How to Downsize (and stick to it!)

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In a society where ‘bigger is better’, it can seem impossible to downsize. And, even if you want to downsize, you may worry about all of the things you have acquired over the years. But, as we all know, bigger isn’t always better. And, simplifying your life may have benefits to your overall well-being. So, where do you start?
1.) Realize what you have.
A lot of times we collect things that we don’t even realize. When downsizing, it’s important to make a list of everything that you have. Pick a week to designate to taking inventory. To make the task seem more achievable, break it down into one or two rooms per day. Make sure you record all the items in that room and the number of each item you have.
2.) Streamline your list.
Now that you have this big, long list what do you do? From your inventory list, make three different categories, things you haven’t touched in a year, things you use a few times a year, and the things you use on a weekly basis.
Most of the things you haven’t touched in a year may be thrown away. But, sentimental items, like family heirlooms, may not. Be honest with yourself when sorting through these items.
The second list should be things you have used a few times in the past year, but do not use on a weekly basis. Go through your ‘past year’ list and see if you can narrow it down. For example, if you have 150 books, pick 15 that you cannot part with.
And, the third list should be things that you use on a weekly basis. In many cases, most the weekly basis list may be kept, except for duplicate items, such as two vacuums or multiple sets of dishware.
3.) Donate or sell immediately.
This is the most important step, because if you have your items sitting around your house for too long they might just end up back on that book shelf! Consider donating items to families, friends or a homeless shelter. If you are selling your items, determine a sell-by date. If you don’t sell them by the date, then donate them. This will keep you from waiting around for a buyer for too long.
4.) Creatively store the remaining items.
There are some items that you just won’t be able to part with, and that is okay. Pictures and important paperwork may be among the things you choose to keep. Now, the key is to store these items creatively. It’s easy to go out and find boxes to put on a shelf. But, stop and ask yourself if this is the most effective way. Look for furniture pieces that can double as storage, such as a hollow ottoman. This way, you will be able to store photos, paperwork, and other important items, without your guests knowing.
If you have decorative family heir looms, consider using them to decorate your new place. And, if these items are too large to keep in your new home, think about passing them down to another family member. If you can’t bear to part with them, a climate controlled storage unit is an option, too.
Through taking these steps, you may be more likely to stick to your downsizing project! And remember, you are simplifying your life in order to make room for bigger, better things such as being closer to your grandchildren. Or, waking up on a cold, snowing day knowing that you don’t have to worry about finding someone to shovel your drive way.

What to do when the weather turns cold?

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By: Peg Carmany

As the weather starts to turn colder, and our choices of outside activities here in Central Ohio become more limited, I find myself making lists of things to do of good books to read, good movies to watch (or re-watch), and then there’s the ever-present wealth of learning opportunities on the internet – TED talks, Podcasts, silly hamster videos, and much more!

What do the residents find to do at Wesley Glen, Wesley Ridge, and Wesley Woods when the weather outside turns frightful? Well, it varies depending on the interests of the individual, but the communities offer a wide array of activities to meet a wide range of interests, including (but not limited to!) the following:

For the theater lover:

The drama group at Wesley Glen meets regularly, and practiced all fall for its winter reading production.

For the fitness fanatic:

There are so many wellness activities, including yoga classes for all levels, meditation classes and water aerobics at Wesley Glen and Wesley Ridge. Wesley Ridge has its chair volleyball team, where competitive spirit runs high!   At Wesley Woods, we have state of the art fitness equipment and various classes to take. Many campuses also have dance fit classes to keep everyone moving!

For the competitive player:

On top of all of these fun to-do’s we also have Rummikub, bridge and chair volleyball. When these events are going on, they bring out the best in us! You get a chance to see everyone’s friendly, but competitive nature. Some of the games can get intense, and they will have you on the edge of your seat!

For the contemplative spirit:

One of my personal favorites is our worship services. I’m happy to know that our residents have a place, right at home, where they can attend services. New residents love attending these services, and it is a great way to meet others in the community. On top of this, we also have prayer groups that meet regularly.

For the crafty cat:

If you are the crafty type, like me, you will enjoy our art classes and knit and crochet groups. These groups create an endless amount of beautiful crafts.   We have some very talented artists!  And, you can really see the personality of individual shine through their work.

For the busy bee:

If you are looking to get out, many times we have dinners out and other outings, with transportation provided. Even in the cold, wintery months it is nice to get a breath of fresh air.   Or, outings in the bus to look at Christmas lights, also a personal favorite!

For the homebody:

If you are looking for a more relaxed day, visit our library or our on-site salon. Our peaceful libraries provide the perfect atmosphere for an afternoon of reading. We also have book clubs, such as our brain fit book club, that our residents enjoy. And, our salons will be sure to pamper you when you need it. You leave with your hair looking great, and your spirit uplifted.

On top of all of this, we also have a choral group, educational offerings, volunteer opportunities, on-site sundry shopping and billiards that many different people enjoy.

Rarely (if ever) does a resident say “there’s nothing to do,” in fact, the more likely “tongue in cheek” complaint is, “The calendar is too full!   I have a hard time choosing!”

One of the greatest benefits of moving into a retirement community is the ability to stay socially active. As the CEO of The Wesley Communities, I am proud that we have an environment where our residents can learn, relax and thrive in community.

Liver Disease and Nutrition

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The liver serves many purposes in the body, including filtering harmful substances from the blood, producing substances that assist with food digestion, and helping to change food into energy. There are many kinds of liver diseases, such as:

  • Cirrhosis: Scarring and hardening of the liver
  • Fatty Liver Disease: Build-up of fat in liver cells
  • Bile Duct Disease: Bile is a liquid made in the liver that helps break down fats in the small intestine. Bile duct disease keeps bile from flowing into the small intestine where it is utilized.
  • Hepatitis (A), (B) and (C): Disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A, B, or C virus
  • Hemochromatosis: Buildup of iron in the liver (inherited disease)
  • Others can be the result of drugs, poisons, or drinking too much alcohol

Some of the effects of liver disease include weight changes, loss of muscle mass, ascites and/or edema (fluid retention), jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine and/or light-colored stools, fatigue or loss of stamina, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, altered taste perception, and/or signs/symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency. Depending on the diagnosis, alterations in calorie, protein, fluid, fat, vitamins or minerals may be recommended. For most liver diseases, a healthy diet will make it easier for the liver to function and may help repair some liver damage.

In general, it is important to:

  • Limit high sodium foods
  • Avoid foods that may cause foodborne illness such as:
    • Unpasteurized milk products
    • Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and eggs
    • Unwashed fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eat enough food to obtain adequate calories, vitamins, and minerals.

How can these changes be made?

  • It may be easier to eat several small meals throughout the day (4-6) as opposed to a few large ones.
  • Look for no-sodium or low-sodium versions of foods you like to eat, such as crackers, cheese, canned vegetables, or soups.
  • Avoid overly processed foods, as these tend to be higher in sodium.
  • Use herbs, spices, vinegar, oils, juice, or herb mixes (e.g., Mrs. Dash) to flavor food instead of salt.
  • Between meals, enjoy healthy snacks, such as:
    • Fruits and vegetables with dip, whole milk, yogurt, cereal, bagels, roasted nuts, and peanut butter.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Christmas Magic

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By: Trisha Mayhorn

Christmas at The Wesley Communities is always a magical time of year. The halls are full of decorations and employees are full of cheer! As for the residents, you can see how touched they are by all the holiday magic. I couldn’t imagine a better place to work, especially during the holidays. There are so many great people here, but one who stands out around Christmas is Phil Van Walsen.

Phil creates dazzling Christmas displays for us at Wesley Glen. They truly set the stage for the other holiday décor! The tradition started when a neighbor of Wesley Glen wanted to donate her 500-piece Christmas village collection. She was moving to Florida, and although it was hard to part with her things, she knew her collection had found a good home here at Wesley Glen.

Phil accepted the challenge to create the beautiful displays, and he has added another 500 or so pieces to the display over time. Each year residents and friends donate additional items and Phil finds a place for them.

He doesn’t use a blueprint. He just builds as the spirit moves him. This year, it’s a multi-level affair with motion and lots to look at, including custom Wesley Glen painted items! Phil even used the potted plants that are usually in the south lobby and he’s created a fun seek-and-find for specific items too.

Residents, staff and visitors love spending time looking at it. The Wesley Communities has the holiday spirit, and for that we would like to thank all of our residents and staff!

 

Stroke and Nutrition

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A stroke occurs when there is a change in the flow of blood to the brain that leads to a change in and/or loss of function. Some risk factors for stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity
  • Lifestyle factors, such as a diet high in fat and cholesterol, lack of exercise, and smoking

The effects of a stroke can vary, and depend on the location of the damage in the brain and the amount of damage. There may be changes in behavior or the ability to perform daily activities. Some individuals may find it more difficult to feed themselves or swallow. If these problems are present, an Occupational Therapist can help with self feeding, while a Speech Therapist can help with swallowing problems. A doctor can help determine appropriate treatment options.

Healthy eating may help with weight and blood pressure management, which can help to prevent another stroke. In general, healthy eating involves:

  • Low sodium: to help control blood pressure.
  • Plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products: to help keep blood pressure under control.
  • Choosing heart-healthy fats: such as soybean, canola, olive, or flaxseed oil over saturated fats and trans fats to reduce the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels.

There are many ways to incorporate healthy eating into your diet. Some ways to start include:

  • Choose foods with less than 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving.
  • Use herbs and spices, or herb mixes (e.g., Mrs. Dash) to flavor food.
  • Choose carefully when eating out. Restaurant foods can be high in sodium.
  • Choose fiber-rich foods. These include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choose fruits like bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, and apples, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, spinach, zucchini, and tomatoes. Whole grains include whole wheat bread products, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
  • Eat fatty, cold-water fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and sardines) twice a week. These provide heart healthy fats. Try to choose fresh or frozen varieties, as canned may be too high in sodium.
  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal foods, foods made with animal products, or fried foods. Trans fats are found in meat and foods that contain hydrogenated oils (e.g., peanut butter and margarine).
  • Limit cholesterol from food to 200 mg per day. Foods high in cholesterol include egg yolks, shrimp, and full fat dairy foods.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Diverticulosis and Nutrition

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Diverticulosis is a chronic condition where there are sac-like pouches protruding from the large intestine. When these pouches become inflamed or infected, the condition is then known as diverticulitis.

The most commonly suspected cause of diverticulosis is a low fiber diet. Consuming low fiber can lead to constipation, which can make it difficult to pass stool and lead to straining. This straining can put pressure on the colon, which may lead to the development of the sac-like pouches. Individuals with diverticulosis should consume a high fiber diet to prevent constipation. A high fiber diet should include an additional 6 to 10 grams of fiber beyond what is typically recommended (25 to 35 grams a day). Foods high in fiber include:

  • Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oatmeal, and other grains
  • Fruits such as prunes, apples, bananas, and pears
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit and vegetables with skin/peel on
  • Beans, peas, and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grain breads, pastas, crackers, and cereal Previous recommendations include avoidance of nuts, seeds, and hulls. There is no evidence to show this contributes to the development of diverticulitis, therefore the current nutrition recommendations focus on increased fiber.

When the sac-like pouches become inflamed or infected, your doctor may recommend no foods by mouth to allow your large intestine to rest. As you begin eating foods again you should slowly begin with low fiber foods that are easy to digest. Foods low in fiber include:

  • Tender well-cooked meats
  • Eggs
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Tofu
  • Cream of wheat and grits
  • Refined grains such as white bread and cereals made with white flour
  • Canned and/or well-cooked vegetables or vegetable juice
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Canned, soft, and/or well-cooked fruit, or fruit juice without pulp
  • Broth

As the infection and inflammation heals, fiber can slowly be added back into the diet.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Stroke and Nutrition

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

A stroke occurs when there is a change in the flow of blood to the brain that leads to a change in and/or loss of function. Some risk factors for stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity
  • Lifestyle factors, such as a diet high in fat and cholesterol, lack of exercise, and smoking

The effects of a stroke can vary, and depend on the location of the damage in the brain and the amount of damage. There may be changes in behavior or the ability to perform daily activities. Some individuals may find it more difficult to feed themselves or swallow. If these problems are present, an Occupational Therapist can help with self feeding, while a Speech Therapist can help with swallowing problems. A doctor can help determine appropriate treatment options.

Healthy eating may help with weight and blood pressure management, which can help to prevent another stroke. In general, healthy eating involves:

  • Low sodium: to help control blood pressure.
  • Plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products: to help keep blood pressure under control.
  • Choosing heart-healthy fats: such as soybean, canola, olive, or flaxseed oil over saturated fats and trans fats to reduce the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels.

There are many ways to incorporate healthy eating into your diet. Some ways to start include:

  • Choose foods with less than 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving.
  • Use herbs and spices, or herb mixes (e.g., Mrs. Dash) to flavor food.
  • Choose carefully when eating out. Restaurant foods can be high in sodium.
  • Choose fiber-rich foods. These include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choose fruits like bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, and apples, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, spinach, zucchini, and tomatoes. Whole grains include whole wheat bread products, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
  • Eat fatty, cold-water fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and sardines) twice a week. These provide heart healthy fats. Try to choose fresh or frozen varieties, as canned may be too high in sodium.
  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal foods, foods made with animal products, or fried foods. Trans fats are found in meat and foods that contain hydrogenated oils (e.g., peanut butter and margarine).
  • Limit cholesterol from food to 200 mg per day. Foods high in cholesterol include egg yolks, shrimp, and full fat dairy foods.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Parkinson’s Disease and Nutrition

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic movement disorder. PD involves the failure and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these neurons produce dopamine, a chemical involved in bodily movements and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.

Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following:

  • Tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
  • Bradykinesia or slowness of movement
  • Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination

Common nutritional concerns for people with Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Difficulty eating due to uncontrollable movements
  • Swallowing dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Medication side effects (e.g., dry mouth)

Nutritional concerns vary by individual based on signs and symptoms and stages of disease. It is important to work closely with a doctor or dietitian to determine specific recommendations.

When it comes to nutrition, what matters most?

  • Increase calories. If a tremor is present, calorie needs are much higher. Adding sources of fat to foods (e.g., oil and cheese) is one way to do this.
  • Maintain a balanced diet. Eating properly involves eating regularly. If uncontrollable movements or swallowing difficulties are making it hard to eat, seek the advice of an occupational or speech therapist.
  • Maintain bowel regularity. Do so with foods high in fiber (whole grain bread, bran cereals or muffins, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes) and drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Balance medications and food. Individuals taking carvidopa-levadopa may need to adjust the amount of protein eaten and the time of day it is eaten, or take their medication with orange juice. If side effects such as dry mouth are making it difficult to eat, work with a health care professional to help manage these.
  • Adjust nutritional priorities for your situation and stage of disease.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Cancer and Nutrition

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Cancer begins when cells in the body become abnormal. As these cells duplicate, a mass of tissue made of abnormal cells forms and is called a tumor. Normal cells grow and divide and know to stop growing. Over time, they also die. Unlike these normal cells, cancer cells continue to multiply and do not die when they are supposed to. If the tumor gets bigger, it can damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.
Nutrition is important for both cancer prevention and treatment. If diagnosed with cancer, there are numerous treatments that can be utilized, all of which can cause side effects capable of affecting nutrition. Some effects of cancer treatments include:

  • Fatigue: Get plenty of rest, and if unable to eat large amounts, choose calorie-dense foods (e.g., butter, cheese, ice cream, and milkshakes)
  • Nausea and vomiting: Avoid excessive exposure to the smell of food, and take medications with food if able
  • Taste changes: Stay well hydrated (this can be linked to dry mouth) and eat citrus foods to stimulate saliva production
  • Dry mouth or thick saliva: Stay well hydrated and try sucking on ice chips
  • Sore mouth or sore throat: Pick soft, easy-to-chew foods; add gravy and sauce to food
  • Diarrhea: Drink plenty of fluids, choose low-fiber foods, and avoid irritating foods (e.g., dairy, sugar, and spicy foods)
  • Constipation: Eat fiber-rich foods and stay well hydrated
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss: Choose calorie-dense foods (e.g., butter, cheese, ice cream, and milkshakes)

There are also unique side effects that can vary depending on the location of the
cancer. For example:

  • Head and neck cancer may lead to chewing difficulties
  • Colon cancer may be associated with more gastrointestinal-related side effects (e.g., diarrhea)
  • Lung cancer may lead to an increase in shortness of breath, which can make eating more difficult

Nutrition is also important for cancer survivors, as well as those looking to prevent cancer. The following guidelines can help minimize the risk for cancer:

  • Eat plant-based foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and excessive energy-dense foods (e.g., chips, cookies, and candy).
  • Limit consumption of red meats (e.g., beef, pork, and lamb)
  • Limit consumption of processed meats (e.g., bacon, sausage, and salami)
  • If consuming alcohol, keep it to 2 drinks/day for men and 1 for woman
  • Avoid excessive salt consumption

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Staying Cool: When it’s Hot, Hot, Hot!

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Our aging population is more active today.  Experts tell us that as we age our bodies can’t handle the heat as when we were younger.  A senior body often doesn’t detect the heat, and will not begin sweating until body temperature has skyrocketed.  What’s more, our body’s cooling devices don’t operate as efficiently as we age.

Summer’s scorching temperatures don’t have to wilt a senior’s ability to enjoy the season.  By taking some common-sense approaches to staying cool and hydrated, seniors can spend quality time with family and friends outdoors.

*Staying hydrated is essential.  When the temperature soars, the body keeps cool naturally through perspiring, which results in a loss of water.  Be sure to keep drinking all day long, even if you don’t feel thirsty.  Recommended amounts for everyone, not just seniors, are at least 8-10 8-ounce cups per day.  Water is best, but fruit juice will also hydrate.

*Take care of how you dress.  Try to wear loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton.  Light colors reflect the sun’s rays, whereas dark colors absorb the heat of the sun.

*Be sure to protect your skin with sunblock.  Use any and all means to keep the sun from directly hitting your skin.  You can wear a hat, sunglasses, and especially important is sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30.

*When the day is really hot, avoid being outside between 11am and 3pm, which is generally the hottest part of the day.  If you live in a climate with high humidity, the heat can be especially dangerous, and it is harder for your body to cool down naturally through perspiring.

In the heat, try to check on your loved one at least twice a day.  If your senior begins to experience dizziness, breathing problems, rapid heartbeat, headache, nausea, or fainting, call 911, or if they reside in an assisted living community, press the emergency call button for immediate help.

Don’t let the heat of summer rule your days.  Implement the tips listed above into your daily routine during the dog days of summer to help keep cool.