Honoring Our Emergency Responders

May 21, 2018

National EMS Week

This week of May is National EMS Week. Learn more about this celebration and an initiative designed to help people learn how to react during a medical crisis.

Emergencies happen when we least expect them. Sometimes it’s a car accident on the way to work that results in an injury. Other times it might be a child who is hurt playing in the yard. For older adults, however, falls around the home are the leading cause of disability and one of the top reasons seniors end up in a hospital emergency room.

When the unexpected happens, most of us rely on 911 for help.

In Legacy Senior Living communities, first responders are called on to transport residents to local hospitals when emergency health problems arise. The quick response from Emergency Medical Services (EMS) combined with the support of our own experienced care team members helps residents receive the emergency medical intervention they need.

National EMS week kicks off on May 20th this year. It is a time to thank our first responders for all they do to keep our communities safe. It is also a time to raise awareness of how to react during a medical crisis.

The History of EMS Week

EMS Strong: Stronger Together is the theme for this year’s week-long celebration. National EMS Week is an effort coordinated by the American College of Emergency Physicians and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. EMS Week dates back to an initiative signed by President Gerald R. Ford. This week-long campaign focuses on education, awareness, and recruitment.

One area emergency physicians want people to pay special attention to is what everyday citizens can do to help someone in distress while they are waiting for first responders. The program is called Until Help Arrives.

What to Do Before Help Arrives

The Until Help Arrives program was created to encourage and empower the public to react calmly and methodically when they are in the midst of a life-threatening crisis.

The five-step program includes the following:

  1. Call 911
  2. Protect the injured from harm
  3. Stop bleeding
  4. Position people so they can breathe
  5. Provide comfort

Along these same lines is a public awareness effort to encourage people to learn how to calmly, safely, and efficiently perform CPR. Everyone from babysitters to family caregivers can benefit from learning how to perform this life-saving procedure.

Your local chapter of the American Red Cross is typically the best resource for locating a CPR workshop.

Visit a Legacy Community Today

If an older adult in your life is struggling to stay safe at home, the support of an assisted living community might be an ideal solution. The senior can receive the support they need to remain independent. Call the Legacy community nearest you to set up a time to visit and learn more.

Beyond Alzheimer’s: 7 Common Forms of Dementia

May 14, 2018

common types of dementia

While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, there are other forms. Learn more about the unique symptoms and causes of 7 common types of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is by far in the most common types of dementia. It accounts for nearly three-fourths of all dementia diagnoses in this country. An estimated 5 million people have Alzheimer’s disease, and the numbers continue to climb. Alzheimer’s is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

While Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent form, there are many other common types of of dementia. Many of these can be just as life altering. They range from Vascular dementia to Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

Less Common Types of Dementia

  1. Vascular dementia: This form of dementia occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Often it is a stroke that causes vascular dementia. Impaired judgment is usually the first symptom loved ones notice. There are varying degrees of severity related to the amount of damage caused to brain cells.
  2. Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB): Lewy bodies are protein clumps that form in the cortex of the brain that lead to dementia. Early signs of DLB include sleep problems, falls, balance issues, hallucinations, and uncontrolled movement. One thing to note is that some people who have Alzheimer’s disease also have DLB.
  3. Parkinson’s dementia: As Parkinson’s disease progresses, it often creates dementia. An estimated 50–80% of people with Parkinson’s will end up being diagnosed with dementia, too. Researchers think this is due to deterioration of the nerve cells in the brain. Memory loss, mood changes, depression, speech problems, paranoia, and delusions are all symptoms of Parkinson’s dementia.
  4. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD): The most common early signs of FTD are a change in personality and difficulty with verbal communication. The diagnosis of FTD sometimes takes a while because the disease impacts people at a younger age than Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Health care providers may struggle to reach a diagnosis.
  5. Huntington’s disease: This brain disorder usually occurs in adults between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can develop at any age. Common symptoms of Huntington’s disease include cognitive decline, as well as loss of control of the arms, legs, and face.
  6. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus: When fluid builds up in the brain, it can cause a type of dementia known as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. Loss of bladder control is a distinguishing trait of the disease. Other common symptoms include memory loss, falls, and balance problems.
  7. Mixed dementia: An increasing number of dementia experts believe that when a person has dementia, they likely have more than one form of it. This condition is referred to as Mixed dementia. Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia is the most common combination.

Because dementia can present unique safety concerns for families, many turn to memory care communities for support.

Memory Care at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living communities, our memory care program is called The Harbor. This nationally recognized program combines state-of-the-art technology with compassionate care and support. We extend an open invitation to families to visit The Harbor nearest them to learn more.

The Important Role Nurses Play in Aging Well

May 7, 2018

In honor of Nurse Appreciation Week, Legacy Senior Living is sharing insight on the vital role nurses play in residents’ lives each day.

Nurses are often the unsung heroes of our health care system. You will find them delivering care in settings ranging from a physician’s office to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living communities, or even private homes. In addition to caring for the patient, they often help provide support to the family.

At the Legacy communities throughout the south, we count on nurses for a variety of critically important responsibilities. In honor of national Nurse Appreciation Week celebrated from May 6th through 12th this year, we want to highlight the contributions nurses make to our residents’ lives every day.

Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence

Creating resident care plans

Nurses often take the lead in collaborating with other team members to create care plans for residents in assisted living and memory care communities. These care plans are designed to meet each resident’s unique needs and interests. As a resident’s needs change, the plan of care is adapted and changed, too.

Sometimes the change is only temporary, like when a resident has undergone hip surgery and needs additional support for a few weeks while they recover. Other times the need for more care is permanent. It might be that a resident has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

The nursing staff typically plays a key role in helping assess these types of changes and making sure the resident receives the type and amount of care they need.

Medication management

Almost all of the residents of an assisted living or memory care community need a helping hand to stay on track with their medication. It’s no surprise why when you learn how many different types of medicine seniors often juggle.

Research shows older adults take an average of five or more different types of medication each day. For those who live in a long-term care setting, that number rises to seven. Remembering to take the right dose of each medication at the right time, in addition to filling and refilling each prescription, can be overwhelming for a senior.

In a senior living community, nurses are the ones who manage the medication process for residents. They oversee medication administration, look for potential adverse reactions in residents, and make sure prescriptions are refilled in a timely fashion.

Chronic disease monitoring

Another important role nurses play in senior living communities is monitoring resident wellness. This is especially important for older adults who live with chronic health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Nurses in assisted living and memory care communities get to know each resident. It helps them identify small changes that might indicate a problem. They can work with the resident’s physician to intervene early before a small issue becomes a life-threatening one.

Thanking Our Nurses

This week and every week, we salute and thank the nurses who make it possible for our residents to live their best quality of life every day. Stop by the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you to learn more about our commitment to building strong bonds between residents, staff, and families.

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.

How to Thank a Family Caregiver on Mother’s Day

April 23, 2018

Looking for ways to thank a family caregiver on Mother’s Day? We have a few ideas you might find helpful.

Looking for ways to thank a family caregiver on Mother’s Day? We have a few ideas you might find helpful.

If someone in your life is a caregiver for a senior they love, you probably know how challenging their days can be. While it’s a role family members willingly embrace, being responsible for the care of an older adult can be stressful and exhausting. In many families, one sibling often shoulders most of the caregiving duties. They act as the primary caregiver and contact person for the senior.

Mother’s Day can be a great time to thank a family caregiver and show them how much you appreciate their dedication.

6 Ways to Thank a Family Caregiver

1. Day of indulgence: One idea to care for someone who puts everyone else first is by giving them an afternoon at a local spa. Give them a choice of pampering services such as a massage, a manicure and pedicure, a facial, or another spa specialty.

2. Hire a housekeeper: Family caregivers often put their own needs on the back burner while caring for a loved one. One way you can help is by hiring a cleaning service. Enlisting a professional housekeeper for a day can help lighten the caregiver’s load and lift their spirits. Instead of worrying about how they’ll get spring cleaning done at their own house, they’ll be able to come home to a freshly cleaned home.

3. Gift of time: Something most caregivers never have enough of is time. You can change that by helping to arrange and finance a respite care stay at a local senior living community. These short-term stays allow the senior to enjoy the same benefits as a long-term resident, including nutritious meals and a full calendar of activities. It can be a mini-vacation for the older adult while the caregiver enjoys some free time of their own.

4. Nutritious meals: Caregivers often survive on convenience foods and fast food eaten on the run. An unhealthy diet can lead to a health crisis of their own. A meaningful Mother’s Day gift for a caregiver could be to stock their freezer with nutritious and tasty home-cooked meals or gift cards to a local restaurant that offers healthy takeout meals.

5. Caregiver package: Another way to thank a family caregiver might be to put together a personalized caregiver package. Items to include might be a nice journal and pen. Journaling is a great stress-reliever for caregivers. You can also add a scented candle and a box of chocolates.

6. Laugh therapy: Laughter is one of the best ways to relieve caregiver stress. Honor the primary caregiver in your family with tickets to a comedy playing at the local movie theater or a night out to a comedy club. Don’t forget to make arrangements to care for the senior so the caregiver can relax and enjoy their night out.

Visit to Learn More About Respite Care

If a senior in your family isn’t safe on their own, creating an emergency plan is important. In the event the primary caregiver has an emergency of their own, the senior will be well cared for.

A short-term stay at a Legacy Senior Living community can be a part of your plan. Call the community nearest you to schedule a visit to learn more today!

How Respite Care Helps Families Enjoy a Vacation Together

April 16, 2018

Respite care helpsIf you are a family caregiver trying to plan a summer vacation with your own children, respite care might help. Learn more from Legacy Senior Living.

Family caregivers provide support that is crucial to the health and wellness of older Americans. The AARP estimates that family caregivers provide nearly $470 billion in unpaid care each year. From helping with bathing and grooming to preparing meals, providing transportation to physician appointments, and managing medications, it’s a rewarding but demanding role.

Being “on duty” 24 hours a day, seven days a week can take its toll on the caregiver’s own well-being. That’s why it’s important to take breaks and try to continue some semblance of a normal routine. One way to do this might be to take a summer vacation with your own family.

Summer is one of the busiest times of year for senior living communities that provide respite care. That’s because respite care is a solution that gives the family peace of mind and the senior an opportunity to enjoy a getaway of their own.

Legacy communities often receive calls in the spring and summer months from families who aren’t sure what respite really involves and how to go about finding a provider.

Let’s talk a little more about the questions families commonly ask about respite care.

What is Respite Care?

Respite care is a short-term care solution designed to give the caregiver a break. Sometimes it is just for a short period of time to attend to household duties and maintenance. Other times it is to allow the family caregiver to travel.

Respite residents receive the same level of personal care and support as long-term residents do. They also participate in life enrichment programs and wellness activities, as well as enjoy socializing with other residents at meal times.

Meanwhile, caregivers get a break from their duties. They also have peace of mind knowing their loved one is safe and enjoying a mini-vacation of their own.

Once you decide respite care might be a good solution, the next step is to tour a few senior living communities to find one that will be a good fit for your loved one.

What Caregivers Should Know About Respite Care

What should you look for when you visit a senior living community to learn more about respite care?

This checklist can help you feel confident about the senior living community you choose for your loved one’s short-term respite stay:

  • What safety and emergency call systems are in place for residents?
  • How will the community get to know your loved one’s needs and interests?
  • What does the staff do to help your loved one settle in?
  • Do respite residents have access to the same services as long-term residents do?
  • Do respite residents eat in same dining room as long-term residents?
  • What services and support will your loved one receive each day?
  • What happens when your loved one needs help overnight?
  • Will the community provide assistance with laundry and housekeeping?
  • How does the staff help respite residents meet people and connect in meaningful ways during their stay?
  • Do the community, staff, and residents feel warm and welcoming?
  • Is the respite apartment or suite inviting?
  • Will someone invite and escort your loved one to the community’s events and activities?
  • Can respite guests use the community’s transportation services?
  • How much is the daily rate for respite, and what other charges should you expect to incur?

If you are considering respite care for someone you love this spring or summer, we extend an open invitation to you to visit one of the Legacy communities. We’d love it if you stayed for lunch or dinner, too!

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!

Hosting Easter with a Senior Loved One Who has Alzheimer’s

March 29, 2018

Hosting Easter

Hosting Easter dinner with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s requires a little extra planning. These tips can help you plan an event everyone will enjoy.

If you are hosting Easter dinner at your house this year, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. When a senior loved one who lives with you or spends the holidays with you has Alzheimer’s or a similar form of dementia, there are additional factors to consider. This is especially true if you will be including family and friends who aren’t familiar with your loved one’s situation.

Waiting to explain things until your guests arrive at your house on Easter might seem like a good plan. However, this can make a busy day more stressful and even a little awkward.

The same holds true for some of the common behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s, such as agitation, anxiety, and wandering. The increased level of activity in your house might intensify these behaviors.

To help you plan an Easter dinner that everyone—including a loved one with dementia—can enjoy, we’ve pulled together a few suggestions.

Celebrating Easter Dinner When a Loved One has Dementia

1. Time of day: It’s no secret that some times of day are better than others for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. If possible, try not to schedule the event around your senior loved one’s worst time of day. If early evening is tough, like it is for many with dementia, try hosting Easter dinner earlier so everyone is gone by the time your loved one’s worst time of day arrives. Don’t be bound by what you’ve always done either. If you’ve always hosted Easter dinner in the late afternoon but find mornings are your family member’s best time, invite guests over for an Easter brunch instead.

2. Inform guests: If Easter dinner will include people who aren’t familiar with your senior loved one’s disease, let them know what to expect ahead of time. An easy way to do that is via email. Send guests who will attend a quick note that says something like this:

We are happy to have you as a part of our Easter celebration this year! Because you haven’t met our father before, we wanted to let you know that he will be a part of our celebration and that he has Alzheimer’s disease. His behavior can be a bit unpredictable. Please don’t be offended or upset—his disease is to blame. If you have met before, he might not remember. His memory is impacted by the disease. But it’s important to know that my dad loves being a part of these gatherings and will enjoy spending time with you.”

3. Quiet time: Increased activity and noise can lead to overstimulation for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Plan for this by creating a quiet space for your loved one to retreat to. Have soft music ready to play and a few repetitive tasks they can engage in. Both help decrease agitation. It might be a basket of towels to fold, a deck of playing cards to sort, or an art project that helps keep them engaged. Depending on who your guests are, ask them to spend one-on-one time with your loved one in their quiet space. That gives everyone an opportunity to visit with your loved one without overwhelming them.

Bookmark our Blog

If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one with memory loss, be sure to bookmark the Legacy Senior Living blog. We routinely share the latest news and research on caregiving and dementia. Such information can help you continue to provide the best quality of care for your family member.

Are Changes in a Senior Loved One Normal Signs of Aging or Something Else?

March 26, 2018

Normal AgingFamilies often wonder if the changes they are witnessing in a senior loved one are caused by normal aging or something more. Learn how to tell the difference.

Forgetting the name of someone you just met or where you left your cell phone can happen to anyone in the midst of a busy day. Most of us have experienced it. But when that forgetfulness begins to interfere with everyday life, it might be more than just stress that is causing it. Memory loss is one of the early signs of dementia.

How can you tell if the changes you are noticing in an older loved one are part of the normal aging process or if they are caused by something more serious?

We have some information to help you recognize the warning signs that should be documented and discussed with the senior’s primary care physician.

Early Warning Signs of Dementia

What are the warning signs of dementia? Here are a few of the most common:

1. Problems remembering

Short-term memory loss is probably the most widely known symptom of dementia. Older adults who are in the early stages of dementia or  Alzheimer’s—the most common form of dementia—typically struggle to recall recently learned information such as a person’s name, a new phone number, or the date and time of an appointment. You may notice your loved one has begun to ask you to repeat the same information over and over.

2. Misplacing things

Another sign of potential trouble is when a senior begins regularly misplacing or losing things. Because short-term memory is impacted early in a person with dementia, an older adult can’t retrace their steps to find missing items. If you keep finding your father’s car keys in strange places or if your mom keeps losing her purse, it might be something to talk with them and their physician about.

3. Getting lost in familiar places

Confusion, wandering, getting lost, and disorientation are also early warning signs of dementia. In fact, 60% of the nation’s 5 million Alzheimer’s patients wander at some point. An adult with early dementia might get lost driving to a familiar destination or even in a store they’ve been to hundreds of times before.

4. Speech and word problems

Some seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s begin to struggle with carrying on a conversation. They have difficulty finding the right words or remembering a question that was just asked of them. They might call familiar objects by the wrong name, calling the stove a window, for example. Since they are often aware of—and embarrassed by—the problem, the senior may begin to withdraw from social activities and family gatherings.

5. Mismanaging finances

Judgment and abstract thought are often impacted early in the disease process. This makes it difficult for a senior with early dementia to safely manage household finances. They might neglect paying one utility bill while paying another one several times. This also puts them at increased risk for becoming the victim of a financial scam.

If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a senior with memory loss, a memory care community might be a solution to explore.

Memory Care at Legacy Senior Living

Legacy Senior Living is proud to serve adults with memory disorders. We call our memory care services The Harbor. We invite you to schedule a personal appointment at a community near you so you can see our state-of-the-art memory care program in person.

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.