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AlzAuthors Shines Light on Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 6.2 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021. To help share Alzheimer’s and dementia stories and light the way for others, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit AlzAuthors was founded. The organization’s goal is to make a difference in the lives of those on their own journey with the disease.

Together, all AlzAuthors strive to eliminate the stigma surrounding the disease that affects an estimated 47 million people worldwide. To do this, AlzAuthors shares the written stories to serve as caregiver handbooks, guides through the disease process or a catalyst for muchneeded conversations. The organization also features a new author each week and receives requests for inclusion from over 300 writers globally.

Whether someone is a caregiver, family member or living with dementia themselves, they can find help and guidance from decades of caregiving within AlzAuthors’ memoirs, caregiver guides, novels, children’s books and blogs. There are numerous encouraging, real-life experiences behind these works. Furthermore, AlzAuthors invites others who have personal stories relating to Alzheimer’s or dementia to join in sharing their stories. The organization believes authors are bonded in a number of ways, including that:

  • We know the pain of being forgotten.
  • We have all witnessed decline.
  • We have provided countless hours of caregiving.
  • We know many others have experienced the same.
  • Now, more than ever, we believe in the power of sharing our stories.

In addition to the website, AlzAuthors now offers the AlzAuthors Bookstore. This is a vast, go-to collection of top books for individuals, assisted living facilities, doctor’s offices and other businesses offering eldercare services. As an Amazon affiliate, a small percentage of proceeds earned from bookstore sales contributes to the cost of maintaining the AlzAuthors website.

Hosted by the Whole Care Network, AlzAuthors shares the “Untangling Alzheimer’s and Dementia: An AlzAuthors Podcast as well. This podcast is another way the organization supports dementia journeys. Each episode features an AlzAuthors’ author who shares their personal story to help listeners learn about and cope with an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis.

“We’ve curated hundreds of powerful and profound stories, spanning all disease types and stages through a variety of genres. You can read these stories on our blog, but if time is short and listening is your pleasure, follow the podcast to hear the author tell their story in more detail,” said podcast producer, editor, host and AlzAuthors cofounder, Marianne Sciucco.

History of AlzAuthors

In June 2015, Sciucco and fellow authors Jean Lee and Vicki Tapia became friends through social media after reading each other’s books. Recognizing the power of collaboration, the three women wrote blog posts about Alzheimer’s, dementia and caregiving for different caregiver websites. While they began promoting their books together, they found that three voices could increase impact.

Shortly after, Shannon Wiersbitzky joined the women, and AlzAuthors organized the first “National Caregiver Appreciation Month” awareness campaign (now an annual event). In June 2016, the team decided to create a website to gather resources in a singular place where caregivers and those living with memory impairment could find solid support. 

They sought a place where authors could find the proper audience as well. Thus, they invited authors to write short posts about the story behind their stories and these writings became AlzAuthors.com. Within the first year, over 60 individuals became “AlzAuthors.”

Today, Kathryn Harrison and Ann Campanella, together with Sciucco, Lee and Tapia, manage this not-for-profit organization. They are assisted by Susan Landeis and Gincy Heins. Past team members, Wiersbitzky and Irene Olson, have left management but continue to be strong supporters and resources for AlzAuthors.

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Ways for Seniors to Prevent Against Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), Osteoporosis is bone disease occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps. Meaning “porous bone,” osteoporosis involves bones that have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure, resulting in their weakening and increasing the likelihood of breakage. While seniors and aging adults can talk to their physician about undergoing a bone density examination to determine if they have osteoporosis, there are several preventative measures that can be taken early on to avoid a later diagnosis.

Get Enough Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium enables blood to clot, muscles to contract and hearts to beat. The NOF reports that about 99% of the calcium in the body is in bones and teeth. How much calcium the body requires is dependent on both age and gender:

Woman age 50 & younger: 1,000 mg daily

Women age 51 & older: 1,200 mg daily

Men age 70 & younger: 1,000 mg daily

Men age 71 & older: 1,200 mg daily

Vitamin D also plays an important role in protecting your bones, both by helping the body absorb calcium and by supporting muscles needed to avoid falls. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones, and adults need the vitamin to keep their bones healthy. When individuals don’t get enough vitamin D, they become more likely to break bones as they age. Vitamin D requirements are solely based on age:

Under 50: 400-800 international units (IU) daily

50 and older: 800-1,000 IU daily

For those in need of additional Vitamin D, sources include sunlight, food and supplements. First, skin makes vitamin D in reaction to sunlight and stores it in fat for later use. Vitamin D can be found in foods including wild-caught mackerel, salmon and tuna. Vitamin D is added to milk and other dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and fortified cereals as well. Alternatively, there are two types of vitamin D supplements: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Always check with a physician before incorporating supplements into a nutritional plan.

Engage in Regular Exercise

The NOF explains that there are two types of osteoporosis exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Weight-bearing exercises, which can be high-impact or low-impact, include activities where individuals move against gravity while staying upright.

High-impact weight-bearing exercises (dancing, hiking, tennis, etc.) help build bones and keep them strong, but can be dangerous for those who have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone. Low-impact weight-bearing exercises (elliptical training, fast walking, stair step machines, etc.) can also help keep bones strong and are a safe alternative for those who cannot do high-impact exercises. 

Muscle strengthening exercises include activities where someone moves their body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. They are also known as resistance exercises and include lifting weights, using elastic exercise bands, using weight machines and more.

Eat Foods That are Good for Bone Health

Those who eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of dairy, fish, fruits and vegetables should get enough of the nutrients they need every day. However, those looking to ensure they consume foods which support bone health should look primarily to fish, fruits, vegetables and fortified foods. For example, canned sardines and salmon (with bones) are an excellent source of calcium. Spinach, beet greens, okra, tomato products, artichokes, plantains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens and raisins contain magnesium, which also supports bone health. Further, fortified foods such as soy milk can contain both calcium and Vitamin D.

Avoid Smoking

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that several research studies have identified smoking as a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fracture. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. In addition, studies on the effects of smoking suggest that smoking increases the risk of having a fracture. The habit has also been shown to have a negative impact on bone healing after fracture.

Ultimately, the NOF points out that individuals are never too young or old to begin improving the health of their bones. Although prevention should ideally begin in childhood, forming healthy habits later in life can still lead to greater bone health in the future. As the foundation states, “Now is the time to take action.”

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3 Summer Crafts for Seniors

In the summer, high temperatures can prevent families from spending time outdoors with their aging or elderly loved ones. Whether indoors or in a cool, shaded area, there are a number of fun summer crafts that lead to fun quality time spent together. In addition to extending seniors’ companionship and communication, crafts can help stimulate brain function and creativity. Here are a few summer crafts to consider making with a senior you know:

Shadowbox Seashell Art

shell art

(Photo credit: FeelingNifty.com)

From the website FeelingNifty.com, this craft combines seashells, a shadow box frame, cardstock paper (or white paper) and glue to create a piece of summertime artwork that can be hung around the house or gifted. Instructions from FeelingNifty.com are as follows:

  1. Cut the cardstock or paper to the size of the backing of your frame and glue it to the backing.
  2. Using a pencil, trace a heart shape (or any other shape) onto the cardstock/paper.
  3. Using your larger seashells first, glue them in any place inside the heart shape. Make sure to even distribute the larger pieces within your shape.
  4. Once the larger seashells are done, you can start gluing on the medium size ones. This ensures that the big and medium size seashells are evenly distributed within your shape, as they will be more eye-catching than the smaller ones. The smaller ones are for filling in the gaps and for creating clean edges along the border of the heart shape.
  5. Using the smallest shells, glue them to fill in the gaps between the rest of the shells and also the border of the shape.
  6. Optional: you can use decorative pearls to add some extra texture and shine to your artwork

Floral Butterfly Frames

butterfly frame

(Photo credit: DesignImprovised.com)

From the website DesignImprovised.com, this craft combines two of the greatest parts of summer — the beautiful flowers and abundance of butterflies! To begin crafting, materials should include a wooden picture frame (which can be repurposed from an old frame or found through a trip to the thrift store), artificial flowers (the Dollar Tree is a great source for $1 flower bunches), artificial feather butterflies, a wire cutters, hot glue, and acrylic craft paint (optional). Instructions from Design Improvised are as follows:

  1. Clip the artificial flowers from their stems using wire cutters.
  2. Glue the flowers to the frame with hot glue. Start with the biggest flowers and then fill in with smaller flowers.
  3. Add a few faux butterflies to the frame with a small dab of hot glue on the back. 

Ladybug Painted Rocks

painted rock art

(Photo credit: CraftsbyAmanda.com)

From the website CraftsbyAmanda.com, this craft’s materials include patio paint in colors of choice (suggestions include Larkspur Blue, Petunia Purple, Fiesta Yellow, Fuchsia, Citrus Green and Salmon). Other materials include smooth rocks preferably oval or round in shape, a paintbrush, a toothpick and an outdoor sealer or patio paint clear coat. When complete, this craft makes a beautiful addition to a garden or other outdoor area. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Wash and dry your rocks.
  2. Paint with colorful Patio Paint, don’t paint the bottoms if these will be sitting in the soil.
  3. Paint on a black head and let it dry.
  4. Use the handle end of a paintbrush to dot on ladybug spots with black paint.
  5. Use the handle end of a paintbrush to dot on white eyes. LET DRY COMPLETELY!
  6. Cut the tip off of a toothpick. Dip in black paint and dot onto white eyes.
  7. When completely dry, paint ladybugs with a coat of Patio Paint Clear Coat or outdoor formula sealer like Mod Podge.

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4 Supplements to Support Senior Health

Do you know a senior or aging adult who has difficulty consuming all of the nutrients needed for a healthy diet? Supplements can contain minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other ingredients that help support dietary needs. While they are not medications, supplements can be used to improve overall health and help manage some health conditions. Here are some supplements to consider adding to your diet, or that of a loved one:

Vitamin C: Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a nutrient the body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bones. Vitamin C is also vital to the body’s healing process, and can help protect cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation from the sun, X-rays or other sources. Free radicals might play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.  This supplement also helps your body absorb and store iron, the Mayo Clinic reports.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a nutrient the body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones. This is because the body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone, when Vitamin D is present. This supplement also regulates many other cellular functions in the body. The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of Vitamin support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity. Vitamin D isn’t naturally found in many foods, but the body also makes vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in the skin into an active form of the vitamin (calciferol). The amount of vitamin D the skin makes depends on many factors, including the time of day, season, latitude and your skin pigmentation, the Mayo Clinic reports.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA, the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information. As the body is capable of storing several years’ worth of vitamin B-12, deficiency is rare. However, those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet might be prone to deficiency because plant foods don’t contain vitamin B-12. Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients are also susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency. Left untreated, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage and mood disturbances, the Mayo Clinic reports.

Fish Oil: Fish oil is a dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. The body needs omega-3 fatty acids for many functions, from muscle activity to cell growth. Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from food, but they cannot be manufactured in the body. Fish oil contains two omega-3s called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Dietary sources of DHA and EPA are fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and trout, and shellfish, such as mussels, oysters and crabs. Some nuts, seeds and vegetable oils contain another omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Fish oil supplements come in liquid, capsule and pill form. People take fish oil for the anti-inflammatory effects, the Mayo Clinic reports.

Note: The FDA is the federal agency that oversees both supplements and medicines, but the FDA‘s regulations for dietary supplements are different from those for prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Before taking any supplements, individuals should discuss the risks with their physician. It’s important to always be alert to the possibility of a bad reaction, especially when taking a new product.

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Heat-Related Health Dangers Among Seniors

Each year, individuals over the age of 50 account for the majority of those who die from hyperthermia. Now that it’s officially summer, reminding aging and elderly loved ones of the dangers associated with heat is extremely important. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), aging affects older adults’ ability to respond to heat, resulting in heat-related illnesses. Known collectively as hyperthermia, such illnesses can include heat edema, heat syncope, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Specifically, heat stroke is a severe form of hyperthermia that occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. The NIH reports that someone with a body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit is likely suffering from heat stroke. Symptoms to look out for include fainting; a change in behavior (confusion, combativeness, staggering, possible delirium or coma); dry, flushed skin and a strong, rapid pulse; and lack of sweating. If someone, especially an older adult, appears to be experiencing any of these symptoms, those around them should seek immediate medical attention for that person.

Ultimately, there are a number of factors that can influence an aging adult’s ability to withstand high-temperature conditions. For example, age-related changes to the skin, such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands, can reduce tolerance. Additionally, heart, lung and kidney diseases as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever increase heat-related risks. 

Further, high blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet, such as salt-restricted diets, as well as being substantially overweight or underweight can result in dangerous conditions. Another condition to avoid which may amplify heat risks is dehydration. Other factors that may increase risk of hyperthermia are: 

  • Reduced sweating, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs.
  • Taking several drugs for various conditions. (It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.)
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages.

To avoid heat-related illness, aging adults should stay indoors on particularly hot and humid days, especially when there is an air pollution alert in effect. To stay cool, the NIH recommends drinking plenty of fluids and wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics. People without fans or air conditioners should keep their homes as comfortable as possible or go someplace cool.

If someone is suspected of suffering from a heat-related illness, they or someone they are with should:

  • Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke.
  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or otherwise cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water and fruit or vegetable juices, but not alcohol or caffeine.
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits and groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and a cold cloth can help cool the blood.
  • Encourage the person to shower, bathe or sponge off with cool water if it is safe to do so.

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4 Light Summer Recipes for Seniors

Cooking can be a great hobby for seniors to pick up, especially when assisted by a caregiver or loved one to ensure safety. During the summer when the weather is hot, lighter meals full of fruits and vegetables can make for some of the most delicious meals. Many of these meals are also easy to prepare and require minimal cooking. For those with an aging or elderly loved one with some free time who are looking to pick up a hobby, or want to share meaningful experiences with friends and family — consider these four summer recipes from food and entertaining magazine Bon Appétit!

1) Smashed Cucumber Salad

Ingredients (4 servings)

6 medium Persian cucumbers (about 1 lb.)

1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp. Morton kosher salt

1 garlic clove, finely grated

¼ cup tahini

3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp. white miso

1 tsp. finely grated ginger

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

chili oil (for serving)

2 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal

1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Preparation:

Step 1: Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, then slice ¼-inch thick on a deep diagonal into 23“-long pieces. Transfer cucumbers to a large bowl, add salt, and toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. Drain cucumbers.

Step 2: Whisk garlic, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar, miso, ginger, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl to combine. Pour dressing over cucumbers and toss well to coat.

Step 3: Transfer cucumber salad to a platter. Drizzle with chili oil, and top with scallions and sesame seeds.

2) Grilled Scallops with Nori, Ginger, and Lime

Ingredients (4 servings)

cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. fresh lime juice

kosher salt

1 toasted nori sheet

1 tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. ground ginger

2 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for grill

12 large dry sea scallops, side muscles removed, patted dry

½ lime

3 scallions, dark green parts only, very thinly sliced

1 tsp. Aleppo-style or other mild red pepper flakes or gochugaru (coarse Korean red pepper powder)

Special Equipment: 

A spice mill; eight 8-inch wooden skewers, soaked at least 1 hour

Preparation:

Step 1: Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Mix mayonnaise, lime juice, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp. water in a small bowl; set lime mayo aside.

Step 2: Finely grind nori in a spice mill. Transfer half to a small bowl; set aside for serving. Transfer remaining nori to a large bowl and mix in coriander, ginger, and 2 tbsp. oil. Add scallops and toss to coat.

Step 3: Thread three scallops onto two skewers. (This will keep scallops in place and make them easy to turn. You can also use this method for shrimp and small peppers like shishito and Padrón.) Repeat with remaining scallops and skewers. Season both sides with salt.

Step 4: Clean and oil grate, then immediately place scallops on the outside edge of the grill so that the skewers are hanging off the side. Grill, turning scallops with handles of skewers, until grill marks appear and scallops are just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side, depending on their size.

Step 5: Spread lime mayo on a platter and place skewers with scallops on top. Finely grate zest from lime half over, then squeeze juice over. Top with scallions and sprinkle with Aleppo-style pepper and reserved nori.

3) White Beans with Broccoli Rabe and Lemon

Ingredients (4 servings)

3 tbps olive oil

1 small lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed

2 anchovy fillets packed in oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½ bunch broccoli rabe, chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 15oz. Cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

2 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Preparation:

Step 1: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add lemon, anchovies, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lemon is softened and brown in spots and anchovies fall apart, about five minutes. Add broccoli rabe; season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Add beans and ½ cup water to pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and liquid is reduced by half (you still want it to be saucy), about 5 minutes. Mix in parsley and 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese.

Step 3: Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and top with more Parmesan.

4) Summer Squash and Basil Pasta

Ingredients (4 servings)

¼ cup olive oil

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 pounds assorted summer squashes and zucchini, quartered lengthwise, sliced

kosher salt

1 tsp. Aleppo-style pepper, plus more for serving

12 ounces paccheri, ziti, or other large tube pasta

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ cup basil leaves, divided

Preparation:

Step 1: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until very lightly browned around the edges, about 4 minutes. Add squash and increase heat to medium high; season with salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until squash begins to break down. Turn down heat once it begins sticking, and continue to cook until the squash is jammy and soft, for 1215 minutes. Toss in 1 tsp. Aleppo-style pepper.

Step 2: Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente.

Step 3: Transfer pasta to skillet with squash using a slotted spoon or spider, and add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook pasta, adding 2 oz. Parmesan cheese in stages along with more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente. Toss in lemon juice and most of the basil.

Step 4: Divide pasta among bowls and top with more Parmesan, Aleppo-style pepper and remaining basil.

More Bon Appétit Summer Dinner Ideas

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Men’s Health Week 2021

The week of Monday, June 14, 2021 through Sunday, June 20, 2021, leading up to and including Father’s Day, is observed as Men’s Health Week. This annual observance aims to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems in boys and men. Men’s Health Week is also meant to encourage early detection and treatment of these problems.

Men’s Health Week serves as an opportunity for health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. Such screenings include men aged 18 and older having their blood pressure checked, and men aged 35 and older having their cholesterol checked annually. Additionally screenings that should occur as men age include colon cancer and prostate cancer.

The bills creating Men’s Health Week were sponsored by former Senator Bob Dole and former Congressman Bill Richardson. The sponsors cited the cost-effectiveness of a shift from treatment to prevention in health care emphasis when presenting the bill. The supporters of Men’s Health Week also noted that prevention requires public awareness, and designating a week for this would spread information on preventing illnesses affecting males, which includes nationwide events and screenings. To help promote this information, here are some men’s health resources:

Nutritional Health: Taking control of your health by exercising, eating right and visiting your health care provider regularly all contribute to a better quality of life. Depending on age and level of physical activity, men should eat between two to 2.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 to four cups of vegetables every day. People who eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthful diet are likely to have a lower risk of chronic diseases than people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Cardiovascular Health: Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a general term that includes many different conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, such as atrial fibrillation, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, over 39 million American men (one in three) suffer from one or more of these conditions, and every year just under half a million of them die of cardiovascular disease (one in four men) that’s more than cancer and diabetes combined. Approximately 392,000 men die from cardiovascular disease each year.

Mental Health: As men age, they may start to feel stressed or depressed due to the loss of a loved one, health problems or financial difficulties. Stress may cause them to lose energy, fail to eat enough or isolate themselves. Proper diet management and physical exercise can be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced. Mental health conditions men should be aware of include anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, stress and others.

Prostate Health: The prostate is a part of the male sex organs that produce fluid and contribute to the production of sperm. Over 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions that impact their quality of life. Each year over 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 30,000 will die from the disease. Prostate conditions include advanced prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer and prostatitis.

Sexual and Reproductive Health: Sexual desires and activity aren’t static. They change throughout life for lots of reasons, such as having children, coming to terms with sexual orientation, or physical or mental illness. Growing older can also have an effect on sex, but it’s important to realize that this is normal. Conditions that may impact men’s health include androgen, andropause, erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism, infertility, Peyronie’s disease, testicular cancer and more.

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Summer Reading List for Seniors 2021

Summer is a great time to dive into a new book. Whether in paperback or ebook form, enjoying a good book can bring happiness and interest to seniors and aging adults. Plus, reading has long been known to stimulate brain activity and improve overall mental health. According to Goodreads, the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, these five books should be on any senior’s summer must-read list.

Invisible by Lorena McCourtney: Ivy Malone has a curiosity that sometimes gets her into trouble, and it’s only aggravated by her discovery that she can easily escape the public eye. So when vandals romp through the local cemetery, she takes advantage of her newfound anonymity and its unforeseen advantages as she launches her own unofficial investigation.

Despite her oddball humor and unconventional snooping, Ivy soon becomes discouraged by her failure to turn up any solid clues. And after Ivy witnesses something ominous and unexplained, she can’t resist putting her investigative powers to work again. Even the authorities’ attempts to keep Ivy out of danger and her nosy neighbor’s match-making schemes can’t slow her down. But will the determination that fuels this persistent, quirky sleuth threaten her very safety?

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon: There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

For those who decide to pursue reading one of these books, leave your thoughts in the comment box. We would love to hear what you think, or if you have any other summer reading recommendations for seniors.

The Brave by James Bird: The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother. Collin can’t help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It’s a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father. When Collin asks to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he’s never met. 

She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming and accepting of his condition. Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, a girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.

No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen: Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time helping Kate’s grandmother make her famous grape pies and begins to face her fears by taking swimming lessons in the motel’s pool.

But when it becomes clear that only a miracle is going to save the Jewel from bankruptcy, Jewish Miriam and Catholic Kate decide to create their own. Otherwise, the No Vacancy sign will come down for good, and Miriam will lose the life she’s worked so hard to build.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman: Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea. Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. 

With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish. Aching, powerful and unflinchingly honest, Summer Bird Blue explores big truths about insurmountable grief, unconditional love and how to forgive even when it feels impossible.

More Books for Seniors

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How to Help Ensure Homes are Safe for Seniors

As the Baby Boomer population continues to age, more seniors are faced with the tough decision of whether they are able to remain living in their homes safely. For example, seniors who continue to live in the homes they bought in their younger years, and maybe where they  raised their children, may be faced with multiple stories and laborious maintenance. Aging can increase risk when completing tasks like walking up a flight of stairs or mowing the lawn. Knowing this, there are a number of measures people can take to ensure their aging loved ones can still live in their homes and remain safe.

According to national membership, training, advocacy and services organization, Age Safe American, most older people live in homes that are more than 20 years old. Further, a house that was perfectly suitable for a senior at age 55, for example, may  have too many stairs or slippery surfaces for a person who is 70 or 80. 

However, research by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that home modifications and repairs may prevent up to 50% of all home accidents among seniors, including falls that take place in these older homes. Ultimately, these preventative measures can be broken down into four categories: accessibility, adaptability, universal design and visitability.

First, accessibility means taking the steps to ensure that the home itself is modified to best meet the needs of seniors. Certain features can be modified so that they are safer, easier to navigate and move around. This may include measures such as making doorways wider, lowering countertops and cabinets, installing grab bars, and making outlets easily reachable. Having a conversation with an aging loved one about what elements of their at-home life present challenges may help loved ones create a priority list for modifications that need to be made immediately,

Next, adaptability expands on accessibility by allowing for quick accommodations that do not require the home to undergo structural change. Without having to redesign a home or incorporate alternative building materials and fixtures, individuals can make small changes that will go a long way. For example, wires that used to run across the floor can be embedded into the walls or floor to prevent tripping and falls. Another example would be installing grab bars throughout the bathroom and kitchen.

More involved, changing a home’s universal design will help to make a living space more senior-friendly. These modifications help to increase lighting, safe mobility and daily activity. While these adjustments can be as simple as adding lighting fixtures to ensure that a senior has enough light to see where they are going, universal design can be more involved if structural changes are needed. This may occur if a ramp needs to be built instead of existing stairs, or if new, slip-resistant flooring  must be installed.

Lastly, increasing visitability is in regard to seniors who invite other elderly friends to come over to their homes. This, too, may prompt the need to install a ramp, slip-resistant flooring, grab bars and home cameras. Such changes may also give seniors a head start on home modifications they may need later in their lives. Early action can allow people of all ages to enjoy an independent lifestyle without undergoing a difficult and unexpected transition.

Overall, home needs and requirements change as people become older. Safety should remain a top priority, and family members and loved ones can play an important role in helping to ensure safety — even if the seniors themselves are reluctant to do so. Help them initiate the necessary changes before they get hurt.

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How to Protect Seniors from Scams

Each year, millions of seniors fall victim to a number of different types of fraud or financial schemes, reports the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sadly, many scammers target elderly individuals because they believe they can win over their trust and confidence. Most often, seniors become subject to technology, romance, impersonation, lottery, home repair or caregiver scams. Although there are thousands of scam attempts targeting seniors each day, there are ways to help educate and protect your loved ones.

Explain the risks of giving out personal information: First and foremost, seniors and elderly loved ones should be told why exactly giving out personal information over the phone or internet can be extremely dangerous. Emphasize to them that if someone asks for their personal information, they should call the source the person claims to work for, to verify that the request is valid. They should also resist the urge to act quickly. Ultimately, if the individual feels unsure or concerned, they should know to reach out to someone they trust for a second opinion or advice.

Do an online name search: To assess how easily accessible your loved one’s contact information is, simply search their name, number, address and emails in a search engine. Whatever information you can find, know that others searching the internet can find this as well. In many cases, the site may be able to remove this personal information upon request. If they don’t answer or refuse to take the information down, contact support through the search engine by which you found the website.

Install antivirus software: If your loved one has computer access, make sure you install antivirus and security software to protect against hackers. Malware protection should also be up-to-date. When selecting an antivirus software or firewall, ensure that the brand is reputable.

Inquire about “too-good-to-be-true” scenarios: In the case of sweepstakes and giveaways, seniors often become too excited by the prospects to consider the validity. Instead of addressing the possibility of a scam directly, AARP suggests that individuals instead ask questions about how they can participate in the same sweepstakes. This will lead the individual to explain how they came across it, what information they provided, and who they spoke with. That way, you can determine for yourself if the sweepstakes seems suspicious. If you determine the giveaway to be a scam, and your loved one is reluctant to believe you, have them call the AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center toll-free at 800-646-2283.

As the Baby Boomer population ages and a larger elder community emerges, warning about elderly scams is as important as ever. Prevention is key, because it is common for seniors who have been scammed to feel too ashamed to report the crime. Furthermore, they may not understand how to report a financial scheme to the authorities. 

If you believe you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online. You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center

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