All Posts By

Liz Harper

Foods to Avoid To Keep Inflammation in Check

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

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

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

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!

What to Look for in Memory Care Communities

By | Alzheimer's and Dementia, Caregiving | No Comments

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or is faced with another serious memory loss condition, there is a good chance they will require professional memory care services at some point. Finding a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, or “life plan” community) with memory care will make life for the patient, loved ones, and caregivers more comfortable and enjoyable.

Click above to learn what to look for in a memory care community.

Water Aerobics Instructor Shares Her Story

By | Our Stories | No Comments

Christine Togni, Aquatics Instructor at the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center, was named the Adult Honoree at the 2018 Jingle Bell Run held on December 1, 2018.  She was selected because of her affiliation with the Arthritis Foundation since 1995–when she first became certified to teach classes.

She is an Advocate for the Arthritis Foundation, has attended the Advocacy Summit in Washington DC. , and hopes to attend the next Summit in March, 2019.  She has also been an Arthritis Foundation Support Group Leader at two locations, and is currently taking additional training to lead a support group at the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center, in addition to teaching her water aerobics classes.

“I am passionate about teaching at the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center.  My greatest joy comes from helping people feel better physically and emotionally,” she explains.

Christine’s story started in 1991 when she began to experience extreme pain and weakness in both arms.  By 1993, her quality of life had greatly declined and surgery was highly recommended.  The surgery required removing 3 discs and bone spurs from her neck, replacing the discs and recuperating for 12 weeks.

It was then that her surgeon recommended she contact the Arthritis Foundation to locate a pool where she could attend aquatics classes that focus on range-of-motion, flexibility, and endurance.  She attended classes 3 times per week and was amazed at how she regained her upper body strength and, in general, how well she felt after each class.  Equally important was the emotional support she received and friendships she made!

She was so impressed by this “program” that she decided to become certified to teach these wonderful classes and completed her training in 1995.  She has been leading classes ever since and was responsible for introducing these classes to five different locations.

“I hope my story will inspire and encourage others to seek support through my classes as well as the support group that will begin in 2019,”Christine states. “I want to ‘pay it forward’ and help others achieve the same physical and emotional well-being I have been blessed with.”

Pricing Structures in Assisted Living

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

As seniors or their family members research various assisted living facilities, they will inevitably see statistics showing the average monthly cost of assisted living and other types of care.

These are great tools for getting a ballpark idea of assisted living expenses, but the cost can vary dramatically among different regions, facilities and even among different residents within a facility. Understanding why begins with understanding how pricing works.

Click above for a breakdown of the types of fees you can expect.

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

Giving Thanks!

By | Health and Wellness, Lifestyle | No Comments

Happy Thanksgiving! What a wonderful thing!  A whole day dedicated to giving thanks for what we have individually, and as a family or group!

If you are looking for a reason to be thankful, research has shown that being thankful is actually good for your health. Can an “Attitude of Gratitude” really change your health?

Click above to learn more.

Mike the Miracle

By | Our Stories | No Comments

Mike, who had suffered a major stroke in 2013, graduated from Wesley Hospice on September 27th. His friends, family, and the team at Wesley Hospice are so joyous at the miracle that occurred for Mike and his family.

Click the link above to read Mike’s story.

Peg’s Perspective: Human Connection and Mirror Neurons

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

Do you ever wake up and feel like you can conquer the world?   Yes—me too! And, if you carry that mood with you all day, chances are many people will pick up on it. They may say things like “You’re in a good mood today,” or “You look good today!” or many other phrases that we love to hear.  But have you ever stopped and asked yourself how these people know that you’re in a good mood? Or how your positive mood is impacting those around you?

Click above to learn more!