• February 25, 2012
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Learn How To Love Exercise!

Many people complain that they don't have time to exercise. That's usually not the truth, though. It's really because they don't like exercising.

You couldn't pay me to play some sports, baseball being one, but through lots of experimentation, I have found many different ways to exercise that I absolutely love! Aerobics, running, yoga and weight-lifting-- to name a few...

Here are some tips to make exercise something you can't wait to do:

  • Make time...find an hour in your day and commit to it. If you have to wake up earler, do it! Maybe your lunch hour works for you...the gym's quite empty at that time. Or right after work before you relax. Once you get into the exercise habit you'll be feeling so good you'll WANT to exercise.  
  • Make exercise a habit...commit to working out 5 times a week for a month. It takes 21 days to develop a habit, so you should be in a good established routine within a month.  
  • Experiment..if you don't like lifting weights, try martial arts or yoga. Yes, yoga is a weight-bearing form of exercise.  
  • Try shorter workouts...if you bore easily, split your routine. You could walk 30 minutes in the morning and do 30 minutes of weights and stretching in the evening.  
  • Set fitness goals..and try to surpass your past records in the speed you walked or ran, the amount of weight you can lift in a barbell curl,  or the length of time you can hold a stretch. Fitness goals make exercising a game.  
  • Get a partner if you run or workout at home. The socialization will make the time fly by and your partner will make sure you show up!  
  • Make new friends...If you go to a gym, make friends with the people who are there at the same time you are. And there are always "regulars" in every class. People often prefer one instructor over another and usually stick to his or her class.

Is there anything in particular that's made you love exercising? 

  • March 01, 2012
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Are You Ready To Be A Caregiver?

If you’re a caregiver you know just how stressful it can be, especially in the beginning when you feel so overwhelmed. That’s exactly how my sisters and I felt when we were caregivers for my father. Had we been more prepared, many of the difficulties and crises that we experienced could have been anticipated and resolved much more quickly, and life would have been a lot easier for all of us.

Granted, knowing when to get involved in your parent's life is a murky proposition, for the need to be their caregiver rarely happens over night.  The clues are there, but we fail to appreciate their significance.  For example, they may begin to show poor judgement in handling their finances, tell insensitive jokes in public and, more commonly, begin to drive erratically.  The feedback that we receive from our clients is that in hindsight they saw the warning signs, but they never thought to connect the dots because the events appeared so sporadic and unrelated to each other.  

Being prepared is like having a hurricane plan. Tedious but vital. It makes the unanticipated and unexpected events more manageable and less stressful. And though everyone’s experience is unique, there are some issues that just about all caregivers are guaranteed to face.

Among the essentials:

  • Financial issues (is there enough money, who will manage it on a daily basis, and are they protected from fraud?)
  • Driving and transportation (are Mom or Dad safe behind the wheel and if not, how will they get around, and how are you going to have the necessary driving conversations with them?)
  • Medical (are their physicians authorized to speak with you about their care?)
  • Legal (do you have a Durable Power of Attorney in case they are unable to make decisions?)

These are the tip of the iceberg, but one thing is certain - being prepared means dealing with issues before there’s a medical or other crisis. Trust me: It makes the rest of the caregiving journey much less traumatic.

Seniority Matters is here to help and we’re going to cover these issues and much more in upcoming Nancy & Company blogs. We'll provide you with helpful tips - everything from how to have the “financial conversation” to how to work with your siblings.

  • March 17, 2012
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Falling Off The Exercise Wagon: Tips For Getting Back On

So you'd been working out regularly for six months and then took that wonderful vacation in Barcelona for two and a half weeks. When you got home you were too jet-lagged to go to the gym, work had piled up at the office and there was all that laundry to do.

Suddenly it's been two months since you've even looked at a weight. After two months off it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to help you get going:

  • Make a personal commitment to workout 4 days a week for one month. This will establish the exercise habit.
  • Get a workout partner. You will not only be committed to yourself, but to another person as well. When you don't feel like exercising your partner will.
  • Put it on your calender. This makes your workout time as important as any other commitments you may have.
  • Schedule during quiet hours. You don't want your workouts to be pushed aside by other demands on your time.
  • Create a regular workout time. If your workout times are all over the map, it will be harder to adhere to a fitness program.
  • Think of your exercise time as stress relief time. When you think of it in this way, it will be easy to regain the habit even after a long break.
  • Start out small. Trying to run ten miles or lift 40lb weights during your first workout is not a good way to build a habit. You could become depressed over the loss of strength from your "leave of absence" or hurt yourself!
  • Focus on the enjoyable parts of the workout.  Do you like the eliptical trainer more than the treadmill? Prefer weights over tubing? Yoga class over solo stretching?

Do you have any stories to share or tips to offer on restarting your exercise routine after a long break?

  • March 26, 2012
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Five Things You Can Do To Prevent Falls

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in every 3 adults, 65 and older falls every year.  Why Do Older People Fall? Here are five reasons and remedies.

1. Our backs round and our heads tilt forward, changing our center of gravity.

  • Prevent it by making good posture a habit. When you sit, tilt your pelvis forward, lengthen your spine, and imagine a string at the top of your head pulling it up. Stand taller and pull your stomach in; roll your shoulders back and down.

2.  We lose muscle strength in our legs and feet. We begin to shuffle instead of picking up our feet, increasing the risk that we can trip.

  • Prevent it by strengthening your legs and feet. You can sit in a chair and alternately lift your legs. Go to an exercise or yoga class especially for seniors.

3.  We look down at the floor when we walk because we are afraid to trip on something. This actually tilts us toward the floor increasing the chances of falling. 

  • Prevent it by looking ahead while walking. If the walking surface is flat, like a mall, practice looking ahead.

4. We trip on scatter rugs or wear ill-fitting shoes.

  • Prevent it by “senior-proofing” your home. Get rid of scatter rugs, re-fit your bathroom, and don’t wear flip-flops or shoes that can catch on things.

5. Medications.

  • Prevent it by asking your doctor to review your medications. Was a new medication prescribed recently?

 What To Do If You Fall and You Are Alone. 

Are you hurt? Take a moment to assess the situation. Catch your breath and determine if you are hurt.

If you have a "life alert" or a cell phone on you, use it!

  • Call 911 immediately. If a stroke caused your fall, minutes matter. You may not know you had one, so err on the side of caution. Nothing is as important as your life.

If you don’t have a cell phone, or life-alert:

  • Roll onto the side that is not painful.
  • Get onto hands and knees.
  • Crawl to the the nearest piece of sturdy furniture and get up.
  • Call 911. 
  • March 28, 2012
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Senior Move Manager: A Profession That Makes Moving And Downsizing Easier And Less Stressfull

Packing up and moving isn’t the least bit daunting to Barbara Wolfsdorf. In fact, she thrives on it - the more minutiae, the better. Barbara, a new Seniority Matters Service Provider, is so adept at the grueling process that she’s known as the Move Out...Move In Specialist!

Her company, Lifestyle Moving, specializes in helping seniors and their families cope with the emotional and physical aspects of relocation - everything from identifying, labeling and sorting items so they’re ready to donate to friends, family and charitable organizations or sold - to unpacking and de-cluttering.

She’ll even stock the kitchen cabinets, make beds, set up closets and take care of those pesky change of address forms.

It’s an ideal service for seniors - or their caregivers - who don't have the time, inclination or ability to move themselves. Barbara, a licensed and insured member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), helps families throughout South Florida and is happy to set up a free consultation.

To learn more about Barbara and how she can help your next move be a stress-free one, please view her Seniority Matters Directory listing or check out her website. And, leave the packing to her!

  • April 12, 2012
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Do You Have Enough Fiber In Your Diet?

Adequate fiber intake is linked to a lower risk of disease. Unfortunately, most Americans eat far less than the recommended amount.  The Institute of Medicine recommends 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories ingested each day.  This translates to a daily intake for men and women < age 50 of 38 and 25 grams respectively per day while for men and women > age 50 it is 30 and 21 grams per day respectively due to decreased food consumption.

Why is fiber good for us?  There are so many potential benefits of fiber--from lowering blood cholesterol levels, and protecting against Cardiovascular Disease to improving and preventing constipation, and maintaining weight. Fiber is particularly beneficial to seniors as has been shown to both keep blood pressure under control reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Adding fiber to your diet isn't as hard as it may seem. It can be as easy as choosing nutrient rich foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beens over processed foods and sodas.

So how are you going to get more fiber in your diet? Here are a few ways to do it

1.   Eat more veggies.

  • 1 cup cauliflower cooked =3 grams
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli=4.5 grams
  • 1 sweet potato=4 gram

2.   Eat more fruits.

  • 1 cup strawberries=4 grams
  • 1 banana=3grams
  • 1 pear=5 grams

3.   Enjoy your beans. They have more fiber than most foods and contain lots of protein.

  • 1 half cup beans=6.2 grams
  • 1 bean burrito=8 gram

4.   Choose whole grains.  In addition to fiber they are full of nutrients, vitamin B, antioxidants and proteins.

  • 1 cup brown rice=4grams
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread=4 grams

5.   If you eat cereal for breakfast--go for the high fiber ones.

  • 1 half cup Fiber One=14 grams
  • 1 cup Raisin Bran=7.5 grams
  • 1 half cup Kashi Summer Berry Granola=7 grams

 Want to learn how much fiber you should be getting each day? Here's a great tool to measure the daily amount of fiber and other nutrients that you should be eating every day.

  • April 12, 2012
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Introducing Elderly Alerts: Offering Safety And Peace Of Mind

If it’s new, state-of-the art and makes life safer for seniors, ElderlyAlerts.com probably can deliver it. Its mission is to deliver the most affordable and technologically advanced personal medical alarms available - and it’s on the cutting edge with its products, including a unit designed to work in homes without a land line.

ElderlyAlerts.com, which recently joined the Seniority Matters Service Provider directory, offers lightweight water-resistant systems (extremely essential for peace of mind while showering) that can be programmed to record up to eight personalized messages or reminders (try this unique feature to record that important reminder to take medications at a certain time every day, or to set a prompt to get ready for a doctor's appointment ).

Emergency Alert Response Systems also provide a daily check-in system and a special code number that can be given to family members so they can dial their loved one’s alert system and speak to them directly - especially useful when the power is out and your cordless phone doesn't work.

To learn more about the company, please consult its  Seniority Matters Directory listing or peruse its website.

  • April 23, 2012
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The Importance Of Human Touch

There are many health benefits associated with human touch. Research conducted by the University of Miami's Touch Research Institute demonstrated that being touched can: 

  • Lessen pain
  • Lower blood glucose
  • Slow the heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve pulmonary function
  • Improve immune function
  • Increase growth in infants

Touch is the major form of communication for infants. As they grow they receive less touch. Adults touch even less, and according to the study, “senior citizens receive the least touching of any age group.”

After losing a spouse, many seniors live alone. It may be years since they have been touched or hugged. A friend who had his elderly mother living with him realized this, and began to play with her hair and give her foot rubs. Her demeanor changed dramatically and his wife was able to cope easier with their living situation.

For too many seniors, the only time someone really looks at them and touches them is in the doctor’s office. Here are some ideas for making human touch part of your loved one's life:

  • Give a gift of massage at a nearby spa.
  • Comb your loved one’s hair.
  • Give a foot rub, or apply lotion to calloused feet.
  • Hug and kiss freely.
  • Hold hands.
  • An occasional pat on the back can make someone feel wonderful.

You may not notice any change in the beginning, but little by little you are bringing the beautiful gift of human touch to someone who misses it dearly.

  • April 26, 2012
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How To Have The "Prime Time" Of Your Life- Jane Fonda's Guide To Aging With Fervor

Jane Fonda no longer has that “go-for-the-burn” fervor, but at age 74, she still has the moves. And Baby Boomers who want to age as gracefully (although perhaps not as vociferously) as this icon will find inspiration in her book, Prime Time.

The Emmy-winning actress lays out a compelling argument that aging should be revered - not feared. Noting that many of us will live much longer than our ancestors, she poses the question: “What are we meant to do with this precious gift of life?” Her advice: Take advantage of each moment. And the best way to do that, she counsels, is by following 11 key ingredients for vital living and adopting 14 tips for healthy eating (we especially love No. 13 which admonishes: don’t diet).

The feisty actress interweaves heartfelt anecdotes about her struggles and successes in life (including a bullying incident at summer camp and her battles with anorexia and bulimia), shares secrets (she had plastic surgery at age 72) and discusses anti-aging research from a variety of specialists. In essence, this is a guide to living life to the fullest - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The 416-page book includes helpful tips on fitness, nutrition, meditation, romance and sex (several pages are devoted to a candid discussion about how to choose the best sex toys) friendship and financial planning.

  • May 08, 2012
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ReServe Miami: Life In The After 55 Lane

A friend of mine was so infatuated with his impending retirement that he counted the nanoseconds until he could punch out for the last time. His “I can’t wait to do this” list was endless; his vivid images of a stress free life had the rest of us working stiffs green with envy.

And was retirement all that he dreamed of? Not so much. Oddly enough, he's often bored  - and actually misses the office (sometimes). His brain, he jokes, is turning to mush.

It happens to the best of us. But, there’s a way to keep those brain cells from standby status: sign up at ReServe Miami, which matches professionals age 55 and older to Miami nonprofit organizations, public institutions and government agencies that need extra help.

It’s a win-win: Public and private agencies get specialists eager to help their communities - and retirees not only lend a helping hand, they make a few dollars. (The part-time positions, from 10-20 hours weekly, pay $10 an hour).

This service program, operated by Catalyst Miami, offers a myriad of options: empowering youth, writing grants, fielding hotline phone calls, marketing, teaching financial literacy and GED prep, installing new software systems - and more. It's a lifeline for continuing professionals to give back to the community and public agencies that need their expertise and skills,” explains Daniella Levine, CEO of Catalyst Miami. “And it’s a heartwarming experience for everyone.

You’ll be in good company: ReServe also operates in New York City, Maryland and Newark.

Ready to sign up? Visit the organization’s Website,  After applicants register to attend an orientation session and are approved for the program, they can begin searching for assignments.

  • May 13, 2012
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Need To De-stress? Try Reiki

Reiki is a japanese healing modality that helps one relax and reduce stress. It is a'' laying on of hands' treatment and is based on the theory that life energy flows through us. When some of that energy becomes "blocked" we can experience pain, stress and even illness. Reiki energy work helps to unblock that energy and also treats the whole person....body, mind and spirit.

The word Reiki is actually two words in Japanese. Rei mean's God's wisdom and Ki means universal life energy.

What to expect when recieving a Reiki treatment: Most likely the practitioner will have you lie on a massage table on your back and may cover you with a sheet (for warmth once you become relaxed).  Reiki is also given while the receiver is sitting, standing and even remotely.

The practitioner will often start by sitting or standing behind your head and will place her hands just over your head. Reiki works with the body's energy field, so the hands don't neccessarily touch the body. This is why reiki is a good choice for people who don't like to be touched or who have fibromyalgia. The practitioner will keep her hands in certain positions over the head for about 3 to 5 minutes each.

Next, she will move down the body using Reiki hand positions until you have been treated from head to toe. If there is time left during the session, you will be asked to turn over onto your stomach and the process will be repeated. If the practitioner feels a particularly between her hands in one area and say, your kidneys, her hands may linger there a little longer.

What you will likely feel during a Reiki session: Almost everyone becomes very relaxed and often falls asleep. Since there's an energy exchange between you and the practitioner's hands, you may feel a tingling sensation from time to time especially when the hands are over sensitive skin, like the eyelids.

When the session is over, you will be asked to slowly open your eyes and come back. You should be allowed to wake up slowly since you have been in an altered state.

I discovered Reiki when I had a very stressful job. I so loved the results of my treatments that I began to study Reiki and eventually became a master.

Reiki practitioners and teachers in your area can be found on their website. Just click on your state and find your city.

  • May 23, 2012
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Are Your Meds Making You Sick?

What if a book really could save your life. Would you buy it?” 

That’s the question pharmacist Robert Steven Gold poses while touting his book Are Your Meds Making You Sick? A Pharmacist's Guide to Avoiding Dangerous Drug Interactions, Reactions and Side Effects.  Gold, a longtime Indiana pharmacist and Perdue University clinical pharmacy instructor, penned the 280-page paperback after his father suffered side effects from his medicine. 

Instead of a dull, uninspiring book that relies on boring lists, Gold uses 30 fascinating case histories of real people to serve as a practical guide to the devastation that drug interactions, reactions and side effects can wreak - and each includes the chances of you experiencing a similar fate. Set up as mini-mysteries, they entice readers to solve the puzzle - and learn something in the process. In one case Gold tells readers how they can spot a dangerously high level of calcium; another pinpoints the pitfalls of prednisone.

Although Gold uses alarming statistics (“up to 2 million people are hospitalized or die each year because the medicines they took to make them well made them worse”), he does so not as a scare tactic, but as a warning.  

And as some of his examples show, even the most innocuous medicines can harm your liver, kidney brain and heart if your medical history and other factors are taken into account. Gold also explains why it’s imperative to follow his 16 Rules of Safe Medication Use (knowing your kidney and liver lab values is essential), gives specific examples of the 36 most problematic drugs (insulin, warfarin and digoxin are among them) and discusses some common herbs, supplements and diet pills that have potentially dangerous interactions with prescription and Over-the-Counter drugs.The book is sprinkled with helpful advice - for those taking prescriptions to combat high blood pressure, Gold cautions: “If you experience a cough soon after starting an ACE inhibitor, think drug reaction. Early in the book, Gold urges consumers to report problems they have with medications to their pharmacist, doctor and/or the FDA. “The problem,” Gold  writes, “is that no one has to report any adverse reaction a patient may experience from a drug.”

While it’s easy to skip around in the book, we urge you not to miss the Reader’s Guide to Medications on Page 232, an easy-to-understand primer for everything from acetaminophen to morphine and the Medical Record on Page 269, an easy-to-use chart with spaces to record medicines taken, what they look like, dosage and which doctor prescribed them.

Lifesaving, indeed.

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