Healthy Living Tips for Seniors on a Fixed Income

Please check out this fantastic article, written by Karen Weeks, which is full of tips on how to live healthy and strong as a senior on a fixed income!

by Karen Weeks – Elderwellness.net
karen@elderwellness.net


Image by Xevi Casanovas via Unsplash

As you get older, it’s more important than ever to make your health a priority. Unfortunately for seniors living on fixed incomes, a healthy lifestyle can seem financially impossible. Nutritious ingredients, fitness classes, and other healthy living resources don’t come cheap. When money is limited, it’s hard to find room in your budget.

Forgoing healthy habits may save money in the short-term, but it costs seniors in the long-run. A healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to prevent chronic illness, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re more likely to develop health problems that are costly to manage.

That’s why it’s so important to adopt healthy habits now, no matter your budget. If you’re a senior living on a fixed income, these tips will help you stay healthy without spending a lot.

Eating Well

Learn how to grocery shop on a budget
If you look at the price of packaged organic goods, healthy foods can seem out of reach. Instead of worrying about organics, focus on eating a diet high in vegetables of any (and every!) type. If fresh vegetables are too expensive, frozen vegetables are just as nutritious without the sodium content of canned goods. Dried beans, whole grains, frozen fruit, canned fish, and eggs are more cheap and healthy foods. Avoid frozen meals. While they seem like a good value, most frozen dinners are high in sodium and saturated fat.

Make use of food assistance programs
If you find yourself skipping meals or eating poorly to save money, look into food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels is an especially helpful resource if you live alone and have trouble leaving your home.

Staying Active

Get cleared for exercise
It’s safe for most older adults to exercise, but it’s still wise to talk to your doctor. Your annual wellness visit is a good time to ask if you should take precautions before starting an exercise program. Keep in mind, however, that Medicare’s annual wellness visit doesn’t include a full physical. You may owe a copay if your doctor recommends bloodwork or other tests to clear you for exercise.

Exercise at home
There’s a lot of exercise seniors can do in the comfort of their homes. Basic strength and balance exercises, important for senior fall prevention, require minimal space and no special equipment. Use these 14 exercises from Philips Lifeline to get started.

Join a senior center
Do you prefer the camaraderie of group exercise? Senior centers offer tons of activities for older adults, including exercise classes like tai chi, yoga, and Zumba. Not only that, but all of a senior center’s services are available free or low-cost. No matter where you live, there’s likely a senior center in your neighborhood.

Getting Help at Home

Apply for the Assisted Living Waiver Program
If you need caregiving but don’t want to move into a nursing facility, consider assisted living. Under the Assisted Living Waiver Program, California seniors receiving Medi-Cal benefits can receive a reduced rate for assisted living. With facilities in California having a median cost of $54,000 annually, that’s a valuable benefit. However, not all facilities participate, so it’s important that seniors understand how to research assisted living facilities. Online search tools are a good place to start looking for a facility that meets your needs, but once you find one you like, you’ll need to check if it participates in the waiver program.

Get a roommate
Unfortunately, not every senior who needs help affording care qualifies for a waiver. If you could use help at home but don’t need nursing home-level care, consider a roommate. A roommate can be a housemate who splits the bills or someone who provides housekeeping and companionship in exchange for reduced rent.

Living on a fixed income forces you to get creative with your money, but it shouldn’t stop you from living well. If you’re having trouble affording the things you need to stay healthy, reach out to your Department of Aging and Adult Services to learn what resources are available to you.

Goals and Intentions

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Every single year since 1996, I have sat down at the end of the year and reviewed my goals list for that year to find out what I was able to accomplish. The end of the year is also a great time to compile a new goals list for the upcoming year. I have been writing out yearly goals for over 20 years, and firmly believe that this habit has been instrumental in helping me to attain some of my biggest aspirations.

These aren’t New Year’s resolutions, they’re intentions, dreams, carrots which I hang in front of me and keep in my line of sight throughout the year. They encompass business strategies, personal goals, career development, finances, home environment, love relationships, friends, family, and health.

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If you aren’t already in the habit of writing out goals for the year, I encourage you to do so. When you define what it is you want in your life, you manifest powerful energy which helps to bring those wishes to fruition. Make sure to write your goals in a notebook or binder, rather than typing them on a computer or smart phone. The mechanical act of putting pen to paper triggers areas of the brain responsible for creativity and thinking, and forces us to slow down and digest what it is we are writing.

At then end of the year, you can scan your list to see what you accomplished and what might need to be modified and put on the next list. In a typical year, I check off about 80% of my goals.

Don’t be afraid to dream big and use your imagination! The sky’s the limit!

Doctor, Heal Thyself

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One thing I never thought about before I went to medical school was how much I would be exposed to various illnesses as a physician. I guess you could say it’s an occupational hazard, but it can be downright frightening when you are exposed to some of the most virulent microbes which circulate in communities and in hospital environments. You’re bound to catch something at intervals.

Most people think of hospitals as disease-riddled, and they’re pretty much correct. But there are other places which have the potential to make you too weak to whip a gnat.

One of the worst environments is the pediatric setting, in which walking Petri dishes, also known as children, traipse into the clinic and somehow fling their nasty germs onto you. Before you know it, you are struck with a horrific infection that require an army of medications before you begin to feel human again. I remember spending the majority of my time in every single pediatrics rotation I completed, whether it was as a student, intern, or resident, so ill that I spent my days feeling like I had been hit by a truck, with a pressure cooker for a noggin, fuzzy-brained and miserable from whatever pathogen those little brats had brought to me.

Another microbe-filled gathering place is urgent care, a setting in which I have worked regularly over the past couple of years. Last year, when I was working more shifts than ever, I contracted three upper respiratory infections which progressed to bronchitis, and developed acute gastroenteritis (stomach flu) twice. Thank goodness I always get a flu shot every fall, otherwise I am sure I would have been hit with influenza as well. I see patients who are so sick that they can barely stay awake during their exams, people who have no business being out in public.

I recently saw a young female patient with a 103 degree fever who looked very ill, so I tested her for strep throat and influenza A&B. The nurse on staff asked if I wanted both, to which I replied, “Absolutely. I wouldn’t be surprised if both tests lit up like Christmas trees.” And they did. She actually had both influenza A and streptococcal pharyngitis. Poor girl.

It’s my duty as a physician to care for others, and I take it very seriously. But I will admit that my attitude towards my own illnesses is similar to the attitude of the Black Knight. My attitude is that it’s “only a flesh wound”, or “just a scratch” when I am ill or injured, so when I finally break down and admit that I am ill or injured, I am definitely in a bad place physically.

I suspect this attitude is similar to that of other physicians. So keep that in mind when you see that your provider is under the weather. We are only human as well.

The Bush Is Back In Style, Ladies…

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If you’ve spent many years battling the crop of hair which continues to grow in your nether regions, I have some good news for you. The bush is officially back in style, so much so that celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow are rocking their pubes like it’s 1971. Now you can be free of stubble, razor nicks, the pain of having a wax infused muslin strip ripped away from your groin, and the piercing pain of laser pulses deranging your hair follicles.

Of course, if you have had any treatments to impede hair growth (laser, IPL, or waxing), it may be challenging to get the lawn to grow in fully. A hair transplant clinic in London has actually answered that lament by offering pubic hair restoration for women who have had it removed by laser. Apparently this service is increasing in popularity too.

This also may be good news for men who prefer a lush, full pubic bush framing the garden in which they enjoy frolicking. I wonder if this somehow follows on the heels of the lumber-sexual beard trend which some men chose to adopt in recent years? In true hippie, or as the trendy term goes, bohemian, style, I guess we are all reverting to a freer time. It’s time to back away from laser hair treatments, waxing, plucking, and shaving, in favor of a return to what Mother Nature intended us to sport under our skivvies.

Moreover, there are numerous benefits to allowing pubic hair to return to its original, uncropped and untortured state, which are listed in this article:

https://www.bolde.com/full-bush-trendy-relieved/

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Have patience while you let your magic carpet grow in. And once your muff mop returns to its unrestricted state, you can even improve it with products like Fur Oil, which is specially designed to condition its thicker texture. A UK-based company named Two L(i)ps sells a charcoal infused vulva mask which apparently “detoxifies” your vajajay, and works just as well if your kitty is as bald as a baby bird or if it rocks a shaggy mane. I simply must share some of the musings of Imogen Edwards-Jones who wrote a hilarious article for Get The Gloss in which she reviews this bizarre product:

“…I am not a woman who gives her wazoo much thought. I do rudimentary minge management. I wax and clip and occasionally when I’ve been a little too busy, I’ve posted the straggling escapees back under my bikini while relaxing by the pool. But basically my vagina and I, we get by.”

Here are her initial impressions of the mask:
“…Initially, it made me desperate for the loo. It was like wearing a cold, wet, swimming costume, unpleasant enough to trigger a virulent episode of cystitis. Then after about five minutes, it warmed up. Somehow that was worse. Perhaps I had peed myself unawares?”

The company recommends that you apply a mask every day for 5 consecutive days, which comes to a whopping $120. Now, I honor and appreciate my goodie parts, but I certainly am not about to fork out over 100 clams (pun intended) to see how this product might yield a brighter, toxin free cootch.

Whichever you direction you ladies decide to go in, shaved clean, cropped, or a mop, rock it the way you know best!

Vajazzling

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When I was researching the topics which comprised my two previous blog posts, I ran across vajazzling, a ridiculous trend which somehow caught on with women about ten years ago. Wikipedia defines vajazzling as:

“A vajazzle (also spelled vagazzle) is a form of genital decoration, formed by the application of crystal ornaments on the shaved mons pubis of a woman. The process is known as vajazzling, a portmanteau of “vagina” and “bedazzle”.”

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I suppose vajazzling is better than genital tattoos or genital piercing, since it is painless and temporary, but I honestly don’t understand the appeal of affixing crystals onto your hoo-ha. Vajazzling art lasts anywhere between several days to 3 weeks, but you have to be careful about wearing tight clothing, because the fabric will cause all the baubles to rub off. You can expect to pay anywhere between $24 to $300 for an aesthetician to create a small masterpiece on your mound of Venus.

Here are a couple of videos which discuss vajazzling:

The adhesive which is used is medical grade, so the gems tend to stay in place quite well, even while swimming. But vajazzlers want women to be aware that frequent bathing may cause the stones to loosen more rapidly. My guess is that if regular bathing is discouraged to an extent, those private areas would need the extra ornamentation in order to lure their partners!

Take Care of Your Girlie Parts

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As a follow-up to one of my more bizarre blog posts which dropped last week, I’m posting information on a couple of skin care products for a woman’s private parts. Though I have been involved in cosmetic dermatology for over 16 years, such products are honestly a surprise to me, and I wonder how gimmicky they are. I am of the strong opinion that ladies needn’t trouble themselves with detoxifying and pH-balancing an area which does a pretty good job of balancing things out on its own. I also can’t see why anyone in their right minds would be willing to blow $20 a pop on the Blackout Mask. The design of Janna’s Intimate Mask seems much more appealing, and has a more reasonable price point (about $6.50 USD), but of course it is only available in specific countries in Europe.

One use which makes complete sense to me is after IPL or laser hair reduction treatment, or waxing, since the masks would probably do an excellent job of soothing the skin post-treatment.

Here are the products:

https://www.jannauk.co.uk/product-page/intimate-mask-ph-balancing-skin-essence

Intimate Mask + pH Balancing Skin Essence
Janna’s Intimate Mask is our first anytime wearable mask that gently cares for your intimate skin. Each mask comes individually packaged with our delicately formulated essence made from natural, organic and skin loving ingredients to give you that fresh all day feeling.

Blackout (Activated Charcoal Vulva Mask)

BLACKOUT (ACTIVATED CHARCOAL VULVA MASK)
$28.00 SGD
The world’s first vulva mask. Blackout’s 4-step process soothes, detoxifies, brightens and moisturises the vulva with the help of infrared activated charcoal to boost lymphatic drainage to rejuvenate the skin.

Made with organic ingredients without sulphates, parabens or petrochemicals. Gynaecologically and dermatologically tested.

Now ordinarily I would be willing to serve as a guinea pig for any skincare products, but I’m not sure how I feel about sacrificing my goodie bits for the sake of dermatological scientific query. I’m very curious to know what the gals across the ocean think of such products?

Seasonal Probiotics Make Sense

I recently had the good fortune to try the innovative seasonal probiotics which Jetson sells. Seasonal probiotics? You bet. With a seasonal rotation, Jetson ensures that your gut is exposed to as many strains of probiotics as possible, which means the strains are fresh, delivered monthly to your door, and offer the best guarantee for optimal gut health. In comparison, most probiotics brands on the market only offer the same small handful every month, while Jetson delivers over 20 strains in a rotating pattern with their subscription program. Such diversity of good bacteria makes a tremendous difference in how well your gut can carry out essential functions.

Another great reason to subscribe to Jetson seasonal probiotics is that they are made in fresh batches and delivered to you every month, as opposed to sitting in a bottle on a shelf for many months, degrading from moisture and heat. In addition, Jetson uses a protective gel material in their capsules to prevent them from being broken down by highly acidic environment of the stomach. This means that the probiotic capsule reaches the small intestine unscathed, and can exert its beneficial effects.

Interestingly enough, right before I started taking Jetson Probiotics, I was having issues with abdominal bloating which I just couldn’t shake. About 3 days after I began taking Jetson probiotics, I noticed that my bloating decreased noticeably, which I definitely appreciated, especially since I was concerned about an upcoming photo shoot! I’m looking forward to subscribing to Jetson to see how my body responds to the expanded variety of probiotic strains. This is an especially good time to start thinking about improving gut health, since we all have to deal with holiday stress as well as holiday foods which we don’t usually consume during other times of the year.

Jetson offers more strains of probiotics on a seasonal schedule for optimal gut function.

Check out Jetson seasonal probiotics here:

https://wearejetson.com/