Active Aging Redefines Health and Wellness

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What does it mean to be healthy as we get older? For most of us, it’s simply the opposite of illness. And staying healthy equates to managing diseases and chronic conditions.

But there is a movement to expand the definition of health and wellness in order to accommodate the idea that being healthy is the process of getting the most out of what life has to offer — regardless of physical age.

Click above to learn more about active aging.

Making a Move: Packing Parties and Other Creative Ideas

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The below article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.

Recently I had the chance to speak with a couple that lives in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC or “life plan community”) in Virginia. Let’s call them Joe and Becky. They have lived in the CCRC for about three years and said they couldn’t be happier. One thing that has really stood out to them since moving, they explained, was the level of service provided by the staff, which they described as “exceptional.” As we talked more, I asked about their experience in making the move and how they managed to deal with all their “stuff.”

Indeed, dealing with years of accumulated belongings can be daunting. Of course, somebody eventually has to deal with all that stuff, and it doesn’t get any easier as we get older. Click above for some ways that can help make the experience more, dare I say, fun.

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.

Comparing Life Plan Retirement Communities on Price

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In Columbus, and the surrounding central Ohio region, shopping for a life plan retirement community (also referred to as a CCRC or continuing care retirement community) requires a lot of research, and your final decision will be based on many factors–services, location, amenities, reputation, and more–though price is usually one of the most heavily weighted.

Click above to read more.

Peg’s Perspective –The Longevity Project and Conscientiousness

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“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Click above to read tip # 11 of 50 –The Longevity Project and Conscientiousness!

CCRCs: The Purpose of Entry Fees

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The vast majority of Continuing Care Retirement Communities require an entry fee. Naturally, people often ask, “What is the purpose of the entry fee?” Before answering this question it is helpful to understand the history of entry fees.

The CCRC concept began about a century ago when faith-based and other charitable organizations sought to provide lifetime shelter and care for the aged. In exchange for this promise, residents being cared for were usually required to assign most or all of their assets to the organization.  Although well-intentioned, this model was less than scientific and when residents lived longer than expected there often wasn’t enough money on hand to fulfill the organization’s commitment.

In response to the short-coming of this model the idea of entry fees evolved. Rather than collecting the assets of a resident, organizations began establishing minimum entry fees (combined with monthly fees) that were determined to be adequate to cover commitments.

After proving to be more effective, the entry fee model eventually expanded to also offer refundable entry fees. Many prospective residents responded more favorably to this approach because they knew that either they or their heirs would receive back some portion of the entry fee if they ever left the community, or at death.

Today there are over 2,000 CCRCs located throughout the United States offering non-refundable, partially refundable, and fully refundable entry fees. Many providers offer multiple options from which to choose.

So, what is the purpose of an entry fee? Primarily, the entry fee helps secure a resident’s contractual access to a continuum of care. This is why CCRCs are the only type of retirement community providing such a promise to its residents. In recent years more rental-only CCRCs have evolved. However, under a rental contract there is either no contractual promise to provide a continuum of care, or the monthly fee will be higher than a comparable entry fee CCRC.

The money received from entry fees is also used to help pay down, or limit, the amount of debt required for development, expansion, or occasional capital projects, which keep the community attractive and competitive in the marketplace.

Finally, many CCRCs- particularly non-profit providers- offer a financial assistance or endowment fund to help ensure that if a resident runs out of money due to a longer than average stay in the healthcare facility or some other unforeseen circumstance, they will not be forced to leave the community. Of course, this would not apply to any situation where a resident mismanaged or intentionally transferred personal assets in order to receive such support.

The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.

How CCRCs can help couples stay together as they age

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An active, healthy lifestyle can help protect your mind and body from disease and injury—which often leads to a need for long-term care. However, there are no guarantees in life and the question of whether—and how long—you or your spouse may need care remains unknown.

Click above to learn how CCRCs can help couples stay together as they age.

Foods to Avoid To Keep Inflammation in Check

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Inflammation works behind the scenes as the underlying cause of many health issues, including brain health. But eating the right foods — and avoiding the wrong ones — can help you fight inflammation and its many negative side effects.

Inflammation: an overreaction in the body’s immune system.

The link between inflammation and chronic illness is well-established. In addition to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer, inflammation has also been associated with cognitive brain issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ironically, inflammation is a self-defense mechanism within the body that attempts to protect you from harm and promote healing. But some environmental stimuli that the body receives can be interpreted as hostile, causing an immune response overreaction that does more harm than good. The food you eat is such a stimulus and it can sometimes act as a tripwire for an inflammatory response that can start in the gut…and perhaps end up in the brain.

Some foods are more inflammation-prone than others.

A properly managed healthy diet (such as the menu items found in the MemoryMeals® brain health program offered at leading senior living communities) uses ingredients less prone to promote inflammation. When you “cheat” on healthy eating — whether by snacking, indulging in fast food, relying on easy-to-prepare processed meals or just splurging a little too often — you open yourself up to the dangers of the wrong foods causing inflammatory problems.

Some foods are more inflammation-prone than others. Here’s a handy list of some of the foods it’s wise to avoid or use in moderation to help keep inflammation under control.


Sugar is hard to avoid because it is in so many different foods in the form of either table sugar (sucrose) or corn syrup (fructose). Obviously limiting consumption of sugary treats like candy and pastries is good not only for inflammation, but for your waistline. But don’t forget the hidden “sugar bombs” in things like soft drinks, juice and sweet tea. Switch to diet soda, or better still unsweetened tea, coffee or water. Also check food labels for sugar content and choose foods with less added sugar. Consider using a table sugar substitute or try to use your usual amount of the real thing. After a while, you’ll find you don’t even miss it.

Vegetable oils and dressings

Vegetable and seed oils, such as corn, sunflower, safflower and soybean oils, are in many foods and store-bought salad dressings. They’re also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which some researchers believe contribute to inflammation. You don’t have to avoid these oils completely, but it’s helpful to balance their consumption with anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils, such as those found in olive oil and foods like fatty fish and walnuts. Making your own salad dressings using olive oil or canola oil can also help.

Processed meats

Sausage, bacon and ham are truly delicious. Unfortunately they are also prime suspects in causing inflammatory changes that can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stomach cancer and colon cancer. Cells in the colon seem especially susceptible to the compounds formed when processed meats are cooked at high temperatures. Also, processed meats like hot dogs and lunch meats are loaded with sodium and chemical preservatives. So next time you’re hungry, add vegetables to that omelet instead of bacon or ham. Try a chicken or turkey sandwich instead of deli meat. And skip those cold cuts completely.

Excessive alcohol

More than one standard drink a day for women, and two for men, can lead to severe problems with inflammation…not to mention the other issues excessive alcohol can lead to. For reference, a standard drink is considered a single serving of beer or wine or a shot of distilled spirits. The good news: cocktail hour can be a good thing. Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to have health benefits, and red wine in particular, due to the antioxidant resveratrol found in red grape skins, has promising anti-inflammatory potential.

So raise a glass to the benefits of alcohol. But always drink responsibly — and enjoy the other benefits of a diet designed to reduce your risk of inflammation.


Benefits of Technology for Seniors

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At The Wesley Communities, we understand that technology can be intimidating. It feels like every time we turn around there’s a new phone, app, or device! But we firmly believe that the benefits of technology are worth learning about. Technology can improve three main areas of seniors’ lives. Click above to learn more!