Stories & Tips

Diet Soda Raising Older Women’s Stroke Risk?

Diet Soda Raising Older Women's Stroke Risk?

You know that drinking a lot of soda is bad for you. When you have a craving for soda, you probably reach for a diet one. If you are an older woman, you may want to think twice. A new study shows that diet soda and artificially sweetened fruit juices are raising older women’s stroke risk.

Diet Soda Raising Older Women's Stroke Risk?

Diet Soda Raising Older Women’s Stroke Risk?

 

The study tracked around 82,000 postmenopausal women. These women drank two or more diet drinks a day. They saw their overall stroke risk rise by 23% compared to others who didn’t drink as much.

They studied these women for around 12 years. After three years, they were asked how much diet sodas and fruit drinks they had over every three months.

They didn’t keep track of the brands of the drinks or any artificial sweeteners they used.

Two-thirds of the women in the study admitted to drinking diet sodas not often, less than once a week or never. Only around 5% were found to drink a lot of artificially sweetened drinks.

 

What Does Diet Soda Do?

 

Why the concern? Blocked arteries are the main reason. Drinking a lot of diet drinks has been linked to a 31% percent greater risk for an ischemic stroke. A clot triggers this.

The study did take into consideration of other risk factors, like their blood pressure, smoking history, and their age.

Drinking a lot of soda can raise cardiovascular risks in different ways. Women who drank two or more diet beverages a day saw their risk for developing heart disease go up 29%. They were also 16% more likely to die early from any cause.

Obese women and black women with no history of heart disease or diabetes pushed clot-driven stroke risk up to twofold and fourfold.

The author of the study does want to acknowledge that the association doesn’t mean causation. Though the findings held up even when taking into account the nutritional value of the participants’ diet.

It’s not known yet if these drinks affect men or younger women, however.

So what does this all mean? Diet drinks aren’t as tame as we thought them to be. If you can, you should probably start limiting your sugary drink intake.

Read more here.

18 Quick and Healthy Meals for Seniors

18 Quick and Healthy Meals for Seniors

It’s easy for seniors not to get enough nutrition. Grocery shopping or cooking can be too hard to d0. They may be sick of eating alone or meals don’t taste the same. Luckily, there are 18 quick and healthy meals for seniors that are easy to make.

18 Quick and Healthy Meals for Seniors

18 Quick and Healthy Meals for Seniors

 

Make sure to keep in mind their food restrictions and recommendations before making meals.

1. Warm Oatmeal and Berries

You can use either frozen or fresh berries in a crockpot at low heat. A small amount of butter, a small serving of oats and water should be added.

Cover the crockpot and leave it on for a few hours or overnight.

2. A Hard Boiled Egg

This, along with fresh fruit or whole wheat toast, will make a healthy meal.

3. Whole Grain Pancakes or Waffles

If you can, find a brand of pancakes or waffles that has chia seeds because they contain essential fatty acids and proteins. For protein, you can have some walnuts or almonds.

4. Yogurt Parfait

Mix yogurt, nuts, and fruit together. It’s a great combo of healthy fat, Vitamin C, and carbohydrates.

5. Power Toast

This is whole wheat toast with peanut butter or almond butter on it.

6. Poached Egg

Have an egg on top of whole wheat toast and steamed asparagus. For flavor, use a little bit of butter on the top.

7. Quinoa Salad

Saute pre-chopped stir-fry vegetables like onions, red peppers, or mushrooms in olive oil. Mix pine nuts or pecans and cooked quinoa in too and use Italian dressing for flavor.

You can eat this warm or cold. Just make sure to refrigerate.

8. Eggs and Red Potatoes

With some butter in a skillet simmering, add chopped up potatoes and have it cook over medium heat for two minutes. After that, pour scrambled eggs over the potatoes and add peppers. Toss it around until the eggs are hot.

9. Cottage Fries

Cut up parboiled red potatoes and put them in a skillet with extra olive oil. Add vegetables and grated sharp cheddar cheese. Cover the food, let it steam over medium heat until done.

10. Southwest Omelet

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and beat two eggs. Put in the eggs, pepper jack cheese, and natural salsa or chili sauce. When it’s firm, fold the eggs over and serve with sliced avocado.

11. Salmon Wrap

Use canned Alaskan boneless salmon on a whole grain wrap. You can add chopped avocado, tomatoes, greens, and plain yogurt. Wrap it tightly and cut in half.

12. Baked or Grilled Alaskan Salmon

Top the salmon with tomatoes, sweet onions, dried or fresh basil, chopped garlic, and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Wrap the fish in aluminum foil and put it in the oven at around three hundred degrees.

13. Lamb and Potatoes

Make the ground lamb into meatballs. Cut red potatoes into small pieces and cut some garlic too. Put everything in a skillet over medium heat.

14. Shrimp and Pasta

Start with putting a bit of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add cut fresh herbs, garlic, and some shrimp. Once done put it on top of pasta with some chopped fresh tomatoes.

15. Liver and Fennel

Put liver slices in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil. Add fennel, onions, and cabbage. Cover until the liver is tender.

16. Beans and Rice

Cook a can of black, pinto, or white beans. You can serve with brown rice, oats, or barley.

17. Shrimp and Fresh Greens

Saute fresh vegetables in a pan with olive oil. Add cocktail shrimp and serve with a berry vinaigrette salad dressing.

18. Southwest Chicken Salad

Cook boneless, skinless, chicken breast on medium heat in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil. You can add salsa if you want. You can use it for wraps, salad, or soup.

Read more here.

Could You Have a Food Allergy and Not Even Know It?

Could You Have a Food Allergy and Not Even Know It?

You probably thought you figured out all your allergies when you were a kid, but actually, you can get more allergies as you age. Getting older can cause your stomach to make less gastric acid. This can make deficiencies in nutrients like zinc, vitamin D, or iron, which can cause the immune system to change. Could you have a food allergy and not even know it?

Could You Have a Food Allergy and Not Even Know It?

Could You Have a Food Allergy and Not Even Know It?

 

Around 1 in 10 people have food allergies and get them as adults. As mentioned, a food allergy is an immune system response to food, causing itching, hives, swelling, low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock, or a respiratory reaction. These can be life-threatening.

How Can You Find Out if You Have One or Not?

An allergist uses a skin prick test and pricks your skin with tiny allergen laden needles to see how your skin reacts. There can also blood tests. Even though the testing is easy, many older adults don’t get these tests. They think they know how to handle it or that they don’t have an allergy.

Food Intolerance or Food Allergy?

 

It’s easy to confuse a food intolerance for an allergy. One study guesses that 25 to 30% of adults self-diagnose themselves with allergies.

A food intolerance makes a digestive reaction to food like cramping, diarrhea, gas, or bloating. These are common and not life-threatening. 30 to 50 million adults in the U.S. have a level of lactose intolerance.

The most common allergen adults get is shellfish. Around 7.2 million adults in the U.S. have this allergy. Other common allergies that adults get is milk, peanuts, tree nuts, finfish, eggs, wheat, soy, and sesame.

It can be hard to identify a food allergy in adults 50 and older. This is because the symptoms aren’t as obvious as when people are younger. It’s easy for professionals to mistake an allergy for problems with medication, sleep issues, viruses, autoimmune diseases, general aging, or stomach issues like irritable bowel syndrome.

Living with Food Allergies

 

Living with a food allergy requires constant vigilance on your part. You can’t just avoid the food. It could be an ingredient in foods you never thought of. It could also be in supplements. Eating out can be tough because you need to find a meal that’s safe for you.

Make sure to read the ingredient list on foods and supplements. Avoid cross-contamination if others in your house eat the food you are allergic too. Wash dishes before using them, and if you can afford it, have separate appliances like a toaster for example. Also, make sure that your family knows about your allergy that way, no accidents happen.

Read more here.

South Korea is Dealing With an Elderly Crime Wave

South Korea is Dealing With an Elderly Crime Wave

When you think of criminals, do you ever think of seniors? Probably not, right? Well, there is a surprising amount of crime being committed by the elderly in Asia. We’ve already talked about how Japanese seniors are committing crimes and being sent to jail. Now South Korea is dealing with an elderly crime wave.

South Korea is Dealing With an Elderly Crime Wave

South Korea is Dealing With an Elderly Crime Wave

 

According to official statistics, there’s been a 45% increase in the last five years in crimes committed by people 65 and older. Serious crimes including murder, arson, rape, and robbery rose around 70%.

Those with cognitive dysfunctions committed some of these crimes. A man in his 70s was arrested for allegedly assaulting a courier because of a late package. When police arrived, it seemed like the man forgot that he got the package two days earlier.

Problems for South Koreans Seniors

 

Like with Japan, South Korean seniors are living longer, but they can’t support themselves. 60% of elderly Koreans don’t qualify for the national pension. This wasn’t introduced until 1988 and was not made compulsory until the late 90s.

In 2017, half of South Korean Seniors were living relative poverty.

A key part of the crime problem is loneliness. With no job or way to contribute to society, people start to feel disconnected. This can lead to animosity towards others, depression, and antisocial behavior.

According to Cho Youn-oh, who is a professor and criminologist at Seoul’s Dongguk University, the isolation and feeling that they have nothing to lose could lead them to lose control and behave poorly.

People who have connections to society tend to have better control over themselves.

The Strain on the Country’s Prison System

 

Like with Japan, the prison system is struggling with the influx of senior prisoners. This is because they bring a variety of health issues and usually have to be separated from the rest of the population.

There is because they are weaker than the younger prisoners and are likely to get into fights due to cultural differences.

Read more here.

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Memory

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Memory

As you get older, it can be hard not to worry if you start to forget things. It’s easy to jump to conclusions and begin to worry if your forgetfulness is a sign of dementia. General forgetfulness is normal, but there are ways to strengthen your memory.

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Memory

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Memory

 

Fear and anxiety can make it harder to remember because they stress your brain out. These ways to strengthen your memory may be awkward at first but will get easier over time.

1. Practice Active Attention

What does this mean? Basically, it’s paying attention with a purpose. Instead of just focusing on something, like reading, for example, think about how it makes you feel, does it raise questions for you, what stands out?

Don’t start thinking about what you are going to do next.

2. Allow No Distractions When Learning Something New

Remember what it was like when you were in school? There were little to no distractions allowed so that you can focus on learning.

Take that idea with you today. When you are learning something new, turn off your phone, don’t have the TV on, and keep your area clean. Politely tell people to leave you alone while you are working.

Also, take breaks every ten minutes or so to give your brain a break.

3. Be Organized with Storage

If you are constantly losing items, then maybe it’s time to get organized. Keep things in specific places, like putting keys in a bowl or on a hook.

Use labels for boxes that way you can take a quick glance and find what you are looking for.

This way you can retrace your steps with ease.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat Info Outloud

This may seem embarrassing, but it can help. Repeat the info to yourself once or twice after hearing it. Then do it again thirty minutes or an hour later.

Saying it out loud sharpens your focus with the material.

5. Write Things Down

Make flash cards, take notes, write a summary or a list of key points. Writing is another way to repeat information and makes it easier to remember. Plus, you have something you can look at later.

Read more here.

Using Antibiotics Early Could Reduce the Risk of Sepsis

Using Antibiotics Early Could Reduce the Risk of Sepsis

People are hesitant to prescribe antibiotics because they wipe out all bacteria, both good and bad. Using antibiotics early could reduce the risk of sepsis in elderly patients who have urinary tract infections (UTI).

Using Antibiotics Early Could Reduce the Risk of Sepsis

Using Antibiotics Early Could Reduce the Risk of Sepsis

 

This discovery is from the Imperial College London and Public Health England and published in BMJ.

The researchers say the results from the study show evidence that helps doctors make clinical decisions about when to prescribe antibiotics.

The team looked at records from 157,264 patients over the age of 65 in England who have had a UTI. 87% of patients had been prescribed antibiotics right away, 6% were delayed up to a week, and 7% didn’t get antibiotics at all.

Only 0.2% of patients who got antibiotics right away developed sepsis within 60 days. Patients who had their antibiotics delayed or didn’t get any at all were eight times more likely to develop it.

Though, research also showed that 1.6% of patients who got medicine right away died within the following 60 days. Risk of death for patients who had their prescription delayed increased by 16%. Patients who didn’t have any medicine had over double the risk of death.

The researchers stress that the study only shows delayed antibiotics are connected with an increased risk of sepsis and death. It doesn’t cause it directly. There could be other factors included in their risk of sepsis.

Read more about the study here.

Could There Be a New Way to Predict Mortality in Seniors?

No one can predict when they die. The question is if you could know, would you want to? A new study in Jerusalem may have found a new way to predict mortality in seniors.

Could There Be a New Way to Predict Mortality in Seniors?

Could There Be a New Way to Predict Mortality in Seniors?

 

Researchers have developed a method to find the “age” of a patients’ immune system. The immune system’s age could predict mortality in older adults.

The Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) said the immune age is a kind of biological clock that will help identify an early weakening of the immune system.

This could help create preventive measures to reduce disease and mortality.

In the study, the Technion scientists were able to determine the changes in the immune system that happens over the years.

In 9 years, they checked the immune systems of 135 healthy people of different ages once a year. From this information, they built a model that figures out the changes in a specific person.

The data allowed researchers to determine the immune age in an index called “IMM-AGE score.” This index gives info that biological age can’t.

Using this method, the team determined the age of over 2,000 seniors.

They may also be able to figure out genes that affect the immune system’s age. They could even identify lifestyle, habits, and medications that affect the immune system’s “age.”

Immune systems getting older means that people aren’t able to handle infections and have a higher risk of chronic diseases.

Read more here.

7 of the Best Dressing Aids for Seniors

7 of the Best Dressing Aids for Seniors

Seniors with limited mobility can struggle with everyday tasks like dressing. It can be an incredible loss of independence. Luckily, this article talks about some of the best dressing aids for seniors.

7 of the Best Dressing Aids for Seniors

7 of the Best Dressing Aids for Seniors

 

All these tools help with dressing tasks that you may not realize are difficult.

1. Button Hook

One of the hardest things to do to while getting dressed is doing buttons. A button hook like Good Grips hook can save you time and frustration.

The hook features an easy to hold handle, and the wire loop will go into and pull through the buttonholes. It can also unbutton shirts as well.

It has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon.

2. Zipper Puller

Another hard part of getting dressed is dealing with zippers. Like buttons, they are small and hard to grab. Zipuller helps you zip any piece of clothing with ease. It grabs the zipper and has a long ribbon for you to pull the zipper up.

It has a 4.2-star rating on Amazon.

3. Carex Sock Aid

The ability to bend may lessen as you get older making putting on socks painful. Using a Carex Sock Aid will help ease the pain of bending over to put on your socks.

It has a flexible, terry cloth grip that won’t ruin the fabric of your socks. The handle features large loops for easy pulling. It will work with all kinds of socks.

It has a 4.1-star rating on Amazon.

4. No Tie Shoelaces

That’s right, shoelaces that you don’t need to tie. If your finger flexibility isn’t what it used to, don’t worry. Xpand Shoelaces are easy to set up and make any type of shoes easy to put on and safe to wear around. Plus, there are 44 color options.

It has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon.

5. FootFunnel Shoe Assist

Like socks, shoes can be hard to put on too. That’s why FootFunnel Shoe Assist was created. It spreads the back of your shoe, letting your foot go in smoothly. You can use it sitting or standing.

It has a 3.6-star rating on Amazon.

6. Long Handled Shoe Horn

This is another version of a shoe tool that will help you slip in your shoes. Shoe Horn Pro is an excellent option if your limited mobility makes putting on shoes hard.

You can adjust the handle to whatever length feels right for you. It’s made of durable stainless steel which means it will last you a while. You can use it standing up or sitting down.

It has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon.

7. Dressing Stick

A dressing stick will help with overall dressing. If you find pushing your shoulder backward painful, or can’t bend to pull your pants up, this will help you.

The RMS Long Dressing Stick is an excellent version of this. It’s the most recommended by health professionals. It has a push-and-pull hook on one end, and a vinyl C shaped cup hook on the other end. One is for clothes, and the other is for zippers and shoelaces.

It has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon.

Read more here.

Can Electromagnets Help Boost Your Brain’s Memory?

Can Electromagnets Help Boost Your Brain's Memory?

Memory gets more precious as we age and it can feel like there is nothing we can do to restore it once it’s lost. It might not be all hopeless though. A new study says that electromagnets can help boost your brain’s memory.

Can Electromagnets Help Boost Your Brain's Memory?

Can Electromagnets Help Boost Your Brain’s Memory?

 

The study, published in Neurology, worked with a small group of seniors aged 64 to 80 who had average memory loss that comes with age. People’s memory got better after 5 sessions with a special deceive. Their improvement was so impressive that the group performed similarly to the control group of young adults.

The process is called transcranial magnetic stimulation and is already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s mostly been used to help with depression.

Researchers thought that it could help wake up regions of the brain that have to do with memory. The hippocampus is a particular part they focused on because it’s thought to be the part of the brain that causes forgetfulness. Using MRI brain scans, researchers were able to target specific areas.

 

The Process

 

The stimulation happened in 30-minute sessions five days in a row. Essentially, what the researchers did was put up an 8-shaped magnetic coil against each person’s head. Because of the way the magnetic field works, no actual electricity went through their skull.

The hippocampus is too deep in the brain for the magnetic fields to touch, so the researchers looked at the area of the parietal lobe. The lobe is behind, and a little above your left ear and is connected to the hippocampus.

The participants were brought back after a day’s rest to see if the magnets had any effect.

The Results

 

Before the experiment, the seniors did worse on memory tasks than a group of young adults aged 25. The seniors only got around 40% of the questions right while the younger people got 55%.

After the magnets, the seniors did as well as the young adults. The ability to remember went up 31%, and on average the seniors were able to answer 43 out of 84 questions right instead of the 33 before.

Sadly, the effect didn’t last a long time. A week later the seniors’ ability to remember went back to how it was before. It could be possible that using the magnetics for a longer period of time could make the memory improvement better and last longer.

The process is very expensive and hard to come by.

Read more here.

Your Attitude Affects Your Health as You Age

Your Attitude Affects Your Health as You Age

Attitude is everything. When you think positively, the day seems to go your way. Have you thought about your attitude towards aging? It’s not uncommon to have a negative outlook about aging. There can be some downsides. Your attitude affects your health as you get older, so thinking positively will keep you healthier.

Your Attitude Affects Your Health as You Age

What Do People Think of Seniors Around the World?

 

According to Orb Media, countries with a lot of respect for seniors had better health among the elderly and less poverty for people 60 and older.

Sounds great right?

Well in a 2016 World Health Organization survey, 60% of people feel that older people aren’t respected. The survey spanned across 57 countries.

A lot of young people, 18- to 24-year olds, think it’s normal to be sad when you get older.

It’s thought the anti-aging industry is partially to blame. The industry promotes the fear of aging and that looking old is terrible.

Your Attitude Affects Your Health as You Age

 

Becca Levy, a professor of public health and psychology at Yale School of Public Health, interviewed 660 people from Ohio. The interviews were done over 20 years, and the team compared them to mortality information.

The team found that people with positive attitudes towards aging lived 7.5 years longer than others with negative attitudes.

Levy believes the significant difference is due to how positive thinking can affect psychological, behavioral, and physiological mechanisms in the body. Positive thinking can make it easier to live a healthier lifestyle, like eating better and exercising.

Positivity can also make people more resilient and able to cope with stress better. Stress has been established as a contributor to memory loss and brain shrinking. Depression and anxiety were found among people who had negative thoughts about aging.

A different study found people with a positive attitude had less cardiovascular disease. They also produced less cortisol, which is a stress hormone. There were also findings of less frequent dementia.

Which Countries Have the Most Negativity?

 

Countries with high income and are highly industrialized have more negative attitudes towards the elderly. Rural countries have a higher level of respect because seniors can work longer and contribute to the economy.

The USA is in the bottom 10 percent of people who view seniors with respect.

Negative attitudes towards aging can start developing as young as age 6.

Read more here.