We Are Strong

Over a handful of decades in our rearview with experiences that have elated or challenged us. Many say we learn the most from difficulities-maybe yours include the loss of loved one(s), health challenges, career disruptions, personal choices that weren’t optimal or whatever. These contribute to our growth and solidity. Let’s use this learned fortitude and reslience to face aging today. Then tomorrow. And repeat the next day. Let’s stay strong, safe and focus on being fantastic!

“Foot Lose”

As we age, even our feet change – they flatten, become wider, develop nail & skin conditions and may lose circulation. Keep ’em: 1)Clean with a regular pedicure or Sports Soak (guy-type), or wash them separately with a cloth or sponge; then dry completely. 2)Wear the right shoes and size. Wearing flats or athletic shoes lowers our risk of falls. You may need the wide-toe styles, as well. 3)Moisture dry feet to prevent cracking & flaking. 4)Keep your feet moving – swimming and cycling are easy on your feet; walking and simple stretches help circulation. 5) Maintain a healthy weight, so as not to put extra strain on your feet and ankles. 6) See a medical professional as needed.

Soothing Sleep

We need between 7.5-9 hours of sleep, yet many Seniors report fragmented and lighter sleep. Tips: Stick to a regular schedule (don’t binge on distressing news before going to bed), Avoid long naps during the day, Drink less at night (alcohol and other liquids), Exercise during the day and Breathe fresh air (in thru the nose, out slowly thru the mouth) (webmd) Make your bedroom an Official Sleep Zone in a quiet area of the house – calm wall color, dark curtain, no tv or devices. Good sleepers tend to be less depressed, have better cognitive skills and lower their risk of night falls.

Music is Mind Medicine

Music is mind medicine. Research associates it with improved memory, motivation and brain activity, plus lowered stress, anxiety and even pain levels (Johns Hopkins). Compare this to constant exposure to negative news which stirs feelings of pessimism or disapproval that can elevate sleeplessness, stress, anxiety and depression (Dr. Graham Davey). Of course we need to stay informed, yet we’ll Sing. Listen. Create. Music. We can do this!

Laughter Best Medicine

Laughter. Laughter therapy. Laughter yoga. Laughter benefits for Seniors include muscle relaxation, pain decrease, stress and tension lessens, endorphins increase, blood flow increases and laughter may add years to your life. So watch & read something funny, connect with people who tickle your funny bone, do silly things or engage in fun activities. For more info: Mayo Clinic Mindness: Laughter for Stress Relief is No Joke.

Flower Powers

A dose of nature, especially flowers are linked to greater happiness and life satisfaction (Rutgers University). When flowers are present, Seniors experience an increase in mood, memory tasks and personal memories. Reap the benefits with a pre-arranged bouquet, your own pots or simply strolling past a blooming lilac bush on the way to the postoffice.

Add a friend

Add a friend. It may be even tougher today to make new friends especially during COVIS-19, yet we are sure your 10-year-OLDER-self will reap the benefits of better physical, mental and emotional health. As your area opens up and you are feeling healthy and confident, here are some suggests: Check out meetup.com for ideas and what is available in your area. Join a hobby club, exercise class, continuing education online or on-ground class, religious group, Volunteer, Work part-time, Get your neighbors together, Go to the gym, Do what you love or Explore something new. Have faith, your friendships will develop, just remember the “trust” process takes a bit of time. Have fun with with your “friends” adventure!

CBD Information Series, Plus Q & A by Kyle & Heather Steppe

Family business owners, Kyle & Heather Steppe opened KC Hemp Co in Overland Park, Kansas a couple of years ago. Both have personal experience using CBD to better their health and life. At this time, KC Hemp Co is selling online.

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, has been resurrected from the natural health grave. As a component of the cannabis plant, it has received a lot of unfortunate backlash. Did you know up until the 1930’s people were more than likely prescribed a tincture of cannabis from their doctor for a wide variety of ailments including; sleep, arthritis, nausea, and stomach pain? It wasn’t until the 1930’s that propaganda came after the cannabis plant and buried its therapeutic potential in fear mongering and racism. Now, almost 90 years later, we are finally able to bring it out of the shadows and into the light, unveiling its true natural healing properties, possibly providing an answer to the horrifying opioid crisis, and showing that the infamous “reefer madness” is just that, madness.

Fear not Fantastic 55er’s, we here at KC Hemp Co. will provide answers to some of the common questions you may have surrounding CBD and cannabis in general. Over the next few weeks we will talk all about cannabis and the different components of it to help you in your journey to natural and holistic health alternatives.

 For now, we will start with the basics.

 What is CBD? CBD is a cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant. It is only one of hundreds but one of the more popular and well known of the lot. It has shown promising therapeutic properties not only within personal testimonies but also through scientific studies, illuminating its potential. The second most known cannabinoid is THC, this is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the “high” associated with the plant. There are still only a small amount of studies available as studying the cannabis plant has been illegal for a long time. We are finally starting to see a lift on that ban and will start seeing much more research coming out in the months and years ahead.

 How does CBD work and what can it do? CBD works by interacting with your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). You’ve heard of the cardiovascular system, the endocrine and exocrine systems but probably never the Endocannabinoid System. Discovered in the 1990’s, we are finding this system exists within most living creatures, even earth worms! This system is responsible for creating homeostasis, or balance, within the body. This responsibility was once thought to be put on the thyroid but we are finding even the ECS can balance that!

 It has shown promise to help people with everything from depression and anxiety to arthritis and high blood pressure. When you think of these ailments that plague the body, they are caused by an imbalance somewhere! By activating our Endocannabinoid System with CBD, we are able to let our bodies balance, from the inside out, and start to heal itself!

Does CBD work for everyone?No, CBD does not work for everyone or every condition. Studies have shown that about 80% of people who try CBD have seen relief from their ailments while 20% reported no change. With that being said, ensuring you are using the right CBD product with proper dosing can improve your chances of seeing great results with these products. Everyone’s Endocannabinoid System is different and requires a different dose or method of taking CBD. It is recommended you speak with one of our highly trained and qualified associates to help find the right product to maximize your results and develop a customized CBD regimen.

Will CBD get me high? Will it show up on a drug screen? CBD is the non-psychotropic component of the cannabis plant so you will not get “high” from taking it nor is it tested for on drug screens. On the other hand, THC is the psychotropic component of the plant and will be tested for on a drug screen. Our KC Hemp Co. products are THC-FREE so you do not have to worry about failing a drug screen or getting high. On our website, we have indicated which products are considered “full spectrum” meaning they contain small amounts of THC that could potentially show up on a drug screen though they are in such small amounts that they will not get you high. Please read all product descriptions thoroughly before purchasing a product, or contact us via phone and we will walk you through our products.

Does CBD interact with other medications? Research shows that CBD can interact with other medications. Always consult your doctor before using CBD. The main interactions occur with blood thinners, high blood pressure medication, steroids and small class of antipsychotic drugs. If your medicine requires that you stay away from grapefruit, it is recommended you do not use CBD. For more information on drug interactions please consult your physician.

How long does it take to work? This depends completely on your own body. Some people see results immediately and others take weeks before you notice a difference. Make sure to listen to your body and adjust your dosing to find the perfect amount of CBD for you. If you need help adjusting the dose or don’t know where to start, please contact us and we will be happy to help you through the process.

 Fan55 Mary Beth Asks:

Q: “I am a stage 3 breast cancer survivor I had chemo, double mastectomy with 23 lymph nodes removed and radiation. Do you have products that help alleviate some of the joint pain and scar tissue pain I am experiencing?”

A: Mary Beth, people have reported that CBD has provided great relief both during and after cancer treatments. One of the most common uses of CBD is for inflammation related pain, specifically in the joints.  We have seem great success for this specific ailment when people use a tincture. This is the most common method people use when they take CBD oil. It goes directly under the tongue with a metered dropper to carefully measure your dose. As always, we recommend starting with a low dose and slowly titrating up until you find the dose that works best for your condition. With regards to the scar tissue, using a topical CBD option could potentially help decrease the appearance. As aforementioned, there are not a lot of clinical studies to support this recommendation but we can say we have had a lot of personal experience, and relayed testimony from customers to support these suggestions.

Most importantly, for anyone looking to purchase CBD, ensure you are purchasing from a reputable source. To identify a reputable source, look for a company that uses organic ingredients, has third party lab testing and make sure they do not add harmful additives or fillers. This ensures you are getting a pure product and increases your chances of a successful journey with CBD.

No Fall Zone

  25% of Americans ages 65+ fall each year and about half of those are in the home (NCOA, National Council on Aging). Since we are spending most of our time at home, let’s be safe. Wear Shoes! because socks are a slip-hazard. Wear comfy clothes that aren’t baggy as overly loose clothes can get caught on drawer handles or under foot. Get rid of cludder in your hallways, stairways and where you normally walk. Re-think rugs especially the ones that slide or are thick. Replace bulbs with the brightest recommended or LED bulbs and use your handrails. As Benjamin Franklin said in 1736, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

And Breathe…

Deep breaths lower stress and signal our brain, and then our body to calm down and relax lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Belly Breathing: Sit or lie comfortably. Put one hand just below your ribs and the other on your chest. Breathe in thru your nose (your tummy will bloat with air). Breathe out thru puckered lips. Your tummy hand will move inward then lightly push to completely exhale. Slowly repeat 3-10 times (Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Stree Relief UofM Health).

Navigate with Resilience

Resilience helps us navigate aging.  Build and nurture positive and supportive relationships, Look for the lesson in challenging times, Choose optimism, Be selectively proactive and Accept change are suggestions presented in S. Alidina’s book, The Mindful Way Through Stress. And remember, managing stress helps our body, brain and heart.

Self-Care is Smart Care

Self-care is Smart Care. Now is the time to prioritize YOU! Here are some low cost, yet highly effective to do’s: Eat healthy foods (fruits, veggies, extra protein); Exercise 2.5 hours each week; Sleep well- quality sleep helps your mood and energy; Do what makes you happy and fulfilled; and Manage your medications properly. More info 7 Ways to Step Up Your Self-Care as You Age by Patricia Corrigan, nextavenue.org, 8-28-19 and Self-Care is not an Indulgence. It is a Discipline by Tami Forman, forbes.com, 12-13-17. 

To Nap or Not?

Napping (usually 20-30 minutes) delivers benefits of reduced stress and feelings of relaxation. They help rejuvenate us to finsh the day active and strong. And a recent study (Johns Hopkins University) found an afternoon nap of about 1-hour may improve memory and thinking skills. If you decide to nap, take them in the early afternoon, in a restful place and set a timer (napping shouldn’t be so long as to interfere with your sleep schedule). More info at Hour-long Naps May Boost Mental Ability for Older Adults by Honor Whiteman, medicalnewstoday.com 9-9-2017 and Napping: Do’s and don’ts for Healthy Adults, mayoclinic.org 

Walk On

Walk on. Especially for the 55+, regular walking helps burn calaroies & manage weight, helps our brain by giving it more oxygen, strengthens our bones & muscles, and improves our balance & coordination making us less likely to fall. Walking gives us time to process our world/life and improves our mood by producing stress-busting endorphins. Step it up to a brisk walk for maximum benefit and track your progress.

Brain Health + Blood Pressure

Brain health and blood pressure are related declares a new study from U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). People who had little control over their blood pressure are at risk for white matter accumulation in their brain leading to mental decline and dementia. Controlling your blood pressure reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease and cognitive loss.

You know the drill – get checked (now even more reasons to do so), stay healthy and nudge a friend to do the same. More info at Controlling Blood Pressure May Help Ward Off Dementia by Robert Preidt, cbsnews.com and High Blood Pressure Dangers: Hypertension’s Effects on Your Body by Mayo Clinic Staff, mayoclinic.org

Seniors Socializing Aids Well-Being

“Let’s get together!” Behavioral finance research shows social spending like going for coffee, dinner or vacations with friends increases life satisfaction. Spending time with a spouse in a strong marriage tops the list. Buying stuff didn’t notably raise life satisfaction (Finke, American College of Financial Services). More information at Happily Ever After: How to Help Retirees Make Lifestyle Choices They’ll Love, investmentnews.com, 9-3-19

Hip to Be Healthy

It’s hip to be healthy. Even light exercise like walking, bowling and gardening can lower the risk of a broken hip especially in women (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Activity helps your agility, balance and muscle strength. Plus your bones will be healthier when you get the recommended daily amounts of calcium and Vitamin D. Your physician can help and may order bone density screenings for more information.

Tea Party Time

Tea Pary Time! Benefits of drinking tea include: Brain Health stimulation which lowers cognitive decline; Stress Relief by lowering stress hormones; and drinking Green Tea is associated with Mood Improvement; Adding Antioxidants; Lowering blood pressure and heart disease. Pour a little milk into your tea to aid bone strength, too.

Drinking tea make us smile and think of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “A woman is like a tea bag–you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. For more on Seniors and drinking tea go to Daily Consumption of Tea May Protect the Eldery from Cognitive Decline, Study Suggests, sciencedaily.com

Step Count

Getting in plenty of steps is sometimes challenging in January! 10,000 steps are the goal for many, yet a new Brigham and Women’s Hospital study of older women (average age 72) suggests 7,500 steps may be just as beneficial to live longer. So how do we get our steps in… wear walking shoes throughout the day-when a break arises we are ready to go, walk where it is safe & interesting, target a time of day, measure steps, listen to music or a podcast, walk with a pal or group or whatever helps You to get movin’

We CAN Delay Alzheimer’s

Harvard professor: Healthy Living CAN delay Alzheimer’s recommends SHIELD: Sleep for 7-8 hours per night, Handle stress successfully, Interact with others, Exercise, Learn new things, Diet rich in fiber. Rudolph Tanzi, Harvand professor Medical School Neurology and author, tesitified in front of the Senate with this message just days ago. Tanzi is the author of  “Super Genes” and The Healing Self” books. More info Healthy Living Can Delay Alzheimer’s. LettingSeniors Work Longer Saves Medical Costs, Senate Told by Ted Knuston, forbes.com 9-25-19

Coping with Holiday Isolation

Don’t miss “Coping with Isolation at the Holidays” by guest blogger, Heather Thomas. Her thoughtful words comfort and inspire us, yet most importantly remind us that we are not alone. Heather offers positive steps for the Extroverts and Introverts among us. She adds a reading list, movie list and live links to organizations that may be of help. We sincerly appreciate Heather sharing her important insights with us.

Meditate for Mind Health

Meditation helps Seniors stay present plus keeps our mind sharp and focused. To start, take 20 minutes each day to meditate by sitting comfortably and still then close your eyes, focus on your natural breathing or another focus point. Take a class, get a coach or check out more info at The Many Benefits of Meditation for Older Adults by Heidi Godman, health.usnews.com, 6-22-18

Schedule Silence

Schedule Silence to release tension in the brain and body, have better focus and memory, heighten sensitivity, aid in brain growth in the hippocampus and improve sleep. In our world of tv, smart phones, music and loud traffic, let’s take time to remember that Silence is really Golden. More information in 5 Health Benefits of Being Silent For Your Mind and Body by Lizette Borreli, medialdaily.com 9-2016

Alzeheimer’s Drug Files FDA Approval

Biogen announced yesterday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is allowing them (Biogen and partner Eisai) to file (part of the process, no guarantee on approval) for its experimental drug, aducnumab, to treat mild Alzheimer’s disease. About 10 million Americans suffer from the disease. Reseachers found that a key protein gathers in the brain and clearing that protein keep a brain healthier. More information at CNN and video information at CNBC

Prevent Falls

About 1/3 of those 65+ fall each year.  And about 1/2  of those 80+ fall each year. We can change this! Steps to PREVENT: Remove obstacles, Add lights especially on stairs, Install shower grab bars, Use no-slip mats in the bathroom, secure or remove loose rugs, Use cabinets that are within reach, Wear sensible shoes, see your doctor with any challenges before you fall, do tai chi or yoga for balance and flexibility and more (National Council on Aging, Mayo Clinic, “Fall Prevention:Simple Tips to Prevent Falls.” Tell your friends. We can reverse this sad trend and stay upright!

Core Care

Core Care helps prevent injuries and falls, improves balance and stability and reduces pain. Your core consists of your back, abdominal, hip, pelvis and spine muscles. Exercise and stretching are the keys and you can even improve your core while watching TV. Here’s a 5 min video with gentle and simple exercises to get you started or take a class and learn from your peers.

Move More

Move more. Sit Less. Weekly guidelines: Get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity, or a combination of both. Plus, 2 tmes per week, do muscle strengthening activities like light weights, biking, resistance bands and climbing steps  (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Train your Brain

Brain training, eating healthy and exercise research points to improving or maintaining cognitive function. After age 65, the risk of dementia doubles approximately every 5 years. Brain-training activities: Memory games, Draw a map, Research a new topic, Read a how-to book, Learn a new language, Take a class, Learn to play a musical instrument and more. Think of your brain health like a 3-rung stool – first the brain needs exercises, second a healthy diet helps and third, exercise and and keep your vascular system healthy (the brain needs oxygen which is carried via blood to the brain). Find more information online including Brain Training for Seniors, In Search of Brain Training That Works by Sarah Toy, wsj.com and This is The Only Type of Brain Training That Works, According to Science by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company.

Powerhouse Purpose

Purpose in your life leads to better health and a longer life. A JAMA Psychiatry report confirms that people with purposeful lives are less stressed and more engaged which leads to better cognitive and physical health. And finding or re-framing your purpose at 55+ may come to you or you may have to work at developing it. Good news-at this stage in life you are probably #1 in charge, you can tap into resources and learn from others. Tell us about your purpose-your journey may help others. For more information check out Seniors with Strong Sense of Purpose Often Live Stronger, by Judith Graham, chicagotribune.com

Do ONE THING

One Thing. Do one extra thing TODAY to lift your physical, mental or emotional health. Just one. Laugh. Add a block to your walk. Call a friend. Buy yourself a treat (you deserve it). Sing a song. Smile. 💝This aging thing is not easy, so be good to yourself and inspire us with your One Thing by emailing anno@fantastic55.com💝

Alzheimer’s Update

Alzheimer’s research is advancing as 5.6 Million Americans battle it. Recently pathogens (oligomers) have been identifited as tiny clumps of protein in patients’ brains with the disease, so drug strategies are beginning. Meantime, YOU can help yourself: 1)Exercise 2)Learn something new 3)Socialize 4)Maintain healthy blood pressure 5)Eat Healthy. For more info Scientists Reveal Ground-Breaking Plan to Target Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, University of Cambridge, medicalpress.com and 5 Ways to Help Keep Dementia at Bay, heatlh.com

Science sez Smile

Make today a YOU-Day🌼Positivity and health are closely related (Johns Hopkins Medicine). Steps to help: 1)Smile more-even fake smiling helps😃; 2)Reframe-accept and be grateful; 3)Build Resiliency-strive for good relationships, accept life changes and be proactive with challenges. Our founder’s YOU included a new pair of sunglasses which really made her shine (like we almost started to worry)! More info on the research The Power of Positive Thinking, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Lisa R Yanek, M.P.H. and colleagues.

The 5 Habits

The 5 Habits that may prolong your life by a decade or more (Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health): 1)Eat healthy 2)Exercise every day 3)Maintain a healhy weight 4) Drink less alcohol 5)Don’t smoke. Yup, we are working on a few of these, too. And we welcome your suggestions and tips of triumph. More info at A 30-Year Harvard Study Reveals the 5 Simple Habits That May Prolong Your Life by 10 Years or More by John Hall, cnbc.com.

Meditation Matters

Especially for 55+, meditation offers many benefits including helping decrease blood pressure and inflammation plus it helps with feelings of well-being and increased quality of life. Start by simply watching an online podcast, finding a class or group (ask your pals), or contact your local community or senior center, gym or retirement community. Meditation fits all budgets because it can be low-cost or no-cost. For additional info click: The Many Benefits of Meditation for Older Adults by Heidi Godman, usnews.com. Try Meditation podcasts: The Meditation Podcast, The Daily Meditation Podcast, Headspace and more at 5 Best Meditation Podcasts for Seniors

Talkin’ Telomeres today with Caroline Khalil. Telomeres are the protective compound at the end of chromosomes that shorten when cells divide. Shorter telomeres lead to aging and disease. Keep your telomeres longer with a healthy weight, regular exercise, lower stress (meditate) and eat healthy. This TedxNashville Talk is 15 min and Parsley Health’s What are Telomeres And How Do They Keep Us Younger Longer? add details and proactive suggestions.

Diabetes: Who Me?

Who me? 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 have diabetes. Family history is a strong risk factor. Warning signs include frequent urination, feeling very tired, increased thirst, always feeling hungry and more. Be proactive and get screened! Click for more information: American Diabetes Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute of Health.

Sing, Sing a Song

Sing a Song for better brain health says research from Johns Hopkins. Singing, listening to music or taking a music lesson are total brain workouts that can reduce anxiety, blood pressure and pain levels. Plus they improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness and memory. Details are in Keep Your Brain Young with Music from hopkinsmedicine.org

Muscle Power Greater Than Strength?

Muscle strength is good, yet power might be better for aging bodies. The difference? Holding or pushing a heavy object uses strength; climbing stairs-the faster you go requires power. Additionally, repeatedly rising from a chair using only your legs requires muscle power (CLINIMEX). For more info on this new research click this link to Muscle Power Might Be Key to Long Life, usnews.com, by Robert Preidt.

Sitting Disease

Do you have the Sitting Disease? Although not a recognized disease, WebMD defines it as the propensity to not get enough physical activity which increases our risk for poor health as we age. Tips: Interrupt sitting with standing for 1-2 minutes, take a walk, use a standup desk, hop on the treadmill or do whatever gets you movin’. For more information click here.

Meditate More

Neuroscience suggests 50-year-olds can have the brains of 25-year-olds when they meditate (sit quietly and do nothing) even 15 minutes per day (Sara Lazar, Mass General and Harvard Medical School) as measured by gray matter. Develop your meditation habits, slow down and realize the benefits. More info in published in The Harvard Gazette,  Health & Medicine, “Eight Weeks to a Better Brain.”

Exercise: A Miracle Drug

Exercise is a miracle drug, especially group exercise for those 55+. It improves blood flow to the brain, relieves stress, lifts your mood, slows down the aging of cells and more. When you exercise in a group the social stimulation helps your psychological, physical and cognitive helath. START TODAY. We commit to walking TODAY. This information is compiled from McMaster University in Ontartio,  AARP and LIVESTRONG.

Gratefully Yours

Being grateful can benefit your overall health especially in Seniors. Tips: Appreciate everything-even small stuff, Practice mindfulness, Volunteer, Keep a gratitude journal, Spend time with loved-ones and find more in forbes.com, 8 Ways to Have More Gratitude Every Day by Janet Miller

More Measles??

Today measles cases in the US exceed 700 (even though it was declared eliminated in 2000), highest in 25 years. So do older adults need a booster shot?? The Center for Disease Control recommends the MMR booster for people who were vaccinated between 1963-1967. And people born between 1957-1960 may not have been vaccinated for measles. However, those born BEFORE 1957 are considered protected because measles were so widespread at that time, they’ve probably been exposed.
 
“There’s no downside to getting a dose of measles vaccine,” states William Schaffner, professor Vanderbilt University and an infectious disease and vaccine expert. “If you’re (already) protected, it won’t help much, but it won’t harm you. And if you happen to be susceptible, it will give you over 90% protection.”(npr.org)
 
CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR.
Click for more information:

Social Time

Social interactions are good for your brain. It takes energy, makes your body and mind work harder, and may preserve your memory.  “It involves mental gymnastics. And you also have to stay abreast of topics, like the news, weather, sports, or politics,” says James Lubben, director of the Institute on Aging at Boston College and developer of the quiz. Take the Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS) quiz below from Harvard Health Publishing (health.harvard.edu), Social Engagement and Healthy Aging, 3-2013

Fantastic55 suggests you reach out to a family member or friend or even potential friend to take the quiz, take a walk or grab a coffee!

Take the Quiz

Lubben Social Netowrk Scale (LSNS) Quiz

Answer=Score

None=0 points

1 =1 point

2 =2 points

3-4 =3 points

5-8 =4 points

9 or more = 5 points

If your combined score for all of the questions is 12 or lower, you may be socially isolated.

FAMILY: The people to whom you are related by birth, marriage, adoption, etc.
1. How many relatives do you see or hear from at least once a month?
2. How many relatives do you feel enough at ease with that you can talk about private matters?
3. How many relatives do you feel close to such that you could call on them for help?
FRIENDSHIPS: All of your friends, including those in your neighborhood.
4. How many of your friends do you see or hear from at least once a month?
5. How many friends do you feel at ease with that you can talk to about private matters?
6. How many friends do you feel close to such that you could call on them for help?
If your combined score for all six questions is 12 or lower, you may be socially isolated.

Low Dose or No Dose

Low-dose aspirin is not helpful for healthy older adults as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. However, those who have stents or have had heart attacks should continue taking them. And of course, talk with your doctor. Here’s an in-depth article from the New York Times, “Daily Low-Dose Aspirin No Longer Recommended by Doctors, if You’re Healthy” by Laura M. Holson, 3-18-2018.

For Your Health

Satisfaction of relationships increase with age and have a positive impact on our life. Be proactive-make new friends plus keep old ones close. This can be challenging, yet your health will reap the benefits! Join a new group, volunteer, take a class, visit a local brew pub, restaurant or coffeehouse. Published in the American Society on Aging, What Social Relationships can do for Health by Sara Honn Qualls takes a deep dive into aging and social relationships.

Peak Happiness

Happiness in your 50-70’s contributes to it being the most satisfying time of life. “The peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the 7th decade,” says director Laura Carstensen, PhD, Stanford University Center on Longevity. Purposeful work, starting a new business, voluntering or mentoring are important components. Staying healthy and connected (in-person and digitally) help, as well. For more information Science proves that Happiness begins at 50, by Jonathan Rauch, NYPost.com, 4-28-2018

Aging in Place Starts Early

Aging in place is now preferred by 90% of those 65+ who begin early prepping with first floor living, extra lighting outdoors and in dark hallways, safe bathrooms (grab bars, high toliets), 36″ doorways and hallways, lever knobs and more info go to https://www.aginginplace.org/, https://aginginplace.com/, https://fantastic55.com/research/money-matters/

Limit TV or Forget ‘Bout It

Limit TV watching or risk verbal memory decline. For those 50+, poorer verbal memory is associated with watching more than 3.5 hours of TV as discussed in Bill Andrews’ article, For the Elderly, Too Much TV Could Hurt Their Memory (Journal Scientific Reports). Suggestions – listen to music, read, play a boardgame, go out to a show, take a walk or watch less tv! For more information, the live link takes you to Andrews’ article.

Brain Boost

Boost your brain power – “go and do” with your pals! Social interactions require us to compute complex and subtle social cues requiring mental attention and flexibility (Aging & Mental Health Journal, 2017).

Friends=Better Health

Keeping, making or re-connecting with friends is tougher as we mature, yet is is critical to our health. Reach out and go for coffee, lunch, a walk, tour, class or whatever. Discover shared interests and go forward from there. The Trick to Keeping Friends as We Get Older by Diane Cole, wsj.com gives an in-depth look at “re-potting” friends. The graph shows age on the bottom moving from 15 years to 80 years and hours with others are tracked in multiple colors from Henrik Lindberg; US Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Survey, 2003-20015

We See You

Include good health care into your routine starting with regular comprehensive dilated eye exams. Plus lifestyle choices help – eating plenty of leafy dark greens, maintaining a healthy a healthy weight, no smoking , wearing sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes from the sun and more in this National Eye Health Education Program report, Helping Older Adults See Well For a Lifetime.

Unstuck

Do you have trouble or pain swallowing especially steak, chicken or large bites? It might be dyshpagia (more common as we age) and if it happens often, call your doctor. Risk factors include eating too fast, taking too large of bites or not drinking enough water while eating. And it may be a problem with your esophagus or something else. If minior, steps that can help you include chewing food longer, take longer to eat, don’t eat lying down and drink more water during your meal. Click the  familydoctor.org link for in-depth information on Dysphagia.

Couples see an Increase in Humor

Over the long term as couples age together, humor and affection increased while defensiveness and criticism decreased says a UC Berkley 25-year study published in the Emotion journal. Click the link to the full article, Hang in there. As couples age, humor replaces bickering by Yasmin Anwar, 12-3-2018

Connections Matter as Americans Age Alone

More Americans are aging alone as discussed in this recent The Wall Street Journal article, More Than Ever, Americans Age Alone. We suggest work at staying connected, discover new interests and reach out to someone who may need you. Digital connections count, so invite your connections to join Fantastic55 or other groups that might be of assistance.

Positive Vibes

Older adults show more positive emotions and more quickly move out of a negative mood as discussed in research from the Association for Psychological Science. See the full article at Why Do Older Adults Display More Positive Emotion? psychologicalscience.org

Early Warnings of Heart Attack

Research suggests that heart attacks come with early warning signals including chest discomfort, extreme fatigue, weakness or shaking, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, upper body pain, sleep distrubances and stomach problems. For more information What are the Signs of Heart Attack in a Woman? by Jayne Leonard, medialnewstoday.com, 4-17-2018

Kids v Canes

“Kids versus Canes” is old-time thinking. Current research touts the benefits of intergenerational relationships with grandpareents or “grandfriends” and since next year there will be more Americans over 60 than under 18, it’s time to work together. Read the in-depth Wall Street Journal article on this Building Bridges Across the Generational Divide and the upcoming book, How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations by Marc Freedman.

Add Life to Longevity

Add life to your Longevity with your daily choices and actions. Go outside, socialize with friends, eat healthy, floss and even more. For the complete report, Simple Steps to Increase Your Life Expectancy by Mark Stibich, PhD, verywellhealth.com, 8-28-2018

Nose Breathing Benefits

Whether you are walking or sitting try breathing thru your nose. Studies show nose breathing increases circulation, benefits your brain, helps fight infections, improves lung volumes and more. For additional information: Breathing Through the Nose May Offer Unique Brain Benefits by Gretchen Reynolds, nytimes.com, 11-20-2018

Walking Improves your Brain

Harvard University Health reports that walking improves our thinking and memory skills for seniors and baby boomers. Plus all of the heart health benefits. More information in Another Benefit of Brisk Walking, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publishing, 8-2014.

Improve Your Walk with Deep Breathing

Small towns sometimes provide the best place to walk especially in November when a beautiful sunset meets Christmas lights. Add some deep breathing, “stomach breathing” using the diaphragm for over two times efficiency of bringing air into the lungs. For additional breathing tips go to 3 Breathing Exercises Older Adults Should Do Every Day, K. Aleisha Fetters, 8-7-2017

Make YOU a Priority

7 Signs You’re Making Your Health a Priority  Now is the time to do YOU! Kudos for what you are doing, especially the following: Be your own advocate, Learn new things, Make fitness a priority, Know your baseline numbers, Develop a healthy outlet for stress, stock the fridge with nutritious foods and Know this takes time and effort. Kate Silver, Pfizer getold.com, 1–11-2018

8 Behaviors to Take Note if You Think Someone Might Have Alzheimer’s  This in-depth article teaches us signs and asks us to watch our loved ones for: a reduced interest in lesiure activities, signs of poor judgement, repeating oneself, trouble learning new things, forgetting the year or month, forgetting appointments or commitments, and daily struggles with memory or thinking. Dr. Leslie Kernisan, betterhealthwhileaging.net

A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health  University studies suggest positive emotional skills lead to living longer. Learn 3 of these 8 skills and practice 1 each day: recognize a positive event – then talk or journal about it, start a daily gratitude journal, set a goal then track your progress and more. Click the article link. Jane E. Brody, nytimes.com, 3-27-17

NEW! Hands-Only CRP  Dr. Oz shows us how   (5 min video) Nearly 500,000 people die from heart attacks each year. New thinking for those who are NOT trained professionals, encourages hands-only CPR. #1 Step: Tell someone to call 9-1-1.  Step 2: Start chest compression at 100 beats per minute – the cadence to a fast Row, Row Your Boat. Here’s the American Heart Associations Fact Sheet on Hands-Only CPR.

Blue Mind”: Why being near the water makes you happy  Scientific research presented in the book, Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on or underwater can make your happier, more connected, and better at what you do, authored by Wallace J. Nichols encourages water spaces for better health. Apparently, water helps us get to a mildly meditative frame of mind which opposes our everyday over-connected over-stimulated brain.  Marla Cimini, usatoday.com 11-13-2017

Grow baby grow  Gardening for Older People  Health benefits include: it is a form of exercise, it increases levels of physical activity, uses motor skills, improves endurance and strength, it is FUN and more. betterhealthchannel.com

Pass the Test – Medical Test for Your 60s & Up The United States Preventative Services Task Force and others encourage us to be proactive to stay safe, healthy and happy. Screenings include: blood pressure, weight control, hearing, cancer (breast, prostate, colon), eyes, etc. Click the link for the complete list.  webmd.com

The 7 Early Sign of Aging and How to Prevent Them Chronological age v. Physiological age?? Here are 7 Tips to help your body age slower than the calendar: 1) Help dry skin by eating fresh foods, walking more, drinking more water 2) Avoid dull skin by using moisturizer 3) Fix puffy or red eyes by wearing high UV protection sunglasses 4) Stop sagging skin with a good diet, exercise, sleep and avoid sun damage 5) Keep teeth white and avoid the yellows that come with age by visiting the dentist regularly, brushing after meals, coffee & tea. Yes, our editorial team uses the white strips, too. 6) Take care of your feet by wearing sensible, but stylish shoes (this reduces fall risk as 1/3 of us over a certain age, will take a fall) and our editors recommend pedicures, called “sport soaks” for the guys. 7) Focus on fat areas with exercise, yoga and healthy eating. Sarah Ban, healthyway.com, 6-6-2018

6 Ways to Get Help if your Kids Aren’t Nearby

“Tribes” or “Villages”  are hot topics these days and being in them helps in healthy aging. Here are 6 helpful tips:1)Keep in touch with new and old friends 2)Stay digitally connected to family – looking at the grandkids’ pictures, reconnecting with friends, learning from trusted websites like this one 3)Connect with nonprofits in your community that assist in the aging process 4)Consider living with others – maybe a friend or a couple of them like the Golden Girls tv show or in a co-housing community 5)Use medical and health tracking apps 6)Create a living will and designate a proxy. Kate Silver, Pfizer GetOld.com, 5-21-2018

10 Ways to Boost Your Energy for Seniors include being mentally active (reading, learning, playing games), exercise (even deep breathing counts!), eating high protein foods, getting plenty of sleep, getting the right nutrients, finding joy, purpose and meaning in life (work, volunteer, create, help someone), taking care of your inner self with mindful meditation, drinking plenty of water, not smoking and staying socially connected. Sarah Stevenson, aplaceformom.com, 8-11-2017

Get your grains on! Brown rice is particularly good for Seniors because it helps regulate blood pressure, cuts down plaque and lowers heart disease due to the protiens, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and niacin in it. This recipe features shallots and fresh lemon basil.

Tai Chi is the answer. It’s easy and gentle while building strength, flexibility and balance.  You can do it at home, in a class, at the park or on the beach. We use Dr. Lam’s Beginners Warm Up Exercises at 11 minutes into his video (“Smile at everybody”) or check out DailyCaring.com’s suggestions at 3 Easy Tai Chi Videos for Senior Prevent Falls, Improve Balance and Strength (videos) dailycaring.com

Standing Wheelchairs: Information & Reviews Standing wheelchairs sometimes called a standing chair are chairs that let the user go from a sitting position to standing while still being in the chair. They improve the user’s quality of life and access to people, places and things. They have been linked to relieving back pressure in some patients. The link provides additional information, manufacturers, funding sources and more.  disabled-world.com, 1-10-2016

Coffee is good for you, More Science Shows  New research shows people who drank coffee were less likely to die over a 10-year time frame. Our Fan55’ers have heard about the benefits of coffee, exercising and socialization. Sooo, start your day with a walk (maybe with friends), make a stop at the coffee store and have a fantastic day. Maggie Fox, nbcnews.com, 7-2-2018

Seniors need to take extra care during heat waves including 1) Drink extra water or fruit juice 2) Wear sunscreen, a hat, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing 3) Go out early to avoid the heat of the day 4) Find a cool spot like the library, mall, activity center and 5) Check on elders on pets.

6 Benefits of Eating Blueberries for Brain Health, From Lowering Dementia Risk to Improving Memory  Research into eating blueberries reveals these 6 benefits even in old age 1) Lowers Dementia Risk 2) Reduces Effects of Alzheimers 3) Prevents Memory Loss 4) Boosts Brain Cells 5) Boosts Concentration, Memory 6) Boosts Mental Health. Lizette Borreli, medicaldaily.com, 7-7-2017

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), using light weights during your workout helps lessen the problems of arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, back pain and depression. This 20-Minute Weight Training Workout for Seniors is an easy way to add strength training to your weekly planner. Start this in your 50’s and your body & mind will be thanking you in your 80’s. Full article by Chris Freytag, verywellfit.com, 3-12-2018

Grandparents and Parents Disagreeing? 11 Tips for Both of You  “Who asked ya?” Tips for good relationships between grandparents and parents include: Assume the best, Don’t criticize, Unless asked, don’t tell, Don’t get stuck in the middle, Support your partner and more in the full article. Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC, empoweringparents.com

Seniors benefit from eating protein rich, low calorie foods. Shrimp is all that plus contains antioxidants and essential minerals, so try a cold shrimp pasta salad with your favorite ingredients, garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy. This one contains small shell pasta, cooked small shrimp, celery, red onion, spinach, julienne carrots mixed with a mayo, sour cream & ranch dressing. We used fresh lemon basil and oregano to give it a summer boost. Enjoy!

6 Health Benefits of Pedicures The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day and pedicures are a welcome treat. Athletes and senior men get Sports Soaks (pedicure with nail polish optional) and many of us appreciate groomed feet and polished toes in our stylish summer sandals. Here are the health benefits of a pedicure 1)Early detection of problems 2)Decreases chances of infections 3)Preserves skin’s moisture 4)Removes dead skin from the feet 5)Promotes circulation 6)Relaxes the body. Is Foot Pain Slowing you down?, nuestepprocedure.com, 3-2-2014

10 Suprising Health Benefits of Celery Especially helpful in seniors, the vitamins, fiber and protein in celery makes it a must-have in your diet. Celery’s benefits include lowering inflammation, reducing high cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure, preventing liver disease, aiding in weight loss, fighting infections, improving digestion, reducing the risk of urinary tract infections, keeping cancer at bay and preventing ulcers. Try peanut butter or pimento cheese in fresh celery sticks, celery soup, celery stir fry, Thai celery and peanut salad or your favorite recipe. Dr. Nandi, askdrnandi.com, 3-15-2017

ThStrongest Predictor of How Long You’ll Live  Based in research and presented conversationally, this TEDEd talk helps us understand that close personal relationships and social interactions actually help us live longer. Aim for at least three stable relationships, engage in eye-to-eye contact and belong to a community, among other actions. TEDEd, Susan Pinker