Senior Agenda Link

Senior Agenda airs live every Thursday morning at 10 am. Podcasts are also available.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Eight Ways to Help Seniors Achieve Nutritional Wellness

The importance of proper nutrition cannot be overstated.  It is vital for older adults looking to stay healthy and maintain their varying degrees of independence. 

Making dietary changes is difficult.  It can be especially overwhelming for older adults who are set in their ways and resistant to change.  What can be done to encourage change? 

·         Incorporate changes slowly. 
·         Be mindful of medication side effects that by alter appetite. 
·         Plan to share meals as often as possible. 
·         Know the signs of constipation.
·         Address signs of dysphagia or difficulty swallowing. 
·         Be sure dentures are in good repair and fit properly.
·         Consider other dental issues like gum disease.
·         Understand sudden or on-going weight loss as cause for concern. 

    Do not hesitate to consult a physician. Your doctor will help identify the underlying causes of loss of appetite, weight loss or malnutrition.  He or she can test for a number of treatable culprits including ulcers, sinusitis, zinc deficiency, thyroid disease, dementia and depression.  Doctors can also screen for loss of taste and smell which diminish at variable rates with aging.  Taste and smell affect the desire to eat and impact thirst mechanisms.  

Mindset Matters

Did you know that positive people live longer, happier, healthier lives?  According to our trusted friends at the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of positive thinking include: 
·        Increased life span
·        Lower rates of depression
·        Lower levels of distress
·        Greater resistance to the common cold
·        Better psychological and physical well-being
·        Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
·        Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Most experts agree that these benefits are connected to the positive person’s ability to better manage and cope with hardship including everything from daily stress to grief and/or trauma. 

We are all capable and worthy of making positive changes in our lives regardless of age or circumstance.  We each have the power to change or modify our own dispositions.

·        We can start by counting our blessings instead of focusing on our disappointments. 
·        We can commit to being more active and involved in our communities. 
·        We can practice positive self talk until our words become our realities. 
·        We can grant forgiveness instead of continuing to harbor ill-will or guilt.
·        We can practice kindness and appreciation until they become habits.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Love of a Grandmother...I thought she walked on water!

I don't recall the first time I met my grandmother, but I'm sure it was a precious moment smothered in energetic admiration as only she could deliver.  As a child, I lived on the assumption that all good grandmothers were seven feet tall with high check bones, strength of character and the mesmerizing ability to tell a story. She could turn an activity of daily living into a celebration of monumental portions.  I call them monumental because today those stories are guarded memories tucked away deep in my being. She was willful and a bit of a worry wart when it came to family matters.  I always enjoyed her tendency to fret without regard to the toll it must have taken on her because it prompted her to share what I believed at the time to be adult secrets.  She was also a woman worthy of respect. That realization, like many other truths about my grandmother, never occurred to me until I was grown and she was gone. What I did understand about her from the very beginning was that she loved me.  

On Saturdays the two of us made our weekly trip to the local A&P Supermarket to shop.  Our primary purpose was to buy groceries and I usually ended up with an "unexpected" treat, but the real excitement was in the walk to the bus stop.  We would put our Sunday clothes on a day early, lock arms, throw our heads back and march to the bus stop.  We walked with purpose and pride.  It was my grandmother who first convinced me of my own special beauty.  Those walks were our chance to practice the confidence and poise she claimed we deserved.  

My family moved back to Texas when I was about four-years old and those months away from my grandmother in Kentucky were torturous for me.  I cried for her nightly.  I still remember the day I was reunited with her after almost a year away.  We picked up right where we left off and reminisced about the old days like two old friends at a high school reunion.  I made my father promise never to take us back to Texas.  

When I started school, my grandmother lived in the apartment over top of ours.  After school, I was permitted to visit for one hour daily.  She had a desk in her bedroom and the first half of the hour was spent doing homework and discussing the events of the day.  She always prepared an after-school treat and we shared it during the second half of the hour while we watched a cartoon together on her black and white television that has since become quite famous - Spider Man.  The treat itself was always simple, usually salted cucumbers or red ripe tomatoes. When she could afford it, she would buy a melon or the occasional apple or orange. I have no idea how my grandmother made those salted cucumbers and red ripe tomatoes taste so scrumptious.  That is the magic of a grandparent.  

Grandparents play a unique role in the lives of their grandchildren. They generally represent stability in the face of hardship or change.  They are instrumental in handing down habits of the heart and faith.  They work as watchdogs and advocates.  Please feel free to celebrate your own grandparent by offering a comment.