Maintaining Health and Safety as We Grow Old

December 28, 2012 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Senior Health Issues

Health and safety in Southern Oregon for seniors

As of 2010, the United States had approximately 72,000 centenarians. By the year 2050, the number of people 100 years of age or older is expected to reach more than 600,000 individuals. This is a massive aging of our population in part due to the large demographic of baby boomers, improved health care advances and a more informed populace, thanks in part due to the internet and proliferance of computers in virtually every home.  These boomers are learning to take responsibility for their own health through better eating habits, supplementation and regular exercise.

America is aging at a very rapid rate; each day an estimated 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 in our country.  A recent study by UnitedHealthcare called the “100@100 Survey,” compared those who have reached 100 years of age or older (centenarians) against the younger but now aging baby boomer group.”  As it turns out, many of the baby boomers are taking up lifestyles that could help them experience a long and rewarding life with the exception of two important lifestyle dynamics..  Over 70 percent of centenarians say they get eight hours or more of sleep each night.  Compare this to only 38 percent of baby boomers getting more than eight hours of sleep.  The second issue is one of healthy balanced meals.  More than 80 percent of centenarians say they eat a balanced meal, while only 68 percent of baby boomers focus on eating a regular balanced meal each day. Today’s busy and complicated lifestyle more than likely is contributing to these issues as baby boomers continue to be part of the active workforce.

Staying Active: A regular exercise routine is very important for the human body to function properly.  Exercise can improve blood sugar regulation, cardio health and an individual’s general state of mind. Those who routinely make a long walk or exercise at a gym, notice they have a better and more sustained general sense of wellbeing. Immediately after a vigorous workout, most individuals actually experience a euphoric feeling that can become addicting.  Certain brain chemicals such as endorphins that are released that actually help humans feel good and counteract negative feelings when they exercise.  As mentioned above, anyone considering an exercise routine should always consult their doctor prior to starting.

Get Routine Checkups:  Doctors are equipped to analyze an individual’s state of health or lack thereof and their general body’s functional conditions.  The medical professional has many years of schooling under their belt and lots of practical experience understanding the human body.  Today there are many choices of general physician, including holistic and natural medicine doctors who do extensive blood and other types of nutrition-oriented tests that will help him/she figure-out what nutrients and vitamins an individual may be lacking.  Doctors who practice these methods can better tailor a program that will encompass more prevention-oriented practices, addressing the underlying causes of illnesses and conditions and not simply treat the symptoms.

Steps to Prevent Accidents: As we age we are more prone to have an accident around the house leading to long hospital stays and immobility for extended periods of time. Such common household accidents as a fall in a bathtub can be devastating for a senior. As we age our bones tend to be more porous and brittle and what would be an inconsequential stumble in our youth can lead serious problems as we advance into the senior years.  With a little bit of preparation and prevention, we can help avoid these issues.  Something as simple as having non-slip applicators installed on the bottom of a bathtub or fastening with double-sided tape the corners of a hallway rug that seems to always curl upward can help prevent a trip and fall.  Simple thoughtful steps towards household safety can help avoid a life-changing accident and resultant long recovery period for a senior. Those who are proactive and look closely at potential dangers around the house, are setting-up their environment for successful living.  It’s important to call the right person to take care of the work weather it is a son or daughter or a service company, preventing accidents are important considerations for seniors.

Healthy Food Choices:  It’s never too late to make a healthy change in an individual’s lifestyle choices. Individuals who routinely choose healthy, fresh natural, raw and organic foods for their daily nutritional needs tend to be healthier and happier.  Those who stay away from deep fried, processed, over-cooked, chemically-filled foods that cause an extra burden on the body and cause oxidative stress, inflammation and environmental toxins have a better chance at a longer, healthy life. While it is typically more expensive to choose organic, there are many natural and organic choices nowadays many-times available in any standard supermarket.  Local farmers markets can be a great money saving way to obtain local and organic fruits and vegetables.

Reducing Risk of Degenerative Diseases:  Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, blindness and cancer have become almost epidemic in our society.  As we age, and as years of bad lifestyle choices begin to take their toll, our body functions start to shut down.  One of the most destructive causes of these conditions is elevated blood sugar levels as a result of our body’s cells becoming insulin resistant or the pancreases’ inability to produce enough insulin.  Insulin’s main purpose in the body is to convert glucose to glycogen, which lowers regulates blood glucose to a range of normal levels.  What is ironic here is that in many cases, the production of insulin by the pancreas may actually be quite large but the body’s cells don’t respond.  The problem is that the insulin receptors on the cells of the liver and muscle tissue get to a point where they reject the absorption of insulin where this hormone is needed in order to store the converted glucose to energy.  When the cells become resistant, the body can then be flooded with excess amounts of insulin but the cells of the body have essentially become immune to or resistant to the absorption or utilization of insulin.  This flooding of insulin in the blood and the combined high blood sugar that remains in the blood from the lack of being absorbed by the cells can cause all types of problems in the body, initiating a cascade of dangerous reactions that destroy the body and ultimately lead to many degenerative diseases.

To counteract this and stop or even reverse the progression, eating the right type of foods becomes essential.  Some foods that help metabolize sugar, promote insulin sensitivity, reduce oxidative stress and protect from gyration are found in the following list.  Sugar metabolizes include: cinnamon, basil, green beans, broccoli, apples and sprouted and whole wheat breads. Insulin sensitivity promoters include: collard greens, lean red meats (organ meats), brewer’s yeast, cabbage. Reducers are another important type of food that lowers oxidative stress.  These are commonly known as antioxidants, and are foods that can actually mop-up reactive sugar metabolites (from all of that excess glucose in the blood) that are destructive to the body. Some promoters/antioxidants include: green & black tea, artichokes, dark chocolate (be careful of the sugar here), tart cherries, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, red beans, blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranates. One of the most dangerous processes that occur in the body is called glycation. Think of this as a similar process that causes food to get brown in an oven. Glycation, is the process of sugar molecules reacting with proteins to produce nonfunctional components throughout the body.   This negative process causes many nefarious complications in diabetics as it compromises proteins throughout the body that ultimately is associated with blindness, nerve damage and heart attack.  Some glycation protectors include: chicken, turkey, liver, tuna, chili peppers, lentils, and lean red meat.  The cooking of food is also important in reducing glycation.  High temperature frying, grilling and roasting are forms of cooking that should be avoided in order to cut down on the production of glycation and glycotoxins. Most food in restaurants along with processed and general junk foods are typically prepared using high temperature techniques.  The best choice for healthy eating without the glcotoxins is raw, poached, steamed, stewed foods and slowly cooked crock-pot foods.

Conclusion: This is just the beginning of learning to live a long and healthy life.  Individuals who take an interest in their health and proactively pursue a lifelong attitude of information and knowledge will be better equipped and more likely to live a life less sickly, empowered and worth living.

Disclaimer: The suggestions above are only to be considered as general health concepts and are not to be considered as medical advice or a replacement for the advice of a personal physician.  Before starting any program where a change in diet and exercise is undertaken, always consult with a physician first.  Every individual and condition is different and specific medical conditions may prevent some individuals from embracing some of the practices detailed above.  Senior Home Locators and its owners are not responsible for the accuracy of the content or the results of any use of the information contained in this posting.