren’t aware that some medications increase sun sensitivity. This means medications can put seniors at risk of serious sunburn rather quickly. These medications may also cause hives, rashes, and dehydration. Review your loved one’s medications to see if sun sensitivity is a potential side effect.
  5. Plan outdoor time wisely: Whenever possible, plan outdoor activities for the coolest times of day, generally before 10:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. Wearing a lightweight hat with a brim at least three inches wide also promotes better hydration by helping shade the face and neck, keeping your senior loved one cooler.

Finally, we recommend learning more about the symptoms of dehydration in an older adult. From irritability to trouble walking, the signs aren’t always obvious.

Common Signs of Dehydration

Recognizing when a senior loved one is experiencing early signs of dehydration will allow you to seek treatment before a more serious health crisis occurs. Here are some of the most common symptoms to lookout for this summer:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Sunken eyes
  • Trouble walking
  • Inability to sweat
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Low blood pressure

If an older adult in your community is exhibiting these symptoms, get them to a cooler location and call their physician or 911 immediately for more instructions.

While summer might increase the risk for dehydration, it’s a risk older adults face all year long. At Legacy Senior Living communities, we have programs in place to help residents stay hydrated. Call us today (423) 478-8071 to learn more about this and other safety challenges our communities help address.

Saluting our Nation’s Service Members on Independence Day

July 1, 2019

If you are looking for ways to thank veterans and those who serve, these tips will give you some ideas.

Among the patriotic holidays our nation celebrates each year is Independence Day. This federal holiday celebrates the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress declared the thirteen American colonies to be free and independent of the British monarch.

While everyone has their own way of celebrating, remember to also salute and thank veterans and active duty service men and women who are integral in our freedom. If you aren’t sure where to start, we have a few ideas you might find helpful.

Thanking Veterans on Independence Day

  1. Volunteer at a veterans’ organization: One way to show appreciation for our nation’s service men and women is to volunteer for an organization that assists veterans. You will likely find a variety of organizations in your community, ranging from Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) halls to veterans’ health care clinics, to donate your time and talents.
  2. Share the stories: Veterans are often reluctant to share their stories of personal courage and sacrifice. It can result in younger generations not being aware of a grandparent’s or other elder’s service history. If your family is celebrating Independence Day together this year, make a point of sharing photos from your loved one’s service days. Encourage them to talk about where and when they served or ask permission to discuss the stories for them.
  3. Explore the Veterans’ History Project: The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress developed a way to gather the stories of our nation’s veterans and preserve them. It is called the Veterans’ History Project. You can participate and capture the story of a veteran in your life by interviewing the veteran or by sharing their correspondence or photos.
  4. Organize a local recognition event: Another way to honor our veterans and those who serve is to organize an event in your local community. For example, collect photos of veterans and active duty service people from your area. Post their photos in a display at the local library or senior center. At Legacy Senior Living communities, you’ll find a “Wall of Honor” filled with the photos and names of residents who served.
  5. Send thank you notes: Several military service organizations arrange letter-writing campaigns to let those who are serving in overseas know they are not forgotten. At your Independence Day celebration, set up a table with notecards and supplies and ask guests to write a few thank you notes. Operation We Are Here and Operation Gratitude are two examples of organizations to partner with.

It is always important to actively remember the reason we are able to celebrate with family and friends every July 4th.

Senior Care Benefits for Veterans

If a veteran you know is struggling with the costs of senior care, they may not be aware of a benefit designed for them. The Aid & Attendance Benefit is coordinated through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. You can review What Families of Veterans Should Know About the Aid & Attendance Benefit to learn more or call Legacy Senior Living for assistance at (423) 478-8071.

4 Decisions That Impact Your Ability to Live Your Best Retirement

June 6, 2019

Here are 4 factors to consider before retiring.

Planning for retirement is a complex process. Here are 4 factors to consider before retiring.

As retirement age draws near, many older adults are faced with a variety of decisions. While some are minor, others can impact a retiree’s quality of life. When you are working through your plans for retirement, here are 4 factors to consider.

4 Factors to Consider Before Retiring

  1. At what age you want to retire.

Some people dream of retiring early and sailing off on grand adventures. Unfortunately, it isn’t often a practical choice. While you may be eligible to collect some of your social security at age 62, most people can’t draw their full amount until age 66 or 67.

If you have been able to save enough money, this difference may not make a big impact. It’s important to know, however, that if you opt for early social security benefits, the amount you receive each month will be permanently reduced.

For many older adults, it is health insurance that greatly impacts when they retire. Most seniors are eligible for Medicare benefits beginning at age 65. If you retire before then, you may be able to use COBRA to extend your health care benefits or access an individual plan through the health care marketplace. Both options, however, can take a significant bite out of a retiree’s budget.

  1. Where you want to live after retiring.

From climate to health care, it’s important to think long and hard about where you will live after you retire. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Climate: Older adults often find southern climates to be a good choice for avoiding winter’s ice and snow. This is especially true for adults with chronic health conditions like osteoarthritis and asthma.
  • Health care: It is important to take into consideration how close you will be to hospitals, physician offices, and other care providers.
  • Public transportation: Many seniors lose confidence in their driving skills as they grow older. Be sure to explore transportation options before making a decision.
  • Cost of living: Some cities and states are much more affordable than others. When trying to make a retirement budget stretch, choosing a location with a low cost of living can make a big difference.
  1. The type of housing you choose.

Along with where you live, it’s important to think very carefully about the type of residence or senior community you choose to live in. Retirement communities typically have multiple levels of care. Most offer what is referred to as a continuum of care. That means you might move into an independent living apartment and later add personal-care services or move to an assisted living suite.

By contrast, if you choose to live in a private home, you will need to consider the expenses you have now and those you will incur in the future. Beyond the mortgage and utilities, you’ll need to budget for assistance with maintenance, home repairs, and basic housekeeping when those jobs become overwhelming.

Seniors who choose to age in place often need to modify their homes with ramps and barrier-free showers. Many will also need the support of an in-home care provider.

  1. What your priorities are in retirement.

Finally, think about what is most important to you. Are you looking to retire and move closer to your children and grandchildren? Or are you looking for freedom to travel more and be less tied down?

Living with purpose is an important part of aging well. Some find that purpose is found in family relationships, while others say volunteer work and continuing education is key. Be honest about what your hopes and dreams for retirement are, and use that as your guidepost in making decisions.

Retire at a Legacy Senior Living Community

With senior living communities located throughout the southeast, you are sure to find a Legacy Senior Living community that meets your retirement criteria. Call 423-478-8071 to learn more today!

Cooking for One: How Seniors Can Plan Healthy Menus

May 13, 2019

cutting herbs - cooking for one

If you are struggling to find easy ways to eat healthy when cooking for one, you aren’t alone. From storing produce to batching meals, we have some tips to help.

Healthy cooking for one is a challenge many older adults face. Some seniors, understandably, lack the motivation to create healthy meals. It can feel like too much work for just one person. Other seniors might have difficulty getting to the grocery store often enough to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. But eating well is an important factor in living a longer, healthier life.

What can you do to eat well when you live alone? We have some ideas you or your senior loved one might find helpful.

Tips for Making Healthy Meals for One

  • Healthy shortcuts: Reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen by taking a few shortcuts. Take advantage of in-store timesavers such as salad bars, packaged lettuce and precut vegetables, and prepared rotisserie chicken. Don’t overlook frozen fruits and vegetables either. Many nutritionists believe buying frozen fruits and vegetables is better than canned. By spending time exploring your local grocery store, you are likely to find more time-saving options.
  • Storage tips: Seniors who are cooking for one might struggle to find ways to keep fresh foods from spoiling before they can eat them. Along with freezing fruits and vegetables until you need them, another tip is to purchase reusable green produce storage bags. These bags help produce stay fresh longer. Experts also say you should store produce in the refrigerator with enough space around it to promote good circulation. This helps to improve the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.
  • Batch cooking: Designate a few days a month for baking and freezing healthy entrees. By cooking in batches, you make the most of prep time. Storing meals in glass freezer-to-oven containers is another time-saving tip. Consider swapping batched meals with friends who also live alone. If you each prepare a few entrees a month to share, you’ll be able to stock the freezer much more easily.
  • Menu planning: It also helps to create a meal plan rotation. Come up with four to six weeks of menus and the shopping lists for each week. Cooking apps, such as Mealime and FoodPlanner, make this easier to do.
  • Invest in an Instapot: This modern version of a pressure cooker has earned a place in the kitchen of many busy cooks. Largely because it makes it easier and faster to prepare healthy meals. This might give older adults one more avenue for eating well without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

If you’ve decided not to spend your retirement years in the kitchen under any circumstances, there is another option to consider. Some home-delivered meal programs allow you to eat well without the hassle of grocery shopping and cooking. Silver Cuisine by bistro MD and Freshly are two to consider. Both deliver healthy, precooked meals right to your door.

Join Us for Lunch in the Dining Room

At Legacy Senior Living communities, residents leave the cooking to us. Residents enjoy homecooked meals in the company of friends in one of our beautiful dining rooms every day.

If you are searching for an independent living, assisted living, or memory care community, we hope you will consider Legacy Senior Living. We invite you to set up a time for a tour and lunch on us in the dining room. Call (423) 478-8071 today!

Senior Safety: Coping with Spring Allergies

April 4, 2019

Coping with Spring Allergies

Managing spring allergies can be more difficult for seniors. From medication side effects to exacerbating chronic illnesses, here’s what caregivers should know.

Itchy, watery eyes, uncontrollable sneezing, and nasal congestion can all be symptoms of seasonal allergies. For seniors who live in the south, where flowering trees and pollen-filled flowers are blooming, allergy season can be a miserable time of year. While allergies can be uncomfortable for people of all ages, they may have a more serious impact on the health of older adults.

Complicating factors, such as chronic illnesses and side effects of allergy medications, can make it difficult for older adults to get the relief they need. Here’s what caregivers should know to keep a senior loved one safe during allergy season.

Seniors and Spring Allergy Season

What causes allergies? It’s a question most allergy sufferers ask. Allergies are the body’s reaction to the immune system becoming sensitized to something in the environment.

Experts say allergies are especially dangerous to older adults for a variety of reasons. A leading concern is that allergy symptoms and nasal congestion can cause shortness of breath for seniors who have a chronic disease.

Another concern is the use of antihistamines, a popular over-the-counter medication many people buy to self-treat allergies. A common side effect of antihistamines is increased blood pressure. This can be dangerous for seniors who have cardiac disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What is Triggering a Senior Loved One’s Allergies?

It’s helpful to know just what might be triggering an allergy attack in a senior loved one. Some of the most common allergy triggers include:

  • Pollen, mold, grass, and dust
  • Chlorine in swimming pools
  • Smoke from an outdoor fire
  • Insect bites and stings

While many of the symptoms associated with spring allergies can be present year-round, they often peak in the springtime.

4 Ways to Safely Manage Spring Allergies

  1. Control the environment: During peak allergy season, keeping the windows closed so pollen and dust have a more difficult time getting inside is one way to prevent allergies from getting out of control. Instead of open windows, use a fan or air conditioner to cool the house. The same is true for riding in a car. Keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on.
  2. Avoid outdoor exposure: While no one wants to be cooped up indoors when spring finally arrives, limiting time spent outdoors during peak allergy season helps prevent exposure to potential triggers. If your senior loved one has to go outside, help them take a few precautionary steps. Wearing a mask across their mouth and nose is one. Another is changing clothes and shoes in the garage or mud room before coming back inside. This can reduce the amount of pollen that makes its way into the house.
  3. Use a weather app: Paying attention to when the pollen count will be high is easier with a weather app. Many local television stations have weather apps so viewers can receive weather or pollen alerts. If your senior loved one doesn’t have this option, The Weather Channel and Yahoo! Weather are two national weather apps to explore.
  4. Work closely with your doctor or allergist: Pinpointing the source of your aging loved one’s allergies is one of the best ways to learn how to treat them. Talk with your senior family member’s primary care physician to see if they recommend seeing an allergist for testing.

Follow Our Blog!

If you found this article to be interesting and helpful, we encourage you to bookmark the Legacy Senior Living Blog and stop back often. We update our blog each week with new information and resources for caregivers and older adults.

How Senior Mentors Benefit from Helping Others

March 18, 2019

Senior mentor programs benefit older adults and the younger generation alike. Learn more about mentoring programs and how to connect with one near you.

Retirement is a time in life when older adults are typically free to recreate themselves. Some pursue a new hobby or even launch a new business. Others find themselves immersed in volunteering their time to a cause they believe in. Many times, this includes organizations that work with children or young adults. Senior mentors are one example.

Mentors are older adults who share their talent with the younger generation for an extended period of time. Senior mentors have been particularly active as tutors for school-aged children and guiding young adults in career advancement.

Here are a few ways senior mentor programs can make a positive difference in the lives of both generations.

4 Benefits of Senior Mentorship Programs

  1. Reduce loneliness: Loneliness and isolation are all too common among older adults. Mentor programs give seniors an opportunity to connect with others in productive ways. But older adults aren’t the only ones who experience loneliness. Children and young adults may also struggle with it, especially if they don’t have strong family ties. Senior mentors can help the younger generation feel comfortable with elders and develop healthier attitudes about aging while also providing companionship.
  2. Reduce ageism: It’s common for people to socialize within their own age group. Parents develop friendships with parents their children play with. Young adults hang out with school friends. Seniors spend time with people who belong to their retiree groups. This form of segregation can lead to generational stereotypes. Senior mentorship programs cross age boundaries and help the generations learn to appreciate each other in new ways. This can help to reduce ageism.
  3. Opportunity to learn: Another advantage to intergenerational relationships is the mutual learning opportunities they create. Seniors have wisdom that comes from life experience. Mentor programs allow them to share that knowledge with children and young adults. Seniors can also learn from younger generations. Whether it is teaching a senior to master technology or how to use social media, kids have knowledge to share too.
  4. Builds community: Intergenerational mentoring programs can help improve entire communities. They promote cohesion, save taxpayers money, and build bridges across generations. All of these benefits help to create healthy, thriving communities.

How to Find a Senior Mentor Program

Various mentoring programs around the country give people the opportunity to connect with other generations.

Life Enrichment at Legacy Senior Living Communities

At Legacy Senior Living communities, you will find an abundance of life enrichment opportunities. From activities and workshops to volunteer programs, residents have all the support they need to live a meaningful, engaged life. We invite you to schedule a tour of the community nearest you to learn more!

Are Generic Drugs a Safe Way for Seniors to Save Money?

March 4, 2019

generic drugs, open bottle of pills

Generic drugs are just one of the ways older adults can save money on prescriptions.

For older adults on a budget, the idea of saving money on medications can be enticing. From making trips to Canada or Mexico where medication is significantly less expensive to taking lower doses than a physician prescribes, seniors go to great lengths to save money on prescriptions.

One idea that often yields questions is generic drugs. They are less expensive than brand-name prescriptions, but older adults often worry that they aren’t as effective. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 90 percent of prescriptions that are filled in this country are for generic drugs.

Most insurance companies require the use of generic medications unless a physician specifically requests otherwise. Even then the patient and physician may be required to file an appeal.

What are the Differences between Brand-Name Drugs and Generics?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says people should feel confident that a generic drug is just as effective as a brand-name medication used for the same purpose. Before the FDA approves a generic drug, it must meet the following criteria:

  • Contain the same active ingredients at the same strength as the brand-name drug
  • Reach the required level in the bloodstream in the same amount of time and to the same extent
  • Be utilized for the same purpose and effect
  • Meet the same testing standards
  • Come in the same form (pill, inhaler, liquid)

What can be different are the color, shape, size, and packaging of a generic drug. But those differences aren’t likely to cause any issues for the older adults who take them.

Preservatives and flavorings may also differ, and that is where people sometimes run into problems. A senior with allergies or sensitivities to additives and preservatives, such as gluten, might develop a reaction to a generic drug that doesn’t occur in a brand-name prescription.

How Can Seniors Save Money on Prescription Medications?

Besides generic drugs, there are a few other avenues seniors can explore to save money on medication.

  • Manufacturer discount coupons: Some drug companies, especially for medications new to the market, offer physicians discount coupons to share with patients. They might also make the coupons available on the manufacturer’s website.
  • Pharmacy savings cards: While it might be hard to believe, some prescriptions are actually less expensive to pay for outright than to pay for using insurance. Many times, that is because the pharmacy has a savings card to help clients. The catch to filling a prescription without using your insurance card is that the cost doesn’t count towards meeting your deductible.
  • Comparison shop: Prescription drug costs vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. You can use GoodRx to instantly determine which of your local pharmacies offer the best price for each of your prescriptions.
  • Mail-order prescriptions: Many insurance providers offer a mail-order service for filling prescriptions in larger volumes. In addition to saving money, the senior won’t have to worry about getting to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription.
  • Physician samples: If your physician is prescribing a new medication, ask if they have samples available. This allows you to try the medication and make sure you won’t have a reaction to it before you spend any money.
  • Assistance programs: You can also use Benefits CheckUp from the National Council on Aging to see if you qualify for assistance. It will help identify local, state, and federal programs that can aid in paying for medications.

Medication Management for Older Adults

One challenge seniors experience is how to safely manage multiple medications. From taking the right dosage at the right time to remembering when to order a refill, mistakes with medication management are the reason many older adults end up in the hospital emergency room.

At Legacy Senior Living communities, residents get the support they need to stay safely on track with medication. Call the community nearest you to learn more about our medication reminder program.

Are Lifestyle Choices Impacting Your Risk for Heart Disease?

February 4, 2019

 lower your risk for heart disease

Can lifestyle choices lower your risk for heart disease? Researchers say it can. Use these tips to lower your risk for heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Despite all of the advances in medicine, cardiac-related illnesses claim more lives than any other disease or medical condition. Estimates are that one in four deaths can be attributed to heart disease.

But researchers say it doesn’t have to be this way. Many of the risk factors for heart disease can be controlled with lifestyle modifications. In honor of National Heart Month, here is a list of steps you can take to lower your risk for heart disease.

Lifestyle Choices that Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease

  • Kick the habit: Smoking is one of the leading causes of heart disease. One out of five heart-related deaths in this country can be attributed to cigarette smoking. If you are a smoker, do your heart a favor and stop.
  • Stay active: A sedentary lifestyle or a lack of exercise also raises the risk for heart disease. You can manage that by exercising at least 150 minutes a week and avoid sitting for long periods of time.
  • Skip processed foods: Americans eat a lot of packaged and processed foods. While they are convenient when the days are busy, these types of foods are typically high in sodium. Too much sodium increases blood pressure putting you at a higher risk for cardiac-related illnesses.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast: Leaving the house without eating a healthy breakfast increases the likelihood that you will binge on unhealthy fare later. Foods like doughnuts and pastries are high in saturated fat and low in protein. Opt for a well-balanced breakfast high in fiber and protein, such as a bowl of oatmeal or a smoothie.
  • Get a good night’s rest: Many people underestimate the importance of sleep. Too little sleep increases the chance of making bad choices during the day, such as eating the wrong foods or sitting too much. Most health experts recommend seven-to-nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat sweets in moderation: Elevated blood sugar levels have been linked to heart disease, especially among women. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars in your diet to six teaspoons per day for women and nine teaspoons per day for men.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Many people are surprised to learn that consuming too much alcohol can also put you at risk for heart disease. While some studies show red wine may be good for your heart, moderation is the key. Talk with your physician for a recommendation on how much alcohol is acceptable based on your personal medical history.
  • Manage daily stress: While it’s unrealistic to think you can completely eliminate stress from your life, finding healthy ways to manage stress is important for your heart. Walking, swimming, meditating, Pilates, and yoga are a few methods to try.
  • Drink green tea: Another way to keep your heart healthy is drinking green tea every day. Researchers say green tea may help manage LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are both risk factors for heart disease.
  • Find a doctor you trust: Having a close relationship with a physician can help you manage your overall health and well-being, including your heart. You are more likely to stay on track with preventative tests and screenings if you are comfortable with your physician.
  • Learn about Blue Zones: There are areas around the globe where people live longer, healthier lives. They are referred to as Blue Zones. People who live in these areas have lower incidences of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
  • Get organized: When your life and home are cluttered and disorganized, you are more likely to feel stressed and even depressed. By getting clutter under control and organizing your life, you reduce stress and improve your well-being.
  • Learn to journal: Keeping a daily journal, one that you use to document the day’s ups and downs, is another heart-healthy step you can take. If you are a caregiver, it can be an especially effective tool for managing caregiver stress.

To learn more about heart health, we encourage you to visit the American Heart Association online. You’ll find a variety of heart-related resources that range from recipes to research projects.

Follow the Legacy Senior Living Blog

If you are an older adult or the caregiver for one, you will find the Legacy Senior Living Blog to be a good resource. Throughout the month we share tips and news related to aging well, caregiving, senior living, and more. We encourage you to bookmark the blog and stop back often!