Tips That Help Keep Couples Together In Assisted Living

Alzheimers Assisted living

Life expectancy has steadily increased over the recent decades in America, and marriages are lasting and going strong well into couples’ golden later years. As a result, when it comes time to decide upon a needed assisted living arrangement or relocation, fewer seniors have to enter into this next phase of life alone.

Senior couples may have to decide together where to situate themselves in order to live comfortably and get the medical care they need. This can also be tricky as both spouses may have very different health care requirements or varying requirements for assistance. Both spouses will surely want what is best for the other, but sometimes that becomes complicated when one spouse suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, and the other has taken it upon his or herself to stay and assume a care taking role.

Here are a few helpful guidelines for couples selecting the most appropriate assisted living option available.

Do Your Research Early

Couples can save a lot of stress by getting ahead of the game by doing a little research before assisted living becomes a pressing issue, talking it out and agreeing on a place. Knowing what you’re getting into and having a secure plan before any sudden accident or unexpected problem forces you to think fast or limits your insurance options can make the idea of assisted living much less scary or confusion, and might even give you something to look forward to as a couple if you find somewhere that seems to meet all of your mutual requirements.

Managing Finances

Having a long-term plan for security is part of being prepared and thinking ahead. This entails planning in advance, maybe setting aside some money, saving, or doing whatever else you can to be in a financially secure position to be ready for any possible future adjustment to assisted living.
Residential couples are often charged for one room, with fee lodging for the second person. The average cost per month for room and board is around $1500, plus charges for any extra care as needed. And many senior care communities allow couples to receive and be charged only for the care they need on an individual basis, instead of charging an overall blanket to cover both spouses. Pricing levels are tiered, with lesser-needed assistance on the lower pricing tier. For those seeking a more high-end lodging experience, private one-bedroom apartments for assisted living go for a median rate of $2,575 a month according to the Assisted Living Federation of America. Two-bedroom apartments and multiple bedroom suites are offered at some more luxurious facilities as well for those with greater space needs who can afford an upcharge.

Prepare For the Changes

Making the transition as a couple, to a new life at a senior care facility will require mental preparation and some lifestyle adjustments to anticipate. Modern assisted living communities aim to preserve a sense of independence for their residents, however there will certainly be some changes to adapt to with new routines and social spheres present in this next phase of life. It is imperative to become versed in the routines, regulations, and rules of the land for your prospective senior care facilities when doing your research. A senior couple may enter a facility knowing no one but each other, so socializing and making friends will be necessary to budding into the community. Most senior care residents are widowed, so couples starting a life in assisted living together are fortunate to have someone to have to talk to from the start. But senior care communities are generally quite friendly and sociable with people entering from all walks of life to share rich stories of life’s well lived.

Consider Both Partners’ Needs

When researching prospective facilities, a senior might discover one that’s perfect for him—but maybe not his wife so much, or vice-a-versa. Selecting an arrangement (like every other major decision in a marriage) may require some compromises on both parts to accommodate the preferences and comforts of both partners to call a place home. Please be considerate of the personal and shared needs (emotional, physical, privacy, hobbies, relational, sociable) for both spouses. It is also helpful for couple to look into finding activities or things they can do together, like fitness programs or available interest-clubs.

Range of Senior Living Options 

There are several types of senior care options that vary in the degree and extensiveness of care and independence available for residents. Overview these terms when doing your research regarding the sort of assisted living you as a couple are looking for.

  • Independent Senior Living – An option for couples who require little-to-no assistance with daily activities (driving/medicine/food).
  • Assisted Senior Living – An option for couples looking for a maintenance-free life-style, but can see they might need a little help now or in the future. This option is a combination of amenities and hospitality services, along with basic care services such as medication management and personal assistance with daily activities such as dressing or showing, as well as basic nursing and dementia care.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community– allows seniors to live independently in single-family homes, apartment, condos, and then transition into a assisted living centers when it becomes necessary.


While it may for the moment be a touchy subject, and a little inconvenient it is best to be prepared and educated on assisted living options for the future. Try not to leave the responsibility of relocating entirely in the hands of your children, so you can have some say in choosing a living arrangement that is better suited to your preferences and level of comfort as a couple.

Luxury Assisted Living

If you have found yourself fortunate enough to enter retirement financially sound enough to start weighing your options for high-end senior living, then take a few moments to investigate some of the benefits and details are included in more luxurious senior care with this article.

A senior, or a senior couple, who has made a good living and grown comfortable being accommodated with the finer things in life, may find it important to know that senior/assisted living doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the finer things behind. There are tiers of senior living options for all financial standings, and toward the upper tiers, there is what is called “luxury” assisted living.

The Investment

For initial payments typically ranging from $300,000-$1,500,000, senior care communities bearing a resort feel are available around the country. These facilities are especially hospitality-oriented, forgoing all semblances of the old stereotypes of senior living as boring and restrictive. Luxury assisted living strives to provide a living experience closer to that of staying at a four-star hotel or a cruise ship by being accommodating and conducive to the wants, needs, comforts, and preferences of its esteemed residents.

The difference adds up as luxury assisted living is comparatively bigger and better, with more offerings and attentive service than more basic, functional offerings. Residents soak in beautiful ambiance as they go about their day among the grounds, utilizing a large variety of provided activities and conveniences. Below we will outline what to expect from a higher-end senior living community, outlining the housing, cuisine, and activity accommodations common to luxury assisted living.

The Difference

Rooms and lodging are characterized by spacious apartments with high ceilings, typically furnished with a full kitchen equipped with marble or granite countertops. This is an upscale contrast to the majority of conventional assisted living facilities, which often offer a quaint kitchenette with little more than a mini-fridge and microwave.
• Many luxury assisted living facilities provide the convenience of concierge services like those of a hotel, available to help senior residents plan flights, hotels, concerts, and other aspects of travel.
• The dining experience at a luxury assisted living facility is a gourmet delight, offering a variety of high quality food options prepared by experienced certified chefs. To further diversify their cuisine offering, some facilities have two or more restaurants additionally available in the senior care community for residents to frequent.
• There is little excuse for boredom at luxury assisted living facilities, where there are numerous programs catering to the wants and needs residents have for activity, entertainment, and education in the community. Atria Kew Gardens in New York schedules over 200 events every month. The Belmont Village facility in Westwood, CA hosts an annual fashion show for residents. Activities and specialties will vary by facility, be sure to investigate what is fun or unique about the facilities in your area or your desired retirement destination. But apart from activities, luxury assisted living offers a variety of classes on a number of subjects as well as training on how to use current technologies to keep residents in touch with the modern outlets for communication and socialization with their friends and families.
• Additionally, luxury facilities often provide more personalized care and assistance in the form of therapy services. Personal therapy, pet therapy, counseling, and other offerings are available for residents to get any personal help that they desire.

Luxury facilities also offer money return and redistribution policies to residents who choose to leave or pass on while under the facility’s care to assure an asset base for the resident’s children or inheritance. After gaining admittance, it may relieve many seniors to know that many such luxury senior living facilities have policies that assure anywhere from 70-90 percent of the initial payment may be returned if the resident chooses to leave, or will be returned to the inheritance upon death, to ensure that the financial wishes of the resident are ensured and satisfied.

How to Bring Christmas Cheer to Someone in Assisted Living

Christmas is a time of celebration and cheer. However, for some seniors in assisted living, they aren’t too thrilled about this holiday. It may be their first year away from their family, not celebrating at home. For others, they feel an assisted living community is too gloomy to celebrate. You, however, can bring Christmas cheer to someone in assisted living. Check out the following eight ways to do so and take the Scrooge out of Christmas.

1. Take the Time Out to Visit

For the most part, many people feel that a phone call or two is enough to bring the Christmas cheer into a loved one’s life. You can call any day of the year though. One of the main purposes of the Christmas season is giving of your time and self. So take this opportunity to put your loved one on your calendar and go out to visit them. If you know of other family and friends that are too busy to visit, make it a family affair.

2. Become Their Secret Santa

Seniors like surprises too. Imagine them trying to figure out all the clues of who Santa could be this year. Secret Santa is a great way to keep their minds active and bring more joy into this holiday season.

3. Help Decorate Their Room

One of the best ways to get in the mood for the Christmas holiday is to deck the halls or in this case their room. Christmas decorations are bright and cheerful. You can practically have any design or color scheme.

A great way to keep someone in the spirit of things is to decorate their room with holiday objects from their past. So if they have traditional holiday ornaments, hopefully, you still have them. This is a way for them to relive their past holiday moments, ones they can continue to treasure as you bring them back to life. If it may seem too cluttered to do, decorate the inside and outside of their door with some of the following:

• Christmas gift wrap
• Large bows
• Christmas light
• Garland
• Large wreath

 4. Play Holiday Favorites

When it comes to holiday songs, Christmas always comes to mind. So pick up a few holiday CD’s to play and keep them in the mood. Even if they can’t sing, they’ll enjoy hearing the music. It will help relax them. Here’s a list of 15 top Christmas Carols to get you started.

  1. Joy to the World
  2. Silent Night
  3. Holy Night
  4. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  5. Christmas Time is Here
  6. White Christmas
  7. The Christmas Song
  8. Here Comes Santa Claus
  9. Baby It’s Cold Outside
  10. I’ll Be Home for Christmas
  11. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  12. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
  13. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  14. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  15. Santa Baby

5. Organize Old Photos

In addition to decorating with Christmas décor, bring out old photos. You can create a collage to hang on the wall or make a Christmas photo album. If you have a tree in their room, feel free to hang copies of old photos directly on the branches. They can even wake up each morning and place a new photo on the tree. This is a great way to keep old memories alive.

6. Cook Their Favorite Foods

Who can resist or feel down when Christmas foods are made? Your loved one will appreciate having a home cooked meal or a few snacks that they enjoyed each holiday season. Maybe it’s a family recipe that they miss. You will need to check with the facilities nutritionist regarding the foods they can have. Maybe make a smaller dish, so they aren’t’ tempted to eat too much at a time.

7. Intermingle with Other Residents

If your loved one is celebrating their first Christmas at this assisted living community, you can help them out by intermingling with other residents and staff. By doing this, you are opening a new family for them. The holidays are a great time to bring strangers together. Once they see you mingling with others that will help break down that wall. They’ll now have others to connect with, so things will be a lot easier once you are gone.

8. Join in with the Communities Festivities

Just about every good assisted living community has Christmas festivities going on. Make sure you and your loved one participate. Some activities you’ll find and enjoy include:

• Adopt a senior where children make bring gifts and visit seniors
• Movie showing
• Christmas crafts
• Musical performance
• Shopping trips so seniors can purchase gifts
• Decorating the assisted living community

As you can see, there are many ways to bring Christmas cheer to someone in assisted living. No matter if it’s a new tradition you’re starting or reliving old family traditions, they are going to appreciate it.

What are some of your family Christmas traditions? Are you planning on surprising your loved one in assisted living with any?

7 Secrets to Feeling Young After 50

Have you ever glanced in the mirror and thought, “Wow, I’m getting older?” Just because you’ve aged does not mean you aren’t young at heart. If you feel you need a bit of a pick me up, review these seven little secrets to feeling young again after 50.

1. Ensure Strong Mental Health

As you age, potential threats include Alzheimer disease and dementia. It’s thought that seniors are bound to become forgetful, but you can stomp that stereotype into the ground by ensuring you keep a strong mental health. It does not have to be written in your destiny to contract such diseases. While no one can 100% prevent anything, you can reduce the likely hood of its occurrence by eating properly and performing mental exercises.

‘You are what you eat’ is seen as such an overstatement, but it’s one of the most simplistic truths that exist. Poor nutrition is linked with mental and physical stresses. Avoid excessive sugar, caffeine, processed foods, and alcohol. There is no real reason to eliminate these from your diet entirely though. You are allowed some satisfaction.

Keep your brain active by challenging it daily. Work on the following brain exercises for increased mental health.

• Brain exercises such as Sudoku or word puzzles
• Board games such as Boggle or Chess
• Bingo
• Problem-solving video games
• Learn a new language
• Listen to Mozart

2. Allow Yourself a Sweet Moment

Our elder population seems to crave sweets, more so than the foods we should eat. It’s partially due to a demise in a sense of smell and taste. However, due to health concerns such as diabetes, it’s hard for seniors to stay away from sweets. Moderation is the key to all things though.

You should allow yourself a sweet moment, every once in a while. Depriving yourself will only lead to binging or a nasty attitude. So give yourself a small cup of ice cream, one serving of cake, or a cookie. Other times, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit, sweet veggies such as sweet potatoes, and tasty, yet healthy dips.

Read: 5 Ways Baby Boomers Are Changing Long Term Care

3. Stick with the Younger Crowd

The best way to feel young is to act young. And, what better way than hanging around the younger crowd? You’ll find yourself laughing more, moving about, and engaged in more of today’s cultural fantasies: visiting theme parks or attending sports outings. If you’re lucky, you have a grandkid, or two, or three around. Not only will you get a chance to engage more socially, but you can spend time with your family.

4. Don’t Regret Anything

Staying young means thinking of a positive future for yourself. You need to constantly move forward and accept all the good things you are entitled to. Focusing on any negative and regrets of the past will only hinder you from growing. There are going to be many opportunities you’ve missed out on in life, but you must remember; there is nothing more you can do about that. It’s in the past. Instead of regretting it, let it go or walk through a new door that has opened another wonderful opportunity.

5. Keep a Community of Supporters

Many seniors feel isolated. They fall into depression after the loss of a loved one or retiring from work. You need to get yourself a community of supporters to shake off those feelings. This isn’t exactly a group to meet up and discuss your feelings, but you should be around like-minded individuals who want to feel young again. You need to instill a sense of purpose within yourself, no matter if it’s to learn for yourself or educate others. A few things you can do include:

• Take a class
• Start a new hobby
• Join a book club
• Do volunteer work
• Travel

6. Keep Your Skin Glowing

If you glance in the mirror and see a slight bit of wrinkles, crow’s feet, or blotches on your skin, reminding you that you are aging, you’re not inclined to feel very young. So it’s extremely important to take care of your skin to keep it glowing and present a youthful appearance.

• Drink plenty of water to keep your skin well hydrated.
• Wear sunscreen in the summer and winter to protect your skin from the sun.
• Focus more on creamy makeup and not powdered. Makeup such as foundation should contain an SPF as well.
• Remove all your makeup each night to allow your skin to breathe and replenish itself.
• Use a good moisturizer each night or morning. All natural products such as avocado masks work wonders.

7. Dress the Part

Finally, you need to get out there and look your best. It’s certainly not advised to try to keep up with today’s youthful fashion: dress with pride and dignity! However, you can dress the part and keep a youthful appearance by showing just a bit of skin. You can still be classy while showing off your arms, shoulders, and legs. Focus on brighter colors or pastels rather than dark colors. There is no need to hide yourself. Stand out and be noticed.

As Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Each of the above seven suggestions focuses directly or indirectly on keeping your mind young. Keep each in mind as you wake up each morning to a new, successful day.

Respite Care

Respite CareWhen you are the primary caregiver of someone with a disease such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, it is normal to need a break from the stress and pressure at times. Something many families do not think of, but is a valuable resource, is respite care. Caring for someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, can be very demanding on your mental and physical health.

Taking a break and allowing someone else to step in and give temporary care is an excellent way to recharge, relax, and be refreshed. It is also beneficial to the patient as well, because they have an opportunity to spend time in a structured environment, specifically tailored to the needs of patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Respite care also allows the patient an opportunity to interact with other people and be more active, away from their daily normal schedule to be a part of activities specifically designed for the type of environment and needs.

What Types of Respite Care are Available?

There are several types of respite care available to families needing an opportunity to relax or to give emergency care for unplanned events. Before using any service, you should try the services out in a non-emergency situation. Ask friends and acquaintances for referrals to services they may have used in the past.

Another excellent resource is the patient’s doctor. Contact their doctor and ask for any recommendations for respite care providers in the area. Once you have gotten your referrals, check out the type of respite care given. There are three types of respite care common in healthcare. In-home services, adult day care centers, and short-term residential facilities offer options for families needing a temporary solution.

ReadWhat to Look for in a Senior Day Care Center

In-home services are the most versatile of the respite care services. These can include companionship services, home health aides, skilled care for medication, and home services to assist with cleaning, preparing meals, and doing additional housework. Adult day care centers are places that allow the patient to spend time with other people also affected with similar neurological disorders. This allows for a structured environment, activities, meals, and often transportation are also provided.

Finally, residential facilities offer an option for overnight stays. These are short-term facilities which can give the caregiver a break of one night up to several weeks if needed, for unplanned trips and emergencies. The only downside to some of these services, is that you might end up paying out of pocket, as Medicare and most insurance policies do not cover this type of care.

Obstacles to Respite Care

Once families find out about additional resources such as respite care, they may become nervous about trying something new for their loved one. This is normal and all families go through this type of emotional roller coaster when considering their options.

There are a couple of concerns that are common amongst families when making this a consideration. Cost is the number one concern. There is financial assistance available to families if you know where to look for it. You can contact your local Alzheimer’s Association to find out the types of financial assistance available for respite care in your area.

Families are also concerned about the reliability of care when compared to the care that they are being given by the family. So that family members feel more secure in their choice, they should thoroughly vet the qualifications of the agency and its providers. Each provider should be trained and certified, with references available.

The final obstacle to respite care is a feeling of guilt. Caregivers often think they can do it all and never need a break. While this is a noble thought, it is not close to the truth. All caregivers need an opportunity to relax and refresh.

Just because you are seeking assistance for a short time does not mean you are a failure or that you cannot take care of the patient yourself. It only means that you need help and it is important to remember that respite care can be a blessing and benefit to the patient as well.

How to Overcome Stress While Caring For an Aging Parent

HeadacheTaking care of an aging parent is extremely stressful. You often forget even your own basic needs, neglecting yourself every day. Going unnoticed and doing nothing about it over time leads to caregiver stress. Once that happens, you can feel isolated, depressed, and lonely. However, these tips on how to overcome stress while caring for an aging parent are simple and can save you future headaches.

Get Organized and Prioritize

The first thing to do when trying to figure out how to overcome stress is to get organized and prioritize your activities. Get yourself a day planner, utilize the calendar in your phone, or other time-management system. Some people are visual learners. That goes for organizing as well.

Place all your daily activities in a calendar such as doctor’s appointments and children’s after school activities. It’s especially important to list all your caregiver duties for your parent such as refilling prescriptions, ordering medical supplies, and scheduling their medical appointments. Once you can see your day, you may stress out less about it. If you see too much on your plate today, find something that can wait for another day and pencil it in.

Go Outside to Clear Your Head

Once you’ve noticed one of your stressful warning signs, just take a break. Go outside to clear your head. Leave the house and refresh yourself. Even if it’s just to take a walk down the block, that one moment to clear your head can make a world of difference. You can regain focus once again.

Ask for Help from Family and Friends

Your family and friends are there to be your supporters. You, of course, should not look into taking advantage of them, but when you become stressed, reach out to them. You can’t be expected to be strong 24/7. Your family and friends expect you to take an occasional break. Even an hour or two a day can help relieve the pressure you feel in caring for your parent.

Talk to a Professional

Hanging out with your social circle may not be enough to relieve your stress. Some social circles may make everything appear worse. If you have friends who aren’t boggled down with similar responsibilities, you could get jealous from all the free time they have on their hands.

So you may need to talk to a professional about what’s going on in your life. If you’re feeling depressed, seek out the help. This does not make you crazy; not getting the help you need does.

You could also join a support group of other adult children who care for their aging parent. If you don’t want to talk in an open group discussion, just listen. Some of the stories and advice they offer could provide you with relief or a solution to your problems at home.

Join a Health Club

A great investment to help you overcome stress is to join a health club. Some health clubs are open 24/7 which allows you to take a break anytime necessary. A health club is suggested because you can do so much there. You can:

• Take a yoga class to help release tension in your body and meditate
• Join a kickboxing or Pilates class
• Pamper yourself in the sauna or have a massage
• Run on the treadmill, lift weights, or punch a punching bag
• Play basketball or racquetball
• Go for a swim

Every health club may not have all the above options. However, anything is better than sitting home stressed all day.

Take Care of Your Body

Taking care of your body can not only help you overcome stress, but prevent it. If you are tired, sick, and weak all the time, it’s easy to stress out. Make sure you exercise at least three times per week. Stay energized by eating healthy and nutritious foods. Keep a clear mind by avoiding drugs and excessive alcohol. Be sure to get enough sleep, eight hours is recommended. And, keep your regularly scheduled doctors and dentist visits.

Turn Stressful Activities Over to Other Family Members

If you’ve been the family member to host a dinner party for holidays and other family gatherings, it’s time to turn these activities over to other family members. It’s fine if they still would like for you to host the event, but ask that everyone take accountability for an activity. Someone can plan the event, a few others can pitch in a dish, and others can help clean and prepare your home.

Take a Break from Work

Many caregivers also work outside of the home. If this is you, a mini-vacation may be just what the doctor ordered. If you don’t have or want to use your vacation time, contact your human resource department and see if you qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for your parent. You can be entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave time per year.

Realize that as a caretaker, you are still just human. You are only going to be able to take care of your parent if you are healthy and happy yourself. So take the time away from your caregiving duties. Even implementing one of these tips on how to overcome stress while caring for an aging parent can save you the heartache.

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What does “die of natural causes” mean?

die of natural causesMany people have heard the term “died of old age”, but aren’t really familiar with the meaning. While old age is not actually a cause of death, when you die of natural causes that are associated with aging, it’s considered dying of old age. It’s a tradition to have the cause of death listed on a death certificate, but when there’s not one direct cause, and death is due to the aging process, it’s listed as dying of old age.

What are the causes?

As mentioned, the term “died of old age” was created because of the need to list the cause of death on a death certificate. These days, it’s less common for “old age” to be listed on a birth certificate, but in some cases those examining the death may not look for the exact cause, especially if the death was age related. In some cases, there’s several different issues leading up to a person’s death, and listing all of these on the death certificate isn’t practical. In this case, the cause of death is considered old age. However, this term is not used on the certificate these days, and terms that are generic like organ failure commonly appear where death certificate.

The truth behind using “Natural Causes”

According to experts, the information that’s made available to the public regarding a person’s death should be limited. In the past, extensive information regarding the cause of death was offered on obituaries and on the death certificate. However, in today’s age, the information made available to the public is limited. When an older person dies, using “natural causes” is more appropriate than providing detailed information on the death. Natural causes, or died of old age, basically recognizes the ambiguity of a person’s death, rather than describing each detail involved.

Why natural deaths occur

Your body is only designed to last a specific period of time. As you age, different areas of your body no longer function the way they had. The way you care for your body over your lifetime plays a large role in how healthy you will be during your older years. For example, those who eat unhealthy food, don’t exercise, and generally do not care for themselves the way they should, are more likely to experience age related illness as they age. On the other hand, those who eat healthy, reduce their stress, exercise regularly, and live a healthy life are more likely to thrive in their older years.

Age related natural cause conditions

There’s a variety of illnesses and diseases that occur at an older age and are considered a natural cause of death. Organ failure, heart attack, and all health problems that fall into this area are considered a natural cause when you’re of an older age. The only death causes that are not considered a natural cause or “dying of old age”, are accidental deaths. For instance, if an elderly person should fall down the steps, break a bone, and develop an infection, this is considered an accidental cause, not dying of old age. There’s a thin line that between natural causes and accidental deaths.

The older you get, the harder it is for your body to complete its natural functions. Your heart can have issues because of the strain that occurred during your lifetime. You can also experience issues with your bones, be more susceptible to illness, and similar conditions. While natural causes are often thought of as simply a dearth that occurred with age, it’s because your body can no longer perform at an optimal level.

Even a heart attack is considered a natural cause if you are of older age, and that was the cause of your death. It’s a complicated term, but when someone of older age dies from illness, it’s considered a natural cause, when someone at a younger age is not.

Using Crossword Puzzles to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Prevent Alzheimer'sAlzheimer’s is a troubling condition that often takes a person by surprise. As discussed in previous articles, while Alzheimer’s can take over your life, there’s steps you can take in order to prevent this condition from occurring. One of the most prominent techniques is keeping your mind sharp, and there’s several ways you can do this. By exercising your brain you’re offering it with the nourishment it needs to keep Alzheimer’s and similar conditions such as dementia away.

Crossword puzzles offer an effective method of preventing Alzheimer’s, and not many people are aware of it. When you do a crossword puzzle, you’re exercising all areas of the mind by reading, writing, and using your thinking skills. One study showed that stimulation through crossword puzzles is one of the most effective mind training techniques available for preventing Alzheimer’s. By learning more about crossword puzzles and their effect on Alzheimer’s, you can help prevent this condition from developing, and maintain a full and healthy life.

Recent research

According to a study at the University of California, a toxic protein called compound B builds up within the brain- leading to Alzheimer’s. This compound acts like a plaque in the brain, and is the characteristic trademark of Alzheimer’s. However, when you stimulate the brain in a particular manner, you prevent buildup of this compound. This information was discovered through several brain scans that showed how the compound was deposited, and that several subjects had this compound appear when they didn’t provide their brains with the proper stimulation.

When you use crossword puzzles, you’re offering your brain with the stimulation it needs to prevent buildup. Those who enjoy crossword puzzles on a regular basis are less likely to have beta-amyloid buildup in the brain. Cognitive enhancement is an important part of a healthy brain, but you have to take part in several different activities in order to stimulate the mind properly and prevent Alzheimer’s. When you do crossword puzzles, you’re creating three types of stimulation, offering your brain the highest level of protection it can get.

The researchers discovered that there’s a direct association between cognitive activity and the buildup of compound B within the brain. The more stimulation, you offer to the brain, the less likely buildup is. However, people cannot always get the stimulation they need throughout the day for enhanced cognitive activity. While they may enhance one area of the brain, through activities such as reading the newspaper in the morning, it’s often difficult to stimulate the brain in a manner that offers complete brain protection.

Common misconception

This research study offered valuable information on the importance of mental stimulation. They gathered information from the participants, which offered insight on the types of activities people normally partake in. According to the results, people who took part in regular physical activity were less likely to take part in mental enhancement activities. This meant that if they exercised each day, reading and similar activities were often left undone. The reasoning behind this was because people often thought the physical stimulation alone was enough to prevent age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, yet this is far from the truth.

Even with regular physical activity, mental stimulation is needed. When you combine both activities together, you’re building yourself up for the ultimate protection. Challenging your body on both a mental and physical level is crucial, but some people feel that if they don’t enjoy reading or similar activities they cannot offer their minds with the enhancement it needs.

In order to reach full-brain protection through the use of crossword puzzles, you don’t have to drive yourself crazy. Simply doing the crossword puzzle in your Sunday paper once per-week is enough to provide you with the stimulation you need to prevent Alzheimer’s. If you enjoy crossword puzzles, doing them more regularly is simple. However, if you’re not a fan of the crossword puzzle found in your newspaper, there’s books available that offer puzzles on several different levels, and many people find they’re able to enjoy the activity once they find the one best suited for their taste.

Looking for information about Alzheimer’s disease? Check out our Pinterest board thats all about Alzheimer’s disease!


5 Basic Exercises for Seniors

exercises for seniorsExercising is key to a healthy life at all ages. Seniors can especially benefit from several different exercise techniques, aimed to improve your body, mind, and soul. Exercising has benefits that go beyond physical fitness, and according to experts it helps lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, ward off feelings of depression, and even helps you sleep sounder at night. If you’re looking for a great exercise routine that offers the benefits listed in the ladder, you’ll find these 5 basic exercises can be completed in no time at all.

Go for a walk

Walking is one enjoyable and simple exercise. When you go for a brisk walk, you can enjoy the nature around you, while increasing your heart rate, blood flow, and oxygen supply to the brain. Taking a walk each day will offer you with these benefits when you keep a steady pace, and walk for at least 15-20 minutes each day.

One of the best parts of walking as an exercise is that almost everyone finds this exercise routine basic enough to complete each day. Walking not only helps build muscle, but it improves your mood, and the fresh air outside ensures your brain is getting the oxygen that it needs.

Take up swimming

When you swim at least 3 times a week, you’re providing your body with the exercise it needs to increase muscle mass, oxygen flow, and your heart rate. Swimming is the only exercise for seniors that works every single muscle group in the body.

If you’re looking to improve your health through swimming, you can join others at your local YMCA, and start using one of the most effective exercises for seniors in your spare time.

Take the stairs

When you take the stairs, you’re completing an exercise routine similar to cardio. Walking up the stairs each day helps tone the muscles in the legs, build upper arm strength if you hold onto the railing, and increases your heart rate which is essential for increased blood flow and oxygen levels. Even taking the steps rather than the elevator twice each week offers the benefits listed above.

Don’t forget to stretch

Many people don’t realize how important stretching is, and that it’s one of the most important exercises for seniors. When you do some basic stretching exercises each day, you’re increasing your mobility and flexibility. In addition, you’re warding off future issues with mobility due to loss of flexible movement within the different muscle groups.

Stretching out your muscles is most effective in the morning and before completing any additional exercise routine. When you stretch your muscles before exercising each day, you reduce your risk of injury due to a pulled muscle or similar issue.

Build upper strength

Building strength in your upper body is an important senior exercise. When you build strength in the upper body, you’re reducing your risk of injury, and keeping your muscles strong. There are several simple strength building exercises for the upper body that you can easily complete at home.

Some seniors enjoy lifting light weights are an upper body exercise for seniors. You only need a 5-10lb weight to reap the benefits of this routine. It’s important that you start off with a light weight, and increases the weight overtime until you reach the right comfort level.

Most of these exercises can be completed in no time. Once you start exercising each day, you’ll see the great benefits of exercising as they start to pay off. Taking part in basic exercises for seniors will pay off huge in the long-run, and they only take a few minutes to master.

Has exercising helped improve your quality of life? Please share you success stories with us, we’d love to hear!

5 Stages of Breast Cancer

breastcancer3As you know, breast cancer develops and can spread rapidly through the body. In order for doctors to make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan, they must know which stage of breast cancer you are in. This process is called staging, of which the doctor can determine how large the tumor is and how far it has spread. Once the doctor has performed a biopsy of the tumor or lymph node, they can start making the determination. Let’s review how breast cancer spreads through the body and its five stages.

How Cancer Spreads Throughout the Body

The process of cancer spreading throughout the body is called Metastasis. When cancer reaches another part of your body and form a tumor, that new tumor is called a metastatic tumor.

A metastatic tumor is not a new type of cancer in your body. If you have breast cancer and the cancer cells spread to your lungs, it’s not lung cancer, it’s still breast cancer. You just have breast cancer cells in your lungs. When you put the cells under a microscope, they will look like the cells in your breast. The same holds true if it travels to your liver, stomach, ovaries, prostate, or any other area of your body.

Once cancer cells break away from the tumor, the cancer spreads through the body in three ways: via the tissue, the lymphatic system, or the blood.

1. Tissue – When the cancer cells spread in the local area, it travels via tissue.

2. Lymphatic system – Cancer can spread from its place or origin and get into your lymphatic system. This system is responsible for fighting infections in your body. So, this system carries your cells everywhere.

3. Blood – Your blood circulates throughout your entire body. Cancer cells can get into the blood and travel via your blood vessels.

The 5 Stages of Breast Cancer

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) recognizes breast cancer as having five main stages, stages one through five. However, they are generally written in Roman numerals, 0 through IV. Once your cancer spreads or gets worse, it is progressing. Staging consists of the three combinations of the following classifications:

1. The tumor’s size (T)
2. The number of lymph nodes found (N)
3. How far the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body (M)

Stages 0 through IV are considered the early forms or stages of the disease. Stages III and IV are considered advanced stages of breast cancer.

Stage 0

Stage 0 breast cancer is considered noninvasive. There is no threat that the cells will grow or spread.

Stage I

Stage I is invasive breast cancer. The tumor is smaller than 2 cm (about the width of your finger). There are two subcategories for Stage I breast cancer: 1A and 1B.

• 1A – The cancer cells have not spread outside the breast
• 1B – The cancer cells have traveled outside the breast into the lymph nodes. There may or may not be a tumor present in the breast.

Stage II

Stage II is invasive breast cancer. This stage also has two subcategories.

• 2A – The tumor is smaller than 2 cm, or there is no tumor found in the breast. However, cancer cells may be present in the lymph nodes. Breast cancer may also be considered stage 2A if the tumor is between 2 cm-5 cm and the cancer cells have not spread to the lymph nodes.

• 2B – The tumor is between 2 cm-5 cm, and the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes. Breast cancer may also be considered stage 2B if the tumor is larger than 5 cm, but the cells have not spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage III

In stage III, the cancer is now locally advanced. This means the cancer has spread to other tissues in the breast or the lymph nodes; however, it has not made its way throughout the body to other sites. Stage III breast cancer has three subcategories.

• 3A – The tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to one, two, or three lymph nodes. The tumor could also be of any size, but has spread through multiple lymph nodes.

• 3B – The tumor is of any size and has spread through breast tissues, the chest and skin muscles, and there may be signs in the lymph nodes in the breast or underarm.

• 3C – The tumor is of any size and has spread to more than 10 underarm lymph nodes. Alternatively, the cancer may be found in the lymph nodes around the collarbone, in the breast, and/or under the arm.

Stage IV

Stage IV is considered metastatic breast cancer or advanced breast cancer. The cancer has spread beyond its origin point. It’s not localized anymore. This is when the lungs, brain, liver, and other sites are affected. At this point, treatment can extend a patient’s life; however, the cancer is incurable.

Once your breast cancer stage has been identified, you and your doctor will discuss treatment options. As you can see, knowing the early signs of breast cancer may prevent you from reaching stage IV breast cancer.