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.

Doctor, Heal Thyself

Image ID : 17044590
Copyright : stockyimages

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.

Take Care of Your Girlie Parts

source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 116442285
Copyright : Olena Kachmar

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/

Great Article In Men’s Health On Weights and Longevity

Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 109191704
Copyright : Michal Bednarek

Click on the link here to access the article from Men’s Health Magazine:

https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19517546/lifting-weights-helps-you-live-longer/?fbclid=IwAR1Da9QtT4YbIqFv6YhwGniCGry46Mvaczy9Zo7ObSTedXkw1gPsl0QGpoU

A recent study from Penn State College of Medicine revealed that strength training reduced the risk of death in subjects aged 65 and older. The study surveyed people 65 and older about their exercise habits and then followed them for a 15 year period. Of the less than 10 percent of subjects who lifted weights, they were 46 percent less likely to die during the course of the study than other subjects.

Strength training combats the age-related muscle loss which occurs over time, improves bone density, and is also correlated with improved mood, memory and concentration. Even individuals who have never weight trained in the past can easily incorporate resistance training into their regular routine and reap the multiple benefits which it confers.

A Great TED Talk On Clutter

“Clutter is postponed decisions.” – Barbara Hemphill

I absolutely love this brilliant quote by Barbara Hemphill which Kerry Thomas mentions in this TED Talk video, because it is completely true. No matter what type of clutter plagues you, it may be impeding you in a profound way from living a free and peaceful life.

I hate physical clutter and fight it all the time by conducting purges throughout the year. But physical clutter is only one type of clutter, and Ms. Thomas breaks down the different types into the following:

Physical
Mental
Emotional
Digital
Spiritual

Although I feel that I have a good handle on physical clutter in my environment, the other categories are more challenging. I control digital clutter by going through my email inboxes on a daily basis, consolidating images and deleting old text messages on my phone. I also think I have a decent handle on spiritual clutter because I meditate daily, take meditation and yoga courses, and also practice breathwork. I try to forgive those who upset me, and I also make sure to avoid toxic people.

The areas where I get hung up (and I suspect many others do) is with mental and emotional clutter. Ms. Thomas states that mental clutter consists of fears one might have, and it also could stem from the judgmental words of others, while emotional clutter consists of negative thoughts and behaviors. The thing is, I have fears which keep my mind racing, and I also fall into the trap of negative thinking from time to time, especially when I am in the middle of a crisis. So by no means am I completely free of clutter. However, I constantly strive to clear up anything which is depressing me or slowing me down.

It’s incredibly liberating to get rid of items which are damaged, unused, or worn, and it’s also wonderful to let go of all the mental blockades to happiness and freedom. One thing I always try to remind myself is that worrying about things will never bring about a solution. The only thing worry ends up doing is eroding one’s demeanor and sparking anxiety.

I suggest that you think about the different areas in which clutter might be adversely affecting your life, and adopt behaviors which counteract such clutter.