Why You Should Take a Daily Walk

Ok, I admit it. I put a lot of emphasis on exercise in these articles. But, at the end of the day, it’s for your own good. Exercise is more important for us than my English degree could ever mold into words. The awful truth is that I am not a huge exercise buff, myself. Why lace up my shoes and go for a jog in the cold when I could lounge around with a hot chocolate and a good movie, instead? Believe me. I understand. That’s why this article is about the power of a good walk. If you are able to walk, even if it is just around your living room – you’ll never believe just how good for you it can be.

  1. Low-Impact Exercise – A lot of the stereotypical exercises that we do can be awful on our joints and as we age this becomes an even bigger concern. Age starts to naturally wear away at the cushioning our joints once enjoyed so it is very important (from the beginning, ideally) to opt for low-impact exercises like walking.
  2. Strengthens Your Brain – it’s true. In a recent study, seniors who walked 6 or more miles a week had less overall brain-shrinkage and lower occurrences of dementia.
  3. Tones Your Muscles – it can be a gradual change, but overtime, walking will begin to tone your leg, back, and abdominal muscles which will strengthen them and keep you more steady.
  4. Lowers Risk of Disease – the list of illnesses that are reduced or even prevented from walking is so long it could be its own article. Instead, I will just list a few: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, kidney disease, hypertension, increased circulation, obesity, arthritis, etc.
  5. Improves Your Mood – I know that it may be hard to motivate, that one more episode of the Great British Baking Show won’t hurt or you’re finally making time for that thing you’ve been meaning to get to. I know what you’re up to – you are procrastinating and it’s a chronic illness. But, believe it or not a nice walk will make you feel better. Go ahead. Try it. You might be surprised just how refreshed you feel.
  6. Boosts Your Immune System – yeah, that’s right. You thought the medical benefits were covered. You were wrong. There’s more. Walking once a day can help fend off normal flus and colds by boosting your immune system.
  7. It Gives You Time to Think – this is one of those benefits that most people don’t consider immediately. However, people who walk everyday often comment on how useful and reflective the time they spend walking is. Without a screen or the needs of others in front of your face, you can focus on things that need your attention, but you’ve neglected to give it.
  8. You Were Made for Movement – our caveman cousins didn’t evolve to sit in front of a computer screen all day. We were made to hunt and track and move across broad landscapes. Our behavior and culture may have changed but our evolution is still in our cells and it’s older than our technology. Move the way you were made to and your cells will thank you.

Walking may not seem like a lot of exercise. Compared to Olympians and marathon runners, what could a simple daily walk really do for us? The answer is “A LOT” and this list is just some of them. Once you commit to the walking life you’ll find a whole lot more, including a couple of personalized ones you never saw coming.

8 Wellness Apps You’ll Love

There are thousands and thousands of apps out there – fun ones, informative ones, interesting ones, ones that seem pointless, ones we can’t live without. Health and wellness is a topic that has taken the app world by storm – with countless options. So, how do we figure out what apps are worth our download? Below are 8 varied apps from improving social connections to monitoring a loved one, you might just find exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Shopwell – this app is designed to educate you on the foods you need in order to accomplish your nutritional goals. It is a great one to have when planning your meals and will point you in the right direction when it comes to your food choices.

Map My Run – whether it be a sprint, a light jog, or a slow, meandering walk – this app will track your progress so you can set goals for yourself and try to go a little bit further next time.

Pill Monitor – forgetting to take your medication can be dangerous. Using this app can help you to remember to take the medication you need.

Lively – this app utilizes sensors that are placed around the home to ensure that meds are being taken, that movement is safe and consistent, and more. This app offers subtle tracking to protect one’s privacy while keeping them safe.

AARP Member Advantages Offer Finder – long title, but incredibly useful. AARP is a wonderful program offering a long list of benefits, but it’s hard to take advantage of those benefits if you aren’t even aware of what’s available to you. This app helps locate deals so you don’t have to waste time searching for them.

Bucketlist – this is a fun one and it can be a great family activity. Get together with your loved ones and have a discussion about some of the things each of you want to do in your life. Size doesn’t matter so dream big or think small and log them into the app. Try to help each other accomplish an item or two on the list and spend a little extra time together.

Eyereader– as our eyes age, it becomes very frustrating to attempt to read tiny print without our glasses. Eyereader is a great app that turns your phone into a magnifying glass. Menus, Terms of Agreements, articles, phonebooks – the world is your oyster when print is more accessible.

Skype – this app is one that is sure to bring people closer together. Maybe your family lives across the country, maybe they live right down the street but mobility or driving is limited. No matter how near or far the people you love may be, Skype can help bring everyone closer together with video calling. Plus, it is easy to use which means that kids, seniors, and everyone in-between will be able to take part.

The Importance of Fiber in a Senior Diet

Fiber is essential for every healthy diet. It can help to clear toxins, lower your cholesterol, and does wonders for your digestive system. Foods high in fiber are also healthy choices by default because most of them are low in calories and loaded with important vitamins. The problems that senior citizens face as their bodies age make additional fiber an important staple to their diet. It is recommended that seniors get between 20 and 30 grams of fiber per day.

Many health concerns are improved with added fiber. Heart disease and high blood pressure are lessened with a high fiber diet because of a decrease in cholesterol and an increase in healthy blood flow. The likelihoods of certain types of cancer is limited because of the increased health of the digestive track. Because foods high in fiber take longer to digest, glucose levels remain more level which is an enormous benefit for those with diabetes.

There are two types of fiber and understanding both is important when considering the benefits.

Soluble fiber: this type of fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance that clings to things like toxins, bile, and plaque and helps to clear them away.

Insoluble fiber: this type of fiber is very absorbent and it works to soak up water which cleans and maintains your digestive track.

Many foods high in fiber have both soluble and insoluble fiber. While insoluble works to soak up water, it is important to drink more when you eat foods high in this type of fiber to remain hydrated and to help it do its job.

 

Foods High in Fiber

 

Split Peas Lentils Black Beans
Lima Beans Artichokes Peas
Broccoli Brussel Sprouts Raspberries
Blackberries Avocados Pears
Bran Flakes Whole Wheat Pasta Pearled Barley
Oatmeal Coconut Figs
Okra Squash Turnips
Chickpeas Nuts Flax Seeds
Chia Seeds Quinoa Popcorn
Sweet Potato Apples Whole Grain Bread

 

When choosing the right sources of fiber, consider how difficult it will be to eat if you have soft teeth or dentures. Nuts are a great source of fiber and healthy fats, but cooked brown rice might be easier on some mouths. The trick to adding more fiber to your diet is to make some basic substitutions like whole grain bread instead of white or quinoa instead of white rice. If you are still struggling to get the right amount of fiber in each day, ask your doctor about a possible supplement.

Tips You’ve Never Heard for Avoiding the Flu

“Wash your hands!” “Cover your mouth!” “Drink some OJ!” Yeah, yeah. We get it. We’ve heard it all a thousand times before from the corners of the playground to our mother’s voice down the hall (if I listen closely, I can still hear the echo). Well, sometimes we take all the right steps – scrub up like we are about to perform open-heart surgery, adopt OJ and chicken noodle soup as our sole diet, bathe in hand sanitizer – and we still get sick. Well, lo and behold, there are some different precautions we all could be taking, and none of them are as bad as wearing socks to bed or rubbing gooey Vicks Vapor Rub on our chests.

Eat healthy – our first defense against any illness is always going to be the fuel we put into our bodies. Eating junk will not only make us feel like junk – it will also make it harder for our immune systems to fight effectively and make us more susceptible to the bugs that bounce from person to person.

Avoid the dishwasher – dishwashers are great. They save us time and frustration. Gone, it seems, are the days that chills would snake themselves up our spine because our forearm met with some unknown floater, a remnant of dinner two nights ago, in grey dishwater. However, when flu season looms, it may be time to bring back the old ways. Washing dishes by hand is a great way to sanitize, stay healthy, and keep the place clean and free of germs. My mother swears the only reason she never got sick when I was a kid was because she was constantly relegated to “dish duty”.

Sanitize doorknobs – these microbial playgrounds are often forgotten. It’s an unfortunate catch-22 that the surfaces we handle the most often appear the most polished because of that constant contact. Therefore, they are often ignored when it comes to cleaning. Making sure to take time to sanitize the things we have our hands on the most; knobs, handles, phones, keyboards, steering wheels, etc. will help to keep the germs at bay.

Carry a pen – one thing we often handle and don’t think twice about is a pen. You need one to fill out a deposit slip, sign a receipt, or initial documents. We don’t think to carry one with us because there is always one there. However, in times of flu, it may be a good idea to start carrying your own. You have no idea who else thought Bertucci’s sounded like a great idea for lunch this afternoon.

Juice it – ok, so you’ve wanted to try juicing ever since your neighbor bragged to you at the corner market about her new juicer and raved about how great she feels. When you went online to check it out, the thing seemed like an overpriced monster and you made excuses like how impossible it looked to keep clean and where on earth would you store it?! Well, now is your chance to bite the bullet and get one. When the best way to mix up your Vitamin-C intake is “pulp” or “no pulp”, you know you’re in a nutrient rut. Juicers allow you to get a little creative and boost your immune system while you do it.

Hit the massage table – Yes! I said it! Take the opportunity to pamper yourself! The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, and a season of snow and ice is waiting for us just around the corner. It’s terrible. As a native New Englander, I feel your pain. So, do yourself a favor and book a massage. Not only will you feel great and it will help you to relax – the increased circulation will help to assist your immune system and help you from getting sick.

Avoid the booze, unless it’s on your hands – not only can booze have a negative impact on your immune system, helping you to contract illness or causing them to stick around longer, booze also does a number on your REM sleep cycle which means you won’t be getting the deep rest your body really needs to fight off intruders. However, using vodka in a pinch to sanitize something is not unheard of and it actually does a good job. Just keep it out of your belly!

Emergen-Z – maybe you’ve heard of Emergen-C or Airborne – supplements that help to boost your Vitamin C intake in order to keep your system healthy. You dissolve the tablets in a little water and sip it down – good for close quarters with strangers when the likelihood of getting sick is increased such as airplanes, trains, busses, movie theaters, your overly-crowded office, you name it. They work well and the taste isn’t too unbearable. Now, there is such a thing as “Emergen-Z”. This supplement is basically the same concept, although it is designed to help you sleep, too, which we all know will only help the healing process.

Reinvent your nightly routine – while we are on the subject of sleep, it’s only appropriate to make a real point about how important of an asset a good night’s sleep is to keeping our systems healthy and functioning well. If you are on your phone or tablet right before bed, if you let yourself get distracted with things that take you way past your bedtime, if you have a habit of snacking late into the evening, maybe it’s time to rethink your routine to make it more peaceful and sleep-inducing. Your body with thank you for the extra rest.

And for goodness’ sake – get your flu shot!

New Approach to Exercise for Seniors

For facilities that care for the elderly, such as nursing homes and assisted living, encouraging residents to exercise is often a major struggle and responsibility can rest on both sides. For seniors, movement after long periods of rest can be very uncomfortable. Perhaps illness keeps motivation low, fear of injury keeps them from beginning, or it is difficult to know where to begin. On the other hand, some facilities aren’t able to provide the proper resources. They may not have the correct space, the equipment, or the funding to help their residents exercise. Whatever the case may be, one of the most important tools we have for improving the health of seniors is falling by the wayside as the ease of sitting mindlessly in front of a screen takes precedence.

Unfortunately, what seems to be the easiest route for seniors and the professionals who care for them, alike, is taking a toll on the futures of these individuals. A lot of us are gently floating through this foggy mindset that, of course, exercise is good for seniors. But this fog does not lend itself to the explosion of concrete understanding we need to comprehend just how important exercise is and it does not push us to take the action that is needed.

For a start, so many of us are ignorant of the real benefits of exercise and the list is constantly growing which can make it hard to keep up. Here are some generalized ways we know that exercise can make a difference.

Benefits from Exercise Problems from Immobility
Increases strength Increases likelihood of injuries
Prevents or delays disease/illness Increases likelihood of hospitalizations
Improves blood pressure Increases likelihood of added meds
Decreases pain Increases likelihood of moving to a facility
Increases in stability Increases rigidity in joints
Helps to keep you independent Decreases immune system
Lowers medical bills Decreases bone density
Prevents falls Decreases metabolism

One fantastic new approach a nursing home in Denmark is taking to improve the amount of exercise their residents receive uses virtual reality to add appeal and interest to what can sometimes be a mundane activity. One of the ways in which this device is used is on a stationary bike. The bike is equipped with a screen that shows a virtual landscape. As the person pedals, the scene reacts – altering itself to match their ride. This nursing home in Denmark found an incredible increase in the interest to exercise among their residents and came away with very positive feedback on the whole experience.

The creators of these virtual reality programs for getting seniors up and moving are excited for the prospects these programs offer. There is quite a bit of creative room for them to play with different options. For instance, these programs will allow users to travel wherever they wish right from their residence. If they wanted to take a hike – they could access the scenery of the alps, all from their own treadmill. If they want to take a nice walk, they could see the sights of downtown Manhattan or San Francisco or the Australian Outback all from the comfort of their home.

Perhaps virtual reality among United States nursing homes is still a ways away. However, be on the lookout for these programs should they pop up here. Do a little research to learn more and express your interest in them when applicable. In the meantime, there are other ways to bring better access to exercise among senior communities. Many facilities offer free classes multiple times per week. These could include anything from yoga, Zumba, or aerobics, to meditation circles and walking clubs. Some have gym facilities or dance studios to provide the space. Make sure when choosing a facility that you look into their options for exercise and check the staff for personal trainers or teachers.

If you have an elderly loved one that needs help with mobility, exercise, and personal care, but is still living at home, consider hiring an in-home care agency like Vitra Health, Inc. A care agency will provide caregivers that can take care of personal needs and meet wellness goals such as increased mobility. To learn more about in-home care, click the link below.

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Recipes to Get Your (Healthy) Chocolate Fix

If you suspect that your obsession with chocolate borders on insanity, if you beg your friends to keep it away from you, scoff at dessert menus without a chocolate-lover’s option, and sympathize most with Augustus Gloop, you and I are cut from the same cloth.

It runs in the family. My grandmother actually used to make my grandfather drive her Valentine’s chocolate to and from work every day to stop her from consuming it all in one belly-aching sitting. Of course, for the entire week that they could make it last, my mother, my aunt, and my gram would be lined up outside in the driveway at 5:30 in the evening waiting for him to pull in so they could get their hands on that red-ribboned box of deliciousness.

If you can relate to any of this, you know that a chocolate fixation can add to the size of your jeans and just because we all rejoiced when we were told that chocolate is good for you –  high in antioxidants and great in moderation, many of us struggle hopelessly with that “moderation” part. Well, fellow chocoholics, rejoice once more. You CAN have your chocolate cake and eat it, too – as long as you substitute that butter for a healthy avocado. Below is a list of chocolate recipes that are actually delicious, actually nutritious, and encourage you to indulge while keeping your arteries clear and your waistline trim.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse – okay, I know this one sounds a little scary. Believe me, I didn’t trust it at first, either. However, this dairy-free alternative to a decadent chocolate dessert is actually REALLY good and deserves a try if you love light, soft, chocolately goodness. I promise that it may sound too good to be true, but you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies– if you are a lover of classics; if you’re known to put on a little Sinatra, if you can rock a string of pearls, if you’re a lover of the good ole chocolate chip cookie, this is the healthy choice for you. While still maintaining the things you love about the cookie – the sugary crunch, the gooey chocolate morsels, this cookie adds an extra fiber punch that can help with your digestion. Plus, those healthy oats take up caloric room in those cookies – making each one healthier than its classic sister cookie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie – this smoothie is a great option for a quick and easy breakfast. It takes virtually no time to make (under 10 minutes) and it is packed with protein and fiber with a low calorie count. As this recipe suggests, you can add in a tablespoon of flax seed for even more fiber or try a dash of protein powder to help you fill up.

Avocado Brownies – here is another recipe that will shock and awe you. Avocados are a much healthier source of fat than butter and vegetable oil, so substituting them when you can will make you feel a little less guilty when you reach for one of these treats. This recipe has quite a few substitutions such as unsweetened applesauce and maple syrup instead of sugar.

Mexican Hot Chocolate – if you’re craving the heat when it comes to your chocolate, consider this exciting take on hot cocoa. Chili powder gives you a boost of Vitamin A and B-6. Also, spicy foods are thought to be connected to an increase in your metabolic rate and can help you to feel full so you don’t indulge more than you should.

Chocolate Chip Granola – if you like to live life a little more simply and can’t relate well to these whacky recipes, perhaps this recipe is right for you. This is a way to get a little chocolate into your morning routine without going nuts (pun intended). Sure, you could just buy a bag of granola and throw a few chocolate chips in there, but where is the fun in that? Make it yourself and, not only will you know exactly what’s in there, you will also be able to customize it just the way you want.

Why Tai Chi is So Good for Seniors

Tai Chi has been gaining enormous popularity over the last few years, largely among senior citizens who recognize its benefits and sincerely enjoy it. Tai Chis is a wonderful way to start exercising for many because it doesn’t require any equipment and it urges that you go at your own pace. Here are some noticeable benefits that seniors have reported:

Reduces Stress

Tai Chi involves slow and deliberate movements that will help to direct your focus and clear your mind from stressors. It can be extremely meditative.

Encourages healthy breath

Practicing Tai Chi requires a lot of focus on breathing and breath control. This can improve lung function and allow you to release tension.

Improves Strength

Studies show that people who practice Tai Chi see a considerable improvement in their muscle strength and functions. Although the movements can look relatively easy, they have a huge impact on muscle growth.

Helps Arthritis Pain

Strong muscles and increased blood flow from Tai Chi work to lessen the pain from arthritis, making it easier over time for you to take your exercises to the next level.

Decreases Bone Loss

Strong muscles and increased blood flow have also proven to decrease bone loss by providing them a healthier protective layer, reducing the risk of serious injury in the case of an accident.

Lowers Blood Pressure

A decrease in stress and tension, as well as better circulation and flexibility will help to lower blood pressure.

Increases Confidence

Whether or not you align with the philosophies behind tai chi, many of those who practice it report feeling an increase in self-esteem. The noticeable improvement in their muscles and their mindset make them feel healthier, more powerful, and more independent.

3 Daily Strength Training Moves for Seniors

The phrase “strength training” isn’t one that usually brings senior citizens to mind. However, it should. This form of exercise can be extremely beneficial for seniors because it can help to build muscle mass, improve flexibility, increase bone mass and density, and reduce pain among other things – all of which are problems facing us as we age. It can be difficult to figure out how to get started. Here are 3 exercises you or your loved one can start implementing every day:

 

  1. Chair leg-raises –strengthens your leg, back, and stomach muscles.

Sit in a chair with your shoulders tall and your back as straight as possible. Gently grip both sides of the chair with your hands on either side of your waist. Extend your feet out in front of you as far as possible so that only your heels touch the ground. Slowly raise your legs so they are parallel with the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5-10 times.

*You can make this move a little harder by loosening your grip on the chair and letting your arms hang at your sides.

 

  1. Half wall sit – strengthens leg, buttock, and stomach muscles

Stand 6-8 inches away from the wall with both feet firmly planted, a shoulder’s length apart. Slowly bend your knees as though you were about to sit on an invisible chair. Rest your back flat against the wall. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and repeat.

*You can make this move a little harder by standing further from the wall and trying to lower yourself so your thighs are parallel to the floor.

 

  1. Pectoral Press – this works your chest, arm, and back muscles.

Stand or sit for this exercise. Grab two identical cans of soup or beans or whatever is lying around your pantry. Hold one can in each hand and raise your arms up like a goalpost so that your thumbs are beside each ear and the bottoms of your upper arms are running parallel to the floor. Slowly swing your arms inward so that both forearms touch. Repeat 5-10 times.

*You can make this move a little harder by using heavier cans.

 

Always remember to go at your own pace and not to push yourself. Many times, those who were very fit or strong when they were younger are more adamant about proving to themselves that they can still do as much as they used to. It is important not to get too competitive with yourself. Listen to your body and stop when you need to. It is always possible that pushing too hard can lead to injury and it’s important to strengthen your muscles without hurting them.

Perfect Diet for a Day

Eating healthy can seem impossible. Not only are we constantly surrounded with extremely unhealthy – but horribly tempting food, there can be a lot of conflicting information about what we should be eating and the facts seem to change every day.

With so much confusing information out there, it can be hard to make the right choices and more often than not, we become frustrated and select the easiest route – which is usually the double cheeseburger.

Here is a menu for one day of the perfect diet:

 

Breakfast –  Eat within 30 minutes of waking up. This will help to wake you up and get your metabolism working.

2 Poached Eggs

Poached eggs don’t have the added butter or oil that eggs in a pan do.

2 Pieces of Whole Grain Toast

Opt for “whole grain” over “whole wheat” for more fiber and more complete nutrition.

1 Chicken Sausage Link

Opt for chicken over pork because it is leaner and cook in ¼ inch of water in a sauté pan to avoid excess butter/oil.

Calories: 496 Protein: 36g Fat: 17g Sodium 956mg Carbs 58.6g Fiber: 6g

 

Snack 1 –  Eating little meals throughout the day can help keep your metabolism high.

½ Cup of Black Berries

Black Berries are some of the healthiest with a lower sugar content and more protein.

Individual Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt (5.3 oz)

There is a huge different between non-fat Greek yogurt and full fat. Add honey to give it some more flavor.

1 Tbsp of Honey

Honey is a healthier way to sweeten things and supporting bee farmers is good for the environment!

Calories: 185 Protein: 17g Fat: 0g Sodium 70mg Carbs 28g Fiber: 7g

 

Lunch

Caprese Salad –

2 Cups of Baby Spinach

Spinach is a great choice because it is high in iron.

1 Medium Tomato

Opt for organic if you can for better nutrition and flavor.

½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

1 Tbsp Vinaigrette Dressing

By keeping your dressing on the side and dipping your fork tines into it instead of the spinach leaves, you will lower your fat intake.

Calories: 271 Protein: 19g Fat: 20g Sodium: 15mg Carbs: 8g Fiber: 4g

 

Snack 2

2 Stalks of Celery

2 Tbsp of Peanut Butter

The less ingredients in PB – the better. The only ingredients listed should be “peanuts” and maybe “salt”.

Calories: 188 Protein: 8g Fat: 16g Sodium: 5 mg Carbs: 6 g Fiber: 1.9 g

 

Dinner

 Spaghetti and Chicken Meatballs

½ Cup of Homemade Tomato Sauce

Making your own sauce is easier than you think and it can eliminate the likelihood of additives. Sauté minced onion in a pan until translucent. Pour a can of crushed tomatoes over the onion. Add chopped garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir well until it starts to bubble.

1 Cup of Quinoa Spaghetti

Quinoa pasta is a healthier option with less calories and more protein and it tastes the exact same.

4 Chicken Meatballs

Chicken is a healthier option and many brands sell chicken meatballs in a variety of flavors so pick which one speaks to you!

1 Tbsp of Parmesan

Calories: 449 Protein: 25.5 Fat: 14.5 g Sodium: 270mg Carb: 46g Fiber 7g

 

Total Calories: 1589 Protein: 105.5 g Fat: 67.5 g Sodium: 1316 Carb: 146.6 Fiber: 25.9 g

Signs of Depression in the Elderly

Depression among older Americans is a very serious and important topic. Not only are the occurrence rates much higher among this demographic, depression among the elderly may present itself very differently and pose a different set of complications.

It is very important to pay close attention to any changes in your older loved one’s health. Even seemingly minute changes could indicate possible depression and because many seniors do not report feeling “sad”, a lot of depression within their community is misdiagnosed or ignored.

Here are some common symptoms of depression in the elderly:

 

Lack of motivation

Seniors may report feeling like it is harder and harder to get things done. You may notice that tasks aren’t taken care of around the house such as up-to-date lawn care and general messiness. You may also notice a dip in their personal hygiene. These issues can have multiple reasons so pay close attention and ask them about these changes.

 

Trouble Sleeping

Lack of sleep can be a symptom of many things. However, it is a major part of depression for some and should never be ignored. If you are noticing an increased level of lethargy or they mention a change in their sleep pattern, take note. Instead of suggesting a sleeping aid, first ask them questions about whether this has been an ongoing problem.

 

 

Increase in Alcohol or Drug Use

This one may seem obvious on paper, but it can be more difficult to spot in person. With the holidays coming up in the next few months, the wine will be flowing and it can be hard to track whether there is a problem or not. Additionally, for those who already struggle with alcohol or substance abuse – it can be especially difficult to catch. Alcohol is a depressant and serves as a quick fix to depression, but will ultimately lower someone’s ability to fight depression. Pay close attention to how much they are drinking, as well as their medications to ensure that they are taking them in their appropriate doses.

 

Fixation on Death/Thoughts of Suicide

It is common for seniors to start looking at or talking about death a little differently. However, it can also be a sign of depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Suicide rates are among the highest within the senior community. If talks about death increase or if they mention ending their life – get help immediately. Visit Suicide.org to view their page on senior suicide prevention at http://www.suicide.org/elderly-suicide.html. If you have any concerns or need some questions answered. A number of useful hotlines are listed on the right-hand side. You or your loved one are free to use them at any time.