Active Senior Living

Simple strategies to help fend off disease and illness and promote an active, independent lifestyle.

Sleep Disturbances Not A Normal Part of Aging

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Older adults should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Find out why sleep often gets interrupted.

Older adults should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Find out why sleep often gets interrupted.

Sleep allows our body to rest and to restore its energy levels. Without enough restful sleep, not only can we become grumpy and irritable, but also inattentive and more prone to accidents. Like food and water, adequate sleep is essential to good health and quality of life.

Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults — seven to nine hours of sleep per night, reports the National Institutes of Health.

Unfortunately, many older adults often get less sleep than they need. One reason is that they often have more trouble falling asleep. A study of adults over 65 found that 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.

Also, older people often sleep less deeply and wake up more often throughout the night, which may be why they may nap more often during the daytime. Nighttime sleep schedules may change with age too. Many older adults tend to get sleepier earlier in the evening and awaken earlier in the morning.

Many people believe that poor sleep is a normal part of aging, but it is not. In fact, many healthy older adults report few or no sleep problems. Sleep patterns change as we age, but disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day are not part of normal aging. If you are having trouble sleeping, see your doctor or a sleep specialist. There are treatments that can help.

Stay on top of your health!

Follow these simple tips to better your sleep:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night
  • Exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime)
  • Cut down on caffeine, especially in the evening
  • Avoid eating before you go to sleep
  • Only drink alcohol in moderation and cut out smoking

Eating the Right Foods Can Help Lower Your Cholesterol

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More vegetables, fruits and whole grains and less fatty meats in your diet can lower your total cholesterol by 25 percent or more.

More vegetables, fruits and whole grains and less fatty meats in your diet can lower your total cholesterol by 25 percent or more.

Sometimes it just takes a few simple changes in diet to lower cholesterol levels.

The Mayo Clinic has published its top foods to improve your numbers. The list includes oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods; fish and omega-3 fatty acids; walnuts, almonds and other nuts; avocados; olive oil; foods with added plant sterols or stanols (often found in margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks); and whey protein.

But do better food choices alone make that much of an impact on the numbers?

Substituting more vegetables, fruits and whole grains in place of fatty meats can lower your total cholesterol by 25 percent or more and cutting back on saturated fat (found in meat and dairy products) and trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils) can reduce cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent, according to Harvard Medical School’s HEALTHbeat.

It suggests these four steps for using your diet to lower your cholesterol.

  1. Stick with unsaturated fats and avoid saturated and trans fats.Most vegetable fats (oils) are made up of unsaturated fats that are healthy for your heart. Foods that contain healthy fats include oily fish, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables. At the same time, limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat, which is found in many meat and dairy products, and stay away from trans fats. These include any foods made with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.”
  2. Get more soluble fiber.Eat more soluble fiber, such as that found in oatmeal and fruits. This type of fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a healthy-fat diet.
  3. Include plant sterols and stanols in your diet.These naturally occurring plant compounds are similar in structure to cholesterol. When you eat them, they help limit the amount of cholesterol your body can absorb. Plant sterols and stanols are found in an increasing number of food products such as spreads, juices, and yogurts.
  4. Find a diet that works for you.When a friend or relative tells you how much his or her cholesterol level dropped after trying a particular diet, you may be tempted to try it yourself. If you do, and after a few months you discover that you’re not getting the same benefits, you may need to chalk it up to genetic and physiological differences. There is no one-size-fits-all diet for cholesterol control. You may need to try several approaches to find one that works for you.

The Top 10 States For Seniors’ Well-Being

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The 2015 State Well-Being Rankings for Older Americans are based on seniors’ well-being in five domains: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.

The 2015 State Well-Being Rankings for Older Americans are based on seniors’ well-being in five domains: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.

Home Health Care News: Top 10 States for Seniors’ Well-Being

Hawaii not only is a great vacation destination, but a prime location for seniors to settle down: the Aloha State has again ranked as the best state for senior well-being in an annual list from Gallup-Healthways. Arizona follows at No. 2, but this year’s list is not dominated by warm-weather havens. Alaska and some Midwestern […] Read Full Article