St. George Village Blog
Category Archive: Independent Living Residents Corner Wellness
Posted on July 30, 2015 by Stacy Anthony
SGV resident Jan Deach, who recently celebrated July 4 by running the Peachtree Road Race, proudly displays her race number just outside her apartment door. She has participated in the annual event for more than 35 years. Running is a family affair — two of Jan’s grandsons, one of whom has a track scholarship to Wofford College, also ran the Peachtree this year, and her daughter is an avid runner.
Jan, who moved to St. George Village last year, loves to be active. She participates in exercise classes like yoga and Tai Chi, and especially enjoys walking.
“I start my day by walking two or three miles early in the morning,” she says. “That’s how I stay in shape.”
This year, she says she alternated running and walking the Peachtree Road Race. “Every year I say I’m not going to do it again,” she laughs. “But I always change my mind.”
Posted on April 20, 2015 by Stacy Anthony
When it comes to good health, you can certainly feel it in your bones. That’s because your bones are alive. Every day, the body breaks down old bone and puts new bone in its place. While it is normal to lose some bone with age, too much bone loss can lead to osteoporosis.
What Is Osteoporosis?
With osteoporosis, the bones become weak and are more likely to break, especially those in the wrist, spine and hip. Because bone loss often happens over time and doesn’t hurt, many people have weak bones and don’t even know it. A broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis. It’s a good idea, therefore, to know the risk factors. These include:
• Poor Diet. Too little calcium can increase your chances of getting osteoporosis. Not enough vitamin D can also increase your risk. Vitamin D helps the body use the calcium in your diet.
• Not Enough Physical Activity. Not exercising and not being active for a long time can increase your chances of getting osteoporosis. Like muscles, bones become stronger—and stay stronger—with regular exercise.
• Body Weight. Being too thin makes you more likely to get osteoporosis.
• Smoking. Cigarettes can keep your body from using the calcium in your diet.
• Alcohol. People who drink a lot are more likely to get osteoporosis.
• Medicines. Certain medications can cause bone loss.
• Age. Your chances of getting osteoporosis increase as you get older.
• Gender. Women have a greater chance of getting osteoporosis because they have smaller bones than men and lose bone faster than men do. However, men can still develop osteoporosis as they age.
• Ethnicity. White and Asian women are most likely to get osteoporosis. However, people of all backgrounds are at risk.
• Family History. Having a close relative with osteoporosis may increase your risk.
What To Do About It
Since osteoporosis has no symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your bone health. If your doctor feels you’re at risk, he or she may order a bone density test. It’s quick, safe and painless. If your bone density test shows that your bones are weak, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes and prescribe medication that can help.
For further information on osteoporosis and bone health, you can go to the website of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), or call toll free (877) 226-4267 and order a free publication on bone health.
Posted on February 6, 2015 by Stacy Anthony
If you’re like most people, you’ve noticed differences in the way your mind works over time. The good news is that understanding the potential threats to brain health can help you make smart choices to strengthen mental alertness.
Some health conditions can negatively affect your brain. Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes can alter or damage blood vessels throughout your body, including the brain.
Some medications and combinations of drugs, as well as alcohol use, may affect thinking.
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia harm the brain, too. While no one knows how to prevent dementia, many approaches that are good for your health in other ways, like exercise and a healthy diet, are being tested.
Actions That Help Your Brain:
• Get regular health screenings.
• Manage diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
• Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you take and any possible side effects.
• Try to maintain a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (including fish and poultry), and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Monitor your intake of solid fat, sugar and salt and eat proper portion sizes.
• Drink moderately, if at all, because avoiding alcohol can reverse some negative changes related to brain health.
• Be physically active be cause doing so may improve connections among your brain cells. Older adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.
• Don’t smoke. Quitting at any age will be beneficial to your mind and body. Nonsmokers have a lower risk of heart attacks, stroke and lung diseases, as well as increased blood circulation.
• Be safe. Older adults are at higher risk of falling and other accidents that can cause brain injury. To reduce your risk, exercise to improve balance and coordination, take a falls prevention class and make your home safer.
• Keep your mind active by doing mentally stimulating activities including reading, playing games, teaching or taking a class, and being social. Volunteer.
• Visit an Area Agency on Aging (AAA). These community-based agencies provide a welcoming environment for older adults and caregivers interested in learning about services from meals, transportation and in-home care to volunteer opportunities and classes to keep them healthy and engaged.
For more information and a free brochure containing strategies to promote brain health, call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov.
Posted on December 5, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
Santa’s Little Helpers know how important it is to stay active and eat well in order to stay healthy during the holiday season! Pictured here are some of the elves who live at St. George Village, getting in their workout (and having a good time doing it) at our indoor pool. Water aerobics, lap swimming or simple water-walking are all great ways to get in shape (or stay that way) at any age.
Kris Kringle himself would do well to follow the St. George Village Elves’ example!
Posted on March 28, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
If you or someone you care about feels there’s a slim chance of keeping fit, it may be because of certain common but false ideas. Here’s a look at a few, as well as some facts about weight loss and nutrition.
1. Myth: Healthy eating costs too much.
Fact: Eating better doesn’t have to cost a lot. Try these ideas for healthful eating on a budget:
• Use canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, which may provide as many nutrients as fresh ones at lower cost. Rinse canned veggies before you cook them to remove extra salt. Choose fruit canned in its own juice or packed in water.
• Canned, dried or frozen beans, lentils and peas are healthful sources of protein that last a long time and may not cost much.
2. Myth: If I skip meals, I can lose weight.
Fact: Skipping meals may make you feel hungrier and lead you to eat more than you normally would at your next meal. Consider these ideas:
• For a quick breakfast, make oatmeal with low-fat milk, topped with your favorite fruit.
• For healthful snacks on the go, pack a small low-fat yogurt, whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter, or veggies with hummus.
3. Myth: Physical activity only counts if I can do it for a long time.
Fact: The U.S. government recommends 150 to 300 minutes of activity each week, but you don’t need to do it all at once. To benefit, you can exercise for as few as 10 minutes at a time. Here are some ways to fit activity in:
• If you’re in a safe, well-lit area, get off the bus or train one stop early and walk the rest of the way to where you’re going.
• Plan a game of basketball or soccer or go dancing with friends.
You can get more information from the “Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths” fact sheet created by the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), a national information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The fact sheet covers more myths, presents facts and offers ways to make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily life. It also explains the Nutrition Facts label, suggests ways to “eat the rainbow” of healthful fruits and veggies, and lists smart choices for vegetarians and people with lactose intolerance.
For a free copy or more information, call (877) 946-4627 or visit Weight Control Information Network.
Posted on March 14, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
According to renowned aquatics expert, U.S. Masters Swimming and Synchro Champion Dr. Jane Katz, water exercise is for everyone. “The magic of water works for everyone. All ages. All ability levels,” she states. “Whether in shape or overweight, workouts can be adapted to fit one’s needs.”
Because it is simultaneously buoyant and resistant, water gives people the ability to relax at the same time they stretch and strengthen their muscles. Pat Bollinger, an instructor of water aerobics at St. George Village, says this benefit is especially helpful for anyone who wants to get aerobic exercise and strength training, but also needs to relieve pressure from their joints.
“You’re in the water, you’re buoyant and you’re not pounding your joints,” she explains. “So, there isn’t any movement that you can’t do in the water.”
Bollinger says that buoyancy isn’t the only benefit water aerobics offers.
“You get your heart rate up and you increase your oxygen level. This helps your brain stay more active,” she states. “And besides that, it’s a lot of fun.”
For a holistic workout that enhances the body, mind and spirit, take to the water!
Posted on February 17, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
As a senior, you’ve probably come to expect that your hair will turn gray and that you may lose a step or two in your tango. But did you know that feeling extremely tired or short of breath may signal a deeper, underlying problem? Aortic stenosis may be the culprit.
Up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from this progressive disease in which the aortic valve in the heart narrows. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, including the buildup of calcium in the heart valve, a birth defect, rheumatic fever, or radiation therapy. Approximately 250,000 people suffer from the most severe form of aortic stenosis.
Aortic stenosis symptoms are often mistaken for signs of “normal” aging and may cause you to experience the following:
• Chest pain or tightness
• Shortness of breath
• Lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or fainting
• Heart palpitations
• Swollen ankles and feet
• Difficulty walking short distances or exercising
• Sensations of a rapid fluttering heartbeat
• The need to sleep sitting upright instead of lying flat in bed
• Unable or unfit to engage in physical activities that you used to enjoy
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away as they may be signs of a serious health issue.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association guidelines recommend treatment quickly once a person is diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. Once people begin experiencing symptoms, studies indicate that up to 50 percent of those with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis will not survive more than an average of two years. These are indeed sobering statistics.
Fortunately there are treatment options available for aortic stenosis, which may help to extend and improve your quality of life. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms.
Visit NewHeartValve.com to learn more about severe aortic stenosis and to locate a specialized Heart Team near you.
Posted on January 31, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
When Jim Sterling was present for the groundbreaking of St. George Village back in 2003, he and his wife, Alice, were interested in the community… but not yet ready to leave their home in a nearby subdivision. They visited again in 2005 when the life care community opened for residency… and Jim still wasn’t ready to leave home. But two years later, the Sterlings knew it was finally the right time to make St. George Village their permanent home.
“Even though we were both still active and able to drive at the time, the signs were there. Little things started happening,” recalls Alice. “We were eventually going to need some help.”
The Sterlings first moved into a two-bedroom apartment, and later downsized to a one-bedroom apartment when they realized they needed even less space. Then, when they both needed the help that Alice had foreseen, the couple moved into The Springs, the assisted living community within St. George Village.
The Sterlings are still able to enjoy all of the amenities that were available to them in independent living, but they now receive welcome assistance with day-to-day tasks.
“We enjoy three meals a day in the dining room, and all of the cleaning and any shopping we need is done for us now,” says Alice, who has experienced issues with her shoulder. “Our laundry is also done for us — three times a week! I have assistance with showering and we have help for any other health needs we might experience.”
Although Alice and Jim no longer drive, they don’t worry about transportation. They simply take advantage of SGV’s bus service, which ferries them to doctors’ appointments, the bank, grocery store, pharmacy and local department stores. Alice plays bridge a couple of times a week and reads voraciously. And Jim, although he doesn’t get out on the golf course as he did in the past, is still a sport — he loves watching baseball and football. They both enjoy the beautiful grounds outdoors at SGV.
“We originally came to St. George Village for all the amenities you can enjoy while still living independently. But we knew when we needed help, the facilities and staff would be there for us,” says Alice. “We really don’t lack for anything, now that we’ve moved into assisted living. I’m glad we’re here!
Posted on January 13, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
For optimal health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week. In addition, muscle-strengthening activities should be conducted two or more days a week.
Exercise can help prevent many physical problems and chronic conditions that come with aging, including weight gain, back pain and heart disease. Plus, it keeps the mind sharp and can help you feel happier, improving symptoms of depression and even dementia. To gain these benefits, however, you need to find a fitness program that provides the physical results desired and is enjoyable, too, so you’ll stick to it.
Before you begin any exercise program, McMahon has the following tips:
1. See your doctor, especially if you have a chronic condition.
2. Start slowly. Begin by walking, say, for 10 minutes or so a day. As you gain energy and your body builds stamina, increase your activity levels and make it more challenging.
3. Stay motivated. Have realistic short-term goals you can easily meet.
4. Don’t be intimidated. Remember that everyone had to walk in the door for the first time. Don’t let the thought of starting hold you back. You can do it.
Posted on December 23, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Many older adults have found benefit from the centuries-old Chinese martial arts tai chi and qigong. “Chi” or “qi” (chee) means “life energy.” “Qigong” (chee-goong) literally means “life energy cultivation.” Tai chi consists of a series of flowing movements while qigong focuses on the repetition of isolated movements and breathing.
For example, Robert Johnson, M.D., Kaiser Permanente Chief of Palliative Care in Walnut Creek, Calif., has practiced tai chi and qigong since the 1970s. He believes these mind-body exercises promote good health, flexibility, strength and balance, which help reduce the risk of falling among seniors.
Each year, one out of three adults, age 65 and older, falls due to lack of balance or other reasons. Consider that a record 11,000 baby boomers turn 65 and become Medicare eligible every day, and that can add up to a lot of falls and serious injuries.
“We spend most of our day in sedentary jobs. Many of us sit in front of a computer or television for hours at a time,” Dr. Johnson said. “To age well, we need to move, stretch and keep our joints lubricated and flexible. Otherwise, our muscles, joints and tendons become stiff and brittle, and that can lead to falls and disabilities.”
Dr. Johnson recommends moving the joints in a circular motion. For example, place the hands on the knees and rotate the knees together in a clockwise and then counterclockwise motion. Also, try sitting in a squat position and stand up slowly to strengthen the quadriceps.
By clicking here, you can view a short video in which Dr. Johnson demonstrates a few basic exercises and explains why they’re helpful.
Along with doing exercises that promote flexibility, seniors can also help prevent falls and serious injuries by taking a few simple precautions at home:
• Reduce tripping hazards such as throw rugs, raised doorway thresholds, or loose carpet.
• Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter.
• Add grab bars where necessary—in hallways, stairways and bathtubs.
• Add a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub.
• Improve lighting throughout the house and use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms.
• Keep a phone and flashlight by the bed.