Heart Health for Men: Four Ways to Keep Your Ticker Ticking

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February is a time when people often discuss matters of the heart. Instead of only focusing on relationships this month, it might be a good opportunity to learn more about cardiovascular health as well. Your daily choices play a big role in heart health, and these lifestyle habits might be the life-or-death choices that impact your cardiovascular system.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men. As men go through the aging process, it is necessary to make cardiovascular health a higher priority. Not only do you need to learn more about heart disease, but you also need to watch for symptoms that could indicate a need for medical care.

Tips to Protect Your Heart

You can manage your risk of heart disease by implementing a few important health tips:

  • Increase Fiber Intake: Instead of loading your plate with processed carbohydrates, fill up with high-fiber foods. Enjoy whole grains, vegetables, and fruit to reduce your risk of heart disease and manage your blood sugar levels at the same time.
  • Cut Back on Saturated Fat: There is a reason why saturated fat has earned a bad reputation. These “unhealthy fats” play a role in the development of heart disease. Limit your fat consumption to 20 – 35 percent of your caloric intake, and focus most of those calories on unsaturated fats. These fats come from almonds, walnuts, avocados, and olive oil.
  • Boost Your Heart Rate: Regular exercise is important to get your blood pumping and strengthen your heart. It is best to start a new exercise plan under the supervision of a doctor. Start with basic exercises, then increase the intensity and duration over time.
  • Maintain Preventive Care: You still need to visit the doctor, even if you aren’t feeling sick. Men don’t go to the doctor for annual checkups as often as women. But, these appointments are essential to check heart health by measuring blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Stay consistent with regular checkups with your doctor.

Following these tips will not only reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, but they will help to improve your overall health. If you need help finding the right medical services, then you are invited to talk to our team at Windward Life Care for more information.


Get Fit in the New Year: The Best Exercises for Older Adults

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When many people talk about fitness, they are often thinking about exercise for weight loss. While it is important to maintain a healthy weight, you shouldn’t overlook the other benefits that are available to improve your health.

It is common for older adults to slow down as they age. But, getting older shouldn’t be a reason why you stop moving your body. Exercise is essential to balance hormones, reduce the impact of chronic disease, support circulation, and improve balance and flexibility.

If you are setting New Year’s goals to improve your fitness, then you should consider some of these exercise options:

  • Smartphone Exercise Integration: We live in a world of technology, and many tools can be used to support your fitness goals. Try using these smartphone apps to put together the right exercise plan.
  • Senior Fitness Classes: Enjoy double benefits by building friendships while you are working out. These aging adult fitness classes provide exercise plans that are catered to your skill level while creating a fun place to meet friends and build your community.
  • Walking: Simply getting out of the house can be the catalyst to boost your health efforts. There’s no need to run a marathon! Instead, walk the dog, talk to the neighbors, or take a stroll around a nearby park.
  • Interval Training: It is easy to get stuck with a fitness plateau if you aren’t shaking things up. Consider interval training to have the most impact on muscle development and endurance.

Customizing Your Exercise Plan

Keep in mind that it is always best to work with your healthcare provider to put together a good exercise plan for your fitness level. You need to ease your way into the activities so that you can prevent injury. Also, make it a priority to plan time for warming up and cool down periods to prevent discomfort and injury.

Our team at Windward Life Care is focused on supporting your health goals by connecting you with the right medical and fitness options in your area. Call us for more information about how these services can help with your new goals for the year.


Glaucoma: The Silent Vision Stealer

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Glaucoma has been identified as one of the main causes of vision loss in the United States. This group of eye diseases results in optic nerve damage because of increased pressure in the eye. When the pressure goes up, the damaged optic nerve causes vision loss.

January is glaucoma awareness month, so it is a good chance for you to learn more about the disease and options to prevent serious eye problems

Know Your Risk Factors

The problem with glaucoma is that there are usually no warning signs that something is wrong. The change in vision is so gradual that the person doesn’t realize there is a problem until it is too late. Once the disease reaches advanced stages, there is nothing that can be done to reverse the damage. The only solution is to stop the progress to preserve the remaining eyesight.

How can you be proactive? It is important to know your risk factors. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, individuals most at risk include people who:

  • are over age 40
  • have family members with glaucoma
  • are of African or Hispanic heritage
  • have high eye pressure
  • are farsighted or nearsighted
  • have had an eye injury
  • have corneas that are thin in the center
  • have thinning of the optic nerve

have diabetesmigraines, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body.

When to Call an Eye Doctor

You might be able to identify several signs of glaucoma, such as:

  • Tunnel vision
  • Patchy spots in the visual field
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around lights, especially at night

Additionally, you need to stay consistent with eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They will not only check your vision, but also test for a range of eye diseases, including glaucoma.  These appointments will help you identify the problems in the early stages, giving you the option to pursue a treatment plan to prevent or slow the vision loss.

Do you need assistance finding the right eye care professionals in your area? Windward Life Care is here to offer the assistance that you need. We recognize the importance of experienced, trustworthy medical professionals. So, our team will gladly support your efforts for prevention and health maintenance. Call today to learn more about the services that we can provide.


Making the Most of the Holidays When a Loved One has Dementia by Lisa Mayfield and ALCA

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Celebrating the Holidays with Dementia

by Lisa Mayfield, MA, LMHC, GMHS, CMC, Principal, Fellow Certified Care Manager

The holidays can often be a time filled with high expectations, requiring lots of energy and engagement in non-stop activities. For the individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, it can be challenging and a time of high anxiety. Festivities can agitate, confuse, and overstimulate persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Meanwhile, caregivers can feel anxious, frustrated, and lonely.

To minimize the anxiety and encourage a happy holiday season for the entire family, a little advanced thought and planning can go a long way in ensuring everyone has a wonderful time. Remembering that the holidays, at their best, are a time for enjoying one another’s company and sharing gratitude for each other can make some advanced planning go a long way.

Here are some stress busters that have worked for other families and might prove successful for your celebrations:

  1. Let guests know what to expect before they arrive. If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, it’s likely family and friends won’t notice any changes. The person with middle or late-stage dementia may have trouble following conversation or tend to repeat him- or herself. Family can help with communication by being patient, not interrupting or correcting, and giving the person time to finish his or her thoughts. Make sure visitors understand that changes in behavior and memory are caused by the disability and not the person. Understanding, acceptance and patience go a long way.
  2. Adjust expectations. The challenges of caregiving responsibilities combined with holiday expectations can take a toll. Invite family and friends to a conversation ahead of time. Be honest about any limitations or needs, such as keeping a daily routine, or making modifications to plans to minimize holiday stress. The goal here is time together. Your loved one will enjoy the company of friends and family. Let their presence be their present!
  3. Be good to YOU! This is often the hardest step. But giving yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage is one of the most precious gifts you can give yourself. If you’ve always had a large group at your home, consider having only a few guests for a simple meal. Let others participate by having a potluck dinner or ask them to host at their home. This is the time to be especially gentle and kind with yourself. This is also a great time to practice saying “No” and pace yourself.
  4. Involve the person with dementia. Focus on activities, traditions and memories that are meaningful to the person with dementia. Your family member may find comfort in singing old holiday songs or looking through old photo albums. Involve the person in holiday preparation. As abilities allow, invite him or her to help you decorate, prepare food, set the table, wrap packages, or address holiday cards.
  5. Maintain a normal routine. Sticking to the person’s normal routine will help keep the holidays from becoming overly stressful or confusing. Plan time for breaks and rest. Make sure to have favorites at the ready: holiday music, movies, clothing, and food. All these familiar favorites can bring comfort and build enjoyment into a holiday celebration.
  6. Use the buddy system. Plan ahead to have family and friends take turns being the buddy to your loved one. This is a great way to encourage one-on-one time as well as to shield the individual with dementia from distress. It also gives a break to the primary caregiver.
  7. Engage an Aging Life Care Professional®. Aging Life Care Professionals are the experts in aging well.  We understand dementia, aging, family systems, and the myriad of challenges and obstacles that families experience in caring for a loved one.  An Aging Life Care expert can help anticipate issues and address them before they happen, offering the options and wise counsel on how to navigate the holidays successfully. Our focus is on the well-being of the older adults in your life, while also helping you to care for yourself.  By engaging an Aging Life Care professional, you are working with someone who takes a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults. Visit the Aging Life Care Association website to locate an expert near you.

By setting realistic expectations, involving others, maintaining a routine, and keeping activities and traditions to a select few, you can ensure yourself, your loved one, and family and friends a low stress, memorable, and successful holiday season.

Author Lisa Mayfield, MA, LMHC, GMHS, CMC, Principal, Fellow Certified Care Manager, founded Aging Wisdom® in 2003, recognizing early in her career that problem-solving and thoughtful, personalized care management were what most people needed, not therapy, to address the challenges and concerns of aging. When she discovered the Aging Life Care profession (AKA geriatric care management), she immersed her herself fully in the profession, and Aging Wisdom was born.


Betsy Evatt wins the ALCA Western Region “Rose Kleiner Award”

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Our own Betsy Evatt, LCSW, CMC, Aging Life Care™ Manager, and Windward Life Care’s Director of Clinical Services won the Rose Kleiner Award this year. This prestigious award is given annually to a Western Chapter Aging Life Care Association

Betsy Evatt - Rose Klein Award

Congratulations, Betsy!

member who meets these criteria:

  • Spends a significant number of years in the field of care management.
  • Demonstrates commitment to the advancement of the field of care management, through professional contributions and leadership roles.
  • Promotes the ALCA and the Western Chapter. This requires a significant time commitment and active participation on both the regional and national levels.
  • Provides exemplary care management services adhering to the highest professional standards and ethics.
  • Shows a willingness to share information, and to provide collegial support and mentorship to others in the field.

Congratulations, Betsy, on an award that is most deserved!

To learn more about Betsy, click here to read her bio.


Managing Your Diabetes to Improve Your Overall Health

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According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year. With over 30 million people suffering from the disease in 2015, these numbers are rising every year.

November is American Diabetes Month, which is a great opportunity to learn more about the disease. Whether you have been diagnosed or you are at high risk for diabetes, some things can be done to manage your health.

Interesting Facts about Diabetes

An estimated 30% of people with diabetes are living with the illness without knowing that they have it. About 95% of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Type 2 diabetes often starts without any symptoms and is not diagnosed until the disease process is well underway. So, it is important to implement healthy habits in the spirit of prevention.

People with diabetes have a high risk of developing heart disease, as well as Alzheimer’s dementia. Diabetes can also lead to blindness. Taking control of your health means that you can potentially avoid these complications.

Even though your risk of diabetes increases based on your family history or ethnicity, it doesn’t mean that you will necessary develop the disease. Genetics are considered less important than lifestyle and behavioral factors.

How to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

Given the prevalence of diabetes, everyone should learn more about the disease to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Suggested prevention tips include:

  • Moderate weight loss, approximately 5% to 7% of body weight (just 10 lbs in a 200 lb individual).
  • Regular exercise 5 days a week (for 30 minutes)
  • Maintain a healthy diet with low-fat meals
  • Skip sugary drinks and other highly processed carbohydrates
  • Quit smoking

Your doctor can help you assess your risk for diabetes by testing your weight and blood sugar levels. Then, a personalized plan can be put together to help with prevention.

Putting Together a Personalized Health Plan

If you want to protect your health, then it is important that you work with an experienced medical team. At Windward Life Care, we will help you connect with the healthcare providers who will support your goals. Talk to us to learn more about the services that are available.

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