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Food Safety for Older Adults

By Linda Larsen

July 4, 2017

“The FDA has released information about food safety for older adults. Anyone who is over the age of 65 needs to be very vigilant about food safety. Many of those who become seriously ill and even die from food poisoning are elderly.

The bodies of older adults do not work as well as they did decades ago. The stomach and intestinal tract hold onto food for longer periods of time, the senses of smell and taste are altered, and the liver and kidneys don’t work as well to get rid of toxins. And by the age of 65, many people have been diagnosed with a serious illness. That is a double whammy, since people with chronic health problems are also at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning.

After the age of 75, many people also have reduced immune system responses. That means that body doesn’t recognize and get rid of pathogens such as bacteria that cause food poisoning. Older adults are more likely to be sick longer when they contract food poisoning and need to be hospitalized.”

Follow the steps of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill to keep food safe.

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“Real men wear sunscreen”

sunscreenUse these helpful tips to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays

Healthy Living Made Simple, May/June 2017

“To no one’s surprise, sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. Statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation show that 65 percent of all melanoma cases are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. That same research also shows men over the age of 40 have the highest annual exposure to UV radiation. Men over the age of 50 comprise the majority of people diagnosed with melanoma, and it’s also one of only three cancers with an increasing mortality rate for men.

Here are a few things to remember before tackling the yard, hitting the links or casting a line:  (Note:  Not just for men!)

Recreational precautions

  • Apply sunscreen before you play, reapply every two hours or at the ninth hole. Don’t forget to apply on exposed scalp, the backs of hands, neck and ears.
  • Try to tee off at sunrise or late in the afternoon to avoid the sun when it’s most intense (10 am – 4 pm).”

For more tips

Improve your digestion

Improve your digestionStomach Trouble? 5 Steps Help Prevent Digestive Problems as You Age

Medications, inactivity, poor diet may all play a role

By Digestion Health Team at the Cleveland Clinic, June 13, 2017

“The ‘tummy aches’ you may have had as a child can evolve into a long list of digestive problems as you age. They’re annoying, but the good news is that things like acid reflux and constipation are irritations that you can treat. Often, simple lifestyle changes will do the trick.

‘Many older adults fixate on their gastrointestinal problems,’ says gastroenterologist Maged Rizk, MD. ‘The gastrointestinal tract ages with the rest of us. I tell patients not to get too upset by it.’

Older adults and digestive ailments

Medicine, inactivity and even gravity all can take their toll and contribute to digestive troubles as you get older, Dr. Rizk says.

Here, according to Dr. Rizk, are the main culprits and the symptoms they cause:

  • Multiple medications — These may cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and bleeding ulcers.
  • Inactivity and dehydration — These issues are more common as you age and they can make constipation worse.
  • Gravity — Over time the diaphragm can sink, causing decreased support where the esophagus joins the stomach (a hiatal hernia). And it typically causes heartburn and reflux. Medication often helps, but surgery is sometimes needed.
  • A weakened sphincter muscle, sedentary lifestyle and chronic constipation — These all may contribute to cause hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Hemorrhoids are common in older adults.”

Read 5 steps to improve your digestion and more

Note:  I never thought I would be putting a picture of a toilet on this webpage. 🙂

Are you getting enough protein?

Protein important to repairing, rebuilding muscle tissue


By Marnie Walth, Bismarck Tribune

May 24, 2017

“One of my favorite wellness tips from my sister, Sherri, a sports nutrition guru, is to drink chocolate milk after a race or a hard workout. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about chocolate milk other than it’s a delicious, convenient delivery system for what my body needs to repair and rebuild depleted muscle tissue — carbohydrates and protein.

Lowfat chocolate milk inexpensively delivers what expensive sports recovery drinks try to do — a drinkable four-to-one ratio of carbohydrate and protein grams. The 4:1 punch precisely provides the right dose of carbohydrates needed to transport sugar into muscles, where it becomes glycogen (energy storage) and protein to stimulate muscle repair and growth.

…There is perhaps less understanding around protein and its role in maintaining key body functions. In addition to building and repairing muscle tissue, protein is key to making enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals and is a building block of bones, cartilage, skin and blood.

Warning signs that you’re not getting enough protein include low energy, slow muscle recovery after exercise, hair loss, reduced strength, declining bone density and a weakened immune system.”

Read more about the RDA and protein-rich foods

Vitamin D supplements – Do you need them?

Vitamin D only strengthens bone in those with significant vit D deficiencyVitamin D supplements

May 16, 2017

“An international study of older adults has found that mass, untargeted provision of vitamin D supplements provides little clinical benefit to many when it comes to the common bone disease,  osteoporosis. Instead, the study recommends targeting vitamin D supplements at individuals whose levels of this vitamin are markedly reduced.

The results of the study – carried out by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA – were announced today by Professor Ian R. Reid at ECTS 2017, the 44th European Calcified Tissue Society Congress being held in Salzburg, Austria.

Professor Reid said: ‘We know that severe vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia, yet trials in the community have not consistently shown that vitamin D supplements improve older adults’ bone density or reduce the risk of fracture. So we set out to determine whether a higher dose of vitamin D influences bone density or whether benefit is dependent on the level of vitamin D already present in the individual.'”

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Osteoporosis is preventable


Take steps to improve bone health before osteoporosis becomes problematic

By Dr. Jessica Pennington, Lexington Herald Leader

May 5, 2017

“Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that occurs most often in older adults. It makes bones weak and more likely to fracture due to a deficiency in calcium and vitamin D. Nearly 10 million Americans are currently suffering from osteoporosis. It is important for older adults to take measures to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis-related injury.

Bones are living, growing tissues that are constantly regenerating. They are structured like a honeycomb, with intricate gaps and spaces. With osteoporosis, the spaces in the bone structure are much larger than in a healthy bone. These bones become porous and less dense, so they weaken and are more likely to fracture.

Osteoporosis often has no symptoms. People with this disease cannot feel their bones getting weaker, and many people do not know they have osteoporosis until they experience a fracture, which most often occurs in the hip, spine or wrist. These can be caused by falling or bumping into an object, or in severe cases, from simple movements like sneezing or hugging.”

Nearly one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Read more about improving bone health

When should antidepressants be prescribed?

Research Snapshot: Depression screening in older adultsantidepressants

“The number of antidepressants prescribed in the U.S. is skyrocketing as more primary care providers give antidepressants to patients even though many of them don’t have a psychiatric diagnosis.

A group of University of Minnesota researchers set out to study how that trend might be affecting older adults.

‘We found that physicians were less likely to prescribe unnecessary antidepressants when they screened their patients for depression,’ said Greg Rhee, Ph.D., M.S.W., primary author of the study affiliated with the College of Pharmacy.

The study looked at adults age 65 or older.

The study, recently published in Preventive Medicine, utilized data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. It surveyed primary care physicians to randomly sample over 9,000 visits made among older adults in 2010-2012.”

Out of 9,313 visits analyzed in Rhee’s study, only 209 included a depression screening.

Find out more

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